Wednesday, June 23

Tips on spending less money

Dealing with money is pretty hard. I've been working on it a long time, and my household is still not in order. (Its easy enough for me not to spend money on myself, its the kids that are a challenge.)

Here's some specific things to do that help with it:

  • Write everything down. When you keep track of it, you can see where small things are adding up to big amounts, and what categories are maybe out of balance. I made up a worksheet (PDF) for tracking things, based on a workbook from a financial training workshop held at our church. Its for tracking the variable expenses each month, with a place to total for the month (though its handy when you're first starting to do quick subtotals more often).
  • Plan Ahead. Don't spend money you haven't planned on. Come up with an approximate budget and don't spend anything that isn't accounted for. This isn't to say you can't make purchases spontaneously, just plan on a budget for that too. Like I put $10 in my pocket for the week, and I can spend that on a book, lunch, candy, hardware, whatever. But that's it.
  • Pray about every purchase. Before you buy something, pray to God about the purchase, and reflect on how you can use that purchase to honor him. After all, its his money--all of it. He just lets you spend most of it, with the hope that you will provide an effective witness to his glory and love on earth. Kind of puts things in perspective.
  • Wait to buy. When you can, wait before purchasing. Just 24hrs will change my mind a lot of time. Either I'll find something better, or just loose interest all together. (I mean, what am I really going to do with that box of assorted stepper motors on Ebay.)

  • Have a reserve. You need to be able to survive the unexpected expense. This is the how a lot of my friends get back on credit cards--something comes up, then they can't cover the bill out of pocket, so out comes the credit card, and once its in use, might as well keep it going ...
  • Be accountable. Spending money properly can be difficult, but we need to realize that we're accountable for our actions. While we'll eventually have to account to God for how we managed our money, having someone here to talk to on a regular basis can be helpful as well. Someone that is going to ask us the hard questions, and get us back on track when we've lost our way. In fact, a good first sign how bad things are would be if you are comfortable sharing your finances with someone else. If not, get to work, then get others involved.
The american life is full of stuff, and the drive to earn more. We are all probably more rich than the Rich Young Man who came to Jesus and asked him what he needed to do to inherit eternal life:
Mark 10:21-30 Jesus looked at him and loved him. "One thing you lack," he said. "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me."
At this the man's face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!"
The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, "Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, "Who then can be saved?"
Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God."
Peter said to him, "We have left everything to follow you!"
"I tell you the truth," Jesus replied, "no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields--and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.
May God share his Grace with us, and save us, despite our riches.


Blogger Zachholio said...

I just ran into your blog and noticed you also live in Flagstaff, AZ. I found you using my "profile" link in "Blogger" titled "Flagstaff."

My blog is located at:

If you have cool pictures of Flagstaff, with your permission I'd like to include them on my Flagstaff Page at:

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- Zach

1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post, Derek. I find it incredibly hard to manage money, and almost impossible to trust God with it, despite my good intentions. I need to re-read this post periodically.

8:04 PM  

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