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37 Brilliant Ways to Make Your Kidmin Budget Last

No matter what size their budget is, children’s ministers are always looking for ways to save money. That’s why we asked experienced penny-pinching children’s ministers to give us their best ideas for “streeetching” dollars. You’ll find 37 of their best budget ideas here.

37 Brilliant Ways to Make Your Kidmin Budget Last


  1. When craft supplies run low, send “needs slips” to your senior citizens’ Bible study for donations. Donating items helps older folks be part of your team.
  2. For gift baskets for Sunday school teachers, put together a sample basket early in December. Then ask the adult Bible classes to financially sponsor the baskets.
  3. Gladly accept hand-me-down equipment in good condition.
  4. Have a “baby shower” for your church nursery, and put up pictures of the items you need (put each item on a paper apple to be picked off a tree).
  5. At the end of a season, many greeting card stores are willing to give away seasonal cards, wrapping paper, and novelty items.
  6. Many companies will send promotional items that can be used as prizes or craft items.
  7. Ask for food donations from restaurants or grocery stores for volunteer appreciation events or special children’s programs.
  8. Keep an ongoing donations list of items you’ll need in the church bulletin.
  9. On every brochure for a paid program, include information for people to contribute to a scholarship fund.
  10. Ask every family to bring one big bag of candy for your fall festival.


  1. Ask a church member to sell your church’s older toys or unneeded children’s furniture, equipment, or books in an online marketplace or garage sale.
  2. Check out whether denominations or local businesses will match funds for your fundraisers.
  3. Sell apparel such as T-shirts and sweatshirts imprinted with your church name or logo.
  4. Hold an annual children’s ministry garage sale. Ask people to donate their unwanted “treasures.”
  5. Sponsor a fundraising dinner. Have your children’s ministry team members each bring several casseroles and side dishes. Everything you make is pure profit.
  6. Create a registry with all of your desired classroom supplies and promote it to your church to raise funds to buy the supplies. You can use Group’s Gift Registry to create the ministry of your dreams.


  1. Ask a local print shop to donate partial rolls or stacks of unwanted paper.
  2. For arts and crafts projects, save recyclable items. Then hit Pinterest for ideas using the items.
  3. Ask carpet stores for carpet remnants for children to sit on.

Budget Bargain Hunting

  1. Ask every vendor you purchase from if they offer a discount for nonprofit organizations.
  2. Recruit a resource manager who’s gifted at finding the best deals in town.
  3. If the price is right, purchase items you don’t need now but will use later.
  4. Know where to shop. Frequent the bargain bins in department stores and discount stores.
  5. Have someone watch the ads in the newspaper or emails for items on sale.


  1. If you have a children’s ministry network of local area ministers, have a book swap every month.
  2. Partner with another church to budget and purchase bulk quantities of paper products and snacks.
  3. Borrow VBS decorations from other churches who’ve used the same theme.
  4. Share expensive items with neighboring churches or the youth department at your church, especially items you only use occasionally such as camp-recreation supplies.
  5. Share free video resources from Lifetree Kids YouTube channel with families to view at home.

Cutting Training Costs

  1. Research local training options to save on travel and hotel costs.
  2. Bring speakers to your church rather than sending large numbers of volunteers out to seminars. This strategy often increases participation and you’re not spending money on food, lodging, and travel. Link up with other churches to help share the cost.
  3. Cut costs on camps by doing your own cooking and renting time-share condos rather than staying at a camp.

Smart Shopping

  1. Purchase a curriculum subscription like DIG IN. With DIG IN, you can select your pricing tier based on the average number of kids you have each week, and you’re ready to roll with unlimited classrooms. All pricing tiers include access to all age levels, class formats, activity blocks, and media.
  2. Buy crayons, scissors, and glue before the school year starts.
  3. Purchase equipment from school-district warehouses who get rid of old furniture.
  4. Buy used. Watch for preschools and private schools that are closing in your area or are upgrading equipment. Ask about purchasing their used furniture, equipment, and supplies.
  5. Seek out doctors who own their own practices and attend your church. They can purchase your latex gloves and other nursery supplies at a reduced cost.
  6. Ask self-employed or small-business owners to purchase wholesale supplies and furniture and resell items to the church at their cost plus taxes.

Contributors: Tony Barger, Alice Bell-Gaines, Teri Berkness, Rick Chromey, Esther Felt, Dick Gruber, Deb Harrell, Keith Johnson, Carmen Kamrath, Pam Keefover, Lisa Keeling, Christine McNeal, Jennifer Nichols, Patti Peters, John Purdue, Melinda Scheich, Chris Stewart, Nadine Stillwell, Gary Webb, Gordon West

You can also check out Group’s resources for Sunday school curriculum and VBS.

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37 Brilliant Ways to Make Your Kidmin...

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