UPDATED: Congratulations to the following winners of a copy of Saving Savvy! Winners are listed by comment number:
42) Christy
101) Kristen

Winners will be contacted by email on how to claim their prize. Thanks to all who entered!

Are your Christmas credit card bills coming in? Are you experiencing buyer’s remorse?

Hi, I’m Kelly Hancock, and I’m so excited to be talking with Bloom readers today about my book, Saving Savvy: Smart and Easy Ways to Cut Your Spending in Half and Raise Your Standard of Living…and Giving!

To be quite honest, I wasn’t always so savvy about saving. In my previous life, before children, I was a top sales rep for a Fortune 500 company. I didn’t have to watch my money, or so I thought. My husband and I lived without a budget, and when we wanted something we bought it—including a home that required both of our paychecks to make the monthly mortgage. I innocently assumed that I would always work. Little did I realize that once my daughter was born, all I would want to do would be to stay home with her.

When that happened, I found myself in a new place—it was no longer a place of freedom, it was a place of bondage. Financially, I felt trapped. I was trapped by our lifestyle, trapped by the mortgage that demanded my income.

But as my husband and I began praying about moving to a single income, we both felt the same gentle tug on our hearts, urging us to take a leap of faith. This was not an easy decision or one that came lightly. It was the hardest one of our lives. But it was the best decision we ever made.

Once we made the decision that I would come home, I was excited, but I really dreaded the financial impact on our lives. Financial difficulties are the number one cause of problems in marriage, and Bradford and I both come from broken homes. I was bringing home half of our income, and without it, we were barely going to get by each month.

But there’s a really nifty little thing—that a lot of people overlook—that’s called a budget. Once my husband and I sat down to try to see what our lives would look like on one income, we realized that we were throwing a lot of money away. A light bulb went on, like a surge of hope, and I began to believe we could really do this. A friend began to mentor me in couponing and shopping sales—and I was on my way to saving money. I tell the whole story of my revolution in thinking—as well as what happened after we made that leap of faith, and a short time later, my husband lost his job—in my book, Saving Savvy.

Saving-Savvy-Book

Today however, I’m wondering: What’s holding you back from saving money? Do you even know how much you spend? Do this for me today: Take a look at bank statements and your checkbook register. How much are you spending at the grocery store and on eating out? Once you get a number on it, meet me back here every day this week. I’ll be talking about things like meal planning, stockpiling, and even clipping coupons. I’m going to give you some tips that will take your number and begin cutting it down. Way down.

Prayer for today: Lord, you are Jehovah Jireh, the Lord my Provider. Forgive me when I am wasteful with the provisions you give me. As I look at my spending today, reveal to me your plan for being a good steward of the money You give us. I believe that when I ask You for wisdom, You will show me how (James 1:5). In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Check out Kelly’s money-saving blog, Faithful Provisions, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter for great tips and tools that will save you even more money.

ENTER TO WIN TODAY’S GIVEAWAY: Finish this sentence in a comment below, and you’ll be entered to win one of two copies of Kelly’s book, Saving Savvy: “If I had an extra $250 a month, I would ________.”

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  1. 1

    Be able to buy groceries and pay bills.

    • 2
      Dessie Coyle says:

      If I had an extra $250 a month, I would l start paying my past due bills..emergency fund.. Snowball.. Ect..

  2. 3

    I would pay down a debt.

  3. 4

    If,I had the extra $250.00.I would give half to my sister, and used the other half towards bills. Giving without not having,and doing for others right now is my main thing. “GOD IS GOOD”

  4. 5

    When You are living on one paycheck with a mortgage payment, bills, food among others to take care of, I don’t know how I can save. I was just talking about this in my post “A Weary Heart”

    But if I have an extra $250 a month, I would put away in a savings for the rainy days, you don’t know what could happen the next day.

  5. 6

    Tithe first then use this money for paying our mortgage. We are praying now for a loan modification as we are so behind in our mortgage due to losing our business.

  6. 7
    Debbie says:

    If I had an extra 250$ I would use it to pay of my student loans.

