Mar 28 2009

$32 a Month

$32 a month Today’s half sentence sprang from the minds of Compassion Dave and Judy Tremblay.

Before I sponsored a child, I used to spend $32 a month on . . .

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  1. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 5:56 am

    the interest on some of my loans!!!

    extra snacks for about 2-3 days

    a months worth of trips to the snack machine


    cell phone minutes

    YMCA membership

  2. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 6:15 am

    I had another idea for a blog “For $4,299 I could?”

    1) Dive in the Galapagos

    2) Get a used car

    3) Take a cruise

    4) Buy an expensive Road Bike

    5) Get a nice computer

    6) Get a nice laptop

    7) Sponsor 7 kids for over a year

    8) pay rent in a super cheap apt. for 1 year.

    9) buy lots of coffee

    10) Buy all my own dive equipment

    11) Buy a little used boat

    12) pay for a triathlon coach for a few years

    13) Buy a hottub

    All these things would be fairly fun and or nice to have, but I used the $4,299 to go on the 2009 Compassion Philippines Sponsor Tour and after having been to Nicaragua I can only imagine what the Lord has in store!!!!!!!

  3. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 6:25 am

    Sorry I didn’t put this in the first post

    but in Nicaragua this along with getting to meet Osmari my sponsor child was unforgettable!!! I am so thankful I got a picture and someone video taped this song and performance!!! The song really spoke to me. I felt like I was taken further into the Nicaraguan jungle by the song. Just like when I see an amazingly clear blue, purple, green, and turquoise ocean and mysteriously wonder about God that is how I felt when I heard this song. I am still trying to figure out what he is saying!!! I think he is saying Mike follow your dreams, God is with you!!! 365 times do not fear my son!!!

  4. Shelly Quigg
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 6:58 am

    Weight Watchers!

    The injustice in the world struck me when I realized that I was spening money to lose weight (I had too much food) when millions are suffering because they don’t have enough food. I cancelled the WW and started sponsoring my second child. I still need to lose weight, but I am doing it on my own now.

  5. Mar 28, 2009
    at 7:04 am

    ….I have no idea!!! Apparently whatever I spent it on was not all that important.

    I have to say that since becoming a sponsor, I have never missed the money that now goes toward sponsorship. God has still given us more than we could possibly need.

  6. Kristen
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 7:40 am

    Like Jill, I don’t know either. I haven’t missed it, but I sure feel the difference it makes when I get letters from my child.

  7. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 7:49 am


    That is great!!! I am trying to lose weight too!!! I am trying to go from 181lbs or so to 156lbs in about 3 months!!! However I actually am gaining weight a little ;( But I am trying to lose the weight by running, swimming, and riding my bike!!! I know it will slowly come off especially from the running!!! I eat so much!!! I am constantly eating and drinking from all the exercise I am doing. I greatly enjoy it b/c the more I exercise the faster I can go. And the easier the exercise feels. It was very painful at the beginning and still is but I am getting used to it and it is easier. I think losing weight is comparable to visiting your sponsor child. Like Carolyn so adeptly spoke on one of the other blogs. “Visiting your sponsor child is like going to War…you are visiting them on the battlefield in the War against poverty.” Having lost weight before it has to be intentional and focused like a laser. At the end of the day it is just painful and difficult. I think the best way to lose weight is to be on a roller coaster. It takes a little while to get to the top (lose the weight) but once you get there you feel so high and then the drop is exciting. It is a constant battle each day. Even once you reach your goal it is still a challenge to maintain. I prayed you would reach your goal and that I would too!!! I think I might lose 7 lbs from the heat and humidity in the Philippines!!! I’ll let you know if I remember!!!

  8. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 7:56 am

    I agree with Jill also, whatever I would have spent the money on is not even a question, it shows how terrible I am with my money!!! I don’t even know where it goes. That is probably why I do not have a lot!!! But faith is truly amazing!!! Just like money you can never have enough!!!

