Do you have a dream that you want to accomplish or a place that you want to visit, but feel like you don't have the money to spare? What do you want to do in this life? Are you limited by your financial situation?
A lot of us will say, "I just need more money," when in fact, we may just need to reevaluate our spending. You might be surprised when you do so. So many of our "needs" are really just "wants."
I don't really have anything new to divulge about budgets. One of the best resources that has helped me, is a booklet called "One For the Money" by Marvin J. Ashton. He covers 12 points that can help us manage our money better.
1. If we can pay a tenth of our income to God, who we cannot see, we will be better able to pay our "creditors" (those to whom we owe money) whom we can see with the 90% left to us. Malachi 3:10 has such a wonderful promise, that each of us can try. I have been blessed again and again for paying my tithing each month.
"Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
2. You need to be in control of your money and how you spend it and not let your impulses and whims at the store dictate how you will spend your money.
3. Sometimes you have to say "no, we can't get that now." It doesn't mean we won't ever get that item, we just can't get it now. I love this Mormon Messages video on this topic with Elder Robert D. Hales.
4. It is important to create a budget for each month, and then stick to it. Emergencies will arise, and the budget may need to be adjusted, but as long as you stay within your means, and not go into debt for regular expenditures, you will succeed.
5. Instead of giving the kids an "allowance", have them earn it, with the jobs they do around the house each week. This teaches them to earn money by working for it.
6. Let kids spend their own money. If they make mistakes in how they spend it, let them make mistakes. It's all part of the learning process.
7. Set family goals, where everyone can contribute. When I was in middle school, we planned a trip to Disneyland as part of our summer vacation. To help us achieve our goal, we kids decided to make lunches to take to school, instead of buying school lunch. Then the money that we saved, we put into a ceramic "well" that Mom had above the sink. I remember my lunches not being all that great that year, probably because I was the one who made them, but I also remember the satisfaction of working together as a family for a shared goal, which we were able to achieve.
8. Learning new skills will not only bless you, it can help you bless the lives of others. And in the event of a job loss, having up to date skills makes you more employable.
9. Work towards paying off your mortgage early. Think of the security owning a home will give you and your family!
10. If your husband, or you, were to die tomorrow, what would be the source of income for your family? Having insurance isn't just nice, it's a necessity. Two of my aunts lost husbands at relatively young ages. They had young children at home to care for. Term life insurance is inexpensive and easy to get, especially if you are in your 20's or 30's. I say get as much as you can on the breadwinner in your family. I don't want to have to run out and get a job if my husband dies. I have young children at home, and I would prefer to stay at home until they leave for college.
11. Become educated on how your investments, bank accounts etc. work.
12. Be prepared with food storage and emergency preparedness. These are a couple blog posts in and of themselves. If you have food storage and emergency supplies, when disaster strikes, at least you have something to eat and the things you need to take care of your family.
Another excellent resource is providentliving.org Here you can find the basics to get started, or the pep talk you need to continue living within your means.
It has been very exciting to work towards these goals with our family. Becoming debt free, living within our means and working towards paying off our house and saving for college and retirement is an exciting journey we can all take. When we try to live providently, meaning-in the Lord's way-then the Lord will bless us and our families, and we will find peace even in the midst of the storms that swirl around us.