I’ve been thinking a lot about money lately. I’ve never been a big spender and still cut my toothpaste tube in half to scoop out every last drop. On paper, it looks like I’m great with money, but I’ve been noticing an unhealthy obsession with it in my heart. That’s why I went on this hunt recently for the best money tips from the Bible.
Right now I can think of a dozen things I desperately want to buy. New counter stools for our kitchen island in french blue. A large washable living room rug that can live up to my toddler’s spills. An oversized comfy sweatshirt so I can stop stealing my husband’s. And skincare products. Lots and lots of skincare products.
Thankfully, the Bible offers very practical and down-to-earth advice on money. While I went on a hunt to find out what the Bible said about money I found the seven below tips that I know can be beneficial to all of us. Happy saving, giving, and (occasionally) spending!
7 Practical Money Tips from the Bible
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1. Avoid debt as much as possible.
“Owe nothing to anyone – except for your obligation to love one another.” (Romans 13:8 NLT)
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” (Provers 22:7 NIV)
A lot of advice in the Bible, especially when it comes to money and possessions, is contrary to what the world preaches. The world tells us to buy what makes us feel good! Who cares how much it costs you deserve it! You need this treat, girl!
And this can lead to debt. I saw a quote this week that it only takes $27 in unnecessary spending a day to blow $10,000 a year. That was an eye-opener.
Of course, there are things such as “good debt.” Buying a house that will save you money in the long-term is a good example. There is also “necessary debt” like student loans.
But even then there is wisdom in choosing a school and home we can afford longterm instead of what we want at the moment. Here are 7 habits to become financially independent.
My husband and I financially planned for me to stay home with kids well before I even got pregnant. We bought a smaller house that we knew we could afford on his salary alone. It would be tight! But we could swing it.
He’s since gotten a new job that puts us in a better financial situation but we still save based on that initial budget.
2. Save your money first – then spend.
“Put your outdoor work in order and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” (Proverbs 24:27 NIV)
The best explanation I’ve heard for the word “budget” is “telling your money where to go.”
When we take our salaries and budget out things for food, apartment/mortgage, home items, travel, etc, we will know where our money is going before we even spend it.
Even if we overspend on a category, there won’t be any surprises at the end of a month.
We can see exactly where it went. (Some financial programs even put your spending into handy pie charts to even more clearly see where the money is being spent.)
If you’ve never done it before, create a simple budget this week. Also, make sure to budget for “savings” or else you’ll accidentally spend that money too. (OOPS!)
You can also buy The Financial Peace Planner to further help you tell your money where to go.
3.) Create an emergency fund.
“Let Pharaoh appoint commissioners over the land to take a fifth of the harvest of Egypt during the seven years of abundance. They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities of food. This food should be held in reserve for the country, to be used during the seven years of famine that will come upon Egypt, so that the country may not be ruined by the famine.” (Genesis 41:34-36)
An emergency fund should be the first item you budget for after paying off debts.
It ensures that if you lose your job – which I’ve done in the past – or some other catastrophic event occurs, you are able to afford rent and food until you can get on your feet again.
Years ago I got fired from my job and while I pained me to dip into my emergency fund, I was so grateful I had it. That’s the very point of having one.
For more practical tips, pick up Total Money Makeup from Dave Ramsey to get money tips from the Bible.
4.) Give your “first fruits” to your local church.
“Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the first fruits of all your crops.” (Proverbs 3:9 NIV)
“First fruits” is normally defined by 10 percent in the book of Leviticus.
Spiritually, it is a way to honor God. It’s telling Him, “I can make by on 10 percent less because at the end of the day – all my money comes from you anyway!”
Plus, practically, the church body needs money to sustain itself. The Bible also promises our barns will be “filled with plenty.” (PS. This doesn’t mean He’ll make us rich but will provide for our needs.)
5.) Diversify your investments.
“Invest in seven ventures, yes, in eight; you do not know what disaster may come upon the land.” (Ecclesiastes 11:2 NIV)
If you are financially able to invest (yay!) it is wise to diversify your money. AKA don’t put all your eggs into one basket. By putting your money into different investments you minimize the risk of losing everything. One investment might go south, but if the rest are holding steady you can still be in a good place.
If you want to make a big investment somewhere (say the stock market or buying a rental property) make sure to have an emergency fund full with a little extra still in your bank account in case things go south.
I’m actually not a huge fan of investments but I don’t have a reason behind it except I’m always worried about something going wrong. My husband, on the other hand, is always thinking about how to grow our money. I both appreciate this in him and how we balance each other out.
6.) Hold it loosely in your hands.
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and rats destroy, and where thieves break in and seal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and rats do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Money comes and goes in our life. And the things we buy with money end of rusting, rotting or being stolen. Therefore, placing money and possession in a high spot in our life is a waste. It can be here today and gone tomorrow.
Ultimately, we have to keep recognizing money as a tool to provide for us and others, but not depend on it too much. Above money, we need to prize our family, friends, and relationship with Jesus Christ.
7.) Be a cheerful giver.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)
Let’s use our money to be kind and generous to others! I had a friend who told me she budgeted “random gift-giving” into her monthly budget. I loved it. With this budgeted money, she would buy a friend lunch, buy another friend tickets to a show, or buy a random present for a neighbor. What a sweet way to look at how we can use our money.
I’ve been trying to keep this up myself and have been way more blessed by it than the person I gift something to. Try it this month.
Lastly, I didn’t include this on my list but sometimes it’s ok to enjoy it.
Moreover, when God gives someone wealth and possessions, and the ability to enjoy them, to accept their lot and be happy in their toil–this is a gift of God. (Ecclesiastes 5:19)
I didn’t put this on my list because as humans, I think we’re good at buying stuff for ourselves. However, it’s a good reminder that it’s OK to enjoy the money that you worked so hard for too and not feel guilty about spending a little every now and then.