Faith for Finances: Practical Money Advice

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good مكن عد و فرز.

Today, we’re talking about practical money advice. I don’t count myself to be a financial guru; however, I do count myself to be a person who’s allergic to being broke. I have been since I was a little girl. When I was a little girl, I used to put my money in my shoe when I went to school. One day, somehow, my money came out of my shoe. I guess the shoe was too loose. My feelings were so hurt that day; I couldn’t believe I had lost my money. So, I started putting my money inside of my sock. My whole family tell jokes about this to this day. Anyway, it occurred to me that if I stick my money inside of my sock, then even if the shoe is loose, the money won’t come out because it’s in the sock.

Brilliant! I could then feel my money under my toes, wiggle it around under there and I knew I had my money. I had my lunch money and I had my extra money to go and get me a honeybun with after school. So, I’ve always been this way. Again, I say I’m allergic to being broke because I associate security to a great degree with knowing that when I go to turn the light on, it’s going to come on and knowing that when I get ready to take a bath, there’s going to be water. I believe I inherited this. All of my Samuels’ aunts are like this. Once I met a Samuels’ cousin and her husband. Her husband began to jokingly describe her money habits to my then boyfriend and commenced to stepping on all of my toes. Awkward… However, that’s my personality. Whatever your personality type, yield it to the Lord. I’ve always been a saver. So, it comes naturally to me to save money. However, there are also people who are naturally spenders and that’s fine, too.

The problem is when either category is left unchecked. If you spend all the time and don’t set aside any money to make sure your needs are met, then you’re in trouble. If you save everything and don’t keep anything flowing, then you get into trouble that way, too. We have to yield our personality type to the Lord and allow Him to boss us. If something comes up and the saver doesn’t want to give, we have to say, “Okay, if God is telling me do this, I need to do it.” Then, of course, the person who spends too much, needs to check in with God on how to spend his money. Don’t beat yourself up over the type of person that you are. Just let God boss you. Jesus is Lord. Let Him be Lord. He’s not just your saviour who gets you into Heaven when you die. He is also your Lord on this side. Allow Him to be Lord of all. Allow Him to boss your money and you’ll be in good shape.

So, you may not want to build Donald Trump’s tower. You may want to do something far simpler. Still, you need to count the cost. You need to see what it’s going to take to get it done and you need to live within your means. A lot of us don’t even know what our means are. We just go to work and get paid, then blow the money. We have some bills paid and the bills that don’t get paid, just don’t get paid. Then we dodge those “unknown” and “800” numbers that come in from bill collectors. We just keep in this crazy cycle that doesn’t get us ahead in life, but gets us further down. So, first you have to know what you make (your means). You have to pay attention to what kind of income you have coming in and then you have to track what you’re spending. Get a little memo pad or use your phone and write down what you’re spending every day for a week or two.

If you stop for coffee in the morning, write down how much it cost. Write down what you spent on lunch. If you had to stop and get gas, write down what it cost. Write it all down so that you can get an idea of where your money is going. Then when you see where your money is going, you can analyze how to make adjustments. You can see where you can cut costs. You might realize, I don’t need to go out to lunch every day. If I’m spending $10 a day on lunch, that’s $50 a week, $200 a month and $2,400 a year! (Actually, $10 is on the conservative side. Lunch costs have increased.) For some, it’s a doable expense, but for most, it’s money that could be better spent elsewhere. So, track your spending and then you can see where you can cut costs or reallocate your money.

In the spirit of tracking spending, be sure to keep your ATM and debit card receipts and balance those in your checkbook. Also, reconcile your bank statements with your checkbook. You may have missed an entry or the bank may have made a mistake. Also, use your own bank’s ATM. You won’t want to run all over town and get money here and there if it’s not your bank. You’ll incur extra fees from them. It seems like it’s a small amount of money, a couple of dollars here and there, but it adds up over time. Why just throw money away? You can use that extra money, especially if you’re in a tight situation, to help get you out of the tight situation. So, use your own bank’s ATM as often as possible. Don’t use the other ones unless it’s an emergency.

To cut costs, use coupons. Don’t feel too “sheeshy poopoo” to use a coupon. Cut those coupons out and use them and let them help you move forward. Some people have made a real art out of this and after all of their coupons are tallied, they leave the store without having to pay any money! So use coupons and let them help you survive and thrive. You can find coupons in the Sunday paper, the weekly circulars and online.

I want to also mention credit card reform. Thankfully, under this presidential administration, they’ve done some reform with credit cards. In your statement, they now have to tell you how your payment will look if you just make the minimum payment. They have to show you how long it will take to pay off your balance when only making minimum payments. Be sure to read your statements and try to never pay just the minimum balance. Only do so when you’re in a tight situation. Minimum payments go toward the accruing interest. You always want to attack the principal in some way.

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