Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursday Thoughts: Money Management

I hardly know where to begin with this topic.  Newspapers scream out headlines about student debt, politicians argue about national debt, foreclosed homes sit empty, and personal debt looms large for many families.


Of course, I don't have the answers to all of those problems, and even if I did, one blog post would be insufficient to address the issues.  However, I can tell you what has brought me great peace of mind throughout our marriage:  having a budget and sticking to it. 


When we were first married, I worried about having enough money in the bank at the time various obligations came due.  Some bills arrived monthly, others semi-annually, and how in the world was I going to keep it all straight?


Enter Superman my husband.  Back when our computer screen (and everyone else's) glowed green, John wrote a budget program.  All I had to do was enter our paychecks and deductions, and the program automatically divided our money into various categories.  I could see at a glance how we were doing.  By the time the auto insurance came due, we had a little chunk of money ready and waiting. 


I know that now there are lots of financial computer programs that will accomplish the same task, but why mess with success?  I still use John's program--although he has updated it to Excel. 


You don't need a computer program, though.  The old-fashioned, pencil and paper method works, too.  Then take a budget category--let's say housing.  Figure out how much you spend each year for rent or mortgage payments.  Then divide that number by the number of paychecks you receive each year.  That will tell you how much money you need to budget each paycheck for housing.  Repeat for each category.  As you make purchases or pay bills, be sure to subtract that amount from the appropriate category. 


When you set up your budget divisions, don't forget a category for tithing.  Malachi chapter 3, verses 8 and 10 read: " Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. 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."  It doesn't make intellectual sense, but we live better on 90% than we ever would on 100%.  The Lord really does provide for our needs when we remember Him.


Do you have a favorite budget program?  What are your money management tips?


Thankful thought:  Thanks for the principle of tithing, and for John and his computer skills. 







6 comments:

  1. Kristi, what wonderful advice! My husband and I do the same thing. Our best advice is to split all the bills by income percentage. I earn 61% of the income therefore I pay 61% of the bills while he pays 39%. Everything is included, from regular monthly bills to groceries, fuel, Netflix - even vet expenses. Our savings fund is also included as a "bill." The money gets automatically transferred from our SEPARATE checking accounts to our joint checking each payday. We also make sure we are both paying the same percentage of our income - currently 74% - and any money left over is ours to spend. I earn more than my husband therefore I always have more left over to spend. We never stress over bills or groceries or gas or saving up for our next big purchase, because the budget makes it easy for us to plan ahead. Thanks for bringing this to the attention of your readers. Having a budget makes a huge difference in a marriage! :)

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  2. I never really thought about keeping a budgetprogram, but luckely we are both quite frugal people. I should make up one though. Most bills are collected monthly, but Henk's payday is every 4 weeks. Not easy calculating.
    But, as said, we don't spend much and we are able to save up really good (hence the USA-vacations ;-)) Besides our small mortgage we don't have any loans, which I'm very proud of since I don't have an income anymore.....
    To bad not everybody thinks like us.... (hence the crisis Europe is in...)
    Very usefull post, hope more people take the advice.

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  3. When we married back before electric lights ;) my husband knew nothing about money except how to earn it. He's a hard worker. He would have a fit over any expense necessary or not so I became the money manager. We have only ever been paid once a month so I can stretch a dollar and make it holler especially during our children's teen years. With the advent of the computer I adopted Quicken and have used it for years to keep track of expenses large and small. I'm thankful to say we are in reasonable shape financially although we will never be rich we are certainly never poor and always grateful. Both of us are very frugal and have taught the children to be as well, they seem to be doing ok as adults for which I'm also grateful.

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  4. We adhere less to a budget now, but we always had a tight budget when we were younger with young children, & it was the pencil & paper kind back then. Now The Man has everything set up in Quicken. I think there should be a mandatory class in Jr. High or High School for teaching kids how to manage money. And, I think it should be against the law for credit card companies to send college kids credit cards. Okay, I'll get off my soap box now....lol!
    CAS

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  5. Thank you for participating in Show Your Stuff Blog Hop, You are invited to come back:
    http://juliejewels1.blogspot.com/2012/06/show-your-stuff-27.html

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  6. We too have a budget Kristi but I use the old fashioned method of a pen and paper. I have been thinking of switching over though and using a programs that might show me graphs and such. Now just to find the time to set it up!

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Thanks for making this a conversation. I love to hear your comments!