The Frugal Catholic: “Learning from Proverbs–Freezer Bowl Soup and The Frugal Catholic Casserole” by Martha Wild King–October 3, 2010

Probably one of my favorite Biblical passages as a woman is Proverbs 31.  I have read that passage nearly every day for about 30 years.  From it, I have gleaned advice from the Proverbs 31 woman in our modern-day world.  Even though written in King Solomon’s time (probably by his mother Bathsheba), the Proverbs 31 woman is quite hip and most modern.  She is a working woman from her home yet a strong mother and wife.  She uses her resources wisely.  But one quality I love about this woman is that she plans her meals for her household.  This is good advice for the busy progressive woman, and I can almost see her approving of the two tricks I am going to relay–Freezer Bowl Soup and The Frugal Catholic Casserole.

The first thing to do is to acquaint ourselves with this mom.  She can be found in Proverbs 31:14-15 (RSV) The passage reads as follows, “She is like the ships of the merchant, she brings her food from afar.  She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and tasks for her maidens.”

Freezer Bowl Soup in progress

Freezer Bowl Soup was one of the first food tricks I learned.  You make meals and have a lot of ingredients left over.  What do you do with all those bits and scraps of vegetables, meat, or broth?  Do you toss them into the disposal, or do you put them to good use?  If you want to reinvent them, get a plastic covered bowl and put it in the freezer.  As you prepare meals, whatever is left over on the chopping block, toss into the freezer bowl–those scraps mentioned.  When the bowl is full, put it in a pan or Crockpot–frozen and all–add some broth and some seasoning of whatever you have on hand, and presto–home-made soup.  Do not include in the bow leftover fish, broccoli, or cheese as they don’t work well.

leftovers for The Frugal Catholic Casserole

The Frugal Catholic Casserole is another delicious concoction that anyone can make.  What is lurking around in your refrigerator?  What is lying dormant in your freezer?  The Frugal Catholic Casserole has seven ingredients in all.  The only other items you need are a casserole dish (I use a 9 by 13 one) and a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven.  First, mix the first five ingredients together, put in the dish, and add cheese and croûtons, in that order.  The casserole takes approximately one hour to cook.  This casserole is best made in the oven for that crisps the croûtons (versus in a Crockpot).  Listed below are the seven ingredients.

  1. Meat or protein–Check your freezer/refrigerator  for some leftovers and chop them into chunks or even use the Crockpot on high for about 3 hours to cook frozen pieces of chicken or beef to add.
  2. Starch–This can be leftover rice or pasta or baked potatoes.  If using fresh potatoes, chop and cook in the microwave until tender.
  3. Vegetables–Use anything around: frozen, leftovers, canned, or those dying vegetables in the refrigerator–you know, those carrots that go limp when you pick them up.  Also, if you like the flavor, add a chopped onion.  Like the potatoes, Imicrowave the diced onions so they will be tender.
  4. Sauce–This can be a canned soup with a bit of milk or water or some salad dressing, canned coconut milk, a can of diced tomatoes, but just something moist.  Even some almond milk heated with a few tablespoons of cornstarch for thickening works too for those who are gluten intolerant.
  5. Spices–just grab whatever is available including something from your neighbor’s  herb garden.  I often snatch the rosemary growing by my neighbor’s fence. We have an agreement; so make sure you have such an agreement before trying this at home!
  6. Cheese–Have some cheese with some fuzz on it?  Well cut off the disagreeable green, wash the hunk, grate it, and add to the top of the casserole.
  7. Croûtons–Find some stale bread or chips that have lost their freshness.  Rip them up and add to the top.

Bake the casserole for one hour at 350 degrees; pour some wine and milk, and have a family supper with very little expense, and don’t forget to give thanks before consuming.  Always remember where it came from and WHO gave it to you.

