Starting in January of 2011 the Lord has been urging me to help people learn how to, using common sense and simple thinking, better manage their budget. I’m not a financial counselor, accountant, or even a bookkeeper. I have held positions as treasurer to various organizations. I was also on the Board of Directors of International Machine Quilters Association as the treasurer and maintained the books for several years.
It’s amazing how many people have openly spoken to me about their financial problems. People I only know from see them at a retailer or fast food place I frequent. I believe this is God sending these individuals for me to minister to the money issue they are dealing with at that time or to open up to them a different way of thinking about money.
I’ve decided that one way I can help is to write a few blog posts offering the insights I’ve had that have impacted others. I’ll post every week for a while something about managing or an idea that may change your way of thinking about how you spend your money.
Whatever suggestions I make are simply my views and I don’t take responsibility for how you implement them. You know we live in a litigious society and so I’m covering my you know what.
Many people don’t fully think out where and how their money goes. They live paycheck to paycheck. They also spend more than they make getting deeper and deeper behind while not changing their spending habits in order to more successfully manage their finances. When retirement, illness, job loss, major repairs, etc. come along they have no savings to fall back on. Hopefully, my suggestions will help. So, if you are interested in some common sense and thinking different read on.
1Thessalonians 4:11-12 WEB that you make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, even as we charged you; that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.
We are to live in a way that shows to those who are not believers that we live differently than the way they live. One of these ways is to manage out money, not as the world does, but as God wants us to. That you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and may have need of nothing.
My first suggestion is to get a small notebook and write down ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU SPEND!!!!!!!!!! for one month. That means EVERYTHING. If you buy a pack of gum when you fill your car, write it down. If your child asks for money to do something, write it down. If you put the penny in the give a penny dish, write it down.
For one month, keep track of everything in a semi-itemized way. The major items such as mortgage, utilities, car payments; those are the easy ones. Other easy ones are grocery/household, gas, clothes, school lunches; things like that. The ones that don’t fit into those categories become harder. If you eat out, use EO as the category. Go to a movie or other entertainment; ENT. You get the idea. Anything that doesn’t fit mark with D for discretionary spending. That’s the candy bar or drink you pick up at the convenient store, going through the car wash, etc.
The important thing is that every penny is accounted for. Before you can make better choices in how you spend your money you have to know how you are spending it. It’s a big job writing it all down, but it is a vital one to learning where you can make small changes that can have a huge impact on your budget.
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Sophie Dawson is my pen name. The real me is the wife of a farmer in western Illinois.
I have two grown sons, one of which is married to a wonderful young woman. They gave us the most wonderful granddaughter ever in November of 2010. I'm not the least bit prejudice. :)