By Leigha Westover, Momivate Director of Income & Outgo
When a child is learning to recognize shapes, they may attempt to put a round block in the square hole, or the square block in the triangle hole. They may become frustrated and believe it won’t work, therefore giving up. We love our children and we want to help them understand that placing the circle block in the circle hole will fit. We take a moment to exhibit how this is done and we explain the process as we perform the action. Our child observes us putting the right block in the right hole and that it does work and so they model after us. They try and try until they begin to recognize and understand the shape matches the hole it fits into. Rarely will it be the first time. It takes practice and learning the skill of matching the block to the correct hole.
Even as adults, we sometimes believe things won’t work -- until our perspective becomes clearer as we learn from watching others succeed. Budgeting is like fitting the right piece in the right place. It CAN work for us, too!
Pay God first (tithing, or other charitable donation to an organization of your choice)
“I can not afford to donate -- there is not enough money!”
A common phrase we all have heard from others and maybe even from ourselves!
As we do our best to make ends meet, sometimes it doesn't seem to be enough. Many people go year to year living paycheck to paycheck. When writing our budget, the total sometimes ends with a negative balance. This is a very common lifestyle for many. It has taken me many years to change my understanding of how to manage the outgo of our family finance.
We are correct in our thinking when we spend our money on the bills and wants first, that leaves nothing for God and selfless giving. We need shelter, food and clothes so that goes to the top of our list. No one wants to go hungry, naked or be out in the cold. So it is natural to rationalize why that would be our first expense.
Let’s take a step back and recognize that we rely on the earth for the food at our table; our clothes and our homes are made from the very substance of the earth. Our Creator made all things possible through all he created on this earth. When we honor Him and show faith in Him by giving to Him through channels such as church or charity, He can show His hand in our lives. "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28).
I would like to use the example in the Personal Finances Self Reliance Manual page 41 (published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints).
Picture that we have a glass jar which represents our income (a resource of limited size), a big rock representing our debt to the Lord, pebbles representing our savings for our future selves, and sand, representing our current needs and wants..
Take the empty jar and fill it with the sand first, then place the pebbles, in and finally try to put in the big rock. By following these instructions there is no room for the big rock. It appears that it will not all fit in the jar. This is the most common way we arrange our budget!
But what if we put the bigger rock first, add the pebbles, then pour in the sand? You will be amazed to find that everything really CAN fit in the jar!
“Because God gives to me, I have enough to give and to live!” This can be your new phrase!
Our family has chosen to put God first by paying our tithing and a fast offering. We have discovered that the money leftover has always been sufficient for our needs and beyond.
Look to those around you who are successful at managing their money, and ask what works for them. Search different ideas on budgeting. You don’t have to pay anyone to tell you how. But keep looking and find what works for you.
Put the circle block in the circle hole as you recognize that giving back to your Creator is your bigger rock and all the pebbles and sand will have room by taking this step first in your budget.
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