............. "Helping You Find Answers To Life's Questions"
“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” (Proverbs 10:4)
If you are slack (or lazy) in the way you handle your finances, you will become poor. So how can you become diligent? The two simplest ways to be diligent in managing your money (and keeping more of it) are to take an inventory and stop wasting.
When you take an inventory of your finances you’ll find out how much money you have on hand, recognize income and compare it with expenses. Do this first because you will likely discover something bad enough to make a change in the way you handle money. For most people their income is fixed, so the real part of the inventory is finding out how much you spend. Do this in two steps—1) make a list of bills and how much they are, 2) write down what you use cash or your credit card on for a few weeks (eating out, shopping, movies, gas, etc.). Step 2 may be a shocker, but it could reveal one reason why your bank account is shrinking.
After your inventory, you'll know where you stand. Now you’ll need to figure out where you want to be and make a plan to get there. Be realistic—if you say “no more movies or snacks, ever!” your plan will probably break down fast. For great info and resources on planning, check out www.crown.org
Whatever your plan is (and even while you are making the plan), reducing wasteful spending is one the biggest helps in getting where you want to be. We’ve all heard “turn off the lights when you leave the room” and “don’t let the water run while brushing your teeth”, but how many of us follow such simple advice? Here are a few more simple things you can do to reduce waste and keep your money (in no particular order):
Around the House
- use a programmable thermostat: reduce heat/air conditioning when you are asleep or not at home
- take a Navy shower: get wet and turn the water off, lather up, then rinse (Sailors do this on older ships because fresh water is limited) (I usually do this in the warm months—you don’t get cold when the water is off and you keep from heating up the bathroom)
- think before opening the refrigerator: this will keep you from wasting energy while you stand there with the door open thinking about what to get
- take a shapes class: learn how to stack dishes in the dishwasher so you can run a full load instead of several partial ones
At the Store
- use coupons: find them in the paper or look through the advertising mailers before you throw them out (just be careful not to buy something you don’t need because you happen to find a coupon)
- sign up for discount lists: there are advertising websites that will email you coupons or send samples of products. There are drawbacks, so if you want to try this, take some precautions such as:
.... 1 Get a new email account just for this purpose (like hotmail or something free) because you will be spammed. If spam starts to outnumber legitimate offers, close the account
.... 2 When registering, don’t give any info other than your name, email (from 1), or address (coupon sites don’t need credit card or social security numbers)
.... 3 Don’t open attachments that are emailed, just use the info in the email to find out where new deals are listed on the website
- search the web for discount codes: if you are going to shop online, do a search first for a discount code—if you get free shipping, at least you’ve saved a few bucks
In the Car
- internet search for cheap gas: before filling up, do a web search to see if there is a price comparison site for gas stations in your area. If so, hit the station with the lowest price if it is not out of your way.
- plan your errands: try to do most of your shopping and errands in one trip to avoid going and coming
- take care of your car: keep your car well maintained to get better gas mileage and avoid costly repairs from poor upkeep
- lose the vices: alcohol and tobacco cost you more than money, kick the habit to improve health and finances
- don’t snack on junk food: items in vending machines are usually more expensive and less healthy than what you can buy at the grocery store. Plan ahead and pack some fruit, cheese, crackers, yogurt, or carrots for snacks. You’ll save money now and skip hospital bills when you’re older.
- have a fun night in: instead of going out for dinner and movies with friends, have them come over for a potluck and games
As you work on improving your finances, be sure to give thanks to the One who gave you the ability to earn and income. And pass on some of your savings to people in need. Showing compassion is a great way to say “thank you” to God.
“I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35)
For more information on Bible principles for money management, visit www.crown.org