What to Do When Your Income/Finances Increase
It’s typical to think of what to do if you take a hit financially, but a question not asked, is what to do if it increases? Unless you dream about an exorbitant increase, you don’t typically think or plan for the slight increases. It all seems like a great bonus, yet can disappear like the rest of your money. So, it’s important to have a plan for that as well.
That’s the thing about having financial goals. It’s never consistent. It can ebb and flow like the rest of life, so it’s good to have a plan and be prepared.
It’s exciting when we get a bonus or an increase in pay in this household. It’s taken us a while to get on track with it when we do. It’s tempting to want to go out on a shopping spree, a trip, or some other fun task. However, we’ve learned that it might not last, and if we aren’t wise in what we do with it, we won’t reach our goals.
Something to think about when you receive extra money, is that it is from the Lord. If you’re praying and seeking God’s wisdom to reach a financial goal that the Lord has prompted you to achieve, you best keep wisdom and discernment at the forefront of your mind.
Seek the Lord’s counsel throughout the process. You will experience financial dips that will test your faith. But you’ll also experience testing when your finances go up. The extra is from the Lord in order to help you reach your goals. The dips help us remain dependent on God to provide. The increases challenge us to persevere and stay the course that we’re on, instead of veering off and enjoying a selfish moment.
That sounds heavy, but keep the end goal in mind. If you’ve mounted yourself up with debt, you need to get out of it. We are told, “Do not owe anyone anything” (Romans 13:8). We are supposed to be lenders, not borrowers. The more we are free from owing anyone anything, the more we can be of use to God. It’s His money after all.
So, let’s be faithful with what we’ve been given. If you’ve received an increase, ask the Lord what He wants you to do with it. Be sure to give some back to Him. Be generous with what you’ve been given. Then apply it as He sees fit.
We typically get money back on our income taxes. We pray about what the Lord wants us to do with it. Because we’ve felt the Lord ask us to get rid of our mortgage, we have mostly put our income tax return as an extra mortgage payment. We give some to the Lord, and keep a bit for some fun, then the rest goes towards that. If we have a renovation project that we’re in the middle of, we’ve used a bit for that as well. But we make sure that the majority of the money gets put on the house.
To be honest, we always go through a little routine when we receive extra money. “Ooh, we could do this with it”, “or that”! “How about we take some for renovations”? “How about we go out to a nice restaurant or stay at a hotel for the weekend”? …Eventually, after we’ve thought about all the fun we could have with it, we come back to reality and refocus. Being a dedicated team, we put the money on the mortgage and call it a day. The excitement comes again when we get to colour more lines on our mortgage chart and move closer to the end goal. That’s when we can truly dream and pray about what’s next.
With the Christmas season approaching, it can be very tempting to use your work bonuses, extra income, and/or gifts on extravagant presents or things that you want. But ask yourself this year, “do I really need this”? Don’t get me wrong, enjoy Christmas. Bless others. Get some little treats here and there for yourself, but keep your goal in mind. It’ll help keep you from overspending. Put a picture on your phone home screen of what you’re trying to achieve. Leave a sticky note in your car and on your computer. Place it in your wallet. Whenever you go to spend that extra money on something that isn’t important, stop yourself. Pray about it. See what the Lord wants you to do.
The more you learn this pattern, the better off you’ll be. The more you’ll honour God and what He’s given you. The more spiritual blessings and wisdom you’ll receive.