Managing Your Money Well

Managing Your Money Well

by the setapartgirl Team | November 17, 2013

Money isn’t a romantic aspect of life. It’s something that I think most of us have gnashed our teeth over, and made wild statements of “I wish money didn’t exist!” or “Why can’t money grow on trees?” But, I’ve come to realize, through the gentle prodding of a very loving Savior, that it truly can be a beautiful aspect of life because it is an excellent place to practice a complete surrender to the One who deserves our all--even our pocketbooks. 

When we realize that our money is not our own, and that just like every other aspect of lives--our bodies, our reputations, our plans and dreams--it belongs to Jesus, we begin to look at our finances with a completely different thought process. We begin to realize that even the way we handle money can and must bring glory to the Lord. 

The team here at setapartgirl would like to share some personal ways that the Lord has gripped this area of each of our lives, and give some insight into what He has taught us regarding bringing glory to Him in our finances and budgeting.

Mandy Says: 

When I was a little girl, I had a special necklace. Glistening beads in pastel hues of pink, purple, yellow, blue, and green formed a long chain and a small, beaded change purse hung at the end. It was a necklace that was made for the special purpose of carrying money to church. 

Growing up in a Christian home, I learned the concept of tithing, which meant giving a ten percent offering. As I have grown and walked with Christ, I have gained a fuller understanding of what giving to the Lord means. God’s Word commands that our lives be offered up as a living sacrifice. And this refers to our whole life - every facet, sphere, nook, and cranny - which so happens to include our finances. When He asks for our lives, He asks for our whole life - not just a hand or foot. Thus, when it comes to our finances, He asks for our entire paycheck - not just ten percent. 

Ask God to grow your faith in this area. As you do, you will personally learn that a truly surrendered pocketbook never runs dry. Whether your next fifty dollars is meant to meet the need of a neighbor, or to buy a pair of boots for wintertime - the most important thing is that Christ is the one leading and guiding. When you walk by faith, prayerfully giving and spending according to God’s priorities, you will always have what you need - guaranteed. May we never be afraid to entrust everything to the One who is unfailingly faithful! Rather, in light of His great faithfulness, may we be a people whose lives and pocketbooks are cheerfully given to Christ and faithfully spent for His glory!

Heather Says

The godly stewardship of our finances is an area my husband and I are continually learning and growing in. We are so thankful for the wisdom that God gives when we put our finances into His hands. 

One of the most practical and helpful things we have discovered is the significance of taking the time to “strategize” in the area of food. Toward the beginning of the year we realized that because of our lack of planning, we were making 3-5 trips to the store every week, eating out quite often, and having food go bad because we hadn’t mapped out our meals well. Our food budget was outrageous! Now, due to some simple organization and scheduling, we are able to make one big shopping trip each weekend for the following week’s meals. We usually have just the right amount of food, don’t eat out as often, and not to mention all the gas we save! This has not only reduced our food budget, but has also redeemed much of our time.

Another principle we try to stick to as much as possible is only buying what is on our shopping list. After several months of practicing this, we were told that someone had realized when they bought only what was on their list, they saved 20% compared to shopping trips where they didn’t have a list or bought extra things! It is really neat to see the difference it makes when we put these simple ideas into action and strive to steward God’s money well.

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Grace Says

I rustled around in the bottom of my purse and smiled apologetically at the cashier and tried to ignore the line of people behind me. Pulling out a wrinkled handful of bills, I saw a $5 and a couple $1s and handed the wad to the grimacing woman behind the counter. With exaggerated patience, she straightened and organized the bills before looking at up at me. 

“You’re $2 short.” She acted as if she hoped the remaining balance would appear from thin air so I would just leave already.

“Oh...um...” I stammered as I once again plunged my hand into the depths of my Mary Poppins-esque bag and hoped desperately that the money would materialize. I promised myself right then and there that never again would I find myself in such an embarrassing situation.

Money. Budgeting. Finances. It’s a part of life that my parents tried and tried to teach me responsibility in, but I still found myself with overdraft statements stacking up on my desk; I annoyed cashiers and other customers while I tried to produce the required amount from the depths of my purse, and many, many tears were shed over this very disorganized area of my life. Even after rash promises made to myself while standing in the check-out line in the grocery store, things didn’t suddenly drop into place in this area of my life. Sure, I became more organized, I attempted to budget my money the way my parents had faithfully taught me to, and the influx of overdraft notices from my bank slowly diminished--but it wasn’t until I surrendered this area of my life to the Lord, that things really started to make sense. This money is not mine, it is His. This money isn’t to better my life and make things more comfortable to me, it is for bringing glory to Him and giving it right back to Him. It isn’t for me to dictate what I do with it, it is for me to be a good steward of and use it for His purposes.

I realized that I had to revamp this whole part of who I was, because in its current state, it was doing quite the opposite of bringing glory to the Lord. I handed it over to Him with open hands, and haven’t looked back since. It is an exceptionally freeing thing to not be in control of my money. I am still required to be responsible and a good a steward of what has been entrusted to me, but through all of it, I know that it is the Lord’s money that I am taking care of. 