  9. Sheri
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 8:24 am

    Soda. And let’s be honest, it was a lot more than $32 a month. My family and I quit drinking anything other than tea, water or milk and have saved hundreds (if not, unbelivably, thousands) of dollars that have gone towards helping four precious children. We do not miss soda at all and are more healthy, both physically and spiritually, than we ever were before.

  10. Amy
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 8:48 am

    …nothing important, that’s for sure.

  11. Erin Wellendorf
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 10:01 am

    Eating Out
    Clothes I don’t need
    Fancy coffee drinks

    It’s amazing how I don’t miss these things when I know that there are children being helped with that money. Every time I look at my budget I think “How can I support one more?” I thank God for his provision and my ability to help others with it.

  12. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 10:13 am

    I am working to get better with putting all my comments on one post but I keep getting ideas I must share!!! For my benefit an others’. The $32 a month puts me on an incredible journey!!! The journey of pursing my dreams and encouraging the kids Compassion has helped me partner with to not give up on their dreams as well!!! I like to think I am in this to the end, but I know I am weak and things may happen that prevent that, but until they happen my hope is to not give up regardless of the situations!!! And when the situations do happen to not give up again!!! Thanks for the blog!!! I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!!!”

  13. Mar 28, 2009
    at 10:14 am

    …music and books

  14. Ken M.
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 10:31 am

    I don’t know how I spent the $32 a month. I will admit that in the past I bought an over-abundance of cds due to my love of music. Even though I still buy cds I cut back on the spending.
    Sponsoring 4 children has not been a burden for me. When I’m spending the money on my children, I don’t miss the money. I have to thank God for the payraises, too. And thank him for helping me pay off my car. Now if I can just get that school loan paid off…

  15. Mar 28, 2009
    at 2:43 pm

    It probably never amounted to a full $32 a month, unless I got more than one soda a day–but getting a soda out of the machine at work was at least $1, and lately it’s gone up to $1.25 for the bottles.

    Now I bring a can from home (we get the 12-packs), and IF I get a soda at work, it’s a can (still 60 cents).

    Now, buying the soda is often to break a dollar. I put the change in a jar and will send it as a family gift when I collect enough (probably about $50, the father’s monthly income).

    So my spending has changed a bit, and like most people who have commented here, I haven’t missed the $32. Whatever I was spending it on, I likely didn’t need anyway (if it wasn’t a soda, it was a couple of DVDs).

  16. Geri
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 2:50 pm

    A daily newspaper for 1 month. I cancelled the newspaper when I sponsored my first child with Compassion. I don’t miss the newspaper but I would be devestated if anything happened to my child.

  17. Mike Stephens
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 4:18 pm

    If you haven’t read all the questions Wess answered I highly recommend it!!! Go to May 2008!!! And if you want to read a blog about the Nicaragua Sponsor of 2008 which yours truly was on, go to June 2008. I thought they were all worth reading.

  18. Mar 28, 2009
    at 4:19 pm

    Great question! Like Sheri, I usually spend $32+ a month on coke, coffee and chocolate…I’m attempting to give it up for a year and asking people to give $1 to Compassion for each week I do it! I start the day after Easter, but the blog is up and running. Please visit and share it…and maybe someone here even wants to join me!!!

  19. Chuck Guth
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 7:48 pm

    When we sponsored our first child we had serious thoughts about where from the budget it would come from. However it did. When we sponsored our second we wondered too but not as much, with our third sponsored child it really did not matter- we knew we had to do it and that God would be faithful if we were. I frequently tell potential sponsors that what we blow on a mocha at Starbucks in a week or even the cost of a dinner out can be better served just by redirecting the funds toward Sponsorship…if we really think about it $32 is so little but can do so much.
    Michael- good luck with the weight loss..I will be praying for you. I went from 206 to about 188 in 2008. In the past 12 weeks I went from 188-167. Body fat went from 33% to 21%. I followed a program called Metabolix at my gym. Basically I stayed at 1350 calories every day, ate 3 meals/2 snacks…and did Cardio 6 days a week. Good Luck! Wishing you the best…

  20. Mar 28, 2009
    at 7:57 pm

    Probably junk food–Mickey D’s, BK, snack machine. When I started sponsoring my first child, it came out of my “weekly allowance”–pocket money that hubby and I use without having to account for. Mostly we would save it for Christmas gifts, etc, but I also thought nothing of driving through and getting a milkshake and fries while shopping, or buying some crafty stuff at Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.