 

The Frugal Catholic: “Water It Down” by Martha Wild King–August 8, 2010

One of the first things I had to comprehend in my new Catholic faith was the sacrament of Baptism.  I had been baptized as an infant in a Protestant denomination.  I had each of my children baptized because, as a Christian, that is what you do.  What I did not understand was WHY you have your children baptized or why one is baptized as an adult.

Now, I think I understand it a bit more clearly.  We are baptized because, “baptism is the first of the seven sacraments, and the ‘door’ which gives access to the other sacraments.  Baptism is the first chief sacrament of forgiveness of sins because it unites us with Christ, who died for our sins and rose for our justification.  Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist constitute the ‘sacraments of initiation’ by which a believer receives the remission of original and personal sin, begins a new life in Christ and the Holy Spirit, and is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ.” (see the definition of Baptism in the Catechism of the Catholic Church).

Furthermore, when we enter any Catholic Church in the world, we find the Baptismal font and the Holy Water into which we can dip our fingers, cross ourselves, and remind ourselves of the amazing gift Christ gave us when He freed us from our sins.  It is in that water that we find our remembrance.

Likewise, when The Frugal Catholic thinks of the simple yet profound gift of life-giving water, I recall ways it can free me financially.  Here are some:

  •  Add water to the last bit of cream rinse or shampoo, shake the bottle, and stretch it out longer.
  • With drip or pressed coffee, when you are finished, do not throw out the used grounds.  Add HALF as much coffee again in the same filter or to the same coffee press.  Proceed by adding the same amount of water as usual.  You will have a fresh pot with one-half of the expense.  I tested this one on my unsuspecting husband who could not tell the difference between fresh and the half-old/half-new mixture.
  • With any stubborn residue on the floors or counter tops, soak for a while with water, then wipe off.  Water softens so you can easily remove.
  • Why use a fancy mop?  Just add some water to two rags, step on each of them, and waltz around your kitchen or bathroom floor mopping away.  And if you want a floor cleaner, use one teaspoon of vinegar in a quart of water in a spray bottle.  You spray the contents and proceed to clean with the “foot/hip” action.
  • Do you find cabinets full of various cleaning solutions for your windows, kitchen counters, and bathrooms?  Most of these solutions are full of water so save money with the WILD WATER mixture instead.  This mixture contains one-cup water with one cup-white vinegar and one teaspoon of cornstarch mixed in a clean spray bottle.  Shake well each time you use, spray, and wipe with a soft cloth or newspaper.
  • Want a better tasting jug of water to sip on daily?  Just add some dry fruit to your water bottle.  It gives a delightful, subtle taste with nearly nil calories.

So be frugal; learn to “water it down,” and, while watering, realize what our precious Lord gave us through this clear, amazing substance.

The Frugal Catholic: “My 34th Birthday in Jesus” by Martha Wild King–July 11, 2010

It was June 20, 2010, and I was sitting in Saint Cecilia Catholic Church for evening Mass.  Michael and Deahna were out of town at a softball and soccer tournament.  It was the usual evening Mass blessed with the contemplative quietness of eventide.  Just before my beloved time of taking the Lord into my body in the Eucharist, I realized it was my 34th birthday in Jesus.

You see, 34 years ago, alone in my bedroom in  West Virginia, I asked Christ into my heart on June 20, 1976.  My 27 years had been mainly spent in the First Presbyterian Church in Huntington WV, but Jesus was only in my actions and not in my being.  Hard times from a divorce had driven me astray from religion, and on that day I contemplated ending my life.  Fortunately, my cousin, Alan Wild, who had been quite WILD, had asked Jesus into his heart a few years before and had become a changed man; so I had gone to visit Alan and learned that I would drink wine, laugh, and be myself but still know Christ intimately.  There was nothing to fear in knowing Jesus.

That evening after visiting Alan, I sat on my bed and asked Christ to take over my life and come into my heart.

Nothing dramatic happened.  Billowing curtains did not follow and the room did not illuminate.   The next day,however, I had a desire to read the Bible; and that daily hunger for God’s word has persisted for 34 years.  Yet from that craving, I understood that I was missing something.  For years, I clandestinely asked The Blessed Mother for help; secretly because Protestants do not revere Mary.  I longed for a closer walk with Jesus, and I wanted to respond the way she responded by wholly taking Him in.

