Youth Ministry Budgeting: Tips for Saving Money (5b of 5)

(This is part 2 of the final post in a 5 part series on youth ministry budgeting. You can see the earlier posts here: 1 – stewardship. 2 – categories part a and part b. 3 – process. 4 – to buy or not to buy. 5 – tips on saving money part 1)

No youth ministry is immune to the economic hardship facing our country. And in order to be better stewards of our resources (and possibly stay afloat), we all need to learn to save a few bucks. Here is part 2 of my thoughts on how to save money. To see the first 5 tips, go here.

6. Involve more adults
Instead of doing things like ordering pizza or catering all of your meals, think about asking people to help cook and serve the food. It doesn’t have to be food, it can be decorating for a special event, setting up, manning the tables.

This tip was shared by Sara Eden , so I’ll just let her share some thoughts about it.

“The other thing we’ve done is moved away from the church providing dinner at youth group each week. Now what we do is ask people to sign up to provide dinner. The really cool thing is that it’s giving people who don’t feel led toward the traditional ‘youth ministry volunteer’ role an opportunity to serve the ministry and get to know the students (and allow the students to get to know them). The people who cook for us are invited/encouraged to stay and eat dinner with us and then students help with clean up. It’s another step toward healthy inter-generational relations. God took something that was done as an economic measure and turned it into another awesome opportunity for ministry. He’s so good like that!”

7. Donations
We all need items for the youth ministry: chairs, couches, lighting, sound equipment, electronics, transportation. Instead of going out and buying them, ask people to donate them. (Now, when you do this be prepared to get people’s junk. So either you need to be very specific, simply say “no thanks,” or just throw it away later.)

This is something a friend of mine, Bill Nance, said he has been able to do in his ministry, which has helped since he doesn’t have a big budget and really needs to stretch it.

8. Think “in house.”
When you are planning an event, the two biggest costs are always the speaker and the band. Next time you are planning an event, think about using someone from within your ministry to do the speaking or worship (concert). If that will not work, try to find someone local to cut down on travel costs.

9. Use Open Source software
Instead of paying full price for your software – you might want to look into some of the open source alternatives. Most of them are just as good as the expensive versions, and they are free.

More information about open source software will be in another post.

10. Stop spending money
This sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? But there are more than a few youth ministries that simply refuse to stop buying stuff. You do not need that new Wii or flat screen TV. You may not really need new carpet right now, it could wait a year or two longer.

The best way to save money in your youth ministry is to simply spend your money wisely. Think twice before making purchases. Hold off on major purchases as long as you can.

Six more ideas on stretching your budget.


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