I don’t claim to be an expert in finances, but I have learned a little through the road of hard knox. When I was growing up I was never given any guidance through saving, tithing, spending money or the use of credit cards. In the beginning of my life I used my finances by tithing, and spending the rest on of my finances on life and recreation while accumulating credit card debt. As I grew older I began to learn concepts and ideas that helped my future, that is, if I stick to my principles and not allow circumstances to direct the use of my money. Many of us have heard the 10-10-80 rule….10% goes to tithes, 10% goes to yourself – savings or emergency account, 80% goes to household needs. If a person and his family would stay on this track using these concepts, it would reaps great benefits to their life.
So what about the person who can’t use this concept without losing everything? You know your house, car and yes not having the ability to eat anything except Raman Noodles. I think we must begin with putting together a budget that your family can work with. After you give your 10% in tithes what do you have left to spend? Then assess if you are using wise spending habits, what can you put away in a savings account – which will be your emergency account. I know in the past I have started my savings account with 2.5% of what I brought home. Then as time went along and I have paid off debt I have been able to hold back 10%. Now this is just a basic structure for us to use for your spending lifestyle.
Our first step before we go any further is having a clear vision, what would you like to see God do with your money? Many of us are captured by our circumstances and don’t see past the present. Instead, we need to look towards the future to fulfill the God given dreams that God has placed in our hearts. Some thoughts we must work through are: How would you and your family like to see your finances used? Do you have any future goals? Imagine if didn’t have any debt, what would you do with the finances that God has blessed you with? I know many of us have talked jokingly about how we would use money if we were given a million dollars. What if you had not debt besides your living expenses? How would you use your money?
The next thing we must do is put together an action plan to eliminate debt. Begin paying off credit cards, auto loans and any other debt that you may have accumulated. One way that you can do this is by paying the minimum on all debt except for your lowest debt balance. On that bill pay extra (Sometimes we must eliminate extra expenses to find extra money- assess what you may need to get rid of to pay extra on your debt. This could be taking bag lunches to work, less Starbucks coffees, etc.) each month until that debt is paid off. After that debt is paid off use the money from the paid debt to the next lowest debt that you have accumulated. After paying that debt off use both moneies from the debt that is now paid off and put it towards your next lowest debt. Keep this process going until all debt is paid off. After all credit cards are paid off either get rid of the cards or only use them if you can pay them off each month. (Some individuals may have to get rid of the cards to pay them off.) The best credit card princliple is only spend money that you have.
Again, I am not an expert with financial matters, but use some of these principles to help further what God has already started in your life. Check out True Life Church for a financial pocast.