Christian Money Management
Making a Budget Work
by Lauren Bailey
While there are a variety of excellent books out there on the topic of Christian money management, you may be surprised at how much you can learn about the topic from the Good Book itself -- the Bible. Here we will explore three foundational biblical principles concerning your money that Christians can lean on when considering their finances.
1.) Tithing. This is a simple biblical concept giving 10 percent of your income to the church but tricky for many of us to put into practice. After all, when you are barely making ends meet, 10 percent is a lot to spare. However scripture tells us that by being faithful in our tithes essentially making sure God's business is taken care of first God will make sure our business is taken care of.
In fact, God promises an outpouring of blessing. Consider the following key scripture from Malachi 3:10 (NIV): Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this, says the Lord Almighty, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.
Three things to think about when implementing the biblical tithe:
- Many of today's modern churches have an option to automatically withdraw an established 10 percent at a set time each month (think automated bill pay). Others may allow you to do your giving online. Both of these options make it much more convenient to give if you have a habit of forgetting your tithe check at home.
- Remember that your money isn't disappearing into nowhere; without tithes and offerings, much of the ministry of the church would not be possible.
- Charitable giving to churches is tax-deductible, which is helpful when tax time rolls around.
2.) Saving Little by Little to Reap Big Dividends. Sometimes you've got to start small when it comes to saving money. Maybe all you can afford to put into a savings account is $100 a month or even $20. However, it is a principle of Christian money management to gather money bit by bit. Consider the following key scripture from Proverbs 13:11 (NIV):
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.
Two things to think about when implementing a plan to save little by little:
- Create at least two different savings accounts one for emergencies (e.g., unexpected major vehicle repairs or hospital visits) and one for the things you want (e.g., a Caribbean cruise or a high-end digital camera). Start building these accounts by putting small amounts in each every month, and increasing the amount you put in these accounts gradually, as you can fit it into your budget.
- Start a Roth IRA by socking away a relatively small amount each month, you will be accumulating a significant nest egg for your retirement.
3.) Paying off debt. The Bible encourages Christian money management to get out from under a burden of debt. In fact, in various places scripture reminds us that the borrower is servant to the lender and that God's chosen people will lend to many nations, but will borrow from none. Consider the following scripture from Romans 13:8 (NIV): Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the law.
Two things to think about when implementing a plan to pay off debt:
- Always know how much you owe. An alarming number of people are in debt up to their ears and don't even have the foggiest notion how much they owe in total. Getting the amount on paper is the first step to reducing debt.
- Start budgeting for debt reduction. When you build your budget, plan out how much you will spend each month on debt reduction, and gradually increase this amount as your budget allows.
These three key biblical principles should form the foundation of any Christian money management plan to guarantee your success in making your budget work.
Lauren Bailey writes about the best online colleges. Email her your comments to: blauren99 @gmail.com.
The next article in this Christian Finance Principles series talks about how not giving tithes and offerings robs God (he says so).
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