Three-For-Thursday: Bang for the Small Bucks

The idea of creating a personal cost saving list came to me a long time ago, but I never got around to creating the post. Now that the Top 5 Tuesday has been reformatted, changed days and lost a couple points to become Three-For-Thursday I believe NOW is the time to go for it on the most bang for the buck idea.   No special reasoning for NOW, just because…

So, today we’ll look at the best ways that I have tried to save some cash in small ways.  These can obviously be adapted for your setting.

Side note to those in ministry: Over the years I have also seen many ministry cost-saving moves that have lacked integrity.  Be sure you are checking copyright laws before borrowing, ripping and using materials owned by others (music, books, video curriculum).  Even intellectual properties or things you heard should be credited to the original author (too often I hear an opening illustration that I KNOW didn’t happen to the person speaking because I heard the same detailed illustration earlier that week in a podcast).

So, here you go, three small cost-saving (and I believe integrity intact) tips for you.

  1. The Coffee Shop (and the free refill)! Many are amazed that I am able to “office” out of my local coffee shops.  Well, part of the reason I do this has to do my desire to build relationship within the community I live/work.  However, part of it also has to do with the “low rent” aspect.  I have a small office at my house, but with three little ones and an endless list of stuff that I can/should be doing for the house, yard, etc. it is often hard to concentrate on work while at home.  So, I head offsite to my caffeine-laden office.  An office-space that costs me less than $100/month.  Think about it this way, my most common drink is a 20 oz (hot or cold) sugar-free hazelnut drip coffee with a half inch of non-fat milk.  My second most common drink is a large iced-tea (unsweetened, no added water, of course).  Both of these drinks cost me less than $3.  The beauty of these drinks, they both typically come with free refills as well (even at the Mothership, as long as you have a registered Starbucks card).  So here’s the strategy for me laid out in an example: I will go to a nearby Starbucks in the morning and order my iced drink, perhaps get a couple hours of work in and as I leave for lunch I will refill (but not drink it).  I arrive at home for lunch, place said drink in the fridge, then eat lunch, workout, shower and then head out for a new Starbucks with the refilled drink in hand (therefore, no need to order another drink).
  2. Sharing Fast Food (especially fries)! I discovered years ago when preparing for a Youth Staff dinner that I was providing that the $.99 menu can be a Youth Pastor’s best friend.  However, I made the mistake of ordering about double the amount that I needed.  Knowing that I eat a couple small burgers, large fries and a large drink, I knew that not everyone would eat like me, so I ordered about 1.5 sandwiches per person, an order of small fries for everyone and then went to a grocery store to get two liter bottles of Coke.  When I arrived at the church I emptied all the fries into a large bowl and the sandwiches onto a tray.  It was hilarious to see how much was left over.  Literally half the fries were left, because when people put fries on a plate on their own they only grab a handful to fill the space left.  Everyone pretty much grabbed just the one sandwich as well.  So… some of the time when we go out for fast food now, we don’t even order anything for Will (my 2 year old son), he eats bits of everybody else’s food, and I won’t order fries for myself, knowing that I can finish off the leftovers from the kids.  A $25 outing for fast food for our family has easily changed to $15-$17.
  3. Date-Night Exchange. Okay, so this one is just a theory that we have not yet practiced, but want to.  We want to serve others in our life-situation (small kids, small budget) by providing free babysitting for the parents who need a date.  And selfishly, we’d love the reciprocal as well.  Some folk have the benefit of free babysitting from family, friends, neighbors (in fact we have this to some extent), but those “regulars” need a break too.  We’d love to serve a couple by providing babysitting just so they can get the much needed one to three hour break.  I know that for Elisabeth and me, sometimes that hour and half to grab a coffee, dessert and/or walk goes a long way for the reset sanctity button, but we have a hard time justifying spending $20 on babysitting just to get away for a couple hours together.  Though we do love blessing young adult babysitters from time to time (and this is a great choice), there are times where it would be more beneficial for all to do the free-route and bless our kids with a play date as well!  Anyone game?

There ya go, three more for this Thursday. Time for me to get my refill so I can go home to eat lunch before heading back to work… You have any cost-savings pointers?

Grace,
Brian

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3 thoughts on “Three-For-Thursday: Bang for the Small Bucks

  1. Brian,

    Love your cost savings and resonate with all of these! Practiced the babysitting one several times with close friends. The Foucher’s are all in to trade kids back and forth for a night out – let’s get something on the calendar before school starts.

    we’re flexible, but prefer to do early on Saturday rather than late so we can make sure our kiddo’s are ready for church on Sunday morning.

    My bang for small bucks…go to coffee and let Brian pay! 🙂

    Love it!
    Weston

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