Sometimes, one of the scariest things about venturing into the next season of your life and striking out on your own for the first time is navigating the challenging world of finances.
You’re used to all your housing, grocery, and utility bills being paid for by your parents, and now you must learn how to figure it all out for yourself. There are bills to pay, things to buy, and, in the midst of it all, you really want to be a good steward. It may feel challenging at first, but with these 5 simple tips, you can take a lot of the guesswork, overwhelm, unwise choices, and stress out of it.
- Remember Whose Money it Actually Is (and Who Your Provider Is!)
This is where we have to start. I will readily admit to you that I struggle with my spending. I see a good deal, and I have the idea that I can’t afford to pass it up. I’m a huge bibliophile, so book sales in particular get the best of me.
The problem I have with my spending isn’t just an issue of my idolizing instant gratification and not wanting to wait to make my purchases for when I have the extra spending money. The real problem is that I am behaving as if I am the Lord of my finances, as if it all belongs to me. But Scripture makes it clear that everything we have comes from God (see Philippians 4:19, Psalm 23:1, James 1:17, Psalm 54:4). He is our Provider, and anything He gives to us is not something that instantly becomes ours. Rather, it is something He is entrusting to us for a season to steward well.
When I consciously live out of that mindset and remember that the money in my bank account has been entrusted to me by God to be used for His good purposes, it changes how I spend it and influences whether or not I choose to save it.
- Take a Class or Course on Managing Your Finances
There are countless testimonies from folks online who have taken a class on being wise with your finances and have been able to either save up and pay cash for a house or else pay off thousands of dollars in debt. It’s amazing! One such example would be my friend Jessi Fearon, who had so much wisdom and practical insight to share on this podcast episode.
Classes like these are not just for those who have big savings goals or need to get out of debt. Really all of us would benefit from taking a course in how to handle our finances wisely – after all, we aren’t born knowing all this, right?
A couple classes I would recommend would be the Real Life Money Plan eCourse and the Financial Peace University Course. Dave Ramsey’s book, The Total Money Makeover, would be another great resource. Also look into Crown Financial Ministries.
- Ask Questions; Be a Learner
Always carry a humble spirit with you through life, and never consider yourself above asking others for wisdom and advice. If you have questions, ask! Go to your parents, your pastor, a financial coach you know, someone at your bank, or a trusted mentor and get your questions answered.
- Pay Cash and Use the Envelope System (i.e. Have a Budget!)
There really is no way to be a wise steward of one’s finances without putting together a budget and sticking to it. If you aren’t sure where to start, Jessi Fearon’s free workbook, Build a Budget That Works, is a great resource!
- Walk by the Spirit
This point is just as key as the one we began this list with. It is imperative that we walk by the Spirit in our everyday lives if we hope to navigate the arena of finances wisely. Galatians 5:16 says, “I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”
As I mentioned earlier, I have a tendency to have a spending problem. And I know that when I get caught in one of those ruts, it is because I have not been intentional about walking in the Spirit. Instead, I have been walking by the flesh and seeking to fulfill the desires I have to buy more, more, more.
When I instead am walking by the Spirit – when I am abiding in Christ, remembering Who “my” money actually belongs to, spending time in the Word, being faithful in prayer, and keeping wise company – it is far easier for me to refuse to give into temptation to spend when I shouldn’t. This isn’t to say it is always ever wrong to spend money on yourself. Of course not! But it is to say that we have to walk by the Spirit in order to not spend money unwisely or in a less-than-God-honoring way.
Learning to navigate the new world of finances can seem daunting. But with these five primary points to remember, you will be well on your way to living in financial peace and freedom with the money God has entrusted to you!