Right now we are finishing up a financial series at church. I think there is a myth out there that people get angry when the church mixes the topics Bible and Money. That has not been our experience at all! We have been flooded with questions, emails, and kind messages of gratitude as people are starving for financial principles that will give them the boundaries that we are all looking for. I know that we will take all the help we can get!
One of the interesting facts about our marriage is that we have never had a fight over money. And it isn’t because we have an enormous salary, a big house, nice cars, and no need to discuss a budget. Quite the opposite. I believe we’ve never fought about money because we base our decisions from the Bible. If we want to argue, we’ve got to argue with God Himself…and that’s not a good plan.
Although I don’t think we have our financial picture completely worked out, I thought I’d share some of our foundational beliefs about money and maybe you’ll find some common ground to help your own financial stress.
1. We give first. The Bible gives us a foundation of 10% to give back to our church. We tithe off of our gross because that’s what we are paid. Then we decide how much we want to give to missionaries, facility fund, and camp scholarships within North Creek. There’s no guilt in this conversation. It’s not about breaking the bank, but about consistently supporting things we believe in. Then we evaluate other opportunities outside of the church that we have a passion to support. If one of us doesn’t feel good about something, we scratch it off the list, even if the other person would like to support it. It’s about agreement. There are plenty of organizations that we can both get behind. It’s not his money and my money…it’s our money.
2. We had a values conversation a long time ago where we decided what was important to us. The main thing about this list is that it benefits our family as a whole. That means we each say no to personal desires along the way. The exception to that rule is that birthday and Christmas gifts are FUN money. Mark saved his fun money for years to buy a TV he wanted. He was like a kid in a candy store, and it didn’t hurt us financially at all. We have decided that retirement, travelling on a vacation once a year, having an emergency fund, and having a date fund are priorities for our family. That means other things just can’t make the list.
3. We hate debt. We have never paid interest on a credit card in our married lives. That means we say no more than we say yes to things. We have a budget and our desires must fall within the amount of money God has entrusted us.
So, there it is! Nothing fancy, nothing complicated, but maybe something we are doing will help you. I’d also love to hear your tricks and tips for living a financially healthy life. What is working for your family?