The FULLNESS of my Christian faith has now been achieved in the Roman Catholic Church.  I can read 46 books of the Old Testament Sacred Scriptures as Jesus had rather than just 39, as the Protestants use.  The fullness is also found in the Seven Sacraments,  2000 years of  Sacred Tradition and Magisterium  of  The Church, and, above all else, the Eucharist.  All of these are what I celebrated on my 34th birthday as I walked forward and ate His true flesh and drank His true blood.

It was my first birthday communion as an active Catholic.  Knowing His sacrifice, His love for me–a sinner, His unwavering desire to please His Father and His Sacred Heart, to partake of The Eucharist was the greatest gift a girl could receive.

"He leads me beside still waters..."

Psalm 23: 1  A Psalm of David “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want; he makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. (RSV)

 

The Frugal Catholic: “Consecrating What’s Most Important” by Martha Wild King– May 23, 2010

I will be 62 later this year, and The Good Captain, my husband of 30 years, will soon be 58.  On May 5, 2010, we were officially married in the Catholic Church.  Needless to say, a number of people have asked us why we were doing this.

I was divorced but a born-again, re-committed Protestant Christian when Michael and I met in October 1979, and we “tied the knot” August 1980 in a  Protestant wedding performed by Dr. Graham Smith in Alexandria VA.  However, when Michael came into the Catholic Church this past Easter 2010 ( I had joined the year before), Father Carroll said it was time to “get married in The Church.”  My annulment, which had taken a year, was granted the week before Michael was confirmed; thus, I had my First Communion the same night as he did.  By getting married in the Church, our marriage became a Sacrament which will draw us more fully into Christ’s grace and strength.  It is for that reason we chose to get married in The Catholic Church.  We have lived as husband and wife since his confirmation with the exception of husband and wife relations.  We have waited until we were married in the Catholic Church just as we waited for our first marriage.  We have waited because to NOT wait would have been a sin, and at this age, my only desire is to please God first; for in that pleasing, I know that only good will occur.  So we were married in the morning mass.  The choice of Wednesday, May 5th, was made by Michael because Fr. Carroll told him that that was when there were the smallest number  people.

Before the ceremony, I laid out a few items on the table to take with me.  There was something old–an antique locket I wore for my first marriage and the pearl earrings I wore when I married Michael.  There was something new–a silver bracelet he had just given me.  There was something borrowed–a white rosary from my youngest daughter.  There was something blue–my blue garter from my marriage to Michael in 1980.  Finally, there was a penny for your shoe–a 1980 penny for when we were first married and a shiny 2009 penny for when I came into the Catholic Church.  In addition, we also brought our Guest book dating back to 1980 for all to sign.  Yet the little miracle I want to finish this story with is of my simple wedding bouquet.  While sitting in Catholics Come Home the night before, I heard an older lady share  that she felt  that she couldn’t go to Confession (which was the topic) since  her first marriage wasn’t annulled.

Afterwards I approached her and told her how I too longed to join the Roman Catholic Church, but believed because I had been married before, it wouldn’t happen.  Fr. Carroll, however, encouraged me; and the rest is history or HIS STORY.  I shared that the next day I would be married to my husband whom had likewise converted to Catholicism.  She paused and said, “Do you have any flowers for your ceremony?”  “No,” I answered.  “Well,” she said, “Wait here.”   Reaching for her cane, she and walked outside Conger Hall and  shortly came in carrying a fragrant bouquet of The Lilly of The Valley in a small glass jar.  “I was going to leave these in the church by the Confessional, but I want you to have them for your wedding tomorrow.”

I’m reminded of what Sister Faustina Kowalska said in her (Diary, 1208), “May You be blessed, O God, for everything You send me.  Nothing under the sun happens without Your will.”

