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Summary: Big Idea for this series: How to get from where you are, to where you want to be.

Money in HD: How to manage my money

Me: Share story about buying Neon, and guessing about having enough money to buy the car.

We: How many of you make decisions with your finances without really knowing if you have enough money? Or maybe you’re an impulse buyer and you purchase stuff because it’s a good deal, or is on sale. Or maybe you spend money based on how you feel. You know, maybe you had a bad day or a bad week and I deserve to treat myself because this past week really stunk. Or maybe you think because you still have checks in your checkbook, that you still have money in your account. Don’t laugh, when Jennifer worked at the bank in Dryden, NY, many people wanted to know why their checks bounced, and when told they had no money, replied in return, well, I still have checks in my checkbook. And money is a very volatile topic. I mean, most of the fights we have in marriages are over money, and is greatest cause of divorce, and stress in our lives.

So how can we learn to manage our money so we can reduce the amount of stress in our lives, and be sure to prepare for the future, pay our bills on time, and work to get out of debt? We can do that by taking a few simple steps. And step #1 is…

GET THE FACTS

Talk about buying soda, coffee, candy, eating out for lunch, owning cell phones, having digital cable, or satellite, internet, etc… and how much it costs to do that each and every day. Have you ever considered how much small purchases like that really cost you? And how much money you are spending on things that are luxuries and not necessities? That is why it is important to get the facts about your finances.

Proverbs 27:23-24 says, “Know the state of your flocks, and put your heart into caring for your herds, for riches don’t last forever, and the crown might not be passed to the next generation.”

What the writer of proverbs is saying is, Know what’s going on in your life financially. Know where you are. Know how much you have and how much you’re spending. And know where it is you want to be. And to do that it is important to ask yourself 4 questions.

(1) How much do I own? (2) How much do I owe? This is the debt question. You can’t write out beside it, a lot. That’s not enough. You have to get the facts. (3) How much do I make? And again, you can’t say “not enough”. You have to do some research on this. Managing your money well is not about making more, it’s about managing what you already have. (4) How much I spend?

And we want to help you get the facts, so we have put together a packet for you that you received when you came in the door, and I want to encourage you to take that home and get the facts about your finances, so you can get on the road to financial stability. Step #2 is…

PLAN AHEAD

Based on what you earn and how much you have, decide where you want your money to go, and begin making plans for it. Some things you need to plan for are: your retirement, the kid’s college tuition, the purchase of your home, car maintenance and repair, dental expenses, Christmas and birthdays, and so on. None of these things are emergencies; we know they’re going to happen, but too often we wait until December 10 and suddenly say, "Yikes! I’ve only got two weeks! Where am I going to get the money to buy Christmas gifts?" Then we decide the only way we can have a good Christmas is to go deeper in debt. So we get out the trusty credit card and then spend way too much on Christmas, and regret it for the whole next year.

Take a look at Proverbs 21:5. It says, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.”

So, we’ve got to develop a plan for how we will spend our money. We know Christmas, birthdays, come around every year. Car repairs happen, oil changes have to be done, clothes have to be purchased. So it only makes sense that we plan ahead instead of taking hasty shortcuts. Take a look at Proverbs 13:16. It says, “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t—and even brag about their foolishness.”

And we can plan ahead by taking step #3 which is…

SET FINANCIAL PRIORITIES

You see the Bible teaches that you should prioritize your money and you should use it in a certain way. And one of the priorities that God tells us to have with our finances is to give, to return back to God the first 10% of our income. Now maybe you are thinking, why should I give back to God 10% of my income? I mean, why does God need my money? And maybe you are thinking, well, I would like to give back to God, but I just can’t afford it, or I will give to God when I get my finances under control. Well, let me be honest with you, if you don’t set some financial priorities, you won’t ever get your finances under control. So what is the purpose of tithing?

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