Money has power. In our book, Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life, we write:
"Whether we earn a little of a lot, each of us wrestles with money's hold on our heart and mind. Money is not a neutral thing; it has intrinsic power and the potential of being used for good or evil....Learning to manage money wisely is an essential discipleship skill, because it directly affects our relationship with God. We are free to serve God and others fully only after we have put money in its proper place in our heart, mind and lives" (pp. 207, 209).
The money we earn and are given has been entrusted by God to us to manage. Our ability to handle money affects our ability to discern and live our calling. Fortunately, we live in a time in which many money management resources are available to help us make the most of our financial resources. Below are tips and tools for taking control of your money:
1. Know where your money is going by developing a spending plan (aka, a budget). A budget will help you to be a wise steward of your finances. Here is a helpful online budget calculator.
2. Consider using Mint to track your finances. Mint pulls financial information from all of your accounts (such as checking, savings, credit cards); shows spending trends, allows you to create and manage budgets and sends weekly or monthly financial summaries via email. You can also text Mint to receive an instant update on your account balances, or download its free iPhone app for instant access.
3. Handle credit cards wisely. While credit cards are convenient and good for gaining credit history, they can become a problem if you don't pay off your balance each month. If you don't have the self-discipline to only buy what you can pay for that month, do not use credit cards. As Dave Ramsey recommends, cut them up if they are controlling you!
4. If you have debt outside of your mortgage, use the snowball technique to pay down your debt. Snowballing debt is paying off your debt as soon as possible through a strategic process. This site includes directions and a calculator that will help you to learn this process and develop a plan that will work for you.
5. Protect yourself against identity theft:
6. Start the habit of tithing at least 10% of your income even if it is just from part-time work. Remember that all of your money comes from and belongs to God; we are just its manager. Tithing is an act of gratitude, obedience and trust.
7. Develop an emergency fund of $1000. An emergency fund covers those unexpected events that can include job lose, car repairs or a medical/dental emergency. Without this fund many people use their credit card and having ongoing credit card debt.
8. Increase your emergency fund to 3-6 months of salary.
9. Start saving early in life. 45% of baby boomers are concerned that they will run out of retirement money. This calculator will help you determine the retirement amount that you need to save.
10. No matter what your age, the magic of compound interest can help you to save for retirement. Use this calculator to determine what you need to save each month for your retirement. (For example, the online compound interest calculator demonstrates how with only $1000 in savings and 15% of added savings a year from a $50,000 salary can result in over 2 million dollars of savings in 43 years.)
© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, National Certified Career Counselors, ChristianCareerCenter.com, ChurchJobsOnline.com and ChristianJobFair.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.