Thursday, December 20, 2012

Budgeting Basics

How are you going to honor God with your finances in the coming year?  Do you have an answer to that question?  I think you should.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you answer it:

Budget Categories:  The money you spend naturally breaks down into different categories (or envelopes if you're familiar with the term).  There are obvious things like Housing, Insurance and Groceries and the maybe-not-as-obvious like Gifts, Property Taxes and Clothing.  If you don't keep track of what you spend in different categories, you should start.  My family uses Common Cents to do this, but you could Google "budgeting applications" and find something that works for you, probably for free.

Pre-Set Amounts:  Once you have budget categories/envelopes and you know what you're spending in each of them, the next step is pre-setting how much you will spend in a specific category.  You can figure this out by looking at the past year of expenses and thinking through your coming year.  For example:
-How much money will you need to spend in "Clothing" in 2013?
-How often do you get paid?
-Do the math and figure out how much you'll need to categorize per paycheck for "Clothing".
-Repeat for all of your Budget Categories.

Give the Rest Away:  What I've said to this point is probably "Budgeting Basics".  Now for the radical:  You know what you need.  You've budgeted that amount per paycheck.  If you're blessed with additional funds, give it away.  Give it to people in need.  Give it to people and organizations who are building God's kingdom by sharing the gospel and making disciples.

According to Barna, the typical individual only gives away 3% of their income.  If that's all they have left over after budgeting for their needs, great!  If they have 25% of their finances left over, pathetic.  What's your plan?

No comments:

Post a Comment