Class Begins with review of the rules of engagement for the finance class.
Did you get the opportunity to review the sample budget supplied, plug in your own numbers and begin the journey to creating a rock solid Spiritual Budget?
If so, yay! You are on your way to really reaping the benefits of the class and are ready to start exploring how to get your budget to balance. If not, perhaps reflecting on what stopped you from making this goal are in order. Were you just too busy? Did you forget? Did you not have time to connect with your spouse? Is it something you felt like you did not need to do?
Perhaps a few scriptures will help you with overcoming any obstacles of getting through your budget. 1 Timothy 4:15 states “Be diligent in these matters; so that everyone may see your progress” While the context of this scripture is not really about finances, it does give us an important lesson that we always need to make progress. We need to consistently make progress with our relationship with God, those around us, our families and the people we serve. This includes our money, the money that God entrusted to us to manage. Another point to consider is one of the rules of engagement of the class, group effort. Imagine how discouraging it would be if no one came to class prepared to give and to be an example of diligence. Consider these scriptures as well:
Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” Proverbs 10:4 Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring forth wealth. Enough said?
Next is looking at your budget and finding out the items that tend to be budget busters. Budget busters are the items that tend to be the items that sneak their way into your budget and slowly drain the budget little by little. These things tend to be items such as eating out, coffee at Starbucks, excessive entertainment items etc. Sometimes they can be things that we think are essential but perhaps a paradigm shift is required. So lets start off with a list of items you consider essential. Here are some examples of those:
This are small list of the many that are considered essential. But sometimes we can get skewed on what really is essential and what really is not. Next is my story of what I call survivor mode. It is basically stripping your budget down to the bare minimums.
Here are some more good articles about the bare minimum budgets
So you are probably thinking, how in the world would you add something to the budget if you are trying to save money and actually do better in your personal finances? I know, it sounds very strange but stick with me here and I think you will be amazed at what you see.
First of all, when we made this extensive list on the board during class, there were a number of things missing that every spiritual person missed. No one added God to the essential items budget.
Here is what I mean:
Here is why. First of all, like basic health you have to take care of your body, you have to eat and you have to go to the doctor once in a while. Spiritually, you have to take care of yourself as well. When you start putting God into your financial picture you will reap rewards that you never thought were possible. Tithing or giving a weekly contribution is part of being thankful. We talk about that every week at Sunday service right? But if you think about it, do you really think you could out give God? When you start to put your priorities on the Kingdom of God and get a conviction of giving back because you are thankful, that is when God can really move.
I understand, it hurts, but there are stories after stories and examples of how people commit to giving to God no matter what their financial situation is, that he has not blessed abundantly.
Now weekly giving is just the start. Start to think about feeding your self spiritually and you will want to make sure that you go to men’s or women’s retreats, it just makes sense to feed yourself a spiritual diet. The same go for your children, we need to make sure they go to teen camp or whatever meeting the church creates to feed them and help them to become great Disciples. This means we have to budget it and that also means we have to change our minds about what is essential. Is this your conviction or are you worried you will not be able to make it happen? Think of this as your Spiritual Budget. Start responsibly, sit down and plan. Its part of being diligent, God always blesses that.
Lastly we will take a brief look at fixing some of the budget busting items so that they do not take over our budget. So how do you keep yourself from overspending on food or entertainment? Instead of using your debit or credit card, switch that category into a cash envelope system. I love the envelope system, its how I first learned to budget my money. I figured out what my expenses were when I was a teenager and then labeled each of those envelopes with the categories. I then worked backwards, if I knew I would need to pay my dad $40 every month for insurance (super cheap, thanks Dad) I would figure out that $10 each week had to go into my envelope. This actually works very well even today but most people are trained and use to using their debit cards for everything. Even though it might be an extra step to go to the bank and get some cash, putting it in an envelope with a specific purpose works well for fixing issues in the budget. If you run out of eating out cash, then you eat at home, its just that simple. Try it for a budget buster. Here is a good video to help you see what other people are doing as well. Some of their categories are excellent.
How to Get Started with the Cash Envelope System
Have fun building a Spiritual Budget.