Finances – Getting Into 2021

Welcome to 2021! A year of hope. The possible ending to all that last year held. The beginning of refreshed hope and new dreams.

Let’s do an inventory of where you’re at. You’ve survived last year which goes to show human resiliency and the faithfulness of God. Hard times are inevitable, but there’s always hope for greater moments ahead. If not in this life, then in the eternal one yet to come. But in the meantime, we can reflect and learn from the past, live in the present, and hope in the future.

So, what are you hopeful for? What are you looking forward to this month and this year? Have you set some new goals? Has last year helped change and shape your priorities? Is it more time with family and friends? Is it planning a trip you’ve always wanted to take? Is it building up your savings or paying off debt? What’s got you motivated?

As we enter a new year, now’s the time to start a fresh budget. Are you married? Do you and your spouse both have an income? If so, let’s try and work your budget so that you’re living off of one income. If you can’t do that, then are your living expenses beyond what they should be? The greatest advice I’ve heard is this:  Have a budget and live off of one income. If you live off one income, then it opens up extensive opportunities to use the second wage for saving towards things you’d really like to do, and helps prevent panic if one of you loses a job.

If you’re single, can you afford to cut your expenses so that you’re living on almost half or two-thirds of your income and saving the rest?

That idea may seem completely overwhelming. If you haven’t worked with a budget, it may even seem impossible. But I can guarantee you that it is possible if you really sit down and work it out.

It’s time for a budget meeting. Start this new year off with confidence and a great goal. I’m not talking about a New Year’s resolution that’ll burn out in the first 30 days. I’m talking about a lifestyle change that will motivate you and give you freedom to accomplish your desires. It’s possible and I want you to feel and experience great success. Why? Because it’s what you’re supposed to do.

You’re called to be a faithful steward of what God’s given you. He’s given you the money you have. It’s not yours. It’s His. You’re called to be responsible with it. So, I recommend starting your budget planning with prayer. Ask the Lord what He wants you to do with it. Are you tithing and giving generously? That’s the place to start. Prayer, planning your giving, then looking at the rest.

Your giving shouldn’t stop at ten percent of your income. It’s a good place to start and learn from. But once you get into the habit of giving ten percent to the church, start looking around at the people in need. Is there a missionary that you’ve been thinking about a lot? Pray about supporting him/her. Is there a charity that you’re interested in? Consider giving to them. Or, think about setting some money aside each month that gives you the freedom and ability to give to people that are in need of encouragement or financial help.

Then, once that is worked out, ask God what He desires you to do with the rest of your income. How much should you save? This depends on your financial status. Do you have debt? Then your savings should go to paying that off. Are you free of debt? Then ask God how much He wants you to be saving.

Then it’s onto the expenses. Are you covering your house and utility expenses well? Are you feeding and clothing your family adequately? Then the rest is all optional.

We’re in a culture that most of us don’t need anything. We just want a lot of stuff, but we often talk ourselves into feeling like we need or deserve it. I was listening to a radio ad at work the other day. It was for buying a new car. At the end, the announcer said that we need to buy it because “we deserve it”. There was that subliminal messaging making us think that we’ve earned it. Did we? A used vehicle will work just as well for half the cost. As much as it would be nice to drive a stylish, brand new car off the lot, it doesn’t get us from point A to point B any differently than a less expensive one would.

Let’s take this week to lay everything out and be realistic about what we can afford, what we want to achieve, and create the roadmap to get there. If you’re seeking the Lord throughout this process, He’ll guide you with how much to save and spend, and where. It’ll feel satisfying when you start to see those goals achieved.

I’ve watched countless stories of people reaching their financial goals this past year. If you’re determined and motivated, not even a pandemic can stop you.

Michael and I sat back at Christmas time and were amazed at God’s provisions for us in 2020. He provided and we were able to put a significant amount down on our mortgage, when it should have been impossible. He honoured us for trying to be faithful and responsible with what He’s given us. He’s continued to mold us to be more content with what we have as well.

As we draw closer to reaching our massive financial goal, we are now beginning to pray about our next steps. What is it that God desires us to do when we’re completely debt free? Only He knows at the moment, but we’re excited to press in and find out what He has in store. Giving this part of our life to God is so rewarding. We want that for you too. If you need help getting started or creating a budget, send me an email at [email protected] and I’d be happy to help.

Happy New Year everyone! Let’s celebrate and be hopeful for all that God’s got in store. Let’s dedicate our finances to Him this year and see what He does. It may surprise you.

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