• cheerful little girl holding piggybank with parents on background

    Raising Financially Healthy Kids

    “I wish my parents had taught me more about how to manage money.”  I hear this over and over again from people participating in one of the many stewardship classes at Southeast.  Far too many adults these days have learned little, if anything, from their parents about money.

    It doesn’t have to be this way.  You and I can change this for the next generation.  Your kids can leave home someday prepared to manage money God’s way instead of learning it the hard way.  “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” (Proverbs 22:6, NIV).  When you make it a priority now, they’ll make it a priority when they are an adult.  Follow these five tips for raising financially healthy kids.

    1. Make sure they know it all belongs to God.

    We need to plant this idea early.  Talk about God being the owner of everything we have.  “To the Lord your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.” (Deuteronomy 10:14, NIV).  This certainly includes our money.  When we grow up thinking it’s ours – or even that 90% is ours and only 10% belongs to the Lord – this belief drives our behavior.  The truth that God is the owner is the foundation for managing money.

    2. Keep it simple.

    I love the model of Give-Save-Spend.  I like the idea of using clear jars so they can see the money accruing over time.  There is not a right or wrong way to have them divide the money.  Have them give at least 10% to giving and divide the rest into saving and spending.  Some kids will have a giving heart and want to put it all in the giving jar so they can give it away.  If that’s your kid, then celebrate and encourage that.  You may want to think about offering some incentives for saving over time by matching or offering interest.

    3. Remember that more is caught than taught.

    You must lead by example when it comes to raising kids.  If your kids always see you paying with credit cards, then they are being taught that’s how you pay for things.  Also, they are watching how Mom and Dad communicate about money.  If money is always a source of tension or conflict, then your kids are taking note.  Even though you don’t always agree, make it your goal to demonstrate oneness.  What your kids see you do is a lot more powerful than what they hear you say.

    4. Model the budgeting process.

    See Also: Keys to Budgeting Success

    If your kids see you always spending without any mention of a budget or the trade-offs that come with living on a spending plan, then you are modeling that for these future adults.  Get them involved in the family budget, at least from an awareness standpoint, if not from a decision-making standpoint.  For example, engage them in the family entertainment budget.  Let them be a part of making the decision to have pizza and watch a movie at home three times in a month versus going out to a movie and pizza once since that’s all the budget allows.  Give them opportunities to learn about the trade-offs that exist when you live on a spending plan.

    5. Give an allowance based on work completed.

    Don’t give your kids money just for being a part of the family.  Instead give an allowance based on chores they do around the house like taking out the trash, or cleaning their room or mowing the grass.  This will help them understand that money is earned and not just given to them.

    Don’t wait until your kids are in college to teach them about money.  Get started now.  Put these 5 tips into practice and someday your adult children might say, “I’m so glad my parents taught me how to manage money God’s way.”

    Learn proven principles and practical wisdom for raising God-honoring, financially healthy kids.  Build your children up by giving them a solid understanding of how money works and how to make wise choices in the next Raising Financially Healthy Kids seminar.

    Register for a Raising Financially Healthy Kids seminar today!

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  • Portrait Of Happy Couple Inserting Coin In Piggybank

    Marriage and Money: Five Tips for a Healthy Marriage

    If you are like most married people, you’ve likely discovered that your spouse spends money a little – or a lot – differently than you do. Opposites attract, so you shouldn’t be surprised when differences around money crop up in your marriage.

    In our marriage, I am the spender and Shelley is not. She has to keep me away from the shopping mall while I practically force her to buy something for herself. She never goes anywhere without her coupon folder.  I often forget to use a coupon. I actually enjoy analyzing spending trends and building our budget. While Shelley loses interest if our monthly budget reviews take longer than 15-minutes.

    Money is one of the primary sources of conflict in marriage. One of the fastest ways to put a strain on your marriage is to not be on the same page with your spouse about money. God intended money to be a blessing that builds up your marriage, not a weapon that tears it down. Follow these 5 tips to build a healthy marriage.

    1. Embrace your differences and find a healthy balance.

    It’s important to understand and acknowledge each other’s biases towards money. One of you is more of a spender than a saver. One of you likes the idea of a budget, while the other prefers to make money decisions on the fly. One spouse has more of a long-term focus and the other just wants to live in the moment.

    Being a natural spender or a natural saver is not right or wrong – just different. Opposite personalities can come together and balance each other in marriage. Identify the unique strengths and weaknesses each of you bring to the marriage around money. The Bible says, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up” (Ecclesiastics 4:9-10, NIV). Start working as a team by putting your strengths to work and bring a healthy balance to each other’s weaknesses.

    2. Communicate about money.  

    Marriage is built on communication and you won’t be on the same page about money unless you talk about it. Open up the lines of communication by sharing your fears and insecurities as well as your goals and dreams. Pray together and work to agree on a plan for the money God has entrusted you. When you are agreeing on where your money is going, it will unify the two of you in ways you’ve never experienced before. There will be harmony where there used to be tension.

    3. Do a monthly budget together. 

    See Also: Keys to Budgeting Success

    Each month, before the month begins, couples should sit down and spend every dollar on paper, on purpose. It’s okay if one spouse takes the lead, but you both should provide input and agree on where the money goes. Budgeting is an important spiritual discipline that helps married couples put God in charge of their finances. By establishing the routine of a monthly budget meeting, you will be communicating about so much more than dollars and cents.

