How I Manage My — Scratch That — God’s Money

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I love budgeting!

Definitely haven’t always been this way. In fact, when I think about all the money I’ve wasted over the course of life, I get a bit upset at myself, but I’m learning to let go of those mistakes and I’m thankful that my mentality changed before I was married with kids.

The mental shift first began when I had a convo with one of my best friends. We were talking about our financial situations and future marriages and she said something that totally changed my perspective on money.

She said “I don’t want to come into marriage saying ‘my credit is bad, I have $10,000 in credit card debt, plus a car note and student loans, but I’m cute! Here you go husband! This is all I have to offer.’”

At that time, I’d never thought about my current financial decisions affecting my future marriage finances. It was my first eye opener.

The second eye opener happened when I asked the Lord to help me steward different areas of my life. He told me to find out His view on money. So I researched different biblical financial books and ended up reading one called “Managing God’s Money,” by Randy Alcorn.

The biggest takeaway from this book?

My money is not “my” money at all.

I am a steward of what belongs to God. And so began the next major mental shift as it relates to my finances. I began to pray and ask God what to do with my money. I began paying attention to my areas of weakness and waste.

Through these times of observation, research, prayer and reflection, I developed a system that has been absolutely life changing. So! Since today is payday and I just went through my bi-monthly payday routine, and I thought I’d blog about my budget process!

My method is definitely different, but it works for me. Everyone must find his or her own method for managing finances, but here’s how I do it:

I have 5 bank accounts (don’t judge me Lol) and 1 credit card.

My 5 Bank Accounts are broken down as follows:

1. Bills – all my monthly recurring bill money, car note, rent, Spotify, car insurance, etc. goes here
2. Give – this is a giving account where I give 5-10% of all my income away (this is separate from tithes) – this is money used for missions, birthday gifts, helping random people/causes
3. Travel – this is a fund used for saving for trips
4. Personal Checking – This is my “play” money that I really don’t play with much at all Lol – it’s mainly used as cushion money. iTunes and book purchases and if ever needed, clothes are purchased from here. It’s also the account I deposit everything into and then divide it to all the other accounts from.
5. Savings – this is my savings that I only touch if I absolutely need to like for new tires or something important. It rarely gets touched…like ever.

My 1 credit card – it is used for gas because I get cash back for gas. So it’s like I’m getting a free tank of gas every few months. I only use the credit card outside of gas if I need to pay for something that I know I’m getting reimbursed for like random medical expenses or something to that effect. The goal is to keep it at a balance that I can afford to pay off every month.

I did at one time abuse my credit card use and started buying flights and hotels that I couldn’t afford so I cut up my credit card and went months without one until I disciplined myself to stay on track.

To this day, I still threaten myself to cut it up, whenever I’m tempted to make a splurge that I know I won’t be able to pay back the next month.

That’s the gist of where everything flows to. Let’s check out the process.

The Budgeting Process

Every two weeks I get paid and I use Evernote to do a bi-monthly Spending Plan.

Note: These are example numbers, not my real income/expenses…except I did use my REAL Car Note balance…jussst in case someone gets inspired to pay that off. Lol

Here are the steps I uses to manage God’s finances.

STEP ONE: DEBT

The first thing I do is calculate my debt.

How much do I owe on my car and how much do I owe on my credit card? Then I total these things out. I think it’s good to keep in mind how much debt you have hanging out there. It’s good to look at it regularly rather than push it off and ignore it.

The longer you’re in debt, the longer you’re a slave to someone else and the more you ignore it, the bigger it will grow.

Here’s how that section looks:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 8.26.11 PM

STEP TWO: EXPENSES

So I have set budgets for my monthly expenses as well as my food, gas, toiletries, and weekend/entertainment. Those budgets look like this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 7.42.36 PM

STEP 3: SPENDING PLAN

From here, I operate with a “zero” budget. Meaning every pay period, I designate where every single penny is going. That looks like this:

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 7.56.45 PM

STEP 4: GET CASH

For my “Set Budgets” I get cash out and use an envelope system for everything except for gas.

