I’ve found that one of the best guides to Family Finance is written by Elder Marvin J. Ashton titled “One for the Money.” In this booklet he starts by explaining that “The American Bar Association has indicated the 89% of all divorces can be traced to quarrels and accusations over money.” He believes that this happens not necessarily because of “a lack of money, but rather by a mismanagement of personal finances.”
Being that I’m a newlywed I have come to realize that my worries on finances are much MUCH higher than I had first anticipated. My family has always been in the lower middle class, and there have been many times where paying rent and utilities almost seemed impossible and over time it has made me afraid of ever spending money.
My first month in a new apartment (that me and my now husband will be sharing) I was so worried about putting us over budget that I managed to spend only $20 in electric and gas for the month. Was this absolutely necessary? No. Was my fiancé compaining? Absolutely not. However, my hesitance with cash does not end there and my husband has noticed!
This booklet gives a clear picture to where money is best spent and how to handle finances as a team and not as selfish parties to a more important purpose. Elder Ashton gives 12 points to help us improve our financial wellness.. but I am going to pick out the top 7 who have had particular influence in my life thus far. And so we begin!
PAY AN HONEST TITHING
Although I know not all my readers will be religious, there is no reason why they can’t donate to a charity of their own choosing! Tithing is naturally 10% of your income. Dave Ramsey, #1 New York Times Best-Selling Author of “The Total Money Makeover” encourages us to donate 10-15% to charities or church organizations. Besides helping those more in need than ourselves it aids in selflessness and good character!
LEARN TO MANAGE MONEY BEFORE IT MANAGES YOU
Even more important than the question “Can I earn a lot of money?” is the question “Can I live within my means?” I read a quote once by Charles Caleb Colton that has stuck with me. He notes that “Wealth after all is a relative thing since he that has little and wants less is richer than he that has much and wants more.” And how true is that?
LEARN SELF-DISCIPLINE AND SELF-RESTRAINT IN MONEY MATTERS
In his words, “We live in a self-indulgent, me-oriented, materialistic society.” Buying on a whim doesn’t necessarily lead to happiness, especially when you have other responsibilities at the back of your mind: rent, car payments, credit card bills, and the like. When wants are met, but needs are not it can weigh you down a cause a LOT of stress.
USE A BUDGET
Dave Ramsey’s brilliant way of using a budget and controlling your money is called the envelope system. To put it simply, you decide your budget, pull your CASH out of the bank when you are paid, then sort the cash into envelopes depending on where the money is going. You spend that cash on only that category and when you’re out of money, you are out of money. Simple as that.
TEACH FAMILY MEMBERS EARLY THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKING AND EARNING
Malcolm Forbes once said, “I made my money the old-fashioned way. I was very nice to a wealthy relative right before he died.” Now if only it was that easy for everyone. A lot of families that I knew growing up gave my friends an allowance. They didn’t have to do anything to earn that allowance it was just free money! Growing up expecting that the world just gives you money for living is a poor lesson to learn, and it becomes a serious setback in adult life.
TEACH CHILDREN TO MAKE MONEY DECISIONS IN KEEPING WITH THEIR CAPACITIES TO COMPREHEND
Money as You Grow is a wonderful reference to base your financial lessons off of for your kids. It gives you a basis on what your children should be learning at what age. These, of course, are just guidelines, but very useful nonetheless!
MAKE EDUCATION A CONTINUING PROCESS
This does not ONLY mean a college education although that will not hinder in helping you financially. He includes the reference to trade schools, apprentice programs, and understanding basic home and auto repairs. “This is money well invested.”
Money is good. Money is evil. Money is stressful. Money is wonderful. Money can be all of these things, but most of all, money is what we make it. If we are careful with our earnings and let it always exceed our expenses then over time we will learn that money can be controlled and it can bring us happiness and joy instead of sadness and regret.
What are some of the best ways you have found to use your money wisely? Share in the comments below!