terisaclark

Financial wisdom from a woman of faith

What is Stewardship?

Stewardship starts with the belief that we are not the owners…but the stewards, managers or trustees of something that belongs to someone else!  It all belongs to God!  He owns it all! It all belongs to Him and in His great love He has entrusted it to us.  All He asks is that we manage it His way and for His glory.

How do we know His way?? Know the Bible. Know the character of God.  Apply that wisdom in our lives.

Sounds easy, right?  Yet this is a truly unending search.  A quest to know Him more. Actually, that’s stewardship too! Stewardship of our relationship with God!

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Why Zero Based Budget

I have often heard people say, I have a budget – I know every bill I have to pay with each paycheck.  Thus they feel they have a budget.  But a budget is not a schedule of payments. It is an intentional plan based on your values.  So if every dollar doesn’t have a name on purpose and on paper…it will just disappear.  There will be unintended spending and goals/values/dreams will not be pursued.  As a result, you will simply continue to live paycheck to paycheck…even though you thought you had a plan.

So try it this month – put it on paper before the month begins.  Give every dollar a name.  Don’t leave anything at the bottom.  Now that doesn’t mean don’t have anything in your bank account.  It’s prudent to keep a buffer in there – maybe $100-$200.  But in your budget make it clear what you will do with every dollar.  And if you have something left over go back and give it a name.  Add some to savings, start a debt snowball, make sure you have some pocket money, etc.

Impulse Purchases//Proverbs 14:29//Wisdom Wednesday

Proverbs 14:29 (NKJV)

He who is slow to wrath has great understanding, But he who is impulsive exalts folly.

Have you ever been there?  You wake up with that ugly feeling.  Buyers remorse.  You wonder what came over you when you suddenly said yes and spent that $___.  For some it’s a new car, a new purse, a ticket to an event or even a soda at the checkout aisle. That was me recently!  I walked out of the CVS with a drink that cost me $2…not a big deal and it didn’t bust my budget.  But I still realized when I got to the car that impulse had taken over and I didn’t even pause to use my understanding in that moment of choice.

It happens to all of us.  And it especially happens more often and in larger amounts when you have not devised a financial plan (a budget) or when you are not using that budget as your boundary markers.  This wisdom in God’s word reminds us – impulse leads to folly! What’s folly?  A lack of good sense.  Careless in our judgement.

So next time, take it slow.  Sleep on it.  Step away from it for a second.  Pause.  Then choose.  I leave you with this “song” from the kids show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, “Think about what you’re going to do, then make the choice that is right for you.”

Percentages

Today I had a great conversation with some wise friends.  They are in their 60’s and have made great choices financially!  They are reaping the rewards now and really enjoying life and their wealth.  We talked about how percentages really help guide the season of enjoyment.  You see if you are living debt free, giving away 30% of your income, it should be no big deal that you spend 5% on a vacation or 10% on a car.  So do the math.  And don’t let someone else’s budget guide yours.  God has entrusted it to you – ask him what you need to do with it!

God Will Provide//Genesis 22:14

Genesis 22:14

So Abraham gave that place a name, “The LORD Provides.” Even today people say, “On the mountain of the LORD, he will give us what we need.”

Are you on a mountain today? Not the mountain of victory, but the mountain that feels unconquerable.  You’re hanging on to the edge of a cliff.  Your knuckles are white and you don’t know if you can hold on much longer.  When will that breakthrough happen?  When will this all change? How much longer can you do this….

Well you are not alone.  The Bible is filled with people that are familiar with that same longing and weary soul.  Abraham was one of them.   Suck in a tough place.  Not knowing how things would change.  And after he say God’s answer to his mountain straining experience – Abraham declares – “The LORD Provides.”  One commentary translates this “The LORD sees.”

And that is exactly what I need to remember in my mountain hanger moments – God SEES!  He sees the whole story of my life.  He sees with eyes of love.  He sees this situation from an eternal point of view.  He sees with a heart to bless me and not harm me.

God I trust you!  My prayer is “let your will be done.”  Not what I want.  But what you SEE.  What you see is what is best for me.