  7. 9
    Diane N says:

    Tithe,groceries, join a gym and sponsor another Compassion child

  8. 10

    This is SO timely for me. Thanks for sharing! If I had an extra $250/month, I would give a portion and use the rest to begin rebuilding our savings, which have been eaten away after a period of unemployment.

  9. 11

    ………save it.

  10. 12

    I’d save the money to go visit my Compassion children!

  11. 13

    If I had $250 I would probably use it to pay for a missions trip I want to go on but can’t quite afford…if that didn’t pan out I would use some of it to pay for all the expenses required for college and the rest to try to bless people.

  12. 14

    I would tithe, pay up on my utilities and get some groceries.

  13. 15

    So many places $250 could go. We’d like to sponsor Compassion children again. Also, paying off the mortgage quicker, or even putting it into savings. We haven’t any at this point, as we’re digging out of a tough period with our business.

  14. 16
    Jennifer says:

    I would save for college (3 daughters)
    and adopt a compassion child :)

  15. 17
    Beth W says:

    I would pay down a credit card bill that’s been hanging over my head.

  16. 18

    gym membership, put it toward my mortgage, sponsor another compassion child…. those are some of my possibilities… working towards financial freedom.

  17. 19
    Heather says:

    Extra money = Save it!

  18. 20

    My husband and I have been talking about setting a budget… I needed to reminded that the Lord cares about every detail of my life.

  19. 21

    i would save some, pay off my credit card, then start using it to put towards my student loans.

    i am very much looking forward to this week! one of my goals this year is to eliminate my credit card debt and be able to save money.

  20. 22

    I would be able to pay down our debt, and stop those embarassing phone calls.

  21. 23

    SAVE, save and save some more!

  22. 24
    Kathy Heyerly says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month I would give some and save the rest in our Roth IRA that we never seem to have enough for.

  23. 25

    …pay on student loans.

  24. 26
    Andrea says:

    If I had an extra $250, I would add it to our emergency fund!

  25. 27
    Ashley says:

    Start a 529 for my son.

  26. 28
    Sheila says:

    Put it in my daughters college fund ,as she will be graduating this year! All of you reading this, sava,save,save for your children’s college! You will be blown away by how expensive it is these days even for a state school. This is the biggest mistake we made ,not putting enough away! You will not want to saddle them with that kind of huge student loan! Save so you can pay cash!

  27. 29

    pay for much needed repairs to our daughter’s car!

  28. 30
    Manoula says:

    Would love to read the book – thinking of staying home but scared of lowering our income.

  29. 31
    Cissyc says:

    if i had an extra $250.00 i would Tithe, pay on some bills ,buy groceries.

  30. 32
    Bonnie says:

    Pay down debt

  31. 33

    If I had an extra 250 I would save it so that I could build on that little extra and not be to strapped in the little income I currently have….

  32. 34

    I would use it to pay off debt so I can use my new job to start contributing to my savings account!

  33. 35

    I would put it in a savings account. We are currently going thru bankruptcy and our oldest daughter is in college and our youngest daughter is entering high school!

  34. 36

    keep putting it towards our current debt (home equity loan, student loans) to continue working our way out!

  35. 37

    I would save part of it, give part of it away and invest the rest in silver.

  36. 38
    Maribeth says:

    I would tithe first. Hopefully pay off some debt. It sure is hard sometimes I always have good intentions but we always have surprise expenses. My goal for 2012 is to pay off debt on credit cards. I am excited to follow you this week! Just the hope I am looking for in 2012!

  37. 39

    Put towards our credit card debt, so we can start to become debt free!

  38. 40

    After tithing I would save and sponsor another compassion child.

  39. 41
    Jessica Budd says:

    Apply it toward my outstanding debt.

  40. 42
    Christy says:

    I would let my son take theater classes with part of it, sponsor a child, and put the rest toward our debt. :-)

  41. 43

    Save it for a dream vacation – after paying bills, there’s nothing left for this.

  42. 44

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would use half to pay off debt and the other half I would save to replace my current vehicle – the one I’m determined to drive until the doors and wheels fall off!

  43. 45
    DIANA MACK says:

    i would put it into a savings account and hopefully never look at it again!

