To find people that are knowledgeable in the field of finances is rare and powerful. My friend Tiffany is just that! She is a leading voice in the realm of money. This is something that touches every part of our lives and I'm so excited to have her! Tiffany shares with us 5 practical ways to be wise with our money.
Create a budget. It's a physical picture of what your money is doing. The things you have to pay and the things you want to pay. Write down what all those things cost you monthly, subtract your monthly expenses from your monthly take-home pay. That is a budget and you can start with that. Budgeting allows you to see if your values are aligning with the way you spend your money.
When you do that, you can start to see some unhealthy patterns. A few years ago, we hadn't budgeted in awhile. So we sat down and when we did, I was a little appalled by some subjects. There's so much power in realizing how much we're spending and comparing that to how much I should be spending.
2. Make savings inconvenient. Automate your savings, but put it into an online only bank account where there is no physical location. You will link bank accounts online, and the only way you to get money out of your online only bank account is to transfer it to your physical bank. It's a 24-hour wait. This makes you wait so we can't impulsively buy things we don't really need.
3. Separate and automate. I have a checkings account for spending and deposit, a checkings account just for bills, and my savings account online. Separating your money gives it purpose and you can see how far or close you are from your goals. Automating helps you to not fuss around with money as much.
4. Make it a family affair! Because money was talked about so much in my home, we learned how to be frugal. My parents integrated us into the family's finances all growing up. My dad would put the electric bill on the dining room table and we would see if it was up or down from last month. He would use that as a motivational tool, and if it went down, he would put the money in our vacation account. Saving $20 is not really adding to a vacation, but it made me realize that the choices we make collectively in the household either add or subtract to our quality of life. It wasn't from a standpoint of fear or not having enough.
5. Giving activates abundance. At the recession, I had less money than I did when I was 16. Even during that, I was still giving of my time and tithing. What you're really acknowledging is that even in the times that feel lean, I have access. I have more than enough blessings! When you acknowledge that, you move through life in a different way. When you see the power of giving, you want to give less so you can give more because you see the good you can cause because of giving. The practice of that has become more compelling, not as we've gotten more and more comfortable, but as we've given even in our discomfort. It really can change and multiply and last.
We have bought into the idea that somehow more is more. If we get the bigger house and better car, then we have won at life and are somehow happier. That's just not true. When I visited my family in Nigeria, they had so much less than us in America, but their joy shocked me. If someone gave me food or anything while I was there and I would say thank you, they would respond, "thank God!" I remember being taken off guard by that. Everyone did that. When you root yourself in money, you will always be dissatisfied, but they were rooted in God and that's where they found their joy. They taught me to live from a place of gratefulness. I'm still moved by that and it really changed my life.