This post helped me to win the Free Money Finance March Madness Competition and donate $500 to Second Harvest Heartland Food Bank.
You can help make a difference in the lives of hungry families as well by donating HERE.
A Year Of Learning About Money
Since I started writing this blog back at the end of January 2008, I have learned a lot about money and managing my family's finances. I never considered myself “bad with money”, but I knew we were doing a lot of things that were getting in the way of our financial success.
My wife and I attended a class through our church called Financial Peace University. The class, put together by Dave Ramsey, really opened our eyes to some things we were doing that were hampering our financial success.
In the spirit of sharing some of the things we've learned along our road to financial peace, here is a list of 10 things I've learned about money since I started blogging.
10 Things I Have Learned About Money
- Having debt is not a good thing: A lot of times you'll hear about how having and using debt is just a tool that people have in their arsenal as they work on their way towards becoming financially stable, and eventually, wealthy. What I've learned these past few months is that debt will cut short any gains you hope to make. I've learned that:
The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. Proverbs 22:7
When you have debt, you are a servant. Only once you have gotten rid of your debt and are living free can you truly work on your way towards true financial independence.
- To truly succeed with money, you must have a plan: Not having a plan means you are planning to fail. If you really want to have financial success you need to set up a family budget, have family budget meetings, and set financial goals for both the long term, and the short term. As the bible states:
A wise man thinks ahead; a fool doesn’t, and even brags about it! Proverbs 13:16
- Having money does not mean having happiness: True happiness does not come from having things, or from having money. When you have money, you only want more.
Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. Ecclesiastes 5:10
Money is a never ending black hole where you never have enough. True happiness comes from having a strong faith in God, and knowing your true worth is found in Christ, and not in things of this world. Once you realize that, it makes it so much easier to be happy!
- Lending money to friends and family is almost always a mistake: One thing I've come to realize is that lending money to family or friends is almost never going to be a good thing. By the nature of it, when you lend money it changes the relationship from one of family, to one of master and servant (see the verse above about the borrower being slave to the lender). If you're going to give money to family, give it and don't lend it. By the same token, don't co-sign. There is usually a reason why someone needs a co-signer.
- Giving helps not only the person you're giving to, but helps you as well: Sometimes you feel like you don't have anything to give, or you can't afford to. I've found this year that when you make a plan, you will always have something to give.
Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. Deuteronomy 15:10
Giving isn't always easy, but when you do, you will be blessed. Earlier this year when my wife and I actually started giving more regularly, I found that the amount we had started giving, was almost exactly the amount I had started making on this blog. When you give even when you don't know if the income is there – God will provide.
- No need to worry, God will provide: We went through some very hard things earlier this year when my wife was hospitalized for almost a month and we had medical bills in excess of $250,000. If we hadn't had insurance we would have gone bankrupt. If we hadn't been saving for a rainy day through our emergency fund we would have gone deeply in debt.God knows what we need, even before we need it. Even if we aren't able to provide for ourselves, he will find a way.
Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. Matthew 6:31-32
- Start saving as early as you can: The earlier you start saving for your future, the better off you'll be. Interest that you earn on your money compounds at an amazing rate if you start saving early. The wonders of compounding interest! It's never too late to start!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage, but everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty. Proverbs 21:5
- We are only stewards of everything we have: God has given us so much material wealth here in America. We must remember, however, that everything we have is God's. We are only stewards of these things for a short time, and we must be careful how we use what we are given. We must use what we have for God's glory.
For every beast of the forest is Mine, the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird of the mountains, and everything that moves in the field is Mine. If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all it contains. Psalm 50:10-12
- “Easy money” is almost never actually easy. Get rich quick schemes often don't make you rich quick: There are a lot of get rich quick schemes out there offering quick and easy riches. I've learned through experience that “easy money” or “getting rich quick” is almost never easy or quick. Most often the best way to make money is through hard work, and saving little by little.
Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow. Proverbs 13:11
- Having your integrity is more important than having wealth: It can be easy to be lured by the siren song of quick riches, and to sell our soul to gain wealth. We can rationalize just about anything in order to justify doing things that are not very ethical, or just plain wrong. It is better to keep your integrity and not have as much. From Proverbs:
Better is a little with righteousness than great income with injustice. Proverbs 16:8
So there it is, 10 things I have learned about money in the past 6 months.
What are some things you've learned about money that you'd like to share with others? Leave a comment and tell us all about it!