  44. 46

    If I had an extra $250 a month I could pay off my last bills and be debt free!

  45. 47
    Diane Fowler says:

    With $250, I could pay down my debt – 3 hospital bills, I could pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy so I could stay healthy, I would buy groceries so my family could eat regularly, I would get 3 missing crowns replaced, I would tithe more at church.

    I am on disability, so I get “paid” this Wednesday – it will cover my mortgage, My husband is searching for employment without any luck.

    Pray for our survivals until the plan God has for us comes to fruition.

  46. 48

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would have date nights with my husband again.

  47. 49

    pay for my dd’s medical expenses. Now I can: I just got a very pt job that still allows me to be home!

  48. 50
    Sabrina says:

    With $250 extra a month, we would increase my husband’s TSP contribution. He is only 5 years away from serving 20 years in the Navy, and we would like to put away as much as we can before his first retirement.

  49. 51

    I would apply the extra $250 toward a credit card balance. Our goal this year is to pay down the credit card balance.

  50. 52

    With $250 a month, I would give some away, save some, use the rest to pay debt. Nothing exciting, nothing glamorous, but it would be such a blessing!

  51. 53

    I would give to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law as they are struggling right now.

  52. 54

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would make an extra payment on one of our credit cards. : )

  53. 55

    Tithe first, then give to a few more missionaries that we know in different fields…

  54. 56
    JHollyhock (aka Jennifer) says:

    use it for my children’s education – karate, piano, etc.

  55. 57

    sponsor more children through Compassion International

  56. 58
    Lea Ann H. says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would use part of it for a sitter so my husband and I could go out together once a month. The balance would be divided between a new car fund and my daughter’s education fund.

  57. 59

    put it towards paying off my line of credit.

  58. 60
    Marilyn says:

    Save for my two daughters’ post-high school education / dreams.

  59. 61

    Right now we are working to get out of debt, so today I would finish it by saying,

    “…I would pay off debt.”

    Once that is done, it will be,

    “…I will build up my emergency fund.”

    And then…

    “…I would apply towards children’s college fund.”

  60. 62

    First, I would increase my tithe then I would use the money to knock out credit card debt. My desire is to be able to use my resources to further Gods kingdom but right now I am a slave to my own debt.

  61. 63

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would probably increase our giving and put the rest into savings.

  62. 64
    Cindy Key says:

    Without hesitation or doubt, if I had an extra $250 per month I would start saving!

  63. 65
    Teresa says:

    I would look for ways to give it away and bless people – I never feel like I can be generous because we always live pay check to pay check.

  64. 66
    Heather says:

    I would start saving for my 14-yr-old son’s first car.

  65. 67

    I would sponsor another child from Compassion, pay my awesome babysitter a little bit more and add a date night or 2.

  66. 68
    Amanda says:

    I would pay off my credit card debt.

  67. 69

    If I had an extra $250 a amonth. I would put it into the debt we recently accumulated during the recession. Although with two incomes in our early marriage. We used one on debts and lived on one. By the time we had children, we were debt free and I could stay home with our kids. Now with the recession, we are blessed to be in a select group that have kept that one job. However it has dropped the income more than 30% and we’ve accumulated debt for the first time. I would pay that debt; and continue learning and practicing my couponing to stock pile for donations to our favorite places – church nursing home adoption home etc.

  68. 70
    Nancy Black says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would use it to pay down credit card. I am recently divorce and my income is substantially less than what I was accustomed to living on for the past 15-20 years. Unless you have never been divorced you can never comprehend the anxiety of having only yourself to depend on. You and God have to make it happen.”

  69. 71
    Jennifer says:

    If we had an exra $250 a month. First, I would feel less overwhelmed about our finances. I would probably put it towards groceries and gas money. We are a homeschooling family and anything to help towards me being able to stay home is a blessing.

  70. 72
    Renae hildebrand says:

    If I had an extra $250 I would put half of it towards my credit card and the other half I would give to my brother as a payment for the saxophone he sold us so that my daughter can play an instrument.

  71. 73

    I would sponsor 6 more children through Compassion.

    • 74

      That is awesome! I LOVE Compassion & being able to sponsor more kids would always be a blessing!!

