Welcome to the Battle Plan Series! We are going to go through both phases of CAM’s battle plan and what each step entails. The battle plan will consist of 2 phases to getting to financial freedom.
By: Amber Moore
You may have watched your parents budget their paychecks and you’ve probably heard many people say that a budget is the best way to control your money (instead of feeling like it controls you!), but if you’ve never done one before, the thought of it might seem overwhelming!
It’s really not, I promise. I’m going to show you how to create your very first household budget without making your head spin.
If you are anything like my wife and I, you may have let the holiday spirit run free and possibly got off track with your finances. It’s okay to intentionally let go of the handlebars and coast on rare occasions, but we never want to completely lose control. If you missed our blog for letting go you can find it here.
Now that the holidays are over, we want to recover and set ourselves back on track to success. Just like when you let go of your handlebars while riding your bike and go to regain control, we don’t want any sudden movements or adjustments. Don’t go to regain control of your finances and over correct. Don’t come and look at the budget and say, “Oh well, I guess we can’t buy food this month because we bought Grandma Bette those bottles of Italian wine” or “Hey little Johnny, you got all the toys you asked for so now you have to go work in a sweatshop down the street to make up for it.” We want to intentionally take back control and assess where we may have allowed some slippage.
With all of the holidays, it is easy to focus on just the season and giving and to forget about all other plans. I want to give you permission to put things on autopilot while you deal with the holidays. Yes, that is right: you can have an autopilot schedule for your finances during hectic times.
Does this sounds too good to be true? Who would say to have an autopilot for finances? When we think about the absurdity of this, it is a little hard to grasp. However, for most of us, having our finances on autopilot is how we handled our finances before we started taking control and being in charge of our finances with a budget. BUT just like riding a bike, you can, momentarily, strategically take your hands off the handlebars without crashing.
While controlling your finances there will be times where everything just takes over and you may forget something. This is when you take another look at your monthly budget and adjust. Or maybe some things came up that weren’t really planned for, but you still have a sinking fund for, so there is no need for concern.
During the holidays there are always surprises, whether that be gifts under the tree or family and friends showing up or inviting you over to share in holiday cheer. The holidays are for spending time with family and friends and not the time to be stressing over every penny in the budget.
Now don’t jump out of one ditch and into another. This does not mean blow the budget! What it does mean is you are in control and have been doing great so allow the budget to work for you. Just like you do with the bike allow the momentum and wisdom you have learned over the past couple of weeks or months to give you the confidence you need to take your hands off and have a controlled moment of autopilot. And just like when you regrab the handle bars on your bike, there will most likely be a slight correction needed, so prepare for that.
But don’t get too excited because, unfortunately, this cannot be for everyone. Just like with our children, I would not recommend to my two year old, who is new to a bike, to ride without hands. So, if you are new to a budget and still learning how to control your finances, don’t let go. You need to keep control of your finances through the holidays and maybe if your momentum slows just a bit, that is fine. The biggest thing is don’t lose momentum all together. And definitely don’t allow yourself to go backwards. All of those deals, stores handing out credit cards like candy, can be very tempting. Don’t fall for it. Keep your hands on the handle bars, keep your budget fresh on your mind, but know that a budget is a learning process.
I really hope no matter where you are in your journey, that you realize that its not going to be easy. You will fall, you will scrape your knees, but the important thing is to get up, wipe it off, and keep pushing. Strategically place people around you that will keep you accountable, offering encouragement when you fall, and cheering you on when you make a win.
DW and I sat down with a family recently. We were helping them get ahold of their finances. Now, this couple was going through Financial Peace University and were sold into making a change.
The hardest decision to make is the decision to change.
We were just there to help them wrangle everything in, to offer support and accountability. We went through and put all of their information into a CAM Workbook for them. It was obvious through talking to them and presenting the information that change was needed and the question was just how much change were they going to commit to. We did a budget together. They did a budget multiple times before committing and signing to the change. Everything looked great. The first day on their budget one of them forget their lunch at home and some coworkers wanted to go to lunch. They fell off the bike and went to lunch. Later that evening they were going to buy groceries (and following the cash system they had pulled cash out so they could feel their spending) and the money was lost. This wasn’t just falling off, this felt like being pushed straight into a thorn bush and crashing off the bike.
Many people would have just quit here. They didn’t. They had fully and irrevocably bought into change. In fact, since our meeting they have made more progress than they had committed to on paper in our home that night. They didn’t let the nicks and scrapes or battle scars of a new decision keep them down.
And for those of you new to a budget I want you to use that story of perseverance to hold on through the holidays. For those readers not on a budget or wanting accountability partners please reach out to us. We are here to help and want to help everyone to be able to take your hands off the handle bars.
Charles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.comwhere you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.
