"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said "Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you""- Hebrews 13:5
Being a number geek, I actually kind of enjoy creating budgets and seeing how little tweaks can amount to big change.
Budgeting and frugality were never really choices for me, but more of just the norm. I learned from the best...my parents. My parents worked very hard and always lived within their limits. Money was hard earned & not wasted.
I understood early on what it was to earn and manage money. I didn't appreciate the responsibility and accountability back then. I wouldn't have admitted it, but being proud of working hard and a job well done was a gift in itself.
When I was started paying my own bills is when I realized what great life skills I had gained. There is just something about being able to control your money (and yourself) so that you can pay your own bills without depending on others. That sense of accomplishment, at times comes with sacrifice, but is worth weight in gold..(punny).
God cares about how we manage our money! Jesus taught about money a lot! We are to be good stewards of ALL God blesses us with. That includes our money. But money can easily become a distraction to what God has for us to do with our life.
GOD wants to be what we depend on instead of our money. He promises to provide for us if we trust him.
At times, spending just gets out of hand without us realizing it until bills start rolling in. Sometimes we know & just want to ignore the problem. Neither work out well.
Money is not bad. God wants us to use our money wisely to meet our needs and to bless others too.
So with that, here are 4 simple steps to get you started.
*4 SIMPLE STEPS TO BEGIN TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES*
#1- GATHER & PILE ALL your bills together= ALL the bills...yea...I know :(
This is usually not a fun chore, but a must. Just look at it as calling out the ugly right from the beginning. Don't forget to include your automatic drafts too.
ADD MONTHLY amount due (use minimum pmt amount) & WRITE DOWN.
#2- WRITE DOWN ALL OF YOUR NON-REGULAR bills too.
Find the 'monthly' amount needed to pay and ADD together & WRITE DOWN. These would include annual bills like tags for cars, property tax, home insurance...things you are not billed for monthly but need to include. Take the annual amount & divide by 12.
#3- GATHER ALL OF YOUR INCOME- this is a little easier.
ADD together & WRITE DOWN.
Use your last pay stub as your reference. If you work varied hours or have self-employed income, you will have to dig a little deeper and gather a few months of pay together and get an 'average' income to work with.
#4- PUT IT DOWN IN BLACK & WHITE!
I am a visual. I love a list, so I prefer to write it and see it. Just me. :)
INCOME...NET Income or Bring Home Pay
$______________________ Income Per month (#3 figure)
$______________________Bills Per Month (add #1 & #2 figures together)
$______________________Total over/-under Per Month (#1 - #2 )
THIS is your starting point. This will feel like a pat on the back or a kick in the behind depending on what that number looks like.
CONGRATS if you have #3 with money left! You can continue to see where you can make changes to make that number grow or see how you can put it towards saving for future needs.
If the Total is a $-number, you are spending more per month than you make. This only digs a deeper hole each month. This is where it gets hard. Easiest change to correct is to cut expenses. We usually all have some expenses that are truly wants instead of needs. May be time to put those on hold for a bit.
Either way, this is a positive start because now you know where you stand! Even if you hate where you stand, it is better than being in the dark and staying there!
BE PROUD of yourself today! No matter what that figure is, you have taken the first, hard steps to gaining power over your finances! The more you know, the more you can do!
For now, my best advice is to look deep within yourself and find what you really want to carry out with your finances. That is different for every person, to own a home, to build a retirement income, to start a college fund, to give more. THINK on this. When you find what it is you want from your finances, you have a motive. When you have a clear reason & plan, it is much easier to change old habits.
A prayer for you today:
Father, please show us deep within our hearts what it is that we are to do with our finances! I ask you to calm the ones who feel buried too deep to dig out. Assure those who think this situation is to dire and can never change. God, I ask you now to change our hearts to see as you see. Change our desires to help our financial situations. Show us ways to help ourselves. Thank you Lord! Amen