Finances can run your life if you don’t learn how to run your finances. Sometimes we make completely preventable mistakes simply because we’ve never been educated on the subject. Here are 5 helpful ideas that will help you in any stage of life.
Rainy Day Fund
Every time I even mention a fund for emergencies my 86 year old grandmother pipes in, “My mother always saved up money for the emergencies. We never went without because she knew how to save a little stash of cash.” Whether you loose your job, blow a tire, have a leaky roof, or you run out of sick days to take time off of work, just knowing you have money set aside for true emergencies will give you peace of mind. Set aside $500-$1000 and keep the cash in an envelope at home where it can sit as a cushion should any unfortunate event occur. Don’t take months and months to save it. Do it quick so you don’t have to fall back on a credit card to save you in case of an emergency.
Make a Budget and Stick to it
Make a list of all of the expenses you have. Then prioritize them. I start with tithes, savings, mortgage payments, utilities, food etc. If it’s not on the budget for the week or the month, then don’t get it. Last time I shopped at Costco I had budgeted $100. When the cashier said the total was $99.58, I wanted to give her a high-five as I have her two $50 bills! Don’t ever thing there is not enough, or it’s the trial in you were given to have horrible “luck” with money. Abundance is all around us. God sent us to this earth to learn and grow. He wants us to be happy. All that we have has been given to us by a loving Heavenly Father. He has allowed us to be stewards. Search the scriptures and you will see over and over again how the Lord blesses his people when they are living by righteous principles. Start now. Everyday is a new day.
If you can’t afford it don’t get it!
Just because you can afford the payments does not mean you can afford it. Things are just things. There will always be another sale. When you have the money you might not even want what you thought you so desperately needed now. For example, get a car you afford. Plan ahead and pay cash for car. Get a car that gets you from point A to point .There are more important things in life than the car you drive. I grew up in a family that never had a car payment. My three siblings and I took music lessons, dance lessons, played sports and took many family vacations. My mom and dad spent a lot of time playing with and teaching us the greatest lessons in life because they chose to live simply. We drove the same white mini van until I graduated form high school.
When the dollar bills squeak through your fingers, it just feels more real. When you get your check, pull out the money for food, gas, clothes, entertainment, etc. Put each category in an envelope or separate them with a small clip. When the money in any category is gone then your spending in that area is over until the next pay period. If we can have the self discipline in this one area you can easily go forward and master all weaknesses one by one.
If you are not married yet, find a friend, parent, or anyone who will listen to be your finance pal. There is absolutely no shame in asking for some feedback. Just talking through a budget helps makes sense of the numbers. When you’re married it is crucial that both spouses brings their hearts and minds to the table to discuss how money works in a family. Set aside time before the beginning of each month lay out a budget. It takes time and practice but it is so worth it! Talk to your family about how they deal with money and what they’ve learned from past mistakes or successes. Look for great mentors, people who have been successful, ask for help.
Pay the Lord first and Save for yourself
Always, always, always pay tithing first. We’ve been promised the windows of heaven will be opened if we do. Just do it. Remember it is all the Lords and he’s simply given us stewardship over our finances. If you pay the Lord 10% then you can pay yourself 5-10% and set it aside you pay check or each month. Maybe its only $10 or maybe its a couple hundred hundred. Start somewhere. There is so much strength that comes from being self-sufficient. When we are self-sufficient we are better equipped to help those around us.