It's only Money
It’s Only Money – by Trudy Newell
The old saying “money talks” has truth to it. The way I use my money speaks volumes about who I am and what’s important to me.
I had wonderful parents who loved me and trained me in the ways of the Lord. No one is perfect, and one area that was never talked about in our home was money. I never ‘saw’ dad and mom pay the bills. I was clueless about how the home operated. It took me a long time to become ‘money smart.’ I learned everything the hard way.
You don’t have to do it that way. Step up to the plate and take control of the resources God has given you. I would encourage you to ask someone in your family who you respect and trust to help you learn about money. If you’re not comfortable with that, don’t worry – there is plenty of help out there. There are lots of books about how to handle your money, many written for kids your age. There is also a ton of practical stuff on the web to help you become ‘money smart.’
This is my own embarrassing money story. I trust it will help you know the importance of figuring it out early.
1. I learned the hard way to pay attention to numbers. If I have $10.00, that does not mean I can spend $10.25.
2. I learned the joy of giving.
I have always loved to give. This is one area that my parents set a great example. Giving was caught rather than taught. You might say it’s in my DNA. It is ‘more blessed to give than to receive.’ Out of every $10.00, $1.00 goes to the Lord. Because I want to have fun, make that $1.50.
3. I learned the cost of living.
I lived at home or in the college dorm until I arrived in Iran as a young missionary. Not only did I have to adjust to a whole new world and a new language; I had to figure out how to pay expenses. Missionaries, at least in our mission, aren’t known for having a large cash flow. I’m not sure how well I did. Then came Kenya, and I still didn’t have my act together.
4. I learned what a budget is all about.
My first glimpse of budgeting came when I was in Kenya. But it was all in my head, not on paper. I didn’t really know where my money went, I only thought I did.
5. I learned how to balance a checkbook.
I won’t even tell you how old I was before I learned to balance a checkbook! I still struggle with the process. Just ask my husband. I’m not a number cruncher. However, I have learned it is important, whether I like it or not.
6. I learned how to save.
It’s always more fun to spend than to save. But, to be a wise steward, I need to put some aside. I tell Mike that I learned - too little too late.
7. I learned the danger of credit cards and debt
Because I lived overseas, and income was limited, I didn’t have a credit card until I was in my forties. I knew in my head that it needed to be paid off monthly.
Surprise! I found it easier said than done. The credit card companies are counting on that fact. That’s how they make their money. If that balance is not paid in full by the end of the payment period (however long that is for your specific card), they charge you for the ‘privilege’ of using their card.
What does all this have to do with a young person and their money? Only this. I wish I had started out ‘money smart’ as a young teen.
I understood how important it was to put God first in my life, and with my money. It wasn’t (and still isn’t) my money anyway. I understood this. What I didn’t understand was how important it was to save.
I started out right with a savings account at the bank where I opened my first checking account. Every week I put $10 in my savings. That was a good start. The account grew. Then I bought a car, and used it for the down payment. There is nothing wrong with that. What was wrong is that was the end of my savings account. I found out that buying a car is a lot more expensive than I thought! There’s insurance, tires and upkeep. Oh, and without gas, that car won’t go.
Since I didn’t think I could save, I figured if I trusted God that was enough. But – God has given us a head to use, and expects us to be wise stewards.
So from my heart to your heart –
* Begin by knowing how much money you have. Do you get a weekly allowance of $10.00? Do you get paid for doing odd jobs? That’s what you have to work with. If you get extra gifts or Christmas money, hang on to it. Don’t blow it!
* Put God first, He deserves the best! Give Him His part and your heart.
* Save for it! If you want an iPad, save for it. Don’t expect dad and mom to foot the bill for all the extras. (And saving for a big expense doesn’t mean you put God on hold. (He even comes before that iPad you want so badly.)
* Think before you spend! It’s easy to spend your allowance on Saturday and then have to scramble or sponge off mom the rest of the week. Take responsibility, and manage well the money you are given and earn.
It’s kind of weird to think of glorifying God by the way we use our money. But, in a society that says, “It’s all about money,” we know better. We know that even our money is all about the Lord.
Dear Lord, I’m just beginning to deal with money. Help me to learn to do it right. I want to budget, save, and most of all, to honor You with the way I spend my money. Help me to remember that every cent I receive is a gift from You. Don’t let me have so much that I get proud and don’t feel like I need to depend on You. On the other hand, don’t let me go without to the point I am worried and anxious about money. Bless me, Lord, with balance and wisdom in my finances. I’m not just asking for right now, but for my lifetime, In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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You're not alone Trudy. Many of us had to learn the same lessons the hard way.
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