    When I decided to sponsor a child, I skipped my allowance one week a month, making do with whatever I had left, even though the money was tax deductible on the family income. It was my decision.

    Then hubby, who manages the finances, decided the payments should really come from the budget, not my pocket money. When I wanted to sponsor another child, he was all for it, and is fully supportive when I want to send family gifts.

    Now, although he leaves the correspondence to me, it seems more of a family sponsorship. And we don’t miss the money at all.

  21. Valerie Long
    Mar 28, 2009
    at 10:09 pm

    Hmmm.. eating out and online games. I used to spend a lot of money on online games and then I looked at my history on one of the games and realized just how much I was spending and went from 3 sponsored kids to 5 instead! I still spend a little bit on online games because I realize it takes money to run the servers that host the games, but not nearly as much as I used to!

    I’m now up to 7 sponsored kids and I think of it as my tithe as I’m not actively attending a church right now. Seeing it that way has really made the difference for me as far as being able to actually sponsor 7 kids. Before I thought of it in those terms, I wouldn’t have thought about sponsoring that many, but I’m *SO* glad I do now!

  22. Undercover Princess
    Mar 29, 2009
    at 11:24 am

    Playing Everquest…

  23. Mar 29, 2009
    at 12:24 pm

    I suppose I should respond (lol)…

    Before I sponsored a child, I used to spend $32 a month on coffee, cable TV, newspaper subscriptions…

    I used to spend $32 (at least) everytime I played golf (usually 2 or 3 times a week). In contrast, last year I played once.

  24. Mar 29, 2009
    at 12:54 pm

    Jill, Kristen, Erin aid it best for me… I don’t know what I was spending it on before, because I haven’t even missed it.

  25. Mike Stephens
    Mar 29, 2009
    at 3:29 pm


    That’s amazing!!! 208 to 167!!! If I could get to 167 that would be great too!!! But I know if I just stay consistent 156 is possible!!! Thanks for your prayers and your comment!!! I’ll let you know as the lbs come off!!! That is amazing!!! It is great to finally hear someone that has succeeded!!! I very rarely hear of anyone losing some serious weight and staying that way!!! Hopefully I will be the 2nd. Chuck I am not sure how I will let you know that I have lost the weight, but how about this…I will just simply respond when around July 12, when the Boulder Peak triathlon is. That is when I hope to be at a steady 156!!! I wrote it down chuck on one of my letters I received from the father of one of my sponsor kids in the Philippines!!! It is a very special letter for many reasons. One simply being b/c it is a return letter thanking me for a family gift I sent and also a few other reasons. But my child made a letter on the back and I wrote on it “Chuck Guth 156lbs, July 12. Chuck I would not consider myself overweight but I need to get my body a little more like a runner if I want to reach my goals for this triathlon, so that is my reason. Many other reasons also, but that is the focus for the next couple of months. Thanks for sharing about your diet. I am amazed how much just water can fill me up and help me get through a workout!!! I look forward to sending you that email July 12 saying how I did in the Boulder Peak triathlon and that I indeed raced at 156lbs!!! This is my email ( but I can easily reply to one of your posts here too. I am doing the Bolder Boulder in May it sounds like you probably are. It will be my first time doing the Bolder Boulder.

