A Godly, Generous Budget

“Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce.”—Proverbs 3:9 (ESV)

Today, we’re going to give you ten practical steps to sound, biblical money management. The purpose of these steps is to help you craft a budget that honors God and works for your financial situation. Before we start, here are four principles we want you to remember as you work through these steps.

First, as we’ve said over and over again this week, it’s all about the condition of your heart. When we approach our finances with the understanding that God owns it all (Psalm 24:1), our perspective shifts and we’re freed up to honor the Lord with what is His.

Second, we need to make giving to the Lord our first priority (Malachi 3:10; 1 Timothy 6:17–19). Managing our finances is a test of our faithfulness, so we need to ensure we are putting God and His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). When we do, He promises that all else will fall into its rightful, intended place in our lives.

Third, for a budget to work we need to ensure we’re spending less than we make (Proverbs 21:20; Luke 12:16–34).

Fourth, avoid using credit; don’t accumulate debt for yourself. Bondage is bad (Proverbs 22:7; Psalm 37:21). If you can’t pay for it, don’t buy it!

So, here are your steps to financial freedom. We guarantee that if you implement these things into your daily life and stick with them, you will see a change in your financial situation, and you will have the freedom to live generously and honor God.

PRACTICAL STEPS TO FINANCIAL FREEDOM:

  1. Start the monthly budget process by honoring God with your giving (tithe).
  2. Have an emergency savings fund. Life issues are going to happen and you need to have savings to pay for them. If not, you will then be tempted to use credit cards, which will only continue the debt cycle. Make sure you have at least $500–$1,000 in this fund, and add to it periodically as you are able.
  3. Put together a monthly budget. Plan where your money will go so you don’t find yourself without money at the end of the month. Even if your bills and expenses exceed your monthly income, you need to plan for that. Pay the most important ones—rent/mortgage, electricity, water, etc.—and then make payment arrangements with the other collectors.
  4. Start a cash envelope system for expenses such as groceries, entertainment, and clothing. Whatever you budget for these expenses is what you put in the envelope, and that is all you have to spend that month.
  5. Pay off consumer debt using the snowball method (credit cards, cars, student loans . . . everything except mortgage). This means paying off the smallest “snowball” first by paying more than the minimum. Once the smallest one is paid off, apply what you were paying to the next one.
  6. Increase—or start—your savings to have at least three and six months of critical living expenses. This will help you be prepared when unexpected life issues happen like loss of employment, hospital stays, etc.
  7. Invest 15% of your household income into retirement. If you have kids, divide that 15% between retirement and a college fund. Note: Begin implementing this only after you’ve accomplished the above steps.
  8. Begin saving for major purchases—home, auto, etc. This is in addition to what you have in your three-to-six-month emergency savings account.
  9. Pay off your home. After you’ve paid your monthly mortgage, start paying extra towards the mortgage’s principle. By reducing your loan’s principle, you will accelerate the paying down of the loan and save on the interest.
  10. Build wealth so you can be a generous giver. Let God use you to bless others as He blesses you.

If you need further assistance, contact the Stewardship Ministry at 954-556-4499. For now, we encourage you to use this free software to help you craft your budget.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.