There are various practical things I could go into, but things might look different for each person. I encourage you to take all you have and open your hands with it before the Lord. Ask Him to guide you and lead you--He will. Budgeting was something that was extremely important for me, and as mundane as it seemed, I had to adopt the verse in 1 Corinthians 10:31 “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God”--even budgeting. Your budget might look like a series of marked envelopes; it might be a file you have on your computer that you keep track of; it might be through utilizing mint.com--but every morning when you get up, go before the Lord and ask Him to show you how you can honor and glorify Him this day with the resources that have been entrusted to you.

Elsje Says

Spurgeon says it well: “Money is a good servant, but a bad master”. As followers of Christ, He is our only Master, and we cannot allow our souls to be bruised under the tyrannical thumb of money.

God, as a gracious and loving Master, has entrusted us with finances, that we are to steward in a way that advances His kingdom within our lives. Discontentment, greed, envy, covetousness, and a host of similar sins so quickly make their slimy way into our souls when we allow ourselves to be ruled by love of money. 

When money takes the place of Christ at the blazing center of the marriage, friction and strife are imminent.This begs the question, for married couples and singles, how do I keep money from ruling my thoughts, and dictating my decisions?

Before I got married, I faithfully lived by what I dubbed “The envelop system”. I had several white envelopes, that I kept neatly and safely in a folder, to keep my budget in tact. I wrote on each of them what the money inside was allotted for, for example, some of those included “tithe”, “clothes”, “giving”, “spending”, etc. I found that this system helped me keep track of where my money was going, as well as keeping me from overspending. 

My husband and I live by the principle of “Dying with Empty Pockets,” as we like to call it. This basically means we keep a loose grip on our finances. As Christians, we ought to live ever-ready to give what we have away within a second’s notice, if God so commands. 

Annie Says: 

Stand in a position of faith and honor. I had the blessing of being raised on faith by my godly parents, and all throughout my upbringing I watched them shine with trust in God’s promise “to supply all our needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (see Phil. 4:19). Though we knew at times what it was to lose jobs, face bankruptcy, not know where we were going to live, and not know where the week’s grocery money would come from, God never failed us. We never went hungry or homeless. And rather than just answering our smallish prayers to have basic needs met, God always provided above and beyond all that we asked, and this both humbled me and mightily strengthened my faith. When I lack money, I stand in an unwavering position of faith that God will meet my needs. When I do have money, I seek to honor Him by how that money is used. And both positions bring Him glory!

Look at what you’re spending. When money is exiting my bank account each day on bills, life necessities, social outings, and other such grown up things, it’s easy to lose track of where it is all actually going. One of the best ways to make my budget actually be of good use is to keep track of how much goes where. For example, if I see that I’ve spent a lot on eating out so far in the week, I can opt for inviting friends over to the house instead of meeting up at a coffee shop or restaurant again. 

Ask someone you respect how they budget and log their own spending to get ideas to implement in your life. I have also found using an app on my smartphone helps me logthings quickly, so I don’t have to save receipts and write it all down later.

Shop sales, but invest in quality. Over the years, I’ve learned that while less expensive clothing can be exciting to buy in the moment, cheaply made clothes wear out quickly, and in the long run, I’m soon going back to the store to spend money again on replacement items. I’d rather put high quality items in my closet, even if they are more expensive up front, and see them last from season to season throughout the years, saving me money in the long run. Learn what brands are built to last and go on the hunt for those being on sale, rather than the already mass-produced, less expensive items. I also go to upscale consignment stores where they will give me cash or store credit in exchange for my unwanted clothes, and then I search their racks for those quality labels that last. Some of my favorite top-brand items were even found brand new with tags in these resale shops!

Give generously. My mum always told me growing up, “Annie, you can never, ever out-give God.” Along with faithfully tithing, she modeled giving generously so beautifully, and I watched several exciting things happen as a result. Even with her always giving things away, we never suffered lack. Mum experienced the richest joy each time she gave to others, just as if she were giving directly to Jesus. Those who didn’t know the Lord were introduced to Him through her unexpected generosity and love. And, very often, just on the wings of mum’s giving, we’d see some beautiful provision come to our family in other ways!

But the righteous gives, and does not hold back...

Prov 21:26

Surrender your savings. I believe in saving money. I think it’s a wonderful discipline brimming with comfort and glowing with responsibility. And yet, as a Christian, my ultimate security is unshakably founded upon Christ. Holding too tightly to my savings hinders my readiness to be obedient to God’s purpose for that money (His money). 

Over the past few years, each time I’ve ever set aside a significant amount of money, I have seen God call upon it for something I didn’t plan on - family medical bills, a friend in need, a ministry opportunity, or a debt cleared; but the result of obedience and a readiness to give to the Lord, has always turned into a beautiful story. And He has yetto ever fail me in my own times of need.