Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Freedom of a Budget

Mary’s message this weekend is on money management and when most people hear the word budget they groan. I used to be that way, and it took a while to realize how freeing a budget can be.
I grew up with a father who had an accounting degree; although he never used the degree professionally, he always talked about the importance of managing money well. When I was around ten years old he started handing me sheets of paper that would have graphs showing how much you can save with just a little money set aside each week. All those handouts usually ended up lost, because in my foolishness as a young kid, I wasn’t worried about that kind of stuff. I wish I would have heeded his advice now because it would be helpful to have that nest egg now.
When I got out of college I sat down with my dad and made a budget. I moaned at first and thought this budget was going to keep me from enjoying life. But it didn’t. It did quite the opposite. I was able to save money for vacations and for going out to eat. If I didn’t spend the money, I could watch it grow in each column so I had more money to spend in that area later for a bigger shopping spree. Better yet, I paid off my first car in under 2 years. So if you haven’t tried budgeting, I want to recommend it.
There are two websites which have helped many Christians that I know with their finances. The first is www.crown.org. It is a Christian ministry whose purpose is to teach biblical financial principles. The second site is www.mint.com and they make budgeting easy. They even have an iphone application where you can get instant updates on where you are at with your budget.
It is important to remember that all of our money is God’s money. It can make or break us on how we handle this gift from God. So if the thought of budgeting makes you want to groan because you know you don’t have enough money to cover all the bills, take a step back, get down on your knees and you will be amazed at what God can do. I would love to hear the amazing stories on how God has provided for you and any creative ways you budget or save money.

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