Biblical Money Management.
I need this Info just as much as the next man or woman!
Debt Free the Bible Way - Money Management by Bible Precepts
Scripture Passage:Proverbs 22:7
Americans are a covetous people who always want more and more stuff. Influenced by a multitude of advertisements, they think they must have the latest, the best; and it must be state of the art. This leads them into financial disaster and keeps them from using their God-given funds to do the work of God.
If you are looking for answers to your financial problems, there are principles in the Bible that can help you. However, you must be serious in their application and obedient to the Lord in these matters. Are you ready? If so, then read on.
Give to God First.I will not discuss the doctrine of giving in any detail. I will not tell you how much to give or where to give. But you must give to God and He must get the firstfruits of your labors—not the leftovers. Proverbs 3:9 tells us, “Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase.” Do not expect God to help you if you refuse to bless Him with a portion of your income.
Be Content With What You Have.Do you have enough to eat and clothes to wear? Then be content with what you have. Lack of contentment is a sin. It is also the greatest cause of unnecessary debt. If it is your sin, then confess it to the Lord and let Him help you change your greedy ways. Meditate on scriptures such as:
1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.”Check the Contentment Quiz to see how content you are.
Budget Your Income .I am not advocating any particular budgeting program. But all budgeting plans are not complicated. There are very simple ways to budget if you have never done it before. Budgeting is nothing more than the careful use of your resources. It means knowing how much is coming in and how much is going out. And it means knowing where it is going. You are to work hard to know the condition of your resources. Consider this verse.
Proverbs 27:23 “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds.”
- You are a steward of the resources God provides you. A steward cares for that which belongs to another and must be ready to give an account for his stewardship. Are you able to give an account for your use of the money God has given you?
1 Corinthians 4:1 “Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.”
Stop Going Into Debt .This one point is the key to getting out of debt. Stop charging on your account. Get rid of the credit cards if you cannot control them. Even credit cards have to be paid off slightly faster than the interest mounts up. So if you cease to borrow, you will one day cease to owe. Yes, it takes discipline and it takes a plan. I cannot guarantee you that no medical emergency or similar catastrophe might ruin your plans. But God is in charge of these things and can be trusted with your life. However, the alternative is the slavery of debt. In the Bible, debt is a negative that should be avoided if possible. Notice what God says.
Proverbs 22:7 “The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.”
Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Create an Emergency Fund .I could never get out of debt until I created a fund for minor emergencies. Some people establish savings accounts. Others incorporate these into complex budgets. It does not matter which method you use. But begin to put aside for the things that break. Start with a small amount but make it regular. Put that portion aside each paycheck. I have found that $200-$300 in my emergency fund can often keep me from greater expenses.
- For instance, if your refrigerator stops working and you have no money at all, what do you do? Most people pull out their credit card, go to Sears and buy a new one—and feel fully justified in their debt. But the debt is not just the new refrigerator. You wanted to make sure it did not break for a while, so you got a good one…right? And now you will have to pay for all the interest in addition to the basic cost. You may end up paying $1,500.00 to $2,000.00 for that one appliance.
- But what if you had $250.00 in your emergency fund? Now you have other options you did not when you were broke. You could check into getting the old one repaired. Or, you might find a good used one you could buy. I know. You try to justify the new one. It has a warrantee. It will last for 20 years (good luck). But the $250 can get you a refrigerator. Consider the advantages. There is no interest to pay. There are no future payments to make. And, if it breaks, you still are not in any worse shape than you were. It is only our desire for things that makes us want the new one. Search your own heart and consider the teaching of the Bible.
Proverbs 30:24 “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise: 25 The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.”
- God calls the ants wise because they prepare their meat in the summer. Why can’t we show a little of the same wisdom?
Decrease Expenses .I can already tell you…you think this is impossible for you. You have already cut to the bone and nothing else can be cut. 99% of the time, you will be wrong.
There are some basic principles of personal finance that you must understand. They are so simple that you think you already know them. But, in most cases, people in trouble act as if they do not exist.
- If you spend more than your income, you are going into debt.
- If you continually spend more than your income, you are heading for disaster.
- There are only two ways fix this problem:
- Increase your income
- Decrease your outgo
With our finances we want the same magic. But in the long run, there is only one way—to spend less than your income. This brings us back to the point of this section: you need to seriously look at your expenses to see what can be cut back. I am convinced that one dollar saved is equivalent to increasing your income by two dollars. A portion of the extra income should be given to the Lord and the government will surely get its part. Enough extra dollars will raise you into a higher tax bracket (America) and often brings extra expenses. And, finally, extra income usually gets spent…I have an extra $100 a month so I can get that car I always wanted. Extra income almost never gets people out of debt. That comes by reducing spending.
