The start of a new year is always a great motivator to improve your finances. It’s one of the top goals for Americans each year and a worthy one considering the state of our economy, a looming recession, and the growing uncertainty of the future. Regardless of where you find yourself financially, these two components will ensure you succeed in managing your money well.
The 2 Most Important Components of Managing Money Well
1. Putting God First
Money is more than a medium of exchange to get the things you need or want in life. Just like everything else you possess, money is entrusted to us by God for our good and the good of others. More specifically, he assigns us money so we can carry out our responsibility and accomplish His will.
When our perspective about money changes from our money to His money, that’s putting God first. When we seek his Kingdom and his righteousness as we make spending and giving decisions, we’re putting God first. Every financial decision becomes a spiritual decision because we’re not managing our money; we’re managing God’s money.
A practical way to put God first in your finances is to make a plan that honors God. My wife and I adjust our financial plan at the beginning of every year or whenever our income changes, up or down. The main attitude behind the decisions we make during this process is to talk to each other and pray for God to guide our decisions.
Putting God first for us means the first category in our plan is giving. We commit to supporting God’s work by returning to God the first portion, which we give to our local church. Equally important to us is giving to the poor and organizations that promote and expand the gospel message in various ways.
2. Make and Live by a Written Financial Plan
You’ve heard this before, but the national statistics aren’t improving. Most Americans (Christians, too) live paycheck to paycheck, have little to no savings, and don’t operate by a written financial plan, so I will keep revisiting this until these stats improve.
I don’t care how brilliant you are and how great your memory is; you can’t manage your financial life in your head! You need to have a written plan. No, it doesn’t have to be complicated. But, without a plan, and one that gives you the confidence to make informed and wise decisions, you’re going to keep living paycheck to paycheck, lack savings, and think that half of your expenses are emergencies when they’re not.
Your financial plan should prioritize saving for the future, reducing existing debt so you can regain more of your income, and dividing the rest of your income into your family’s different categories and needs like housing, food, clothing, and transportation.
Many apps and financial courses will help you with the details of creating and implementing a good financial plan. If you’ve procrastinated and continued to try and do this in your head, or some other way that hasn’t worked, let 2023 be the year that all stops, and you get on a solid financial footing.
We serve a generous and compassionate God. No matter what financial state you find yourself in, whether struggling or soaring financially, God wants the best for you, and he’s committed to your well-being and success. He is faithful to do his part, but he needs you to do your part so that his protection, favor, and blessing can be poured into your life.
We are praying for your best year ever, spiritually and financially!
This article was written in partnership with our friends at Christian Stewardship Network. To learn more, visit them at christianstewardshipnetwork.com.
This article should not be considered legal, tax, or financial advice. You may wish to consult a tax or financial advisor about your individual financial situation.