  72. 75
    Laura Miller says:

    I would pay down debt.

  73. 76

    If I had an extra $250, I’d pay off my credit card so I could get a new-to-me, reliable, car.

  74. 77
    Katy Atwell says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month I would continue to pay down our debt. It is my personal goal to get our vehicle loans paid of this year so that next year we can increase the amount we are paying on our home to get it paid off early.

  75. 78

    Be able to give more to my Church and do more family activities with my children.

  76. 79
    Michelle Chesley says:

    sponsor 2 children from Uganda, put some in savings and pay more on mortgage debt

  77. 80
    Roechelle says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would use it to pay down debt.

  78. 81

    put it all toward my credit card debt!

  79. 82
    Laura Dodd says:

    Try to put it in savings.

  80. 83

    put it towards the principle on our mortgage.

  81. 84
    Lindsey says:

    …pay off my husband’s student loans and start saving for our future child’s education.

  82. 85
    Alison Duchac says:

    put it towards my daughter’s college tuition.

  83. 86
    Sandia says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would put it all in our adoption savings account. Every little bit extra we get goes straight into that account. I’ve just started reading yoru blog and it’s really helping us sort out our finances. Thank you so much!

  84. 87

    I would donate some and put it into savings so that we could purchase a house, while using our current money to tackle medical bills!

  85. 88

    I would be able to breathe a little easier at the end of each pay period and be able to give more to our church contribution.

  86. 89

    Put it in our family savings account to jumpstart our plans for summer vacation.

  87. 90
    Vicki Hornsby says:

    I would be able to give more to my church and to pay back my parents and my brother that bailed me out of a similar financial downfall in 2006 due to illness.

  88. 91

    I would be able to make a small payment towards my outstanding student loans, and to send my family to the doctor and dentist.

  89. 92
    Jennifer J. says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would save it.” I want to get out of debt not deeper into it!

  90. 93
    Shannon says:

    Snowball effect our current debt and tithe more consistently to our church.

  91. 94

    I would use the $250 to catch up my car payment.

  92. 95
    Jessica D. says:

    I would use the $2250 to pay off my credit cards and student loans.

  93. 96
    Cheramy says:

    Sponsor a Compassion child.

  94. 97
    colleen says:

    i would save it to put in a garden this spring…

  95. 98
    Rachel J says:

    put it towards textbooks. ($670- yikes!!)

  96. 99
    Helene Tollett says:

    I would purchase items for Operation Christmas Child(Shoe Boxes)

  97. 100
    elaine says:

    I would give some away and save some.

  98. 101

    I’d add it to our emergency fund to get us from the initial $1000 to our 3-6 months savings quicker. This looks like a fabulous book, Kelly!

  99. 102
    Teressa McGary says:

    After tithing, I would increase all our monthly contributions (about 9, various missionaries, Campus Outreach, Show Hope and Life House) by at least $10.00 per month and then put the rest in our Emergency fund.

  100. 103

    I would sponsor another few Bible verse translations via OneVerse and put the rest in the emergency fund.

  101. 104

    Pay down some debt.

  102. 105

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I’d would use it to pay down debt for sure!

  103. 106

    If I had an extra $250 month, I would give my 10% to church, get some medical tests I have been putting off, and save.

  104. 107
    Sherri says:

    I would use it to pay down debt occurred during my husbands ten month layoff last year.

  105. 108

    - I would use it to sponsor another Compassion child and pay down our debt.

  106. 109

    Sponsor a child, pay extra on a debt, and put a little in savings.

  107. 110
    Jenny B says:

    I would use it to build back up our savings and put more towards our kids college funds.

  108. 111
    Kirsten says:

    I would sponsor a child, put some in savings for my kids’ future and pay the rest toward my mortgage,

  109. 112

    If I had an extra 250 a month I would tithe $25.00 and then save the rest for my 5 year old son and me! Thank you!

  110. 113
    Debbie H says:

    I would save it for use towards my kid’s college expenses.

  111. 114

    We would pay down our debt and start a retirement fund.

  112. 115

    Put more in savings, beef up pymts to pay debt off earlier!!!

