Dear Sis B,
Lately, I’ve been trying to take hold of my finances for my future plans. But how can be one be thrifty but at the same time still stay generous to others? I firmly believe in my heart that Jesus wants us to be generous not just on our time and talents but on our treasures as well.
Miss Anonymous 2
Dear Miss Anonymous 2,
May the peace of Christ be with you.
I honor you for having that decision to be on top of your finances. Before flying to Singapore to work, my father verbally and strongly instilled in me to watch where my money would be going. I thank the Lord for that because not all parents would be brave to tell that to their adult working children.
Your question came in so timely in this season of my life. As I have been trying to shift my career for the past two years into a different path, I have been handling changes in my finances. Those are not simple changes but radical changes.
One evening, I strongly prayed to the Lord to help me handle my finances because I felt it didn’t go right that I am serving the Lord and yet I was having a hard time in making both ends meet. After praying that, I decided to google and found a YouTube video discussing about finances. My search didn’t stop there but that YouTube video helped me to find – out about session on financial counselling run by the Credit Bureau of Singapore.
Sister, from now on, I encourage you to pray to the Lord that He makes you a good steward of His gifts.
(Being thrifty will be secondary). So how to be good steward of His blessings financially? I will share points, Sister, which I am practicing now. These are practices drawn from the credit counselling session that I attended, watching YouTube Videos, talking to financial consultants, getting tips from a friend who rose on top of her debts and personal quiet time in prayer.
I must admit that I need to unlearn few of my habits and had a hard time doing at the beginning.
HERE MY RECIPE, LEARNED FROM THE HARD WAY
- Dedicate a notebook for your finances.
- Tonight as in tonight, sit down and list all your expenses and how much it cost you in that past one month.
Sister, the first time I did, I was so shookt like crazy! I am way beyond over budget. I even added my unplanned Starbucks, my cravings although it was only S2 and my transportation expenses to the second decimal point accurate.
- Then in a new sheet, list all your needs and recurrent expenses in a monthly basis.
I wanted to be particular so I am sharing mine:
- Room Rental –
- Tax –
- Tithes –
- Food –
- Bank Loan –
- Transportation –
- Phone –
- Allowance for Loved – Ones (Remittance)
- Add up and compare it with your take – home Salary.
- Savings (10%)
The Tough Moment
Ok, here comes the tough one. Adjusting your expenses so it will fall into your budget including your savings.
- Let’s deal with the toughest one – remittance. During the credit counselling session, I was encouraged to provide for my parents only. If I am sending to loved – ones other them, I must set a priority who will come first. (I thank the Lord that a year ago, my parents got an extra source of income when they lease three units of house which my father bought out of his own savings from years of working since his teen years.) I decided to share a portion of my salary according to their needs and their medicines. You may be asking what will happen to other loved – ones, the portion of how much you will be sending will be based after you have budgeted from your needs (like tithes, foods, transportation, groceries, loans or credit card). I agree too, after thinking about it. You must protect your health and welfare, too, because that is also good stewardship! I kept a savings policy as I have limited insurance. This is my practice, sister and you can approach any one from the financial industry in Singapore for free for insurance policies.
- List all your expenses everyday! At the end of week evaluate if you are sticking to the target or you have unreasonable target or you can squeeze for another financial plan (like retirement plan) or you can afford to travel.
I enjoy the evaluation part, this is when I truly feel that I am an adult, in progress Catholic adult pleasing the Lord.
- Keep your records.
- Open a separate account where you will deposit your savings.
- Do not buy on credit. Initially I don’t want to do this. I thought that was impossible. But now, all my plane tickets and bookings are done in a cash basis. (Clap, clap, clap, praise the Lord!) It also make it easy for me to control my expenses.
- Avoid taking cabs! It has become my mantra that taking cabs will only happen because of health reasons. This mantra drove me to plan my trips and not rush. The cab fare can be added to your remittance and just imagine a $30 fare can be a month of snacks to grade school public student (to a niece)!
- Be faithful in your tithing. Sister, believe me on this. There is magic when we are faithful to out tithing! I am a witness. The Lord make ways so you can remain faithful as to how much you decided to share to Him. (Sobs. Sobs of gratitude. Tears of joy.). For years, I have been given the chance to receive tithes from members. In their silence and my visibility to their tithes – No one of them lacks something! THE LORD CAN NOT BE OUTDONE IN HIS GENEROSITY!
- Learn to cook for yourself. Cooking for myself led me also to eating healthily. I go to wet market every rest day, however, grocery prices are also competitive. Always include vegetable and fruits in your items. Cut your buying of chips or frozen foods. I find them so expensive!
- Exercise in a regular basis through a YouTube channel. Don’t risk your credit card to be tied up in a year of contract with a gym if you don’t have the an extra money to pay for it a monthly basis.
- Search for free WiFi and avoid paying extra for extra data.
- Pay on time! Avoid late charges!!!
- Learn to bake and present your home-baked cake! A self-baked cake will even make the celebrants feel more special. (In our prayer meetings, we celebrate through blowing of candles and cakes are expensive!) As my final sharing here. One time I cooked a simple Filipino dish for my young sisters in my prayer meeting group and all of them thanked me and expressed how much they felt special because I took time to cook. They didn’t say whether they liked it, though. LOL. But, boy, I felt so appreciated!
I am with you on believing that our Lord wants us to practice the virtue of generosity but He does NOT want us to be in “debt” because we have been practicing the virtue of generosity wrongly. It does not please Him, neither. The Lord wants us to be good stewards of the gifts that He has been giving us, like time, health, money and talents.
If we are good stewards, it brings Him glory!
I will pray for you, Sister. Please do not hesitate to write back.
Love and Beauty,
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For your own dear Sis B, write at firstname.lastname@example.org