Friday, January 08, 2010

Christian Manhood - Budgeting

Another good way to better manage God’s money is to budget. There’s not enough space here to go through the many possible budgeting plans available, but here are just a couple of suggestions.

First, keep track of what you’re spending. You will be surprised where your money is going.

Second, give to God a regular proportion of what He has given you. The Bible usually speaks of ten percent as a starting point.

Next, figure out what percentage of your income is needed for fixed expenses such as house payments, car payments, insurance etc. Then look at your annual expenses for electricity, heating and so on.

Do the same thing for groceries, clothing, etc.

Here is the part that I found very helpful to me and I can thank my dad for this idea. Out of each check, set aside the actual money allocated for each category. You can set this aside actually using marked envelopes or you can set it aside on a paper chart or on a computer spread sheet.

For example, suppose your house payments are 20% of your income. Then each time you get a paycheck, take 20% of the cash and put it into an envelope marked house payment. If clothing is 3% of your pay, then put that much into an envelope each time you get paid. You could also just keep track of it on paper, but you have to be sure to be thorough.

Here’s the problem most people have. A man might be out with his family and he decides to stop at McDonalds and treat everyone to a sundae or sandwich some evening. It’s not the main meal; it’s just a treat. He knows he has $30 in his wallet and so he buys these things for them. The problem is that there is no money in the treat envelope. Even if he doesn’t have a budgeting system, you can’t spend money you don’t have available. What he just spent was clothing money, or gas money, or part of an insurance payment. It takes incredible discipline to say to yourself or to your family, “I’m sorry, we don’t have the money for that tonight.” If you have a budget and know that you’ve got $20 accumulated in the treats envelope, then you can have this special outing with perfect freedom knowing that you’ve planned well.

I hope these suggestions will be helpful to many of you.

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