 

The Frugal Catholic: “Depression Era Sayings and the 21st Century” by Martha Wild King–May 9, 2010

My favorite frugal sayings have lived on my tongue for 20 plus years.  I began saying them to myself when we made the decision to live below our means to fulfill a goal.  We wanted to go to England for a two-week vacation since Michael was going to be over there with the military.  We had our sets of parents to watch our two small children, but what we didn’t have were the funds.  In order to save up, I began cutting food costs and and investigating in the library on how to best reduce spending

It was during this research that “The Depression Era Sayings” surfaced, and they became my mantra.  Even today, they are ever on the tip of my tongue to gauge my spending.  These four sentences give boundaries to our consumption and force me to pause, regroup, and often not spend.  As I’ve heard it said, “The leach has two sisters: give and give me more.”  That is the problem most of us in America face, a consumption mentality.  Proverbs 13:18 states,”Poverty and disgrace come to him who ignores instruction, but he who heeds reproof is honored.” (RSV)  Proverbs 27:23 elaborates, “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds; for the riches do not last for ever; and does a crown endure to all generations?” (RSV)

So what are these four “Depression Era Sayings?”  They are as follows:

 

  1. MAKE IT DO.  How can you use what you have for what you need now?
  2. DO WITHOUT.  Do I really need this item I am coveting?  Would something else work that I already own?
  3. USE IT UP.  Have I used my resources wisely?  Did I finish what I have before buying more?
  4. WEAR IT OUT.  Before I buy something new, have I worn out what I wish to replace?  Do I really NEED to replace it or NEED more “stuff”?

 

By applying these four phrases, by memorizing them and teaching them to your children, wonderful events will occur. Try putting these sayings into your family living, and watch your savings go up and your budget stay better on track.

Making a Frugal Dinner--Family Style

 

The Frugal Catholic: “Toe-Nail Theology and You” by Martha Wild King–April 4, 2010

We are created in the image of God: our body, though our own, is meant to be shared within the BODY of the CHURCH.  Ephesians 5:23 says “…as Christ  is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (RSV)  Romans 12:1 (NAB) clarifies this by stating, “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.” 1 Corinthians 12:20 continues,”But as it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I do not need you,’ nor again the head to the feet,’ I do not need you.’  Indeed, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are all the more necessary, ….” (NAB)

When I first asked Christ into my life 34 years ago and began worshiping as a Protestant, I really sought to be something significant, like an arm or an aorta.  What I found was that no one deemed me as important as I wanted to feel; thus I settled into my place as simply greeting at the church door once a month and cleaning up after communion which meant I dumped the bread and wine into the sewer–the act of which led me into The Roman Catholic Church.  So through the years I decided my place in His Body was simply being a “toenail.”  Yes, I was a lowly toenail, hidden away in a smelly left shoe.  I had no real worth in the organization of His Body and His Bride, the Church.

Then a change of thought occurred when I went on a backpacking trip with my husband two summers ago. We climbed five miles straight up, packs and all, into the rugged Olympic Mountains in WA.  Since I hadn’t hiked like this in 30 years, I had forgotten one important aspect of hiking.  Your shoes should be one size too big, and when you come downhill, tighten the boots versus loosening them.  So from that two-day trek came a swollen, blackened, left, big-toenail.  Finally after a few weeks, it painfully fell off, and a new one started underneath it.  That new toenail took about a year to be normal.

So the moral to this “Toenail Theology” story is: maybe you feel like a toenail within your Catholic church.  Maybe you feel that you have no value and no one really notices whether you are here or not.  Maybe you are wrong!!  Do you realize what a pain in the foot it is to NOT have a toenail?   God needs you  here even if it is to smile at someone else during The Sign of Peace.  You are part of His Body–The Church–The Holy Roman Catholic Church.  Rejoice toenail; we need you desperately.

