God must have known how much of a stumbling block money could be for there are references to money all over the scriptures. Many of us wish we had more money. Many of us wish we had better paying jobs or a bigger home. Many of us wish…but in the end it’s really not about how much money you make, it’s what you decide to do with the money you have that is going to make the difference. Crown Financial’s Treasure Principal states: “You can’t take it with you–but you can send it on ahead.” That is so true. You can’t take money to heaven or anything money can buy. But you can send it on ahead to aid mission work, feed the homeless, house orphans, or even roll it over to educate the next generation. As Dave Ramsey says, you can use it to “change your family tree” or as I like to say it, “change your eternity tree.”
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” Matthew 6:26
As you develop your budget don’t forget to set aside 10% as a tithe.
“Will a mere mortal rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How are we robbing you?’ “In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—your whole nation—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:8-10
One final thought as you plan your budget out on paper, make sure your inflow equals your outflow. Assign that money a name. If you don’t, it will just disappear. You also need to plan ahead for big and irregular items like insurance payments, Christmas, car maintenance, etc. and set money aside each month.
To plan our monthly budget, my family uses Quicken, but there are several budget-friendly software programs available you may want to consider using to create your budget–Mint, Crown Mvelopes, and Dave Ramsey’s Personal Finance Software to name a few. Or, you may just prefer the old pencil and paper routine. Whatever works is fine, just write it down.
For irregular income, have a priority chart. List your expenses in order of priority and then pay them off in order as the money is available. A good place to start is food, clothing, and shelter.
3. Meet with your husband to finalize your family’s budget. In order to make this money management lifestyle a success, both you and your husband should be in agreement with the budget and committed to following it to a “T”. You also need to decide who is responsible for certain tasks such as paying bills, shopping for groceries, balancing the checkbook, etc. So in this initial meeting talk about where your money is going, where you want it to go, who you want to handle each aspect of it, and set a limit of how much money each of you can spend on your own before you need to talk to each other before spending. Lastly, consider having a financial discussion/check-up similar to this at least once a month to keep you on the right track.
4. Put $1000 in the bank for emergencies. Squeeze your pennies as much as you can to make this happen. Eat at home. Use coupons. Limit entertainment expenses. Do whatever you have to do to get that $1000 in the bank. Murphy happens to so be prepared when he comes.
5. Pay off debt…all but your house. This includes cars, credit cards, and secondary mortgages. Just start throwing it there as fast as you can, one at a time. It will be so freeing when you don’t have that hanging over you.
6. Once you’ve paid off all your debt but the house, increase your savings (emergency fund) to 3-6 months of living expenses. This will be different for each family, but figure out what you would use to live on (your current income minus taxes and tithe and such), should you not have an income for a short period of time.
You’ve now got an emergency fund of 3-6 months of expenses, your clean of debt (except for your house), and you are living on a budget successfully at this point. Congratulations. Now everything else is just icing on the cake. Once these top 6 goals have been met, these last few can be added one at a time or all at once depending on your family’s goals and available funds.
7. Invest 10-15% in retirement (aka IRAs, ROTH IRAs, 401k’s, etc.)
8. Begin saving for major purchases (auto, furniture, etc.).
9. Begin saving for children’s education ASAP. According to bankrate.com, given the current rate of tuition and the rate of education inflation, if we start investing money towards Teacup’s education today while she is only two months old, we need to save nearly $320 per month for her to be able to attend even a state college tuition free 18 years from now. For every month we wait…the amount to invest month increases. Yes, we all hope our children get scholarships, but even that will most likely not cover everything.
10. Pay off your home early. Why give the bank extra interest money when you could be using to your advantage instead of their advantage?
11. Give like no on else!
- Favorite Money Saving Websites
- Kathy’s Top 20 Saving Tips
- Savings by Store
- Balancing the Money Factor Series