My 5-year-old, Audrey, is also on a tight budget. I told her over a year ago that if she wanted that new playground set from Costco that she was going to have to save for it. $998 is a lot of money to find in coins just lying around the house! A few weeks ago she found herself in quite a dilemma. They started teaching about generosity in children’s church. She felt challenged to give some of her coins from her piggy bank, but she didn’t know what to do. If she gave the coins away, it would take away from what she had already saved toward the playground!
That’s the problem with personal finance…there are too many options. We have a lot of places we could spend money and a lot of reasons to save money. It’s easy to get lost in the process of figuring out what we should do and what we shouldn’t, and which order to prioritize things. For me, the solution is something I call “values-based budgeting”. The entire budgeting process is driven by personal values that I pull from God’s Word. It gives me a starting point for simplifying the process and limiting my options.
Here are just a few of the values that drive my personal budgeting:
1.) Generosity. Proverbs 11:24 says that “the world of the generous gets larger and larger” and that “the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller”. To me that means that no matter how tight my budget is, generosity has to be a part of it. Otherwise, my financial world would just keep getting smaller and smaller!
2.) Preparation for the future. Proverbs 6:6-8 tells us to observe the ways of the ant, “which prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest”. That tells me that I need to be aware that some of what I have now could be provision for the future. I need to set aside the necessary portion to prepare for future needs.
3.) No Personal Debt. Proverbs 22:7 says that “the borrower becomes the lender’s slave.” It’s true. A monthly payment feels like bondage that restricts financial growth. God wants us to be lenders, not borrowers. This is not just the result of prosperity…it is the pathway to prosperity.
4.) Timely Payments. Leviticus 19:13 says “The wages of a hired man are not to remain with you all night until morning.” This tells me that if I have the money, I should pay them what I owe them as quick as possible.
5.) Faithfulness. Luke 16:10 says, “He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much.” I believe that if I can stick to my values, now, while my finances are small, that I’ll be trusted with more in the future.
What values are driving your financial management?