The Frugal Catholic: “Making Marriage a Priority or Cheap Dates We’ve Known and Loved” by Martha Wild King–February 7, 2010

Over the Christmas holiday, Jane arrived at a neighborhood party, her petite, pretty self.  I wanted to ask her about her recent separation.  Although I knew it was prying, I wanted to know from her so I said, “Jane I know it isn’t any of my business, but I was concerned when I heard about you and Tom.  Is there anything I can pray for?”  Some part of her private heart broke loose then she looked at me intently and said, “Martha, Tom and I quit working on the marriage after the children came.  We just kept brushing our feelings under the rug, and didn’t deal with them.  We didn’t make our marriage a priority and make time to be together.  Whatever you do, work on your marriage!”

It isn’t often that someone you know only in a casual way shares such a deep part of themselves and her words hit me.  Not that Michael–The Good Captain–and I don’t work on our marriage of 30 years, but that she was verifying something which I know to be true, but so seldom hear.  Thus, dear reader, I pass this on: Take time to work on your marriage!

Looking through the eyes of Catholicism and frugality, what are some ways we can strengthen the sacrament of marriage?  Below are listed a few of which Michael  reminded me, and I will rate them according to restaurant symbols.

Remember: An investment in your marriage is like savings in the bank.  You dated before marriage and constantly reconnecting is a vital glue within your marriage now.  Dates don’t have to be expensive, but they speak to your children and the world that you make your marriage a priority!

$$$= OVER $50

  • Hire a baby-sitter and sail off to Seattle ( or any city for that matter) with your spouse for the afternoon.  Hit a hotel.  What fun.
  • Purchase season’s tickets to the symphony, ballet, opera, or a play series. These tickets will ensure that you get out periodically.  Michael and I have season tickets to the symphony at Benaroya Hall.  We go to six symphonies a year.  In the beginning, we bought these in the “nose bleed section” which is as high up as you can go at the cost of $15 a ticket.  On the first symphony, however, I had the feeling that I was going to faint and fall over the side (not a pretty site), so I told the usher.  He immediately got on his walkie-talkie and said, “Lady in the balcony with vertigo.  Need to seat her and her husband downstairs.”  He said to call the symphony and ask for the up-front same-price tickets which we did and have been sitting there with our $15 tickets for ten years.
  • Go visit a timeshare presentation, say at Whistler BC, and sit through the 90-minute event for the privilege of having two nights free.  Many couples do this but just don’t bring their checkbook.  We did, however, purchase when we went so this was not a cheap date, but it has proved to be a great family vacation investment which Michael calls “vacation insurance.”

$$=UNDER $50

  • Look on line and find coupons for dining out.  Heck, go to an expensive restaurant and order the cheapest thing on the menu.  Our favorite is cheeseburgers at an expensive seafood restaurant in Seattle.  Cost $10.  Or you can order one expensive entree and split it.  If you are looking for a reasonably-priced babysitter, check the Girl Scouts.  Often, the young girls take classes through The Red Cross, and they are looking for sitting experience.
  • For a dinner out without going out, try “dining in.”  Get two prepared meals from a caterer, Stouffer’s Lasagna, or a carton of grocery store soup (something you didn’t prepare); and when the children are down, enjoy a candle-lit meal with a $3 bottle of wine or sparkling cider.  The Breedens, parents of eight in Maryland, have taken this idea one step further.  Sharon purchased a little cafe table set for their bedroom, and they often retreat there for a “private dinner” while the older ones watch the younger ones.
  • Net flicks, of course, equals a movie at home.  So why not add to the event with some home-made popcorn.
  • And finally, consider family camping or even back-packing.  Dates work there also.  Some of my most precious memories are of sitting with Michael around the campfire when the children were asleep in the tent.

