BACK TO BASICS FINANCES DAY 3

Budgeting Part 2

Ok, so we have all our bills, figured out the amounts, and asked ourselves why on the amounts.  Now, let’s start the budgeting thing. 

Isaiah 55:2 “Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.”

Let’s take a look at one way of doing a budget.  My Dad, who is the wisest man I know, always has great advice on budgeting.  His advice is this: never spend more than you make, and don’t get yourself into a debt you cannot get out of.  I see you nodding your heads in agreement!  I told you my daddy is smart!  He also always said, you pay before you play.  What does that mean?  I am so glad you asked!

If you bring home say, $20/week, and you have a bill that must be paid, and it costs $10, but your friend has invited you to a concert that only costs $15 dollars.  Do you go?  Or maybe that cute pair of shoes (my personal weakness) is finally on sale, for $19 AND you have a 10% off coupon, do you buy them?  Remember, the bill MUST be paid, or you will incur finance charges, so what do you do?  According to my Dad, you pay the bill.  Is it as much fun as the concert or those shoes?  Maybe not, but you won’t have to pay more on the same bill for not paying it in the first place.

Personal testimony time!  I got myself into some trouble about 17 years ago with credit cards.  I ran up a lot on just one, but never looked at the total, only the amount due.  Have you done that?  The problem with it is you can keep spending more on your credit card, and the minimum amount due only goes up a little bit.  Needless to say, when my husband found out (no I did not tell him, he found out when we were buying our home in NY), he was not a happy camper.  So now, I only use credit cards for gas, car repairs, and prior approval from him.

Why did I bring up my credit card abuse to you?  Because too many of us do it!  We don’t have the money to buy what we want, so we charge it!  Ane then when we max out one card, we can get another one so we can keep buying stuff we do not need.  We may want it, but we do not need it.  Remember that old expression rob Peter to pay Paul?  I know people who use one credit card to pay off another one.  It’s sad, because the debt mounts and the frenzy continues.

Ok, so maybe you are thinking what’s the big deal?  I only ran up $1,000 on one card, and I pay the minimum every month, and haven’t charged anything else on it.  Ok, good for you, but did you know, depending on the interest rate your credit card company charges you, just by paying the minimum, it will take you 10 years to pay it off!  That, my friends, is crazy.  My dad calls that fools money.  I am not saying you shouldn’t have a credit card.  What I am saying is if you use one, pay off the entirety each month.  If you can’t, then cut that card up,do NOT get another one and do your best to pay it off.  Too many people have lost their homes and sometimes their marriages all due to credit card debt.  Nothing is worth that, nothing.

 Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

Ok, so back to budgeting.  The first thing you need to do is designate the amount of money that goes out each week/month.  The ones we cannot do much about is mortgage, rent, and utilities.  The rest we can.  I am going to borrow the envelope system from Dave Ramsey.  No, I am not telling you to go out and buy his books I am just using it as an example of how to get yourself and your family on a strict budget without overspending.  Ready?  Let’s begin.  (the following is taken directly out of Dave Ramsey’s Guide to Budgeting book)  (as an aside, this budgeting plan does not include the use of credit cards.  We are trying to stay out of debt remember?)

Use the envelope system for items that tend to bust your budget.

 Common examples include:

• Food (grocery store)

• Restaurants

• Entertainment

• Gasoline

• Clothing

You don’t have to save up any money to start using  the envelope system. Here’s how you do it. Let’s say you have budgeted $500 a month for groceries. When you receive your paycheck, write yourself a check for $250, cash it, and put the cash in an envelope. On that envelope, write “groceries.” No money—and we mean NO MONEY—comes out of that envelope except to pay for food at the store.  If you go food shopping and leave the envelope at home by mistake, turn the car around and go back to the house to get it.

Make sure to take enough money to cover your groceries for that trip. If you take $150 and you tally up a bill for $160, take some things out of the cart. Bring any change back and put it in the envelope. When you get paid again, write another $250 check. That’s your $500 for the month for food. If you want to go to the store but don’t have enough money, then raid the fridge for leftovers.

Getting a Reward

If you have money left over in an envelope at the end of the month, congratulations! You came in under budget for that item that month. So for that, it’s all right to celebrate (within reason). Reward yourself if you’d like by going out to dinner or rolling the money over to the next month so you have an extra big food budget.

Getting that reward is important because it keeps your spirits up. It’s tough to live on a beans-and-rice lifestyle. But you’re making it work! Great job!

 Don’t Cheat on Your Envelopes!

