In our series called Branded, Jim Burgen encouraged us to be identified by living differently by embracing this idea of stewardship. Learn more about how we have been uniquely invited to join Jesus in His mission to impact the world through generosity.
In order to live the blessed life that God wants you to have, it will take more than wishful thinking. It will include prayer, but it can’t stop there. You must build and implement a strategy. So, first question, what are you willing to do to get to financial freedom. If 0 is nothing and 10 is “go to war, whatever it takes”, where are you?
You have to start where you are right now, taking a realistic look at your current position. Write out your monthly income on one side of a piece of paper. On the other side, write out your monthly expenses. Go back and look at your bank statement to see where it really went. Group them together in categories like entertainment, food, utilities, housing/rent/mortgage, etc. This is your first pass at a “budget.” If there is more going out than coming in, we have to start there.
Now, assign (or rank them) which of these expenses to categories such as “non-negotiable” (ex, mortgage, rent, car payment, credit card payment, etc.)
Identify areas where your spending is more than it should be and could be decreased or suspended until you reach your tithe/giving goal. This is the sacrificial and hardest part, at first, because it is the most intrusive. For most folks, this is eating out, vacations and/or kids activities. Cut or eliminate spending in these areas. Why?
0-10, nothing changes or go to war.
Write out a monthly budget.
Also called a (spending plan) including tithe, saving for emergencies, debt reduction, and ALL spending. Any “extra,” unforeseen income is committed to debt reduction.
IMPORTANT: While you may not be able to begin tithing at 10%, giving at some percentage of income is very important and placing it first on the list as “most important/doesn’t belong to me/belongs to God). First Things First!
Commit to a Spending freeze.
Commit to freezing spending on all non-essentials (vacations, eating out, clothing, home furnishings, multiple streaming services and subscriptions, etc.) until you are out of debt and have reached the tithe. As debt and spending decrease, this margin allows you to grow your giving (maybe 1% at a time). Once you have reached your goal, adding some sacrificed non-essentials may be brought back if you’ve missed them. But you might be surprised at how much you don’t miss them.
Make An Agreement.
Once your budget is agreed upon by all parties (everyone in the household), write up an agreement that everyone signs, and if something comes up and the budget has to be adjusted, everyone will agree to change BEFORE the agreement is violated. This makes the agreement the bad guy instead of one of you.
Other Financial Tips.
Before you purchase anything, put a 3-5 day waiting period in place before making the purchase. This is a safeguard against impulse purchases. Again, make the “agreement” the bad guy.
If you’re really serious, consider taking a second job (Uber, DoorDash, etc.) and selling stuff you don’t use or need. While you’re at it, simplify your life by going through the built-up clutter of things that you’ve purchased but didn’t need or use and now gather dust. The pile of “donations” will hopefully be convicting regarding future purchases.