$=FREE or nearly so (these simple acts can truly add to your marriage)

  • Grad hands every time prayers are said at Mass.
  • Hold each other and pray together for the day before in front of your family crucifix before your spouse heads off for work.
  • Go for a long walk on the weekend.  We walk four miles on Sunday afternoons then have a cup of coffee and continue our walk.  This gives us a time to connect about family, finances, future, and get in exercise.  For the years we have done this, we have walked across the state of Washington in mileage at least twice–800 miles.
  • Read the Bible together at your dinner table which has been set with candlelight and place mats.  Dinner can be such a wonderful time to retreat and reconnect as a family.
  • Set up a place in the house for romance where you can light a candle, enjoy some wine or tea, and simply talk after the children are down.  Ours is in the living room and/or on the old wicker couch on the front porch.  Of course, now that the last remaining child is 13, she sometimes joins us on the porch as we all snuggle under the fleece blankets and chat.
  • Rent the first movie you ever saw together.
  • Re-read as a couple love notes or greeting cards you’ve given each other over the years.
  • Look through photos or videos of treasured times.
  • Write and share a list of 10 reasons why you love each other.
  • With a cup of tea in hand, recall the names of movies you’ve seen together, restaurants you’ve dined at, or vacation spots you’ve shared.

The greatest gift Michael and I can give to our five children besides our Catholic faith is our marriage.  Continue to “date each other.”  It is money well spent.

The Frugal Catholic: “New Year’s Resolutions” by Martha Wild King–January 10, 2010

Our lives are like magnets: whatever we put out there will be attracted to us.  And for what should we ask?  Well, first wisdom.  James 1:5-8 NAB

But if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly, and he will be given it.  But he should ask in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind.  For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways.

going-----

What we in our family have found is that when we write down our five or ten goals and keep them posted, we often see them occur.  My eldest son, David, now 27, was living in Bremerton WA and wanted to make some changes.  So he took a paper bag, wrote down on it what changes or goals he wanted to see, and posted it on his wall.  Low and behold, by the end of that year all had occurred.  Inspired by her brother’s example, my daughter, Hannah, age 23, did the same.  Last year, 2009, she compiled ten goals, posted them on her refrigerator, and eight out of ten came true.  I have my goals, eleven of them, on my bulletin board.  They are life goals and I keep my yearly ones with my daily prayer cards.  Again, it amazes me how they are coming to pass.

going------------------

Sometimes I wonder about our Lord and how He approached His ministry.  He remained essentially unseen for thirty years and then He changed the world.  What did our Blessed Mother think in her heart during this time?  Did she ever wonder when He would take on His mission which was promised to her?  I ponder these things.  I reflect on how He approached His life and goals.  The days are short; the fields are ripe, and the workers are few.  Let us accomplish all we can for Him with wisdom.

GONE-------- (a goal!!)

 

 

The Frugal Catholic: “A Simple Christmas” by Martha Wild King–December 20, 2009

 

Years ago, our family made the decision to get off of the Christmas roller-coaster.  We became blessed by understanding what was important about Christmas.  According to MSN Money Central, about 12 million Americans are still paying off last holiday’s bills, for too often we allow our gift-giving to become a larger statement than the gift of self and season.

Christmas is a time for friends to practice simplicity.

What we, as a family, decided years ago was to get out of the Christmas race, and this is how we did it:

  • We quit sending Christmas cards.
  • We quit giving to our extended family members and friends.  Instead we just gave small gifts to the children’s Godparents and a gift of fruit to our Mother and Father.
  • We give one small item to each of our five children and then a gift card.  Michael also is the one who shops for the children since he handles the budget, and he purchases the gift cards which they love.
  • We also fill the stockings with chocolates and a small gift such as a pocket knife, cards, a piece of jewelry or a chap stick.
  • We read The Gift of the Magi every Christmas dinner, and last year the oldest child took to telling his own version which had us all in stitches.
  • On Christmas morning, we say a prayer at the top of the stairs, light a candle, then go down in order from the oldest to the youngest child. We switch the order each year.  Of course, we take a picture as the children are descending, and when we open gifts, we do it one person at a time–not all at once.
  • For gifts to neighbors, I get coffee cups from thrift stores and fill them full of teas or a small candle,  and wrapping paper is usually newsprint or recycled gift bags.