Be careful not to borrow from other envelopes. When it comes to the envelope system, it can be very tempting to borrow cash from one envelope to fund some other activity. For example, if you use up all your “eating out” money, don’t be surprised if some inner voice tells you to reach behind that envelope for the one that’s marked “clothing.”  C’mon … just a little … it won’t hurt you. You must remember that the very purpose of the envelope system is to curb your spending and teach you discipline. When you run out of grocery money, you eat leftovers instead of going food shopping. If you see your gas money is slipping away faster than the remaining days of the month, then limit your trips or even carpool. If you have a crisis come up in the middle of the month or something happens and you absolutely have no other choice but to shift envelope funds around, then call an emergency budget committee meeting with your spouse. Talk to each other and figure out the best course of action, adjust the budget, and be in agreement on it. Both of you must be involved; it’s a committee decision.

Seems simple enough doesn’t it but budgeting is not going to be easy, if it were, everyone would be doing it, and we would not be in the financial shape we are in.  Remember, God wants us to be good stewards of all the gifts He has given us, and that includes our finances.  And remember, getting that pay raise, or winning the lottery will not change your finances, it will only increase your spending.  Get on a budget and stick to it!  I’ll be praying for all of you for financial wisdom!

 Ecclesiastes 5:10 “Whoever loves money never has enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with their income. This too is meaningless.”

  Questions

1. What do you think is going to be the hardest part about doing a budget?

2. Where do you see yourself overspending and how can you curb that?

Created for the Gift of the Home Group by Kirsten Dreiling

Come join us for encouragement and support at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GiftoftheHome/

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Back to Basics Finances Day 2

Budgeting Part 1

Today we are going to talk about my least favorite part of money: budgeting.  Why do I think of this as my least favorite?  I like to buy stuff.  All kinds of stuff.  Remember that song material girl? That  was me not so long ago.  Ok, I admit it, I still am, but God is working with me on that.  I also want to let you all know, I am in no way a financial person, just letting you all know what I have learned through the years and works for my family and I .  So, let’s take a leap of faith and dive right into budgeting.

Ecclesiastes 7:12 “Wisdom is a shelter as money is a shelter, but the advantage of knowledge is this: Wisdom preserves those who have it.”

 Ha!  Fooled you!  Before we can talk about a budget, we have to know where we are spending our money.  Why is this important?  If you don’t know where the money is going, how can you know what or how to budget?  This is the time for complete honesty not only for yourself, but your family as well.  The first thing we need to do is find out how much money is coming in.  Unlike looking at the gross amount for tithing, now we need to look only at the net after all that fun stuff like taxes, social security, etc.  Now, let’s get those bills ready to look at, and I mean really look at, not glance at, grimace and move on.  We all have similar bills each month such as:

  • House payment or rent
  • Electric
  • Gas/fuel oil/coal/wood (however you heat your home)
  • Phone
  • Trash
  • Water/sewer
  • Homeowners or renters insurance
  • Food

Ok, now let’s look at the other bills you may have:

  • Car payment/insurance
  • Gas for car
  • Maintenance on car
  • School supplies/fees
  • College tuition
  • Medical insurance
  • Medical bills (hospital/doctor/prescriptions/etc)
  • Credit cards
  • Miscellaneous

Now, list any other bills you have that I have not mentioned.  If you have pets, write down the cost of their food, vet bills, and medicines if any.  Make sure that you write down EVERY bill you have with the amount you pay each month, and don’t worry, I am not going to ask you to tell me how much it all comes to. That is strictly between you, your family, and God.  Remember, tithing is not included in your bills.  Next, add it all up and put the total amount at the bottom.  Subtract the bills total from the net income total.  Scary number isn’t it?  Take a deep breath, and relax.  That was one of the hardest things to do wasn’t it?  To be totally honest about the bills you pay each month and what you are bringing in.  The final thing I am going to ask of you today, is to really think about these 2 questions before you answer them.  No judgments here, we are all in the same boat, but like I am so fond of saying we cannot change what we do not acknowledge.  Ok, here we go with the questions:

1.      If your bills are higher than your income why?

2.      Are you willing or able to change that?

Congratulations!  You made it through part one of budgeting!!! Go you!

Created for the Gift of the Home Group by Kirsten Dreiling

Come join us for encouragement and support at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GiftoftheHome/

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Back to Basics Finances Day 1

“Money, money, how we love thee how we need you more and more.”  Ah, money….those pretty little green pieces of paper cloth that we all know and love.  Some of us have a lot, and some not so much, but we have it.  We even have money in metal!  Good old quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies, and let’s not forget about 50 cent pieces, silver dollars…sigh…money….We do love our money, don’t we?  Come on, be honest with yourselves here!  We, especially here in America, covet money.  We put people who have a lot on pedestals for us all to see.  Don’t believe me?  How many rich people can you name right now?  Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, actors, sports figures?  Now, how many poor people can you name…See, money in today’s world is important.  It is what defines us..it separates the haves from the have nots.  So, is money bad?  Let’s dive into God’s Word and see.