  26. Mike Stephens
    Mar 29, 2009
    at 3:45 pm

    I just have to add something else, I love Compassion b/c the way it is set up you can get deeply involved for $32 a month!!! With the letters mainly. But then you can sell your car and go on a sponsor tour!!! I didn’t have to sell a car I just worked the night shift at Wal-mart and paid that way. Then you realize how great the Sponsor Tour is and you sell your HOUSE and go on another sponsor tour!!! Yet again I do not have a house so I drove a Taxi for a month to pay for the Philippines Sponsor Tour!!! Hopefully next I will work out like I know I have many times so I can race at 156lbs!!! Like I have said before for me going on the Sponsor Tours is like winning a race. It takes planning, effort, work, determination and focus. I have to say no to many little things in order to pay for a sponsor tour and so far I am 2 for 2!!! I was pondering going to Tanzania next year on the 2nd Sponsor tour that is later in the year b/c now that I have this momentum going I don’t want to “skip” a year. Also if I don’t go next year when will I go??? I went to Nicaragua and I am amazed that I even went!!! It doesn’t almost feel like I even was there!!! Thank God for the videos and all the pictures!!! Does anyone want to go to Tanzania??? Many people talk about Africa but I think I should go so I can have a small understanding of what is going on and b/c I told my sponsor child I hope to visit sometime in the next few years and run up Kilimanjaro with him for a good workout!!! I figured I could bring one of his cousins or friends and someone who worked at the Project that way we had a small group. My plan was to stay an extra 3-5 days to drive to Kilimanjaro run/hike up it stay for a night or however they do it and come down and head back to our destination. I was thinking how I would plan that and get permission. I guess the first step is go on the Sponsor Tour to Tanzania and the the 2nd step is earning a little extra money for the extra 3-5 days etc. to conquer Kilimanjaro and asking permission. Any ideas from the blogosphere???

  27. Kim Edge
    Mar 29, 2009
    at 6:28 pm

    Instead of Christmas, anniversary or birthday presents, I got a daughter šŸ˜€

    Also, I used to have a garden budget for herbaceous perennials. Now I divide the ones I have and move them around or sometimes even sell extras! :)

  28. Mar 29, 2009
    at 8:19 pm

    scrapbooking supplies…happily no more though.

  29. Sandra
    Mar 29, 2009
    at 9:30 pm

    It cost our family $32.00 to eat a day. We were able to sponsor four children by fasting one day a week. We have older children. We pray for the sponsored children that day. It has really help us to know alittle what it feels like when they go without food. We place their picture and the cost of each meal that in a jar. Our daughter came up with the idea and it’s working out great! We are all thinking of other ways we can cut cost. Thanks Compassion!

  30. Sarah
    Mar 30, 2009
    at 10:16 am

    Sandra, that is an amazing idea!

  31. Amber Van Schooneveld
    Mar 30, 2009
    at 11:42 am

    Your comments are all so encouraging! If you don’t mind, I’ll share this with some of the people I work with in the field–it will be such an encouragement to them to find out how the sponsors sacrifice.

    Mike–I too was hoping to visit Tanzania to visit my sponsored child then climb Kilimanjaro afterwards–but just a warning–you have to climb it slowly: Many people die climbing it because they do it too fast, and don’t allow their bodies to acclimate to the elevation gain. So you should read up on climbing it–you might need more time than you think!

  32. Mar 30, 2009
    at 1:22 pm

    useless crap!

    Sandra, that is truly inspiring.

  33. Mar 31, 2009
    at 4:37 am

    great idea…and how cool that your daughter thought of it!

  34. Kate
    Mar 31, 2009
    at 4:14 pm

    $32.00 a month… I used to spend far more than that on books and/or eating out occationally. I won’t say I don’t wince anymore when the bills come in each month, but when I cut that check for my two beautiful girls each month I have a song in my heart that far outweighs the dip in my bank account. What an amazing thing it is to be blessed by God and able to see how He uses me for a blessing to others!!

  35. Hannah
    Mar 31, 2009
    at 9:48 pm

    I was the servant who buried the talent in the ground. I was afraid to invest/spend/whatever. I am the kind of person who goes shopping, finally makes aa purchase and then says, “Why did I get that? I don’t need/want that,” etc. Now when I sponsor my Compassion children, I have a different mindset. I don’t question the money issue, though I just graduated a few months before starting my first sponsorship and have all these college loans to pay, as well as many medical bills (I have two medical conditions and the supplies/prescriptions/doctor visits/etc. really add up especially with mediocre insurance). I believe God is calling me to be a part of these children’s lives and I’m loving every moment! God has really turned around my thoughts about financial things and has helped me trust Him!

