She Stewards

She Stewards

From our summer Girl Talk series, we’ve been talking about ways to practically be a Proverbs 31 woman! Recently we’ve discussed the topic of stewarding and personal finance. Here’s a recap from the talk!

This is a topic we often worry, ignore, are ashamed to bring up….we lose sleep, fret..So much in this topic that we will not be able to discuss things in depth, however, we’ll touch on some basics and foundations to stewarding our financial resources well! Hopefully we can gain some knowledge and wisdom to help us honor the Lord and lose the worry! Here are a few (of many) scriptures on money & stewardship.

Proverbs 31: 11 The heart of her husband safely trusts her, so he will have no lack of gain. She is profitable and an asset to her husband.

Proverbs 31: 16 She considers a field and buys it; from her profits she plants a vineyard. She considers, researches, labors to invest family resources wisely.

Proverbs 31:20 She extends her hand to the poor, Yes, she reaches out her hands to the needy. She is giving.

Proverbs 31:24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies sashes for the merchants. She helps provide for her family and community.

Proverbs 31:27 She watches over the ways of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. She is not lazy, stagnant, idle.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Matthew 6:19-34 v.21: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. v. 24: No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.

2 Corinthians 4:2 It is required in stewards that one be found faithful.

Malachi 3:10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house, and try Me now in this,” says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”

Money can and has been an idol to many… earning it whether enjoyable means or not- has the power to steer your focus off the Lord, often in subtle ways. Then before you know it, your effort, attention and underlying desire is to watch your bank account grow, earn more, buy more, have more- packaged in the name of ‘success’. One can miss out on gifts from God when the focus is the almighty dollar. You may have not managed your money well, or made bad financial decisions, are in a lot of debt … regardless of where your financial situation is today, I’m thankful that for you and I, there is GRACE. God is merciful and gracious to meet us where we are at, and minister to us there, but also to lead us out and into healthy financial stewardship.

Did you know?

  • Average debt in a U.S. household in 2015 ranges between $7k-$8k
  • 50% of people have less than 1 month worth of savings for emergencies.
  • People spend 12-18% more when NOT using cash, but plastic.
  • You can save $112k over a lifetime for just bringing lunch to work everyday!
  • 57% of homes do NOT have a budget or spending plan
  • 61% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck!
  • More than 1 in 5 households earning more than $100k still live paycheck to paycheck!

If you are married, this is something you and your husband want to sit and do together. A joint effort with a united heart will help you stay on track and above all glorify the Lord!

It’s often said that the numbers don’t lie, and they don’t. However, this doesn’t factor in the supernatural: gas tank running on E longer than it should, food stretching to feed you longer than you thought. God can and does multiply our fish and loaves daily. When you establish the good habit and discipline of money management, very often you will notice God blessing you to encourage you to keep up the good work!

Some averages for you… the Average U.S. household spends about:

  • Housing: 34%
  • Transportation: 16%
  • Food: 13%
  • Insurance & Pensions: 11%
  • Healthcare: 7%
  • Entertainment: 5%
  • Cash Contributions: 3%
  • All other spending: 7%

Personal Finance: Where do I start?