This week I wanted to spend some time on something that has been weighing heavy on my heart: tithing. Tithing is a biblical principal that many battle with. This struggle is not only knowing and understanding the concept of tithing, but also remaining steadfast in giving, no matter the circumstances. I know I have certainly struggled in this area of my faith!
How can you justify putting hundreds of dollars in the bucket at church when you have that credit card payment to make? How are you supposed to tithe when at the end of the month you don’t have enough left over?
Those are all questions that I’m sure every devout Christian has asked themselves at one point, probably when they were struggling to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck. But I’m here to tell you that you can tithe, you can do it correctly according to God’s word, and that putting your tithe first will not end your world. So I’ve put together 3 simple steps that you can take today that will get you on the right path to faithfully and consistently rendering unto God what is His.
3 Steps to Tithing Faithfully
When you are creating your monthly budget, the very first thing on your budget should be your tithes. This means before gas, before groceries, before car notes. We are giving God 10% of our best, not of whats left over.This doesn’t mean 1/10 after taxes and all bills are paid because thats what you have left over. God wants your “first fruits”. So when you sit down to do November’s budget, the first place you will put your money is in that “Tithe” category.
This is a principal I personally struggled with each month and had to learn to allow my faith to guide and trust in the Lords plan and guidance. Mark 12:17 tell us, “Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.” “Give back to Caesar” meant to pay your taxes, and “to God what is God’s” is referring to tithes. The Bible does not tell us to “render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s and then render unto God what is His”. You are commanded to tithe and pay your taxes. I wanted so bad to use after tax dollars to calculate what my tithes should be, but by making this argument I was telling myself that Uncle Sam was more important than my Lord and Saviour.
Give 1/10th and beyond.
The word “tithe” literally means a tenth. From well before the laws of Moses, to even when Jesus was walking on the earth, we are taught to “tithe” on what we have been blessed with. Some believe this goes beyond your money to include your time, etc. but for the purpose of this post we are focusing on the finances. So now we see that 1/10 of all of our income should be given unto the Lord as a tithe.
It can be a really simple concept if you don’t try to excuse your way out of it. Any and all income should be tithed on (your paycheck, your VA income, your child support income, etc.). If you are ever in doubt whether you should tithe, why not just go ahead and do it? Giving more than necessary to the kingdom of God sounds like a way better way to go about finances than trying to be stingy with God’s blessings.
Now in Acts 11:29 we are taught that in addition to tithing, everyone should give (whether offerings, missions, etc.) “according to his ability”. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, then giving generously for you might only be $25 and that’s okay (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). As you have more, you can and should give more.
Malachi teaches a lot about tithing and giving in general, but perhaps the most important lesson is that tithing gives honor to God. How we tithe is just as important as what we tithe. When you tithe, and even when you give above that, “We should give generously as we purposed in our hearts, not grudgingly or of necessity, but cheerfully” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God is not counting the dollar bills you just gave to your church’s missionaries, He is examining your heart to see what your attitude was about giving. Did you give to honor God and grow His kingdom? Did you give to praise Him and equip his missionaries with things they need to bring His word to those who have never heard it? Or are you giving because you want more?
Tithing is not about receiving. We don’t give to God just so we can receive. Giving is one way we draw closer to God. Matthew 6:21 says, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” If your treasures are invested in God’s kingdom and your local place of worship, then, most likely, your hearts and thoughts are constantly focusing on praising God and increasing his kingdom.
The best way to start honoring God and growing closer to Him, is to consistently be reading God’s word. Find a good devotional on tithing, honoring God or even just growing your relationship with him. Set aside a time each day to spend in God’s word. Studying what the Bible says about finances, tithing, and your relationship with God and then spending time talking to God about what you’ve read, heard, or even what you have been doing will strengthen that relationship with God, allow you to hear Him when he speaks into your life, and will keep you under that covering of protection and blessing.
Learning to tithe and to give faithfully is a constant battle for many Christians, especially for those that are on a path to get their finances in order and working to become debt free. I had to do a check when we started our journey and put the money into perspective. Was I really going to allow a car payment come before the Lord?
This past Saturday at a mens breakfast hosted by by my church, The Rock, Pastor Rusty Nelson touched on the fact that once you get right in the things that the Lord blesses you with, then He will bless you with more. If we, as Christ followers, cannot take care of the responsibilities and the blessings that the Lord has already given us, why would he entrust us with more? This really stuck with me and not just for finances but my entire life.
When my wife and I got on the same page with our finances as well as the Biblical principals for giving, being devoted tithers just became easier. This, I believe, was an internal switch that was made in our hearts to just have faith and give unto the Lord; He is our God who has and will continue to provide for us, and He deserves our praise and honor.
He is our God and He will provide.
Charles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.com where you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.