Just like there are commandments to budgeting, there are commandments to managing your money. I wanted to throw these in here for you so you can print them out and keep them where you can see them. Only you have the power to change your financial health, and money gives you the ability to do things we like and have the things that we desire. Maybe you don’t want to be rich, but I’m quite sure that you don’t want to be poor either, so when you get ready to spend frivolously, just think about these 10 commandments to managing your money.
1.Thou shalt keep it simple
Just like with budgeting, keep your finances simple. How many credit cards do you have? What about checking and savings accounts, how many do you have? If you are making your spending decisions based on what you have in your accounts, it may take some time for you to change the way you do that. If you have more than one of the aforementioned account’s consolidate them and let your budget be your spending guide and not individual accounts.
2.Thou shalt pay thyself first
I tell clients this all the time. Well what I really tell them is to pay themselves second, after tithes and offerings. Now paying yourself doesn’t mean go to the mall and ball till you fall. It simply means putting a pre-determined amount of money aside for savings or investing, before anything else. By doing this, you are setting yourself up for financial success.
3.Thou shalt assign every dollar a job
This is why I love the zero-based budget. It gives every dollar you earn an assignment. Many of us purchase things without giving thought to them. They purchase them based of off wants not off of needs.They don’t base them off of the availability of money in their checking or savings accounts either. This leads to increasing debt and reduced savings. By assigning every dollar you make from your paycheck towards a category in your budget, you will know where every cent has been allocated and you can make the adjustments as needed.
4.Thou shalt save save save
If you are saving, what are you saving for? Whether it is a fabulous vacation or expenses that don’t occur regularly such as your car registration, you need to save for these events. If you have them included in your budget and set some money aside each month, you won’t have to pull a big chunk of money out of your paycheck, throwing everything else off budget.
5.Thou shalt not spend frivolously
In order to make educated spending decisions, refer to your budget to see where you have dollars to spare. Here is an example: if you budget $300 a month for groceries and you only spend $200 yet fall short on another area, you can take that $100 and put it in an area that you fell short. You will have to work to train your brain to always consult your budget before spending. This exercise will also help you to minimize and hopefully eliminate any overspending.
6.Thou shalt automate thy bills
Technology today allows you to pay bills online. Even better than that, technology allows you to have reoccurring payments taken directly from your bank account. Your bank may even offer bill pay services so you can easily see all of your scheduled bills in a central location. My grandmother used to say, “Out of sight; out of mind.” Now I know that can be translated to a myriad of situations, but I like to use it concerning my finances. If the money is not there I can’t spend it. Automation has helped me to have more control over my finances and it may help you too.
7.Thou shalt pay off debt
Now that you have a budget in place, I hope that you included payment of any outstanding debts. Not just payment off but pay those debts off. Get rid of them. Stop giving away your hard earned money in interest. Paying off debt increases the amount of money you have coming in. You can take that money and start investing and getting ready for retirement
8.Thou shalt have an emergency fund
Emergencies happen, there is no way around them, they are a part of life. Your car will get a flat, it will break down, the dishwasher will go on the fritz, the heating and air unit will go out at some point. You may even have a medical emergency. You will need to have money readily available to take care of these emergencies. So start that emergency fund ASAP!
9.Thou shalt be a giver
Yes, this is close to the end of the list, but think about it. If you can’t help yourself then you can’t help others. Sure you may be able to give some here and there, but you won’t be able to give consistently. First, get your finances under control and then create a category on your budget for giving.
10.Thou shalt keep going
Don’t give up, keep going. I know that sometimes it may seem hard, but I promise it gets easier. Remember how your dad took the training wheels off of your bike? How many times did you fall before you were able to ride the bike without falling? No matter how many times you fall off the financial wagon, get back up and keep going until you get it right.