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We go grocery shopping every two weeks. Well, the other day, the 12 year old wanted to go with me. She is really into baking and has access to my “out of Milk” app so she can add things to the list.

We stopped by the ATM first to withdraw our grocery dollars and then we sat in the parking lot while she helped me update the total on the envelope. I cannot say enough about how much this one simple thing is transforming our spending on food. We were always over budget on food till I switched the envelopes a few weeks ago.

We went to four different stores that day so we could get items at the best price. After each store, we sat in the parking lot and re-tallied before going to the next store. She checked off items on the app and updated the prices as needed.

About two and a half hours in, we were really hungry, although my daughter didn’t breathe a word about being hungry until I asked if she was. When I handed her a 5 dollar bill from my wallet and not the food envelope, her eyes got wide and she said, “But mom, that’s your own money.” I told her that daddy and I get an “allowance” to use however we want and that I wanted to buy her a cookie. I told her this was a benefit to budgeting and knowing where your money is going.

She selected a chocolate chip cookie for each of us and we enjoyed them while we tallied the total from that store. At the last location, we were down to the end of the envelope and I had to make some tough decisions about how best to use the last of it. When it was all said and done, we had a dollar bill left over. A week later and that dollar is still in the envelope.

This was the first time one of our kids has gone grocery shopping since we started paying attention to how we spend on food. After going, I’ve noticed that she is far more choosy about how she uses the baking ingredients we picked up. Then, a week later, a friend (who has no idea we’re doing this financial thing) gifted me a bag of vegan chocolate chips out of the blue. My daughter was shocked and delighted that the Lord would provide something like that for her. I know it was because she’s being a good steward of her supplies. So cool!