Thursday, April 11, 2013

Apartment Living Part 2

Money Matters

Money is something that everybody wants but nobody seems to have
 (even though we all know that whatever our circumstances are, we really are blessed considering that we are doing far better than we deserve). 
In order to grasp financial planning on any scale, 
I highly recommend purchasing Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey. 
I listened to the lessons via C.D. and the points listed below are some of the financial lessons I have learned so far. 

1. Budgets Are Beautiful
One of the most important things I have learned while living on my own has been budgeting. While budgeting is a concept most people hate, I have found it enjoyable. The beauty in budgeting is that you actually learn how to manage your money rather than having your money manage you. It is also an opportunity to thank and praise the Lord for providing you with money. I really like this budget print out because it is cute and simple. For the practical minded, this sheet from Dave Ramsey is also helpful. The key is to start somewhere (anywhere really) and to determine how much you are spending each month on different items.

2. Coupons Are Cool
I know that you're probably thinking, "Coupons?! What next? Mom Jeans?!!!" But fear not! Coupons are actually cool. I personally buy the Los Angeles Times because it comes with 3 coupon inserts. The trick is to look through store ads to see what is on sale and then find a coupon for that item. You can also create a Swagbucks account in which you earn 10 points for every coupon you print out and use. The points can be used for different types of gift cards and deposits into your PayPal account. It also helps to download the app for whichever store you shop at and to download the digital coupons for that store. I shop at Ralphs and am on my way to earning 100 fuel points which means my purchases will earn me 10 cents off a gallon. Finally, check out The Krazy Coupon Lady where a team of women work to find the best deals for you!

3. Saving is Savvy
There is wisdom in saving money even if you think you don't need to. Life never works in the manner we expect it to and it is best to be financially prepared for whatever circumstances we may face. If you are looking for a tool to help you save for something specific, Smarty Pig is a great choice. You are able to earn interest on the money you save. Keep in mind that this should NOT take the place of an emergency savings account. The point of saving is to SAVE something. Whether you have an extra $5.00 a month or $500.00 a month you need to be saving. Whatever you save will add up over time and a little self control goes a long way. Rather than buying that stuff you don't need in the Target clearance section (I'm obviously preaching to myself here) why not save for the unknown?

4. Offering is Opportune
And as a believer you will never understand this concept until you give. 2 Corinthians 9:7 says, "Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver," (ESV). Your heart may not be cheerful at first and giving may seem like a burden but when you realize that it is God who has enabled you to work and earn money {hopefully} you will have a heart of gratitude and find joy in giving to your church and ultimately to God.

5. Giving is Glorious
"Really? Didn't you just lecture me about this in your last point?" No . . . well maybe, but this is different. It is important to use your money in a way that is not about you. There was a time in my life when I was convicted as I realized most of my money was spent on myself . . . and then I would gripe and complain about how I never had any money! Look for organizations to donate to that also support the mission of the church, which is sharing the Gospel and being the hands and feet of Jesus. I really like Compassion International and American Bible Society. Find an organization that supports a cause your passionate about. I challenge to find a means of giving to an organization and as a result do not experience balanced reciprocity. If you're unsure about an organization's credibility, you can always look it up on Charity Navigator.

Finally, keep in mind that with a little discipline, finances can actually be fun! 


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