That means I get cash and then put it in a specific envelope that I keep in my wallet and spend from that in these categories:

“Food” – breakfast/lunch/dinner money for Mon-Fri
“Entertainment” – weekend money for food & play
“Toiletries” – soap, hair products, toothpaste, etc.
“Groceries” – umm…groceries

photo

The cool thing about this is that if I have money left over from one pay period, it rolls over into the next two-week period, allowing me to save!

For example this week I had $20 that I didn’t spend from my “food” budget so when I get cash, I only need to take out $60 instead of $80, giving me $20 of cushion/play money that I get to leave in my personal checking!

INCENTIVES

Now, as a means of keeping myself motivated to continually be a good steward of God’s money, I’ve also created a reward system for myself.

On Pinterest I’ve created a “Future Life Purchases” board, where I save things that I will eventually reward myself with once I reach specific goals.

Like the iPhone 5s: I made a goal to save $1,000 in my savings account, plus save the price of the phone in my personal checking, then I could reward myself by purchasing the phone!

I have items ranging from books to a bike to a dog (Shhh! Don’t tell my roommate) on this board.

Sooo!

So that’s the gist of my finance routine.

I’ll end it with this.

Know that we are merely stewards of God’s money. Everything we have is His. Ask Him what to do with all the money you get and see what a difference He makes in your financial world!

God is the wisest and He knows what we need! So trust Him in everything!

Talk to Me!

How do you budget your money? Do you think I’m crazy for having 5 bank accounts? What tips would you add?

7 Comments
  • Alisha Scott
    March 8, 2017

    Hey Kandis Hey!

    I would like to say thank you for explaining into depth how to manage what we’ve been given. Thank you

  • Ruth
    September 6, 2014

    I budget like this and I also use Mint. It helps me set up goals like wedding (can never start too early), Christmas, emergency, etc. It’s fun to track! I have way more debt than you lol but it’s getting paid off little by little. I try to keep God’s perspective on money. Way less stressful that way.

    • Kandis7
      September 12, 2014

      It is definitely less stressful that way. And I used to have a wedding account but it somehow transformed into travel. #Hopedeferred #justslightly Lol

  • Lauren
    September 6, 2014

    I budget almost exactly like this! I use Mint as my budgeting tool but it’s not so intuitive. Looking for a different one so maybe I’ll try Evernote.

    I don’t think you’re crazy for 5 accounts but do you get charged a maintenance fee for each of them? Also…why did you split your recurring expenses in half? Are you sharing these with your roommate?

    • Kandis7
      September 6, 2014

      Hey Lauren:

      That’s cool. A friend of mine just told me about Mint. I may check it out. Evernote isn’t really intuitive at all. I manually do my whole budget each pay period. But I enjoy doing it so it’s fun to me. Lol

      I don’t have maintenance fees for any of my accounts. I did at first cause I didn’t read all the fine print for each account. Like certain accounts you incur a fee if you do something inside the bank, but everything from an ATM & online is free. When I saw these fees hitting, I went to my banker and she got them all reimbursed and then we switched a couple and talked through my money flow so that I don’t have any fees.

      That is a very good point you brought up that many people don’t consider when they open up multiple accounts.

      Also, I get paid twice a month so I split my expenses in 1/2 and set aside 1/2 if my expenses each month which you can see on the spending plan.

      I could dedicate one full check each month to expenses but I prefer splitting if in half.

  • Aletha
    September 6, 2014

    I don’t think you’re crazy for having 5 bank accounts :-). I think it’s creative as long as it doesn’t end up costing you more money. Budgeting is definitely a relevant topic that more people our age need to consider…Thanks for sharing!

    • Kandis7
      September 6, 2014

      Thanks Aletha! I agree it’s something our generation should discuss more. It doesn’t cost me more money cause I worked with my banker to set up the proper accounts but that is an easy mistake that could happen with this method. That could be a blog topic in an of itself.

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