Our single income family has experienced years of living paycheck to paycheck, and large chunks of time without even that (lots of God miracles in those years!). After paying all the bills, we operated on a “spend as needed” basis.
The problem with this is: You can always spend money.
A “spend as needed” basis just invites need.
Sure you don’t have a donut maker, the money may be there, but do you really need it?
Needs end where the money ends.
If you have no plan, you’ll have no money.
When it came time to buy the kids new clothes, or when my husband and I just wanted to go out and have a coffee date together, it was always seasoned with guilt. I constantly felt the nagging lack of money.
In part, this feeling came from my childhood where money was sparse. But there was another problem which we’ll look at next.
Who Does it Belong to?
At some point, I just got sick of living from paycheck to paycheck and was wondering if God had another way. I felt convicted that we were not stewarding his gifts wisely, but squandering them instead. After all, the money didn’t really belong to us, but God!
The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Ps. 24
So we see the heart of it here, the problem is realizing our responsibility and lack of vision and overview.
This is incredibly important if we desire to take care of something we have received (which in this case, is money). This is one principle of biblical stewardship. The money doesn’t belong to us, it’s God’s, and we’re to use it in a way that honours him. And finances are important to Jesus!
So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? Luke 16:11
The money in our bank accounts is not the true riches, but what we do with it has eternal importance!
No Purpose = No Money
One major culprit of spending guilt: The absence conscious spending and saving. Without a plan, our family just spent the money as it came.
After feeling convinced that we needed to change our financial habits I browsed Pinterest and looked for different money solutions. I came across a cash based system using envelopes. I believe that this method was made popular by Dave Ramsey. My husband and I watched a few of his teachings via Right Now Media. I would really suggest anyone interested in a biblical perspective of finances to check this out.
This got me started on writing out every single thing we bought and setting up my envelope system.
Three Ways to Begin Controlling Your Money
Get an Overview
Fill up Envelopes
The benefits to having all your budgeting categories separated into envelopes, is that it’s incredibly satisfying to fill them up with cash. And when it’s empty… it’s empty. There is something much more impacting when you’re faced with an empty envelope, compared to an empty online bank account. Oh, that novel feeling of physical money. We put more thought into whether we should actually hand over that 20, than when we flippantly swipe a card.
Planning for the Unexpected
Before our financial shift, when the unexpected happened, we scrambled!
Here’s a little secret though: the unexpected always happens!
This was a critical change in our spending habits. Once I realized that you can plan for the unexpected I started setting aside money for new appliances, car repairs, and house repairs.
I have to tell you, this has made life SO MUCH EASIER! We always have at least a bit of money set aside for those emergencies, so they are no longer emergencies.
Spending without Guilt
Before my envelope system, I struggled every time I spent money on something that wasn’t absolutely “necessary”. After reviewing my budget, I saw that I wanted to be able to buy clothes for my kids and myself. We wanted to go away on vacations as a family. We didn’t eat out that often, but when we do I want it to be a nice experience. Therefore, I budgeted for that.
I budget for all of those things.
That means, I have a monthly budget for clothes, entertainment, and savings for vacation. When I need to buy some clothes, I do it, the money is there, it’s for clothes.
NO MORE GUILT!
Because I have an eye on our spending, and saving, I feel a lot more freedom.
Freedom to be generous, freedom to plan for our future, and freedom to purchase what is needed and what we would like.
Ultimately, my desire is that God looks at that all and says, Yes! Well done, good and faithful servant!
How do you feel about your spending? Do you have other methods that have worked for you? Comment below and tell us about them!
An Evening of Reading through the Greatest story, ever. So there we were, a small classroom full of missionaries, overcome by an utter sense of awe. My eyes were tearing up, and all I could do was pray in my very feeble words my overwhelming gratitude to God. This has...
Have you ever been interested in the Biblical Feasts? Here is part one of a brief introduction to God's feasts and how God uses them. As a teenager, I did a week long internship at the Vancouver Opera. It was a fantastic experience, especially since at the time I was...
Kingdom around the Table Part 2Three Things to Know about Biblical HospitalityThis week it is my great pleasure to hand over the proverbial reigns to my friend Amanda from Maple Alps who is going to give us a 101 on biblical hospitality. Last week we talked about Why...
Kingdom around the Table Part 1Why God Loves Food I love food. Everyone who comes to my house and sits at my table often gets a pretty darn good meal (not my own words). After their satisfaction, they tend to ask me if I like cooking. My response is always the...
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Frl.Blanka (or Isa) and I met a couple months ago in beautiful Heidelberg. She is credited to introducing...
Have you ever stood in front of the camera and tried to smile naturally? Yeah, it doesn't work. At least not for me. The pictures my hubby takes of me always seem like I have plastered a smile to my face. He always tells me to stop it, and smile properly. My body and...
Welcome to the second post of my Spotlight Series. Where we get to meet Jesus loving, inspiring, and creative people. Today I'm excited to introduce you to Mary from Gallagher Farm and Faith. She is going to share with us some really awesome tips including how to...
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Are you like me and want to stay home and be with your family as much as you can, but you want to...
Welcome to the first of my Spotlight Series. Where we get to meet Jesus loving, inspiring, and creative people. I'm really happy to introduce you to my first guest of the series, Amanda from Maple Alps. She's a fellow Canadian, and also married to a German speaker...
In the video below you'll find one great tool that I use to destroy lies, fear and condemnation using biblical truths. If you have ever struggled with any of these things, I really encourage you to watch it and try it out! Sneaky Little Lies Today I was thinking about...