 

Honest Question: Should I tithe first or after I have paid my bills

It was an honest question…he was a spiritual man who was wrestling with the conviction he has to pay his debts.  He said it well, but that money is not mine if I owe it to some one else.

Right indeed.  And that’s just what I felt he needed to remind him about 100% of his income – it does not belong to him.  It all belongs to God.  After all, it is because of God that we have breath in our lungs each morning.  It is He who gives us the brains to do our work.  It is He who gives us the physical, emotional and mental health to work every day.  It’s because of Him that we have the favor and opportunity to work where we are.

Without God we would have nothing.  And all God is asking for is – 10%.  A small amount.  That is a reminder that it all comes from Him.  It is worship back to Him.  A thankful heart for all He has given us.

Great question my friend!  Glad you asked.

Wisdom Wednesday//Proverbs 10:4//Hard Work

Proverbs 10:4 (NIV)

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

 

There’s no secret to it….God wants us to have wealth and He tells us how to do it.  Diligent Hands! Hard Work!  I meet people every day that are looking for someway to get rich but not work.  Let me save you some time…it’s futile.  The way to wealth is work.  The work on the way to wealth builds the character needed to sustain it when you get there.  There are no short cuts.  There is no lazy way to wealth.

Keep your hands on the plow.  Stay diligent.  You will reap the rewards of your work!

Big Hat No Cattle

I had lived in Texas for all of 2 months when I first heard the phrase “Big Hat No Cattle.”  I was in a Church Board meeting and one of our Elders responded to the situation at hand with the simple phrase – it’s just big hat, not cattle.  Meaning that the situation wasn’t what it appeared to be.  I left that business meeting and went home to read the “Texas Lingo” book that my former co-workers in New Mexico had given me as a going away gift.  That phrase turned out to give the wisdom needed in that situation and has continued to be a pillar of great wisdom in my life.

Country singer Randy Newman’s 1999 song by the same name gives his detailed explanation of what it means to have Big Hat, No Cattle.  Read more here.  Lies lies lies…

So when you think about money, what does it mean to live financial with a Big Hat, No Cattle?  I’d say it means that you are living a life of debt.  You look like you have a lot, but it’s not really yours.  You owe it all to someone else.  Maybe it is looking like everything is ok, but you’re really struggling.  Living paycheck to paycheck.

Having a big hat is not a bad thing…but we want you to have the cattle to go with it!  The peace of financial freedom.  The joy of being debt free.  So take that next step. Stop putting off to tomorrow what you need to change today.  Start a financial study.  Hire a Financial coach.  Do what it takes cowboy/cowgirl! You got this!  Saddle up.  We’re here cheering for you!

 

 

Wisdom Wednesday//Co-signing//Proverbs 17:18

Proverbs 17:18 (NLT)

It’s poor judgment to guarantee another person’s debt or put up security for a friend.

 

Interesting scripture!  But it’s clear that God’s financial wisdom includes a strong word against co-signing.

I’ve never seen this go well.  I’ve witnessed it go wrong every time.  The relationship gets strained even when the borrower still repays it.  It’s like the debtor is also indebted to the one that co-signed for them. This changes the relationship from friend/family to borrower/slave to lender.  And in the cases where the debt is defaulted on, the co-signor now has themselves a debt they didn’t owe.  That will destroy the relationship for sure.

Recommendation:  Pay cash.  Avoid loans requiring co-signors (these loans are typically high interest rate/high risk loans too).  Kindly say no to someone asking you to co-sign for them.  Remind them you rather stay friends/family 🙂  Exercise good judgement – follow Proverbs 17:18.

Any war stories out there that you want to tell me about co-signing??  Change the names to protect the innocent.

 

 

 

Being Debt Free isn’t about life without payments.  It’s about life WITH opportunity! – Rachel Cruze

I love this quote for so many reasons.  So many accept a life of monthly payments because they reason that it’s not a big deal, after all they can pay the payment each month.  They are not willing to get aggressive and focus everything they have on getting that debt paid off.  And so it goes….years of payments….until finally they wake up an realize they’ve been living this way so long that they’ve passed up so many opportunities.

What would you do if you were debt free???

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