Today I will be sharing a few budgeting tips that the Lord taught me as I was preparing to attend a youth conference a year and a half ago. Planning to attend this conference was a total faith venture; I did not have the money to go, but I was confident that if God wanted me to go He would provide… and He did.
I was able to fund raise much of the money, and a loving relative volunteered to give me a good sum that helped me to be able to go. I almost was not able to go, but at the last minute, when I had almost decided that I would not be able to go due to a lack of funds, the Lord brought everything together for me. The conference was exactly what I needed and it forever changed my life.
The Lord taught me some amazing budgeting tips through this experience that I want to share with you today.
1. It is important to think about all of your expenses and consider all of them.
Doing this was essential for me as I was on an extremely tight budget. I did not have money to cover surprise expenses. I worked extremely hard to remember and account for all of my expenses. I included tithe in my calculations so that I would know that I would have enough money left over to pay for all of my expenses. Praise the Lord, things worked out. There were a couple of expenses I was not anticipating, but I believe that what happened was that a loving relative gifted me with enough money, right before I left on the trip, to cover these expenses.
2. It is a good idea to plan your menu for the amount of time that you will be gone, decide on a grocery store in the area where are you are going to shop, and make sure that the grocery store has all of the items that you will need.
I created a menu of sorts for myself (and I added up how much all of my food would cost), and I decided to use the same grocery store that my family uses at home (Kroger). I used Google maps to locate the closest Kroger to the hotel where I would be staying, and then I called the store several times so that I could find out if they had the items that I was desiring.
Note: Due to COVID-19, you may not currently be able to call grocery stores and request product information. I know that, last I checked a few weeks to a month ago, a Kroger near me is not able to give product information due to how busy they are during this time.
3. If you are going to stay in a hotel or motel, it is a good idea to find out what the sales tax is in the area(s) you will be staying. Add the sales tax onto the figure you already have for your hotel or motel stay.
I researched the sales tax in the city that I was going to. The government employee whom I spoke to wasn’t entirely sure that the figure she was giving me was correct, but I decided to work with it. I think I may have budgeted for a little cushion in case the hotel stay figure turned out to be a bit higher than I had anticipated it to be. Thankfully, when I went to pay for my stay, I paid EXACTLY what I had projected that I would pay based on adding the sales tax to the figure that I already knew I would be paying.
4. If you are going to have extra amenities in your hotel room (I had to request a refrigerator), call ahead and find out if there are extra charges for these things.
I don’t remember if there was a charge for the refrigerator, but there may have been, and if so, I am so grateful that I called ahead so that I would not be surprised about this.
5. Take advantage of any discounts that you qualify for.
I was able to get a discount on my shuttle ride from the airport because I found out through the website of the conference I was planning to attend, that there was a code I could use to get a discount. I found out about the shuttle in the first place by looking at a section of their website that gave information on options for getting from the airport to the conference location (I stayed in a room with some female friends in a hotel that was connected to the convention center where the conference was held).
There is a lot more that I could share about my planning for this trip, but I think I will stop here. Hopefully some or all of these tips will be helpful to someone.
I believe in budgeting and in frugal living in general. Money is a gift from God and it should be used wisely because it is really just lent to us to help us to live and to bless others.