Interest on debt is probably the greatest waster of your money. So, by refusing new debt, you will begin to reduce your expenses. But there are other areas to consider. Look at the following questions:
- Check your repetitive expenses like phone extras, cable TV, health club, etc. Do you really need them?
- How much are you spending on pets? Could you give them to a friend?
- How much do you really spend on your hobbies? Don’t guess. Add it up. What could you cut?
- What do you spend on eating out?
- What do you spend on entertainment? Sports?
- How much do you spend on vacation? Is it really necessary? Could you stay at home and take short trips in your surrounding area this year? Could you go to state parks instead of expensive amusement parks?
- Could you drive a cheaper car, live in a smaller house, eat more beans and potatoes, buy fewer pre-prepared foods?
Romans 13:8 “Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.”
Learn to Judge Real Value and Costs.
1 Corinthians 2:15 “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.”Part of wisdom is learning how to discern. The world will sell you on something being 50% off. Wisdom will teach you that you can save the entire 100% if you do not purchase it at all. Ask God to give you wisdom in financial matters (see James 1:5). The person selling you something is not looking out for you but for himself. Learn to judge bargains and deals for what they really are.
- The extended warrantees that are offered with about everything you buy now are a good case-in-point. Have you ever wondered why these warrantees are pushed so much with about everything you purchase? Is it because they are such a good bargain for the consumer?
- No! They sell these to you because they provide such good profit for the company. On the whole, people gain much less from these warrantees than they spend. You can absorb an occasional failure of an appliance for much less than it costs to have warrantees on everything.
- What if you find a thingamajig that you would like to have at 40% off and put it on your credit card and pay it off at minimum payment? If it normally cost $100.00, you got it for a bargain at $60.00, right? Wrong! The interest on your credit card will probably double the initial cost of the item so you will probably pay about $120.00 for it.
- Would you run down to a sale where the newspaper ad says that everything in the store is marked up 20%? Of course not. But when you put an item on credit, you might as well be doing the same thing.
Set Your Financial Priorities.According to Matthew 6:33, we are to seek first the kingdom of God. So, what are your financial priorities? Do you think you have to have some things that are really not necessary? Make sure your financial priorities line up with God’s priorities for you. Make a list of your major financial goals in the order of importance. Now pray about them to see if they are the will of the Lord for your life.
Make the Tough Decisions on Purpose.Christians need to judge the situation with God’s help and make the right decisions.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.”We have a tendency to hide our heads in the sand when it comes to financial problems. We believe that if we ignore it long enough, it will just go away. But it doesn’t. While we pretend it isn’t there, we just get deeper and deeper in trouble. What could have been handled with minimum adjustments becomes a major mess.
The key is to recognize the problem before it gets out of hand. If your income continuously falls below your expenditures, you are already in trouble. Don’t wait until the debts pile a mountain high. Do something now!
Look at your situation and make the tough decisions. You are a steward of the resources God has given you. Get that new job. Sell that second car. Cut the entertainment. As hard as it seems, it is a world easier now than it will be later.
In Good Times Plan for Lean Times.To some, this may seem to be the opposite of faith. However, many do not understand the Biblical meaning of faith. Faith is taking God at His word and acting on His promises as if they were present reality. This may mean that you step out in action on God’s leadership without visible support for your actions. But it also means that you follow the word of the Lord because you know it is true. Listen to what God’s word says:
“The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer” – Proverbs 30:25God wants us to prepare for winter. That is one of His definitions of wisdom. When your income is good; when things are going well—that is the time to put some resources aside for the lean times. Too many people get a $50 a week raise and then go out and commit themselves to $60 a week extra expense. Look ahead. Plan for tomorrow. This is not ungodly. It is God’s plan!
Simplify Your Life .John warns us against loving the things of the world (1 John 2:15-17). Yet, that is what we often do. We want nice clothes, nice furniture, nice cars, etc., etc., etc. We are never content with what we have now. But many of these little extras add up to a lot of money. You can often save quite a bit of money by simplifying your life. This is a special problem in America—the land of plenty. Please look at your life and see where unneeded things can be cut back. Simpler is less complicated and often much more peaceful. You may learn to appreciate having and doing less.
Learn New Skills.God’s people should do their best at whatever they do. This means developing your abilities and learning new ones. Colossians 3:23 tells us, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” You cannot do your best if you do not develop your talents and expand your knowledge.
- You can also learn home skills that can save you money. Learn to do simple things on your car. Do certain things around the house. Make it. Fix it. Grow it. Bake it. Can it. There are a hundred ways and more that you