Money management reflects our walk with God. Money, like all other resources, is from God and should be utilized in a manner that honors the giver. The bible gives practical tips to guide our spending so we can be prosperous.
A practical way to achieve financial success is by creating a budget and sticking to it. The Christian’s budget reflects Kingdom values. The bible encourages budgeting in Luke 14:28; “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” A budget is a spending guide designed to help us accomplish our financial goals. You may use a note pad, computer spreadsheet, banking software or other online budget like Mint.com, mobile budget etc. to create a budget.
The first section of the budget is Income. We acquire income through our work, and it is God who gives us the ability to do so. When we honor God by putting Him first in everything including our finance He blesses us and gives wisdom to manage.
The Expense section of the budget should first list Savings & Investments. Our tithe, offerings and taxes should be included in this section. Ten percent of our income belongs to God and should be returned to his storehouse. “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.” Leviticus 27:30. Our consistency in tithing demonstrates our obedience to God and dependency on Him. Our offering represents our gratitude and thanks for God’s provision, and the amount we give is discretionary. Income taxes are paid to the government and are used to help the less fortunate, build state infrastructures, etc. We store up treasures in heaven by returning a faithful tithe, giving generous offerings, helping the needy and honestly paying income taxes.
Proverbs 6:6-8 encourages savings. “Go the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise, which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, provided her meat in the summer and gathered her food in the harvest.” Save for major purchases, emergencies, retirement and other investments. It would be wise to have a year’s expenses saved in an Emergency Savings Account. Set up for automatic savings and keep funds in interest bearing account(s).
Fixed Expenses like mortgage/rent, insurance can be set up automatically to avoid late payment charges. We can be flexible with Variable Expenses – groceries, clothing, utilities etc. Spend only what’s affordable to you.
If income is less than expenses we have a budget shortfall, and should make necessary adjustments to live within or below our income. Be aggressive in paying off long term debt and avoid debt on depreciable items.
We are to do our best in planning but God is our main source and is able to provide when our budget fails. “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)