jump to navigation

Money Matters – Financial Tips February 17, 2010

Posted by Henry in Money & Finance.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Following on from my two-part article titled “Money Matters – Even to Christians”, which can be found under the category of “Money & Finance”, I have decided to create this space where fellow Christians can share or exchange money making ideas or money saving tips. This is perhaps unprecedented on this type of Christian blog but Jesus did not just impart the word to the 5’000 but he also took cognisance of the fact that they also needed physical food and fed them using the 5 barley loaves and two fishes. I am therefore looking for legitimate ideas which may be of benefit to those who are struggling financially.  It could be ideas of how to make one’s salary stretch a bit further; an idea to generate a new income stream to supplement one’s salary; or a working from home idea that could help a stay at home mother or a mother on maternity leave after giving birth, etc. Please do share whatever ideas you have. I will start however by offering a few money savings idea of my own:

  1.  Plan your spending by budgeting your money. Keep your receipts and on a weekly or monthly basis calculate how much you are spending against how much you earn. If you find you are paying out more than you actually receive then you will have to borrow to make up the difference.
  2.  Compare the prices of goods and services that you pay for and always look for cheaper alternatives. Shop around for a bargain. Most times there is always cheaper on the market. As the saying goes here in Britain, “take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”. So it doesn’t matter how small and insignificant the savings appear to be take advantage of it as the pennies do add up over time.  
  3. If you get discount vouchers in newspapers or magazine, take advantage of them and don’t be ashamed to use them. Take advantage of any discounts and also store loyalty cards as you can get back a bit of money here.
  4.  Avoid eating out too often as it is cheaper to prepare meals at home from supermarket bought products. For example, the price you pay for a glass of wine at a restaurant would get you a whole bottle in the supermarket (not that I am encouraging drinking mind you). Remember you might be able to get restaurant discounts online also (at least here in the UK you can). Prepare pack lunches for work. You can save a fortune this way instead of buying lunches. 
  5. Travelling to and from work can be quite costly. Look for alternative routes which can sometimes be cheaper and if you are able and the way is not too far, walk. You could also break up your journey and go some of the way by walking. This also promotes a healthier lifestyle especially if you sit at a desk for most of the day.  
  6. If you own a car use it only for essential journeys as you can be paying out a fortune on petrol. Also depending on where you are going check if it is cheaper by public transport. A car can be high maintenance therefore when you purchase a car, use the review sites online to see the fuel consumption, insurance grouping, servicing etc. Bigger engine cars usually cost more to service, consume more petrol and attract a higher insurance cost. If you are struggling financially you might need to downgrade by selling the existing car and buying a much cheaper one to run. If you cannot afford a brand new car outright, buy a used one and avoid the car financing/leasing schemes as they will cost you in the long term. 
  7. Avoid name-brand clothing if you cannot afford them. Remember the Nike shoes you pay £60 (or the equivalent) only cost the equivalent of 0.50p to make in Pakistan or India. It is a scam!! These things only give one a false perception of esteem but all we are doing is making the corporation owners and shareholders richer and making ourselves poorer. We should not be buying our identity off the shelves. Give your children what you have, your love! Don’t try to please them with the latest gadget which you cannot afford. 
  8. Don’t fall in the debt trap. Avoid using the credit cards or pay-day loans where possible. If you need to buy something and you can’t afford it right now, make small sacrifices and save up for it. You won’t die without it if you don’t have it now. Half the time people can’t wait to purchase a particular thing and after a few days the novelty wears off and they no longer want it. Remember to also exercise prudence and save for a rainy day.

This is not an exhaustive list but I am appealing to readers to feel free to share what they have. But please, no get rich quick schemes. Thank you.

Money Matters – even to Christians! – Part 1 February 15, 2010

Posted by Henry in Money & Finance.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

There are many Christians in the world today who suffer financial hardships and who struggle to put food on the table and make ends meet. The problem is not made any better due to the current global financial crisis resulting in businesses collapsing and people being made redundant. The crisis has also seen many people losing their homes because they can’t keep up with mortgage payments and there are others who are at risk of losing their homes. Many people find themselves descending into debt or suffering lack in order to try and balance the books and keep themselves afloat and for many there is seemingly no way out of their financial morass. Many Christians have had their faith shaken and as a result of these trying times many will no doubt be asking, “Where is God?” because it is not easy to have faith when you are faced with extreme difficulties. One of the problems I find with the local churches therefore is that this area is not given due or enough consideration. Yet I believe it is of paramount importance that we address these financial concerns in the church because the vacuum left by not addressing it allows false doctrines to come into the church. An example of this is the growth and promulgation of the Word of Faith doctrines of “name it, claim it”, “health, wealth and prosperity”. People who are weak in the faith are likely to seek these churches, which are usually mega-churches, spouting such doctrines as opposed to the local church because they are seeking solutions to their problems, which the local church cannot give.

 Whilst I don’t necessarily believe that the main church service should be dedicated to addressing people’s financial problems I certainly think much more can be done in other settings than simply to have people write their concerns, be it financial or otherwise, on a piece of paper and have it prayed over, during intercessory prayers. This is not to discount the power of prayer of course but in looking at scripture we see in James 2 that it is our responsibility to meet peoples pressing needs instead of simply telling them to depart in peace and be filled and be warmed, which is effectively what we do when we only pray for them. The Apostle James calls this faith without works. So although the local church may be imparting the Word of God often there are people in the congregation who are hurting especially financially. Yet the church passes around the collection plate for the weekly “tithes and offerings” and pray a blessing for that which is given, oblivious to the plight of some members. One of the reasons they are oblivious also is because the local churches, whilst they will support missionaries or local charities, do not foster a system of welfare to address the needs of those within their midst. Perhaps it is assumed that if people don’t approach then all is well but people who are hurting will often not approach the church for assistance, out of personal pride or fear of being looked at with disdain. This is especially the case as “church money” is often looked at as “God’s money” and to use it outside of the purposes defined by the board would be considered sacrilegious. Jesus however did not condemn David for eating the temple shew-bread out of need (Matt 12:3-4).

 If we look also at the early church in Acts 2 and Acts 4 however we see that “church money” was originally used to support those in need in the church so that no one lacked. The welfare system in the church is also demonstrated in Acts 6:1-6 where we see the Disciples telling the people that they could not neglect the word to serve at tables but that they should appoint seven worthy men to oversee that ministration. In the absence of a formal welfare system however, Paul in Acts 20:33-35 admonishes us to support the weak even through our own hard labour, as he himself did, because it is more blessed to give than to receive. By using his own hands Paul supported himself but he didn’t stop there. He helped those who accompanied him as well out of his own substance and this is the example that we in the church today should follow to alleviate some of the needs of people. These are the things that we should be doing instead of telling people to “exercise their faith”, “bring it to the Lord in prayer”, and “nail it to the Cross” or whatever other catch phrase may be used. As the Apostle James said, if we do not give those things that are needful for the body we are practising faith without works which is dead.

 In the next part I will attempt to look at some small ways in which Christians can also help themselves in alleviating some of their financial problems.