Spring Cleaning for Your Finances


 

 

Spring Cleaning for Your Finances

 

 

As the temperatures climb and the days grow longer, many people start

Finance

Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

thinking about “spring cleaning.” It’s time to wipe away the cobwebs of the
winter and welcome in the sunshine and warmth of spring.

Spring is a time of new beginnings, and this doesn’t just apply to our homes. It can also apply to our finances. Many people make the New Year’s resolution to get on a budget or to better manage their money, but most resolutions are forgotten after a few months.

Spring is a great time to get back into that groove of biblical money management.  When spring cleaning your home, you take a close look at those things that need cleaning or updating. Do the same with your finances.

Take a close look at your budget. Assess your present spending and look for areas that need adjusting. After the spending frenzy of the holidays is over, you can get a better idea of how much you actually spend each month. Keep track of your spending for 30 days and then use the Crown Spending Plan Calculator to make a budget. (Learn more about starting a budget here.)

 

 

As you are spring cleaning your home, you may find items that you no
longer need or that are outdated. As you are tracking your spending, you
may find the same applies to your budget. Assess spending for cable,
Internet, and phone service. Ask yourself if you really need all the
services you are paying for or if you could bundle your services or find
a better deal that would be cheaper.

Do you pay for a daily or weekly newspaper but hardly ever read it? Perhaps you could read the news online and cancel your delivery subscription. Save money on food by eating out less. Use coupons at the grocery store and use a weekly menu for meal planning.

 

 

Also, take a good inventory of your debt. Are you paying a high
interest rate on a credit card? Could you find a card with a lower
interest rate and transfer your balance? Also, look for areas in your
budget where you can cut back on spending and use the extra to pay off
those credit cards. Buy off debt faster by using a rollover plan to pay off your credit cards. Debt is an extra burden that we shouldn’t have to carry.

 

 

Need to generate some extra income? Look around your home for things
you can sell. Outgrown or outdated clothing items, sports or exercise
equipment, electronics, CDs, DVDs, old furniture, baby items, and
kitchen items usually have good resale value. Collect these items, clean
them up, and have a yard sale. Put ALL of the profits toward paying off
debt or funding your emergency account. You will generate extra income and free yourself of things that can clutter your home.

 

 

The final step in spring cleaning your finances is to get organized.
Misplaced bills can cost you late fees. Develop a good filing system to
keep up with your incoming bills and other important financial
information. Use products like the Bill Organizer to keep track or try using an online bill paying service. Crown Mvelopes and Crown Money Map Financial Software are great ways to track your spending online.

 

 

Before you know it, your spending plan will be running smoothly, and you will be on your way to true financial freedom.

 

 

by Crown Financial Ministries

 

 

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If you would like to have Crown Financial in your church or organization for a seminar or workshop, or if you would like to order Crown resources, contact Crown Associate, Brian Raines,  at brianraines@bellsouth.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Finding Financial Counsel


Finding financial counsel

Finance

Finance (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

by Crown Financial Ministries

A commonly asked question from Christians seeking advice on financial matters is, “How can I find good Christian counsel?”

Perhaps even more fundamental would be the question, “How can I tell when I find good Christian counsel?”

Limitations in finding good financial counsel
It is very difficult to receive unbiased advice from someone who is trying to sell a particular product. So, an obvious limitation that Christians should easily recognize is whether the people giving them financial advice are actually giving wise advice or just a sales pitch.

A second limitation is to find financial counselors with like minds, attitudes, and principles. Many financial advisors who profess to be Christians live lifestyles that are far from Christ-like.

Likewise there are those who are very good Christians, but they have no knowledge or wisdom concerning the biblical principles of finances.

There are many guidelines in God’s Word for seeking and selecting good godly counsel. So, although seeking counsel is advised, selecting wise counsel is imperative.

Principles for seeking and selecting good financial counsel
Listed below are four basic principles that Christians need to consider in seeking and selecting good, godly financial counsel.

  1. Seek and select Christian counsel. Seek and select financial counselors on the basis of a common value system. For Christians, that means to seek counsel from those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their Savior and Lord. “How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers!” (Psalm 1:1).

    This does not imply that non-Christians are incapable of giving good financial advice. However, the standards by which decisions are made must be based on God’s Word and Christ-like character, rather than on the world’s humanistic get-ahead-at-all-costs standards.

  2. Seek and select wise counsel. “He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Proverbs 13:20). The fact that people are professed Christians does not qualify them to be good financial counselors.

    All too often Christians throw wisdom and caution to the wind when it comes to taking advice from professed Christians. Christian counselor and counselee alike must be in regular communication with God and seek His wisdom before any decision is made. So, not only must counselors be knowledgeable in areas of biblical principles of finance but they also must regularly seek God’s wisdom in prayer and in the study of His Word.

  3. Seek and select multiple qualified counselors. “Without consultation, plans are frustrated, but with many counselors they succeed” (Proverbs 15:22). No financial counselor can be an expert in all areas of finance.

    The areas of taxes, securities, stocks, bonds, and real estate are so complex in today’s society that only with a variety of good financial counselors who are experts in their respective fields can Christians hope to attain a well-rounded perspective of biblical financial principles.

  4. Weigh all counsel given. “The naïve believes everything, but the sensible man considers his steps” (Proverbs 14:15). The purpose of counsel is to offer suggestions, alternatives, and options—not to make decisions on behalf of counselees.

    Even the best financial counsel in the world lacks an essential element necessary to make sound and wise financial decisions—knowledge of God’s plan for the lives of the counselees. Therefore, there should never be a decision made unless it has been presented to God in prayer first.

    The peace of God—or lack of peace—as a result of prayer is an indisputable indicator of God’s preferred directive. In addition, each decision should be tested against God’s Word. If it is not consistent with the purity and the spirit of God’s Word, the decision should be rejected.

    Counselors’ motives and actions also should be evaluated. If counselors will deceive others on the counselees’ behalf, they also will most likely eventually deceive the counselees.

    Review the five-year track record of any and all people who offer their counsel. Just because they are Christians does not mean that they have been successful in their financial counsel.

Conclusion
The best method for locating good, godly financial counsel is asking other Christians who have been helped. This could be fellow church attendees, pastors, or Christian businesspeople.

Additionally, this type of information could perhaps be found at Christian professional associations, societies, and organizations—both locally and nationally.

Without a doubt, good and godly financial counsel is available for all who seek such counsel. Prayer, wisdom, and caution must be foremost in order to select the most qualified counselors and those whose lives and expertise conform to God’s will for the lives of the counselees.

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To schedule an initial consultation with Brian Raines with PHP Financial in the upstate of South Carolina, please send an e-mail to brianraines@bellsouth.net   Brian was a financial advisor for fourteen years before selling his financial planning practice.  Brian now does Christian financial consulting without providing financial planning, investment, or tax advice.  Schedule your consultation today.

 

PHP Financial is a subsidiary of The Raines Organization, Inc.  This article is not an endorsement of PHP Financial by Crown Financial Ministries.