It’s a nice 45 degrees outside, it’s February in Utah and only a short 6 days ago there was approximately a foot of snow on my yard. Yes, things are quite damp around here, and I’m afraid my house wants to act more like a boat right now. Oh well, some people live on boats and like it…right? Now onto the good stuff. Two nights ago I got to teach at a Relief Society activity on Family Finances, and folks, I. LOVED. IT. There was some amazing conversation, tips and ladies to make the evening superb. I reached out to Internet Island before hand and asked what people wanted ideas or help on and now I’m here to share the spoils.
1. Pay Your Tithing
Yawn. “Seriously Shanae,” you’re thinking. “Old news.” Well my dear friends, I just need to make sure that you haven’t forgotten that this is seriously one of the most coolest (yes, most coolest) promises in the entire universe of scripture! Malachi 3:10: “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Wowzer. Chew on that for a minute. I don’t know about you, but I love a challenge. I am very competitive at heart and if I have a chance to prove myself, I am on it like blue bonnet. So give it a shot! Pay your tithing and give God a chance to prove his love to you. And if you do already pay your tithing religiously, then, this was my takeaway from last night, get better at looking for the blessings that come from that, because they are there, we just need to recognize them.
2. Pay Yourself
Ten percent to God, ten percent to your family. I love numbers and since God chose 10 percent, I feel like it is also a good percentage to use to pay my family too. We put this money towards retirement, but this could also be a good technique if your goals are different, such as saving money for a downpayment on a home, or building an emergency fund. Speaking of emergency funds…
3. Have an Emergency Fund
Like the story I shared with you in the beginning, crap happens. In my family crap happens in sequences of three or more and it always happens in the most inopportune of moments. For example, right now the mister is working his hiney off trying to get his non-profit Suicide Sucks off the ground so we are currently unemployed. This last week went a little something like this. Crap happens number 1: Laptop hard drive failure. Crap happens number 2: Basement flooded (not near as bad as many neighbors, but still annoying). Crap happens number 3: Had to fork out the dough for a new computer so the mister could keep working. All of those things were very frustrating, happened back to back, and some were quite costly. Emergency funds are fabulous for peace of mind if nothing else. And piece of mind is worth it’s weight in gold.
4. Have Several Bank Accounts
I’m talking chunk it down to the nitty gritty. It’s much easier to budget for one week than it is a whole month. Same idea goes for your spending. If you have one pot for all your expenses or even just two, it can still be very confusing to track your spending. We have accounts for simple things like gifts, clothes, and food storage just to name a few of the approximate 14 savings accounts we have. Take note of the things that seem to always tip the ship and make an account for it. At credit unions, you can have multiple savings accounts attached to your name so go hog wild my friend. My “gifts” account has been a life saver. I’m a very last minute type of gal when it comes to gifting so trying to find birthday gifts used to always blow my budget. But now, it’s a pleasant surprise to realize that Valentines day is coming up and i’ve got a few smackers in there to save the day.
5. Involve your Immediate Family
This was shared by another gal teaching last night and I tell you what. It is such a wonderful piece of advice. Life changing! If your spouse is kept in the dark on the finances it can be incredibly frustrating to know what they can and can’t spend, and incredibly frustrating to stick to a budget. When you both know what comes in and can go out, peace is much easier achieved. It takes two to make a marriage work and that doesn’t stop at family finances. If one person runs everything and keeps their spouse in the dark, it can create a feeling of inferiority and that is a recipe for discontent. Also keep your children in the loop-ish. Help them learn the value of money because let’s be honest, you don’t want them to be in a world of hurt by the time they are 18.
I had a volleyball coach (you know who you are) that would always yell at me, neck vein bulging, eyes as big as saucers, “You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results!!” I had a thick skull… Bless her heart, I’ll never forget that lesson! And it is so applicable to this subject as well. You can’t keep spending the way you are and expect to get different results. It. Will. Not. Work. You need to implement some changes and then buckle up because it will be difficult, I know. But, it will be so worth it! I don’t believe finances to be a curse sent from the devil to give us 17 stomach ulcers the moment the electric bill hits our inbox. I believe that God wants us to learn and manage our money effectively so that we may better serve his children. But if we can’t take care of ourselves, how can we serve others?
x’s & o’s