I’ve mentioned previously that we’re on a very tight budget. Unexpectedly needing to replace our furnace earlier this year has had a long term impact on our finances. It will continue to do so until our next tax return. We were unable to pay off our credit cards or pay our car insurance in a lump sum as planned. We paid over half the furnace cost when we bought it but we had to finance the rest, so we have a monthly furnace bill. It’s only $75/month, but when added to credit cards, car insurance, and our other monthly bills…altogether, it puts us in a tight spot.
I’m not saying that to complain or to seek pity, but to give some background information. It is what it is and we’re learning from this experience. We plan to prioritize better with our tax return in the future. Pay off credit cards and the furnace first, build up some savings, pay car insurance…that sort of thing. All things we had planned to do earlier this year with our tax return, but we focused on our fun projects first. It was immediately after we finished our family room that the furnace went out. I don’t regret it in the least because now we enjoy our family room, but in hindsight, we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress. We’ve certainly learned from this experience. Next year, we’ll prioritize better.
But! That’s not to say we haven’t been blessed. Far from it. Miraculously, we’ve somehow had enough. All our monthly bills are paid. We have food. We have the school supplies we need. And it’s not because of our budgeting skills. No, it most definitely is not. We’re pretty OK at budgeting, but there’s only so much you can do with x amount of money. And somehow, it’s being stretched beyond mathematical reasoning to be enough. I know it’s not us. The Lord is watching out for our family and blessing us. We pay our tithing…and it is enough.
He’s also blessing us through other people. Fresh produce from a neighbor’s garden. An offer of homemade applesauce that, when offered, the giver learned how tight things are and gave us a laundry basket filled with canned goods, pasta, and boxed foods – in addition to the box of canned applesauce. A plethora of spaghetti sauce and 3 lbs of ground beef from another neighbor. An unexpected Target gift card from my husband’s work, which enabled us to buy enough groceries to hold us over till payday. And this is just this month. The ground beef was just last night. Until last night, we had all the ingredients to make tacos, except ground beef. Once our kind neighbors gave us the beef, we knew exactly what to make for dinner.
The baby loved it! They were delicious. The tomatoes are fresh from another neighbor’s garden. This meal would not have been possible without the generosity of our neighbors.
That’s not to say we don’t have food. We do. We’re making it work with limited resources. But it’s definitely through the Lord’s hand. Our friends and neighbors didn’t know the details of how tight it’s been. But they felt the prompting to reach out and help. That’s not us. That’s divine assistance.
Our budget is what lead me to consider MTH, the distance charter school we joined this year. We’d homeschooled on our own for 3 years until now. Getting reimbursed for our school expenses made it worth pursuing. It is opening up doors we couldn’t possibly access on our own!
The reimbursement window opened this week. I’d heard that it can take a few weeks to get reimbursed after it opens since so many people submit for reimbursement at the same time. I submitted by 9 am the day it opened. I meant to do it right at midnight, but I forgot and went to bed.
I expected a long wait…but all of our submissions have already been approved! What a blessing! I was not expecting it so soon. I’m still waiting on the money itself, but it shouldn’t take long now that it’s approved.
I hoped to submit for a larger reimbursement, but we didn’t have enough money to buy more in advance. I’m waiting for that reimbursement money to buy the aquarium pass and Lego set we’re pre-approved for. And then I’ll submit those receipts for reimbursement 😁😂
Yes, living on such a tight budget is hard, but we’ve been so so blessed. Our needs are being met. There’s something satisfying about sticking to a small budget. It forces us to prioritize, especially while grocery shopping. Do I want to go through this again? No. Definitely not. But we’re learning so many valuable lessons about money, priorities, faith, trust, service, and charity. Those lessons make all the stress and hardship worth it. But the blessings we see falling from heaven are the best of all.