Money is a root of all kinds of evil.

Oops!  That is not so good, is it?  We all know that scripture, and have heard it repeatedly from pastors of all walks of life, but is it true?  Nope!  How do I know? You ask?  Because this is the most misquoted verse of all scriptures.  Let’s read it in its entirety:

1 Timothy 6:10 “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. …” 

Aha!  Now that makes more sense!  Money itself, is not evil, but the love of money is.  We could dive into a theological discussion here on this scripture, but I am not going to.  Instead, we are going to look at the money we have, and how we spend it.

We need money today.  We need it for food, shelter, clothing, and many other things.  God also asks us for money.  Why shouldn’t He?  It all belongs to Him, doesn’t it?  He provided us with the job that brings money in, the blessing of money from someone else originated from God, so it’s only natural that He wants us to give some back to Him.  He doesn’t ask for much, unlike the governments, He only asks for 10%, our tithe.

Leviticus 27:30   “‘A tithe of everything from the land, whether grain from the soil or fruit from the trees, belongs to the Lord; it is holy to the Lord.”

That seems easy enough, doesn’t it.  Just give God 10%.  But then the second part of Timothy comes into play:

1 Timothy 6:10  “Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

Oops.  Ok, have I lost you here?  Let me explain what I mean.  Back to tithing, how much does God ask us to tithe?  It’s 10%, but 10% of what?  Is it ten percent of the gross amount, the net amount, or after the bills are paid?  Is it after we buy that cute outfit, or killer pair of shoes first, after our vacation?  If you answered yes to any of the above, we have a long road ahead of us.  God wants 10% of our first fruits.  That means if you gross $10, He wants $1.  Not after you pay or buy everything else, but first.  I know it’s not easy, but there is something we all need to understand.  God does not need our money.  He owns everything, so He doesn’t need it.  Then, why does He want it if He doesn’t need it?  To teach us.  To show us that He is in control of everything including our finances.  He is the Great I Am, not the Great I Need.  He wants us to fully rely on Him for everything.  By tithing, you are honoring God with, for some of us, is the most important thing in our lives.

I have heard some people say, “If you tithe to God, He will give you more money in return.”.  He might, but that is not the way He wants you to tithe.  He wants you to tithe with the right attitude.  He wants you to be a joyful giver with no thoughts on how He is going to give back to you.

What if you don’t have any money?  What if you are married to someone who does not believe in God, or does not believe in tithing?  Should you tithe anyway?  Yes.  You can tithe with other things besides money, you can tithe your time, your love, anything that God lays on your heart to tithe.

Let me tell you something of my own experience with tithing various things to God and how it worked out for me.  When I was working, I always thought to myself, I will tithe this week IF (insert any if here you like, if I have enough for bills, if that book I want isn’t here yet, if that pair of shoes isn’t on sale) if, if if.  Was God blessing me?  Yes, but there was something in my Spirit that was not at peace.  When I started to tithe, I started with 10% of the net after bills, and God blessed me.  Then it was 10% before bills, and still He blessed me.  I finally started to tithe the gross, and BOY!  Did He bless me!  Sometimes with money, yes, but mostly in other ways.  I would love to go into how He did and what, but it’s personal for each person.  I then tried to outbless God with my tithing, and I couldn’t do it!  No matter how much I blessed Him, He blessed me more!  My spirit was at peace, and was rejoicing over it all!

I no longer work, but I still tithe my time and anything else God asks of me.  Tithing is so important to me and to God.  He does not command us to tithe, but why would you hold back something from God that is His in the first place?

So for day one on back to basics money is tithing.

Ask yourself these questions, and be honest!  We cannot change what we do not acknowledge:

1)      Do I tithe to God?  If so, out of what bounty am I tithing?  Over what is left, or out of my abundance.

2)      If I don’t tithe, why?  What is holding me back?

3)      If you cannot tithe money, in what other ways can I tithe?  Where would God see me tithe?

Tithing is like  a prayer to God, saying thank you to Him for all He has given you.  You probably won’t get rich when you tithe, but you will be blessed and at peace in your heart.  So let’s start tithing and see what God does with it!

Created for the Gift of the Home Group by K.D.

Come join us for encouragement and support at https://www.facebook.com/groups/GiftoftheHome/

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