Basic Budgeting

Introduction:
The Christian view of money and other assets, is that we are stewards of the Lord's resources.  We are responsible to the Lord to be faithful, diligent and enterprising with what He has given, or will give us. The Scripture teaches in Matthew 25:14-30, that God gives each of us certain assets or talents, in a certain time-frame, (our lives) and then requires accountability.  He wants us to maximise returns on what He has committed to us, whether it is our talents, or time, ten dollars, or one million dollars.

An employee could conceivably earn two million dollars in their working life.  Jesus Christ will require accountability at the end of this time.  Where will it have gone? Diligence and accountability should be of great importance to the Christian. We are stewards of the Lord's resources; they are not ours. One aspect of this diligence, is sensible budgeting.

Some fundamentals:

1. Husband and wife must talk and make decisions together over the budget, and be in unity over every aspect of it. “Two are better than one.”  Eccles.4:9.

2. Operate a household budget. Determine how much you need for each aspect of your expenditure, and set aside money for these regularly: this could be every week, fortnight , 4 week month or whatever. Expenditure should always be related to how much you are earning, so that you are not consistently spending more than you earn.

3. Determine what are your “needs” and your “wants,” and ensure all the “needs” are covered, before embarking on your “wants.”

4. Always avoid debt. Romans 13:8.

5. Credit cards can be a useful tool, if you are disciplined. But get rid of them if you can't cope with them.

6. Negotiate better purchase prices with cash. “Cash is king.” Some retailers welcome this.

7. Maximise income whenever possible. “Make hay while the sun shines.”

8. Teach your children to be industrious, but contented capitalists. They need to balance their earning, spending, saving and giving. Many times, families can have fun without spending money.

9. Yes, shop for bargains, but don't buy “white elephants” you don't need.

10. In an inflationary environment, stock up while items are still cheap.

11. Buy winter clothes at the end of winter, and summer clothes at the end of summer, when retail sales are on.

12. Minimise purchases of depreciating items.  Second-hand cars are not only cheaper; they are generally better value than new ones, as they do not suffer the same (sharp) levels of depreciation.

13. Converting cars to LPG, is often a great advantage long-term, that can save thousands annually, and halve fuel costs. In Australia, a $2,000 government rebate is accessible.

14. Wherever possible, buy in bulk from wholesalers or factory outlets.

15. Some goods such as bread, hot chicken and other short shelf-life items are sharply reduced at the end of the day. Leftovers may have to be thrown out. Enterprising shoppers can capitalise on this, by going and “cutting a deal” when the shop is about to close.eg. “I see its your closing time:  can you give me 12 loaves, for half price?” You benefit, and so does he. It is not mean (or unchristian) to look for good deals, and deal shrewdly with sellers. It's God's money you're spending!

Conclusion:
Budgeting is an essential for the Christian person. Once you have mastered the procedure, it is a great tool to assist in family financial management. Make it part of your life, and enjoy the benefits that accrue.

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