    4. Combine Accounts.

    On the day you got married, your “me” became “we.” Jesus said this about marriage, “The two will become one. So they are no longer two, but one.” (Mark 10:8, NLT). Being united in marriage means saying to each other, “What’s mine is yours, and what’s yours is mine.” Working together from a shared account encourages unity around money. It’s no longer my money, or your money; it’s our money. Operating from a combined account establishes the kind of transparency and accountability that is needed in a healthy marriage. Keeping this area of your marriage separate often leads to separation in other areas.

    5. Agree on a spending limit to avoid financial infidelity.

    If you’re like most people, then you’ve been tempted to hide a purchase from your spouse because of how you thought they might react. In a recent study, 75% of people surveyed said financial infidelity has negatively impacted their marriage. Keep money secrets out of your marriage by proactively agreeing on a spending limit. It might be $30, $75 or $150. When either of you wants to purchase something that costs more than the agreed upon amount, commit to discussing it with your spouse first. You will find this practice will go a long way towards building trust and a stronger relationship.

    Put these 5 tips into practice and start making progress with your money and your marriage. Once you get on the same page about money you will experience unity and peace in your marriage like never before.

    Find practical ways to communicate with your spouse about money by participating in the next Financial Peace University class.  Learn biblical principles for managing money, spending and saving wisely, and eliminating debt during this 9-week class.

    Register for a Financial Peace University class today!

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  • 8/18 Story - Barnes and Amos Families

    8/18 Debt-Free Challenge: Barnes and Amos Families Share their Story

    In August 2011, Dave Stone wore a 70-pound backpack as he preached about the burden of debt and issued the challenge to be debt free by August 2018.  He said, “I’m going to challenge you to spend the next seven days praying about what God can do in the next seven years.”  That week Robert and Milessa Barnes and Mike and Denise Amos joined with thousands of others in circling 8/18 on their calendar.  With God’s help they began the journey to financial freedom.


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  • Keys to Budgeting Success

    Keys to Budgeting Success

    If you are like most people, you cringe when you hear the word budget. And you’ve probably already thought of three reasons you don’t need one. Or maybe you know it’s something you should do, but never get around to actually doing it. No matter what your story is, it’s time to accept the reality that we all need a budget!

    Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds. (Proverbs 27:23 NIV)

    Budgeting is an essential part of a faithful steward’s life. God has entrusted everyone with resources, and the Bible calls us to carefully manage it (Proverbs 27:23). Budgeting is an important spiritual discipline that puts God in charge of your finances.

    If you aren’t already living on a budget, then the process of actually creating a budget might seem overwhelming. And the thought of sticking to a budget may feel like the equivalent of sucking all the fun out of your life. But a budget isn’t about complicating your life. It actually makes your life easier by knowing where your money is going. Don’t think of it as rules for how you can’t spend your money. It’s really giving yourself permission to spend because you’ve planned ahead of time.

    So let me answer a few questions and share some keys to budgeting success.

    When should you create your budget? Before the beginning of each month you should sit down and make a plan for your money. If you are married, then do this together with your spouse. Turn budgeting into a habit by making it a recurring monthly event on your busy calendar. I suggest doing this 5 to 10 days prior to the first day of the month.

    How do you make a budget? Start by figuring out how much money you have to work with for the upcoming month. And be sure to include all sources of income. Include your income, your spouse’s income and any other money you plan to take in (i.e., yard sale earnings).

    Next, spend every dollar on paper, on purpose. Give every dollar a name. When you finish planning for the month ahead, you should be able to subtract your expenses from your income to equal zero. Your budget isn’t complete until there is a plan for all of that month’s money.

    Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. (Proverbs 3:9 NLT)

    The order in which you budget money is important. Give, then save and then spend — in that order. The Bible instructs us to give to God first (Proverbs 3:9).  Calculate 10% of your total income for the month and set that aside for your tithe. Saving should be your next priority. Pay yourself and prepare for future needs and wants. If you don’t budget giving and saving first, then you may spend everything and have nothing left. Now you are ready to allocate money to all the other categories where you will spend that month.

    What should you do when you get to the bottom of your budget and there is money left over? Well, after you finish your happy dance, make sure you put that money to good use. Maybe add some money to savings for a future expense. Or give yourself some “fun money” that month and satisfy your desire for (planned) spontaneity. However, be prepared to make some cuts when your expenses add up to more than that month’s income.  Don’t budget to spend money you won’t have.

    Budgeting isn’t a one-time exercise. Each month has a different set of expenses. Some expenses are fixed and remain the same each month. But many budget categories are flexible and will change from month to month. In September we celebrate the birthday of several friends and family, so our budget for gift giving increases. August is back-to-school month and that means planning to buy lots of school supplies. Budgeting apps like EveryDollar by Ramsey Solutions make it easy to create a budget each month and track your spending while on the go.

    When you first start living on a budget, expect it will take a few months to get the hang of it. You may forget to plan for an expense or overspend in some category, but don’t get discouraged and give up. Just review your budget and make adjustments. With a little patience and some determination, in a few months, you will have a budget you can rely on and some new positive money habits.


    Get more help with budgeting by participating in next Financial Peace University class. Learn biblical principles for managing money, spending and saving wisely, and eliminating debt during this 9-week class.

    Register for Financial Peace University today!

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