This passage is one of the most instructive passages regarding money in the New Testament. The end of this letter is more or less a simple thank you note to the Philippian church, but it throws back the curtains to show the secret of Paul’s contentment in Christ. The passage does not need a great deal of commentary, but let us just look at a few things that have been a challenge and encouragement to me. I hope your financial insight is deepened as well:
Debt is perhaps one of the most pernicious things known to modern mankind. As nobody likes to own someone something (not even a kind remark), we soon become obsessed to pay back our due. Some do it by spending less, cutting back on their lifestyles through frugal habits, others will get a second job or study in the hopes of earning a promotion and generating a bigger income. We all do this because we desire much, hate debt and want to sleep in peace.
Debt is stressful
Do you save all your credit card reciepts and then enter them in a spreadsheet at the end of the month?
Do you enter the spending from a particular day every day?
Do you use You Need a Budget?
Are you a cash and envelope user? Once the envelope is empty, your spending stops.
Do you have a particular time set aside to update your budget?
Do you use an Excel spreadsheet to record your spending?
Are you careful to write down every penny?
Are you a Quicken user?
If I had to name just two personal finance techniques that have literally changed by financial life around they would be: Budgeting and the Debt Snowball. Budgeting because it’s allowed me to control my money rather than my money controlling me. The debt snowball because for years I struggled to try and get caught up my credit card debt but with little to no progress. Using the debt snowball I’ve paid off half of my debt in just 2 years and am on track to have it all paid off in another 1 -2 years (excluding our mortgage).
Every so often we spend a weekend and just clean house. I don’t mean just sweeping, dusting, vacuuming etc. We literally, clean house. We look for stuff we are no longer using, things on shelves collecting dust, etc and sell them. I’m always amazed at how much more relaxed I feel about our home when we have less stuff. Not to mention the extra cash we receive for debt snowflaking.
My wife and I have been living on a budget for a little over two years now. The first few months were a little frustrating as we got used to the process and learned a few things but since then we don’t even really think about it that much. As a result, we don’t overdraft our accounts, we see our debt consistently going down, and our savings going up.
Creating and maintaining a personal budget isn’t hard. There are many different options including the old tried and true paper and pen method, using a spreadsheet, and even specialized software packages like You Need a Budget (my personal favorite). Regardless of which option you choose to use, all options require selecting categories.
What are personal budget categories?
Personal budget categories are a way of grouping your expenses so you can track where your money is going each month. When creating a budget, you’ll allocate a particular amount of money to a category then track your expenses against it. Once your expenses meet the amount allocated in that category, you have no more money to spend in that particular category.
This is a guest post from Luke the guy behind Neobudget. NeoBudget is an online budget manager that uses the envelope method to help you track your spending habits and stick to a budget. You don’t need to be an accountant, and you don’t need to be good with numbers to use NeoBudget. It is budgeting for normal people. Head over and check out Neobudget, it’s pretty slick and the best part? It’s really inexpensive.
Photo by: mugley
While the economists debate whether we are in a recession or not, I don’t think anyone can argue that we’re in a down economy. I also think that things are probably going to get worse before they get better. With the rising cost of goods, record high gas prices, a down stock market, a historic housing slump, and increased unemployment the down economy is going to impact all of our budgets.