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Practical Tips for Managing Finances

Campers in a swim

Today we’ll revisit the first of a two-part series exploring the link between a budget and the tenth commandment. Next week will include some ways to prepare our kids for managing their own finances. Johnny Mac gives us some very practical tips and resources for diving in to this not-always-easy topic. Check ‘em out.

Scripture

“You shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Deuteronomy 5:21

Reflect

The afternoon of my college graduation my mom handed me an envelope. “It’s your car now,” she said “and this is what YOU still owe on it”. Inside was a booklet with the remaining payment slips for my car. We give our kids many things; among them should be the skill of managing finances. It is a skill partly taught and mostly caught by children. And it’s a skill partly about math and mostly about desires (just ask my mom how badly I desired that ’95 Honda).  

Let’s start with the math. In its simplest form a budget is a written list of income against expenses. Take a moment to look at the attached example. It’s quite a list huh? But notice how just seeing a list that long makes you think twice about where all the money goes. The most effective way to counter our desires for that new object is to easily recall the existing bills. The best way to recall the existing expenses is to write them out. Here are the benefits of a written budget:

  • It gives a good reason to say no to purchases reducing spending and increasing saving.
  • Saving for something and buying without debt is cheaper and feels better (Prov 22:7).
  • It provides for honest discussions with yourself and spouse about financial goals.

Now that you know why, this video gives a 5 minute overview of how a budget works [Better Money Habits: Budget]. If you don’t yet have a budget, spend the next few weeks working through the attached worksheet. Crown financial provides guidelines for how much goes where [Budget Guide] along with a long list of other good financial resources [Resources].

Camper Corner

Read Luke 14:28–30. Think for a minute about all the things that mom and dad pay for. How will you pay for those things when you become a parent? Think about something you would like to buy. Today’s scriptures encourage us to master our desires and plan for the future. Make a plan today to save up for that purchase and discuss it with your parents.

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