  113. 116
    Melissa says:

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would put my son in private school.

  114. 117

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would put it towards a credit card bill. We are trying to get out of debt!

  115. 118

    If I had an extra $250.00 I would put it toward my debt snowball.

  116. 119

    with an extra $250 a month I could help my mom with the utilities in her home. My kids and I have had to store our things and stay with her for a little while now but due to very little money coming in I havnt been able to help her with any bills. So with extra a month thats what I would do.

  117. 120

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would use it to pay off the stack of bills that keep piling up. With the new job my husband has we don’t make quite enough to pay the general household bills, let alone the extra bills like medical and credit cards. So with the extra $250 a month, I would pay all that off and then put it in savings after that for emergencies or rainy days.

  118. 121
    Natalie says:

    tithe, rebuild emergency fund, foster more children. Since taking my “leap of faith” at the urging of the Holy Spirit, I have left my career of nursing, work part time at CFA and am a bonifide volunteeraholic! I’m addicted to volunteering, but without the income, I can’t do as much as I would like. Since I have found Kelly, the “gap” is getting smaller. Her tips are PRICELESS!

  119. 122

    If I had an extra $250 a month, I would be able to put money in savings which is little to none at this moment.

  120. 123
    Beth Williams says:

    That one is easy for me. I would use the 250 to help pay down the jeep–then soon we would be debt free–YAY!!!

    I have always lived on a budget, come from a frugal family that never had/made much money. Once the jeep was paid off we could do some serious home renovations & save for a retirement.

    Another good book/saying on the subject is “Watch your Latte Factor”. They are asking people to document each & every single dime they spend period! People would be amazed at where the little amounts go & that can add up hughely!

    Thanks for a great & timely post!

  121. 124
    Kathryn says:

    If I had any extra money at all It would be put in a special savings account with a decent amount of Interest to go towards a new home and also for my husband & I to be able to adopt children.

  122. 125

    I would use the extra $250 to pay our bills on time. My husband lost his job at the beginning of 2011 and was out of work for 8 months. He did get another job plus a part-time job but he still doesn’t make what he used to make.

  123. 126

    I would save it.

  124. 127

    I would put the money in my boys’ college savings accounts.

  125. 128
    Michelle says:

    I would Dave Ramsey like never before. . .let’s pay it down. . .snowball, and more snowballing!

  126. 129

    It has been a rough year for my husband and I, and an extra $250 a month would definitely help us tackle our mountain of debt.

  127. 130
    Linda DIxon says:

    I would give it to World Vision to buy part of a water well. Water is SO taken for grantd in the US, but it is an extreme hardship in other parts of the world. I truly have no need for more money, though we are retired, we have lived below our means for 45 years and have a contented and full life.

  128. 131

    use it to catch up on bills after I give $25 to the church.

  129. 132

    … have another “financial summit” with my husband to see where it should go, hopefully some of it would go here:
    http://www.lovewithoutboundaries.com/programs/medical/sponsor-a-child/
    and seeing as we are trying to give more this year, it would help our resolutions!

  130. 133
    Vicki Gupton says:

    Save it!

  131. 134

    I would take it 10% for tithing and put rest towards my retirment investments…..seeing as we are a one income family my husband is only one with decent retirement and u never know what economy will be like by time.

  132. 135
    Mea hill says:

    If I had an EXTRA 250/ mo, I would put my son in piano lessons, put some aside for date night with my hubby and a sitter for that- and the rest to savings!

  133. 136

    After paying my tithe, I would invest it.

  134. 137

    i would be able to feel im contributing more to the house as a wife and mother! :)

  135. 138
    Margaret R. says:

    I would pay down our credit card debt.

  136. 139

    I would put it away and save it for an “emergency” like: car repairs, etc…

  137. 140

    Get a good life insurance policy for my husband and I and extra for groceries/household expenses outside of bills.

  138. 141

    If I had an extra $250 a month I would save a portion for a down payment for a house and give the rest in offering.

  139. 142

    Extra $250/month? Put it in a special savings to build up enough to replace my husband’s car that is long overdue to be replaced.

  140. 143

    I would pay off debt and help a family that is really struggling to buy a car.