Let me share with you what Hannah, age 23, stated, “What I like about a simple Christmas is having a small exchange of presents because it takes the pressure off an extravagant Christmas, particularly in tough economic times.  I also like filling stockings with you, Mom or Dad, because it involves older family members.  I like cooking with you (Mom) and making breakfast.  And by continuing to conduct small family traditions, it reminds my brain of childhood memories which produces endorphins and calms me during Christmas day.”  And to add a younger thought, child number five, Deahna, age 13, stated that she enjoys the way we go down the stairs with a candle, how Mr. Butte, our neighbor, comes into the house and steals the Baby Jesus and brings Him back on Christmas day so He can be in the manger, and how we can all spend family time when people are usually at home.

So there you have it.  Before you give, GET information from those your love on what truly is meaningful FOR THEM.  And don’t forget to get going on St. Cecilia’s Christmas activities such as The Giving Tree, the annual Matt Talbot Christmas Dinner, or the Super Supper on the last Wednesday of the month in Conger Hall for the needy on Bainbridge as other parish activities listed.

Remember, “Ask and it will be given to you: seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7 NAB) Let’s get information so our giving will be with wisdom.

2011 Stair Picture

 

The Frugal Catholic: “SOS Means Set Our Spending” by Martha Wild King–November 29, 2009

I asked my husband of nearly thirty years tonight while we were on our weekly four-mile walk (our cheap weekly date) what he though of our budget, stating that I needed to write an article on it.  Michael is the chief recorder of the budget in our “budget book.”  The Good Captain, USN Retired said, “Having a budget is critical to living within your means and avoiding debt.  Without a budget you are driving your car down a freeway at night without any headlights where a crash is imminent.”

All right: so there you have it.  We need the darn thing–the budget.  But how does one do it?

The SOS philosophy says: SOS: Set Our Spending (create a family budget).  I was impressed today, Sunday 8 November 2009,  by Father Emmett Carroll’s homily in which he stated that in the time of Jesus, in the temple, there were 13 different boxes placed around for the temple offerings.  Perhaps you dropped your coins into the “wine box,” or maybe you stuffed your  monies into the “flour box,” or the “oil box.” So with that in mind, lets look at category budgeting.  Picture, if you will, thirteen different envelopes.  This is the way families used to do it way back when and how we do our income now.  The first is tithe; the second, mortgage;  the third, food;  the fourth, auto; the fifth, medical;  the sixth, household; the seventh, savings/investment; the eighth, entertainment/education; the ninth, clothes; the tenth, insurance; the eleventh, debt; the twelfth, vacations, and the thirteenth, other.  Take  you income and distribute your money into each of these envelopes.  If you prefer to keep your income in your checkbook, then take your income and divide that earning onto thirteen sheets of paper like the above envelopes.  Now every time you spend something, either pull that money from the envelope, or after you have deducted the expense  from the checkbook then deduct it from the category which you penned.  When you add up all of those  remaining figures, then it will equal your checkbook final calculation. That is how category budgeting is accomplished.

For example, you go to the gas station and spend $50 for gas.  With the envelope system, you would take the funds with you, but with the pages system, you’d deduct it from your checkbook then from the penned category.  When the monies are gone, you don’t spend anymore. Period.  If you need a healthy shopping spree for stress, rob a category and take $3 in change and go to Goodwill.  Works wonders.

By living this way for thirty years, we have been able to understand clearly how much money is coming in and be aware of what the expenses are and how to plan for them.  With five children, that has been hugely important.  Category budgeting has given us the freedom to minimize the stress of not being prepared for everyday expenditures.  We haven’t been 100% successful all of the time, and it hasn’t always been smooth sailing,  but the Good Captain has guided us well.  And with a budget, you can plan for your operating costs, plan for your charitable contributions including money to The Church, and avoid living beyond your means.

Isn’t that what being a “Frugal Catholic” is all about??

The Good Captain’s Fifth Expense

Equals Living Under Your Means with Wise Fianancial Planning and Discovering the Joys of Good Stewardship