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Kingdom-Focused Finances: The Effect Of Tracking

Choosing to agree with God that I am a steward and not an owner has had the greatest impact on my finances. It’s a daily, sometimes hourly choice, and I am still learning. One of the greatest steps was the decision to track my expenses. I wasn’t prepared for what this simple experiment would reveal about my life.

I was operating a very expensive lifestyle and balancing the budget was much more difficult than I had wanted to admit. This process affected my view of cost. Items I had once viewed as inexpensive and insignificant began to look different. Those bi-monthly spa treatments, massages, and, visits to my aesthetician became much more expensive when I saw how much they added up to in a month. Stopping over at Chipotle instead of packing a lunch isn’t that significant when it only happens every other month. However, the impact on a budget can be substantial when it is a daily or weekly occurrence. I began to view the small items in a store in a new way. A bag of chips at $1 may not seem too expensive. Surely I can afford a bag of chips! But when I realized buying chips every weekend could cost me several hundred a year, a bag of chips began to look amazingly overpriced. Suddenly, some of my habitual purchases became less attractive, and I began to realize the price displayed in the store was not the true cost of the item.

I wonder how truth in advertising would affect some businesses today. How well would Starbucks sell their mocha latte if the sign said, “Have one each day on the way to work and it will cost you only $1,123 a year?” Those lunches at fast-food restaurants didn’t look quite as attractive when I realized packing my lunch could have saved me over a hundred dollars that month. My spending habits began to change as I came face to face with the fact that my own choices were creating my problem. But this discovery also gave me hope. It was encouraging to find that I was holding the steering wheel. There was something I could do and it just involved little choices.

Kingdom Living

Many women would be amazed if they would total the cost of grocery store purchases that were not on their original lists. If each time they returned from the store, they would write down all the items purchased that were not necessary, but “just happened to be on sale”, many would be surprised. My idea of kingdom living is committing my resources to building the kingdom. Yes, although I may be out shopping one day and may like a particular fabric, the fact is, I may or may not need any more dresses. Communicating this with your partner about the vision and stewardship is realizing that kingdom living is not just talk, but moving from a nice topic of discussion to an overriding vision that is implemented even in small choices.

Couples should realize the importance of budgeting and making inquiries about credit cards, categorize past expenses, and review ongoing costs as well as curtailing expenses so that debts can be repaid. Review recurrent patterns in certain areas of expenses (such as clothing). Do you find that money keeps flowing towards clothing? Ask yourself if clothing that you’ve recently purchased was needed. If you look back at how much is being spent on clothing, what might you discover? Do you have a clothes-buying habit or a shopping addiction? We might be buying a little here and there, but tracking reveals the actual cost. For many people, shopping is about buying acceptance rather than purchasing clothing. It also becomes a way to forget rejection. For example, if they’re not invited to an event, or feel shunned in some way, they find relief from shopping.

Prayer

If you’re experiencing problems with any of these areas, pray about it. Set limits by agreeing to buy no clothing for a length of time and ask for accountability. If you need help to get under the surface but don’t know where to start, book a coaching call with me here. Tracking expenses reveals areas that are out of balance and reveals an inner deficiency more than the expense.

If you’re struggling financially or having difficulty reaching financial goals you’ve set, I appeal to you to sit down and consider tracking. It takes some time and commitment, but you will find that doing this will be revealing and invaluable in your pursuit of biblical stewardship. Committing to track every dollar for a period of time and faithfully following through can be an educational, eye-opening experience.

Here are 3 questions for you to consider:

  • Have you tried tracking your expenses? What did you learn?
  • What are some frivolous items you tend to purchase regularly, forgetting the yearly effect on your finances?
  • How much recreation or pursuit of hobbies is acceptable before God?

“Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” (Proverbs 22:7)

**Erica weaves themes of transformative hope and grace-filled leadership into everything she shares on her blog. She’s an author, a speaker, and a life coach, who offers honest encouragement and road-tested wisdom about topics ranging from leadership and lifestyle, to discovering your God-crafted identity, design, and purpose.

This post is sponsored by: https://hype.co/@ericakenechi

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