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Monday, November 25, 2013

Futuristic Finances

I'm usually one that preaches about giving and not worrying about money; so this is a little bit of a different kind of subject.  It may seem strange for me to suddenly be emphasizing saving and budgeting, but I think this ties right along in with the giving and relying on God theme. 

At no time should our budgeting or saving make us stingy or greedy.  Jesus talks numerous times about giving- Acts 20:35 "I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive." 

Sometimes I think the best way to view money in the proper perspective is to remember that it technically isn't ours.  Our money, possessions, time, etc... comes from God and God only.  Yes, we want to work hard so we can pay our bills and support our families; but never should we start to think that God is not ultimately responsible for what we receive.  "The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away." 

However, He does want us to be wise stewards with our finances.  There are countless programs and ministries today focused on helping Christians budget and handle their income wisely.  I'm not going to give a three-step program or a wise lecture; I'm just going to share what I have been learning and encountering.  I write this especially for singles, since that is the stage of life I currently am in. 

I become increasingly concerned as I see young guys and girls who are taking no heed of their future.  The current generation of young people are simply living by the moment.  All that is great since we are to rely on God's leading and not "write our plans in stone", but what happens when life suddenly hits us and we suddenly are clueless on how to live?

As a single women, it may be hard for us to grasp.  Most are still thinking that they will never be reduced to a life of singlehood- imagine that a guy wouldn't ask us! But I have no guarantee from a young man that he will marry me by the time of my twenty-fifth birthday, and no angel appeared and foretold me that marriage is in my future.  If you look at the ratio of single men compared to single women, it will quickly confirm the fact that we may be called to live solo.  As of right now, I plan that I will be single the rest of my life and so prepare that way.  If God would have matrimony in mind for me, I will still be glad for the preparations I have taken; and my saving will not have been in vain. 

Basically what I am saying is that since I have no man to support me and I don't want to rely upon my parents for the rest of my life, it is time I start supporting myself and my future.  Maybe that means starting to set aside a certain amount each month to save for an apartment, or maybe that means trying to figure out what God wants me to pursue as a job, ministry, or life goal instead of sitting back and waiting for a guy to come knocking at my door. 

Just think with me for a little bit---
To set up one's own home these are some things that most would purchase
washing machine
dryer
utensils
stove
microwave
refrigerator
plates, cups, bowls, storage containers, serving dishes, etc...
mixer
blender
coffee maker
pots, pans, kettles
dining room set
living room set
bedroom set
towels, washcloths, cleaning supplies, washing supplies, rugs, decorations, sheets, comforters,
mower
hoes, rakes, shovels

Bills that would come due....
electricity
heat
taxes- local, state, property, school, income
water and sewer
food
maintenance
insurances

Now granted, each place would be different and some people might not need a dyer or mower; but there are things that I have not even listed.  Starts to get a little overwhelming!

If you get married, people will give gifts to help you start off your new life with less expense; but if you are a single male or female, most of this stuff will need to come out of your own pocket. 

What if we save and prepare and then get married or go on the mission field?  Well, I'm sure your wife or husband will appreciate your monetary gift you bring to a marriage because the expenses don't go away.  Once you start to build a family, each child will approximately cost $241,080 (give or take)!!!  If you go on the mission field for a year or five years, there is time that you may come back and need a place to live.  Most people will have moved on by then, and you will be thrown into the craziness of life with little help. 

Am I saying that we should adopt a "survival of the fittest" attitude?  Definitely not!  We still need to rely on our Heavenly Father, because He cares and provides for us. 

Matthew 6:25-34

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."

But it concerns me when I see young men spending all their money on expensive hunting trips, snowmobiles, vehicles, and whatever else it is that guys tend to enjoy.  Girls dish out money for name-brand clothes, eye-catching phones, trips, and designer purses.  I speak to myself just as much, because I have a weakness for spending money easily on things I like.  Once again, there is nothing wrong with having a hobby like hunting or traveling; but it does start to get scary when we have spent all of our income on that stuff and never gave to the Lord or set aside for the future. 

Here are some example categories for budgeting...
Tithe (the most important thing in our budget- be creative with how you give your money back to God)
Savings (for those emergency things like garage bills or cancer treatments)
Gifts for family and friends (because budgeting does not make us stingy and cut out the ones we care about)
Medical (dentist, doctor, orthodontist, and all the painful things of life)
Housing (for that cozy little apartment or house)
Food (yum=p  but believe it or not, food can get expensive)
Auto (to keep that hot rod running and on the road)
Insurance (car, property, house...yuck!)
Clothing (so that we aren't reduced to rags)
Spending (the very last category saved for the "fun" things in life=)

Hopefully this does not make you depressed and feel overwhelmed.  It is a gradual thing that will not happen overnight.  I still have a long ways to go, but I am trying harder to be a wise steward with what God gives me.  Sometimes I still splurge, and then I kick myself; but I now have a goal to work towards.  Whether we are single guys or girls, I think looking ahead and planning is a great thing that we can do for ourselves and our future.