I have realized that as the years go by, I have become seemingly interested in matters of money because the world revolves around money. You might not have thought about it, but finances constitute an integral part of your life. Immediately you are born, you are in the dependent phase of your life where you place your life in your guardian’s hands. Your movements, thoughts and decisions are discussed with another individual with whom you might share the surname with. You gradually drift from the period of dependence to independence and finally to interdependence where you might consider entering a union called Marriage.
Making money is a spiritual activity because faith is the fuel that drives both commerce and religion, contrary to what academia will have you believe. Not every primate can make money, only humans! Anyone can make money, but not everyone gets to keep money. We all use it every day, we earn it every day, we spend it every day and we save it. It is thus essential you manage your finances adequately to avoid coming to ruin because Charles Dickens states $100 income, $105 outgo brings misery and ruin.
If you have issues with managing your finances, be rest assured you are not the only one who struggles with overspending. A research conducted on Americans indicated that 90% of them have less than $1000 in savings. In other words, they spent everything they make. Being good with money is therefore more than just making ends meet. You do not need great math skills in exceling in the area of finance. All you need is basic addition and subtraction. Your life becomes easier when you acquire the skill of good finance. How you spend your money impacts your credit score and the amount of debt you end up carrying. Follow these principles to effectively manage your finance if you are struggling with money management issues such as living paycheck to paycheck despite making more than enough money.
Did you know paying tithe is a key way of managing your finances? The first portion of our income is called the title which was validated by Jesus in Luke’s gospel. The most important principle regarding the handling of money is paying our tithe to the Lord. Why? Because how we handle the top 10% of our money is the primary indicator of whether our hearts are wholeheartedly devoted to God. The reason many Christians struggle in financial bondage is because they refuse to follow this first step in a Godly financial plan. The Bible says in Proverbs “Honor the Lord with your wealth, your first fruits of all your crops” The first fruit is a biblical way of saying you should give first before you do anything else with your money because when you tithe first, you are making it a priority rather an afterthought.
Your budget is the key to success. It is the tool that will give you most control of your financial future. The funny thing is most people do not budget because they don’t want to go through what they think will be a very boring list of listing out expenses, adding up numbers and making sure everything lines up. If you are bad with money, you don’t need to have excuses for not owning a budget. Instead of focusing on the process of creating a budget, focus on the value that budget will bring to your life.
Bear in mind, your budget is useless, if you make it then let it collect dust in a folder tucked away in your bookshelf or file cabinet. Refer to it often throughout the month to help guide your spending decisions. Update it as you pay bills and spend on other monthly expenses. I particularly use Spendee which is an IPhone app for tracking my monthly expenses. It helps me create a budget and gives me an idea on the available amount I have to spend for the rest of the month, considering any expenses I have left to pay.
It is essential you give yourself a limit for unbudgeted spending. A critical part of your budget is the net income. In lay man terms, it is the amount of money left after you subtract your expenses from your income. If you have any money left over, you can use it for fun and entertainment but only up to a certain amount. You can’t go awry with this money, especially if it’s not a lot and has to last the entire month. Before you make big purchases, make sure it won’t interfere with anything you have in your plan. In addition, have a positive cash flow which means you are taking in more money every month than you are spending out.
Many people naively think the bank would not approve them for a loan they can’t afford. It is up to you to decide whether a monthly payment is affordable based on your income and other monthly obligations. Make sure you are the best prices when it comes to shopping. Compare prices for products and services and make sure you are paying the lowest. Look for discounts, promo codes, coupons and cheaper alternatives whenever you can.
You might want to consider saving up for big purchases because the ability to delay gratification will go a long way in helping you to be better with money. It takes strict discipline to know you have money stored up in your bank account and decide not to spend it. When you put off large purchases, rather than sacrificing more important essentials, you give yourself time to evaluate whether a purchase measures up and you get ample time to even compare prices.
Now to the area of savings. Ants are creatures of little strength yet they store up food for the summer. Depositing money into a savings account every month can help you build healthy financial habits. You can even set up a standing order so that money is automatically transferred from your checking account to your savings account. That way you don’t have to remember the transfer.
Personal finance for the poor is a completely different story. One illness is enough to derail everything they have saved up. There is no job security where someone else can easily take on the job in their absence. It is important to remember to give to the poor and needy when setting up your budget. Giving helps you overcome the love of money and enables you to bear the biblical principle of loving your neighbor as yourself. We have to understand our pursuit of money can ruin our relationship with God, but it doesn’t have to… as long as we keep things in balance and don’t let ourselves crave money more than we crave God. In the beginning, you may not be used to planning ahead and putting off purchases until you can afford them. The more you make these part of your daily life, the easier it is to manage your money, and the better off your finances will be. When money realizes that it is in good hands, it wants to stay and multiply in those hands.
Money, just like emotions, is something you must control to keep your life on the right track – Natasha Munson
Thanks for reading and have a great evening!