No matter where I go in the world, I see that money plays a pivotal role in people’s lives. One thing I know to be true is you master money or it masters you.
Just like a master says to the servant “go” and they go, or “come” and they come, if you master your money, you know where it comes from and can send it where you want it to go.
Why am I encouraging you to master your finances in this way? Because if you don’t, someone else or some other thing will.
More than that, you need to decide for yourself what is important to you long term. Do you want to leave a legacy of being generous to those in need, investing into people who will live beyond you and making sure you resource the important things in life?
While I don’t pretend to be an expert, I’m a pastor afterall, here are a few things I have done for years that have helped me control my money –
- Know your current reality. Do you know exactly how much you earn and spend each week? Do you know where all your income is coming from and where all your spending is going? It starts with writing it down.
- Create a budget. With a budget, I can decide how much I spend, and what I spend it on. I can see if I need to immediately reduce my expenditure so that it is less than my income. I would be happy to send you a template budget I use (just reply to this blog below so I have your email).
- Try basing your standard of living on less than your total income. For example, if you are a two income family, you could try living off one salary. This hasn’t always worked for us, but in trying, we have usually only ever lived off 1.5 salaries. The discipline of this, even choosing not to immediately apply pay increases to your spending, sees you able to save and give more.
- Schedule set amounts to automatically come out of your account so that when the rates, electricity or gas bills come in you are already in front and prepared. I also do this in tithing and giving to my Church: a biblical principal and non-negotiable in my life, allocating resources to what is important to me.
- Value things with reference to your savings, not your earnings. For example, if a TV costs $3,000 and I earn $600 per week then it doesn’t seem too expensive because it’s only 5 times my weekly salary. However, if I value the TV by how much I save, say $60 per week, then that TV costs 50 times my weekly savings. I should probably think hard about spending 1 year’s savings in one go.
- Consider tomorrow. I have often wondered if God provides on His foreseeing knowledge. I would encourage you not to spend everything you get today as it could be for what you don’t see coming up in the future. Those who are ready for opportunity can respond to it.
- Ask for help. If you don’t know where to start with making a budget, or saving for a house, find someone who can show you how. Over the years, many young couples have asked me for help and I hope I have set them up for a life of mastering money.
If the Bible is true when it says that you can have only one master, don’t let money be yours!