Money Mistakes You Might Be Making

There's no cookie cutter answer to how to spend and save your money. I wish there were because that sounds like a really great cookie, but each family is personal and individual. The Scriptures give many commands on proper stewardship of your finances, and in the end it's all about personal choice.

There are, however, some issues that tend to arise when looking at money difficulties. Do you fall into any of these categories?

1. Not tithing. Even when the budget looks thin for this paycheck, your tithe is the first thing that comes out. Deuteronomy 26:10 says: And now, behold, I have brought the firstfruits of the land, which thou, O LORD, hast given me. And thou shalt set it before the LORD thy God, and worship before the LORD thy God. Firstfruit means the first portion, and it is given to the Lord because He gave to us in abundance. The blessings that will come from obedience to the tithe will greatly outweigh the little advantage of that money now.

2. Making payments late. Want to throw dollars down the drain? Pay late fees. A little adds up to a lots of waste, and some fees have been astronomical. Plan your payments so that you're either on time or early and keep up with the payment schedule. Think of the money you could be putting toward something much more important.

3. Living outside your budget. We live in a world of bigger, brighter, better. Somehow we always get convinced that what we have isn't good enough and we need to go into debt to have that ___ (insert your own necessity here). When we are content with what we have and are willing to sacrifice some of the new and bigger, we'll stay within our budget, have money to pay off debt and some to put in savings. Not spending is a great way to save!

4. Making excuses. But we could really use that. But we've never had a problem before. But it was on sale! But...but...but...it's just an excuse for a lack of self-control. Do you have larger goals that you'd like to achieve? They won't happen if you "excuse yourself" right out of them. Paul said that he put his body under subjection daily, and maybe we should do the same thing with our money.

5. Not taking part in your company's 401K. Do you like free money? Then sign up for that 401K matching plan that your company (or your husband's company) probably has. Many people don't because money is taken out of your paycheck initially, but you do the math. If they're willing to match up to a certain amount, they're offering you the chance to have extra money down the road when you really need it. It's kind of like a money tree, but you just have to wait for the fruit to ripen.

6. Spending money you don't have. We put that large purchase on the credit card with the mental stipulation that we'll be sure to pay it off next payday. Then there's an emergency and that "set aside" money gets used for something else. It's a vicious circle that leads nowhere except further into debt. If you have to purchase something, use cash or your debit card that's linked right to your bank account. If you don't have cash on hand, don't make the purchase. Wait for 30 days and see if you even still want that item - you might be surprised. If you do want it and you now have the cash, treat yourself. If you don't...walk away.

Money is like a relationship - if you misuse it, it won't be there tomorrow. But if you respect it, it will be there when you need it. Then you can praise the Lord for His leadership and guidance in your financial stewardship.

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