It’s so true. Finances are personal. Your debt or lack of debt will be different than mine. Your income and expenses will be different than mine. Your values and entertainment will be different. Your determination and how much you “pinch pennies” will be different. Because of this, you can look at principles and ideas of others and tweak them to fit your style and situation. The important thing is that you spend less than you make. That’s it. That’s the only hard and fast rule.
I think that is what I love the most about dealing with money. I love reading about other people’s situations, ideas, plans, schemes, investments, and long term goals. It makes me sit back and think, “How would I approach that? What can I take from this and apply to my situation?” And I get to come up with my own ideas :)
Like this… So you all should know by now (if you don’t know read my first few blog posts), we have been increasing our giving by $5 a month. This is on top of our tithe and our gifts budget. This is strictly for stuff we pray for each month and let God use in any way He sees fit. Something God has really be pressing on my heart the last few months are the homeless and less fortunate. I think it is hard especially in Portland because there are homeless people every where you look. You start to grow numb to them, ignore them, or write them off as crazy. That’s not what I want to do. We decided to spend some of the Jesus Money to buy $10 Safeway gift cards. We are going to hand them out to the first homeless person who asks us for money or food each month. Over this year, we hope to have 2 or 3 of these for each of us each month. This helps us to build up relationships with some of the “regulars” we see on the streets and provide them with food or non-alcoholic drinks. I’m super excited about it.
The other thing I decided to do, and talked Lindy into doing, is not increase this amount by $5 each month. I feel like that was a great starting point for us and it helped build up that trust and dependency on the Lord for our finances. But for the last few months, I’ve been feeling like God has been calling us to change this. After much thought and consideration, we are now going to increase the amount by $10 based on every increase of $1,000 to our net worth. I feel like we need to change this because it is scalable with our income and savings. Basically 10% of the money we use to pay off debt or save for the future each month will be set aside for this. This does mean that some months it will not increase. On the flip side of this, as long we are making more than we spend and are saving or paying off something, our giving will continue to increase.
This is what works for me. This is why I want to start working with others on their personal finances. Because each person is different and I love helping people find things that fit them. I want to be the guy that helps them setup a budget based on their desires, their situation, their priorities but fits reality :)