Phase 3 – Prioritize your Spending and Give Charitably

 

In the last article, we discussed the foundation needed for a strong financial mindset, faith, unity, and commitment. In this article, we start laying the groundwork by making the work for us, rather than us working for the money.

In a building, once you have the foundation laid (see last article), you can start building the structure. First is a mindset that the money is to work for you. You are the one in charge of where it goes.

Prioritize

I don’t know how many have seen the analogy, but imagine a quart jar with some big rocks, little rocks, and sand. If you put the sand in first, there is not enough room for the big rock. But if you prioritize correctly by putting the big rock in first, then the smaller rocks, then the sand, you will find that they all can fit.

Most people, when they receive an income, they prioritize living expenses first. Understandably, paying rent takes a high priority in life. What happens though, is whatever we prioritize first tends to grow. We prioritize our food bill. In doing so, we will buy the filet mignon at the grocery store when a chuck roast would do just fine. We end up finding a bigger apartment than we need, and not being able to afford to put any savings away. The car we drive is nicer than necessary, etc.

However, if you prioritize charitable giving first, followed by savings, then living expenses, you will find that you have the money to do it all. On numerous occasions, I have read Jynx talking about prioritizing time to work out. Most people will prioritize work, then chores, family time, then if there is time left, go work out. The working out will not happen. However, Jynx will tell you if you prioritize working out, the other things will fall into place. This is no different. If you prioritize where you want the money to go, (charity, and savings), the rest will fall into place. Dave Ramsey will tell you the same thing.

This is where faith comes in. Looking at the month of expenses and recognizing how much money comes in, and seeing how much goes into savings or charity at the end of the month does not take the level of faith. However, if you recognize how much money you are making, then take charity out of it, then savings, then worry about living expenses, it is a totally different ballgame.

Tithing and Charity

There is a story in the Old Testament (1 Kings 17) about Elijah the Prophet. There was a great famine in the land. The Lord told Elijah to visit a widow who had to trust on herself for her support and ask her for food. This widow herself was on the brink of starvation, but he asked her to feed her first. This would be a huge step of faith on her part. But she recognized Elijah as a prophet, and followed through. Her cruse of oil did not run out, neither did her barrel of meal.

Whether you are Christian or not, there is a principle there. Sometimes that leap of faith will propel you to take steps that are not logical at the time, but they seem to work out. In our church, we contribute 10% of our income, plus an additional “fast offering” where we fast as a family (at least those who want to participate) and we take the money we would have spent and give it to the poor. In doing so, we develop an attitude that we can do with less. More importantly, we receive blessings as promised by the Lord (3 Malachi 3:10-12). In this seminar, my Bishop told us how there are about 20 or so families that receive financial help from the local congregation, not one of them is a full tithe payer. Those who give charitably have developed the self-discipline necessary to keep them out of financial trouble.

This Week’s Challenge

This week, your challenge is to have a family council and discuss with them building a savings, giving charitably, and find a worthwhile charity. Decide on a dollar amount to put in savings, and a dollar amount to give to charity on a regular basis. As you do so, you will develop self-discipline and find you will have an improved attitude of those around you.

 

Author: Jim Johnson

As a man in his early 40's, I grew up on a dairy farm in an irreligious home. Disgusted with the choice of women out there, I looked into religion to find a worthwhile mate. At 23, I joined the LDS (Mormon) faith, married, became a civil engineer, and now have six children. My favorite things are puppies, long walks on the beach, and the color blue (not really).