  1. Pray: Ask the Lord for wisdom and guidance as you begin to practice the discipline of stewarding.
    • Getting out of debt or living within your means, is more than managing money, it is an attitude of the heart. (Matthew 6:21)
    • Recognizing the financial resources you DO have – all belong to the Lord for His glory and benefit, will help you focus on creating realistic objectives with Godly goals in mind.
  1. Get organized:
    • Gather all your bills, papers, bank statements and create an organized system for storing this important information.
  2. Get to know the numbers:
    • Do the math! Get to know how much you spend monthly on your variable living expenses! I bet you will be surprised to find out how much you spend on food and entertainment!
  3. Create a spending plan/budget:
    • Use a spreadsheet budgeting tool as a starting block.
    • Customize your expenses beginning with general spending:
    • BE REALISTIC! You know your weaknesses and areas that need work. Setting realistic goals that are achievable will create healthy goals that encourage you to keep it up!
    • Fixed Expenses: These are expenses that do not change every month regardless of how much income is being brought in.
      • This category may include: housing, phone, utilities, insurance…
      • Personally encourage including your tithe in this category, however much it is that the Lord puts in your heart, giving Him the first fruits and honoring Him with your finances is key to making finances work- it is all His! Proverbs 3:9
    • Variable Expenses: These expenses vary from month to month, and the area where overspending is common.
      • This category may include: dining out, entertainment, spa or nail treatments, hair…
        • Asking yourself “Is this a NEED or a WANT?” will help you learn whether these expenses can be reduced.
      • Debt: List each line of debt with the amount and interest rate.
        • Knowing what you have accumulated in debt is the first step to getting out of it!
          • Many people ignore or often fear opening statements or checking their balance- face that FEAR!
  1. Evaluate & Eliminate:
    • Things such as open credit cards without a balance can often be a temptation to spend. Especially if there are deals on store credit cards! If this is an area of weakness, perhaps it is time to cut it up and close it out!
    • Note: When a credit card goes unused for about 6 months it no longer benefits your credit score as the card has gone ‘dormant’.
  1. Debt: There are many strategies to get out of debt. First and foremost, PRAY!
    • Consider Romans 13: 8
    • Debt comes in various forms: credit cards (revolving), mortgage, auto-loans… each should be handled carefully and wisely.
    • Some who have had a large car loan, have sold their car (that had monthly payments) and purchased something more reasonable for their budget to help reduce their debt.
      • As you review your budget, allocate a fixed amount of money you are able to contribute towards your debt (while living within your means), and prioritize which ones to pay off first.
        • Some encourage paying the smallest debt first (Dave Ramsey’s Methods) stating “The math seems to lean more toward paying the highest interest debts first, but what I have learned is that personal finance is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. You need some quick wins in order to stay pumped enough to get out of debt completely. When you start knocking off the easier debts, you will start to see results and you will start to win in debt reduction.”
        • Some encourage paying the highest interest debt first to save money on interest.
        • Whatever method you use, stick to it! Debt is not conquered in a single month, or two or sometimes a year. Be patient and keep at it… as you see those numbers decrease, you’ll be encouraged to keep it up!
  1. Maintenance & Savings:
    • Starting a budget is one thing, reconciling and balancing your budget is another! It takes work. It takes time. And it takes a calculator!
    • If you fall away from good stewarding for any length of time, don’t be discouraged! Remember God is gracious! Pick up where you’re at and start again. While consistency is the most effective way to money management, God wants to lead you and minister to you through this.
      • When you pay your bills, open your budget spreadsheet, your bank account (online) and make updates to your spreadsheet as the actual expenses are paid.
      • Doing this regularly helps you keep track of all income and outgo of your finances, which will help you make a wise decision when faced with a purchase.
    • Saving: If you have a fixed and dependable monthly income, consider adding this category to a monthly ‘Fixed” expense.
      • Having a little savings is good for those unexpected financial crises that occur, i.e. car repairs, appliance issues etc…
      • Create a realistic savings goal that can work with your budget.
        • Monthly as you receive income, treat it just like a bill and transfer those funds to a savings account.
      • A savings account is NOT to be treated like a checking account! It is meant for it’s intended purpose: to save! (that is why the government has placed a monthly limit of transfers from savings accounts)
      • If having a savings account at the same bank or credit union as you use as checking is a temptation; consider having a separate account at a different banking institution, should the “out of sight, out of mind” thought process will help you! Be creative!
  1. Guidance & Accountability:
  • You are NOT alone! Money issues are REAL and they can cause great grief and division in any household!
    • Look for a Godly couple/family/person that stewards their finances well, and pray about reaching out to them for guidance and wisdom!
      • Ask them over for a meal or coffee and open up to them about your financial status, and ask them for advice!
      • Having Godly men and women you can look up to and hold you accountable in this area is just as important as being held accountable in any other area of life!
        • When making large purchases or investments, it is very important to ask for counsel and advice from those you trust to help make you Godly decisions.
* Because this topic has to much information to discuss in one session, please note this list is not a complete comprehensive list of things to consider when managing your finances. These are however, the basics and essentials to beginning your journey in the area of stewarding your finances.
Advertisements

Comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s