  36. Patricia
    Apr 2, 2009
    at 7:46 am

    The cost to sponsor a child is really minimal when we think of all the things we spend/waste money on. I can walk into the drug store for one item, and come out with $32 worth of “impulse shopping” items without even thinking about it. I sponsor several children since I do not have any children of my own. They are God’s way of giving me “kids” and my way of tithing.

  37. Mike Stephens
    Apr 3, 2009
    at 8:07 pm

    @Amber Van Schooneveld


    Thank you!!! You are right. I found a page that does “climbing tours” on Kilimanjaro and many other mountains and it seems like it takes 4-5 days. I just looked at their itinerary. It’s fairly simple. The only reason it is simple is because they have it all planned out. My thought was to do something fun/adventurous/challenging w/Bushiri a worker from the project and a family member like a cousin or an uncle. But to climb Kilimanjaro with skill I would definitely need a guide and obviously some other supplies least of which is food. I might have to wait a few years to do Kilimanjaro with Bushiri which might be a good thing b/c if I visit him next year he will be 9. And now that I think about it 9 might be a little on the young side to climb it. I have no doubt he could, but I simply am not sure if I would be able to fund such a venture right now!!! I know I could visit next year on the sponsor Tour but maybe that could be for the next visit when he is in the teens.

  38. Mike Stephens
    Apr 3, 2009
    at 8:31 pm

    I paid $21 for my hair cut today, I gave a $5-6 tip. But I got a promotion in my part time job!!! So that will be good. I think sponsoring through Compassion has helped me earn a lot more money however I often spend it on Sponsor tours. So b/c I started spending $32 I decided what good is it if I sponsor and never visit!!! So I prayed a lot and tried to use my resolve to get the money to pay for the sponsor tours. I do not think I ever would have gone to Nicaragua if I didn’t sponsor Osmari there. I probably would have never gone to the Philippines if I did not sponsor Angelo, Jay-poy, and Reneboy. I probably never would think about actually following through with going to Tanzania if I did not sponsor Bushiri. And I know I would never have gone to Peru if I didn’t sponsor Victor!!! So the $32 a month is causing me to become closer to a globetrotter and in so doing earn more money!!! B/c I have to otherwise what I want to happen will not happen which is visit, encourage, and be satisfied in doing the impossible!!! I am so thankful we serve the God of the impossible!!! B/c this world is so ridiculous we need to see the impossible happen all the time just so we can get a little breathing room!!! I love looking at one of my pictures in particular from Nicaragua b/c when I look at the picture I feel like I am looking at a picture of David’s rock flying towards Goliath’s forehead or Elijah running real fast ahead of the chariot. Or Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego roasting marshmallows with Jesus in the fiery furnace!!! The picture is just amazing to me, I still am amazed I actually went down to Nicaragua and met Osmari the child I sponsor and many other of the AMAZING staff that helped make it all possible on a daily basis. But just like whenever you do something AWESOME and FUN you want to do it again!!!

  39. Karen
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 3:36 pm

    myself…. enough said.

  40. Caitlin
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 8:32 pm

    I spent the sponsorship of 3 kids a month eating out 4 days a week during lunch hour!

  41. Michelle
    Oct 2, 2009
    at 4:50 pm

    My little girl was my “presents” from my husband for the year. (well, 9 more years I guess! lol) That is Mother’s Day, birthday, Christmas, etc. She’s the best present I could ever wish for!!!! :o)

    I’d love to sponsor more, but right now we are struggling too… and we aren’t buying any “extras,” so there is nothing to cut out.

    So one day… When I know I can keep up with the monthly payments, the letters with surprises, the birthday gift and special day gift, Christmas, and the family gift….. I want to make sure adding another child won’t detract from what I can provide for my little girl, Ludis!

    But after reading all of these posts…. I’m thinking a fasting day is an excellent idea AND now I’m also dreaming of a sponsor tour!!?!? lol

    One day at a time…..

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