I went to bed late last night, and stayed up even later thinking about money.
I’d just finished listening to a couple of podcast episodes (my dear friends at 2Dollarsand25CentChange! I’m catching up lol 😅😂), and there were several mentions about wealth – the obsession our society has with it, and what it looks like and means to the black community.
Listening to those episodes is probably what got my mind thinking about what my financial plan would be for 2020 – how I would save up for certain things, how much I could put to the side when each paycheck hit my account so I wouldn’t touch it, etc.
I hadn’t planned on it, but I sat up and started typing in my notes app on my phone my goals for this month’s income, and although a part of me felt a little stressed, another part of me was at peace.
Because here’s the thing…I haven’t been the best with money before. No, I haven’t declared bankruptcy or anything like that, but my spending habits haven’t been the greatest. I got better once I started paying for my own bills, but I’d spend a little here, a little there, thinking it wasn’t much when in reality, it was adding UP. And that’s when I started making small changes that positively affected my funds.
I don’t write all this to give myself a pat on the back because I still have a lot of work to do. But I write this to encourage anyone who’s begun 2020 already feeling financially defeated. Maybe you hoped things would turn around due to a job or another opportunity, but it fell through. Maybe you ended up having to spend all that money you saved up for months on an emergency situation instead of what you’d planned.
I’m here to say, that it’s not too late to start somewhere or to start over. A dollar saved every day will amount to more at the end of the month. If you start now, who knows where you’ll be in the next few months, or at the end of the year!
That sounds great but…
So, here’s where you tell me, “Yeah, Mishy, that sounds great and easy and nice, but I’ve got x, y, and z going on, and it’s hindering me from really gaining a grip on my finances.” I’m no financial adviser, but there are plenty of them out there! Try talking to a professional about your situation, and what you’d like to see change, and I’m sure they can come up with some budget that could help you get started.
Or, you could even go the easy route: get on that phone you’re probably reading this blog post on, and do the research (this tip is inspired by an episode of the 2Dollarsand25CentChange podcast!) I can’t tell you how many savings/budget plans I’ve found…on Pinterest ALONE! And that’s just one one app! So who knows what you’ll find searching all of the Internet!
Giving: My Personal Testimony
Now, this is to my Christian brothers and sisters…you probably already know what I’m going to say.
But giving to the church seriously changed my finances, and my view of tithing as a whole.
Trust me when I say, I was skeptical like many still are, and I don’t blame them. People ask questions about where the money goes, or what it’s really funding. Some people have actually been swindled out of their money, and are presently distrusting of the church system when it comes to finances. And I’m not here to bash how anyone feels, or what anyone has experienced, but I am here to give my own testimony.
My dad is a pastor, and has been for some time (he still is). I can remember growing up, and him teaching me and my sister the importance of tithing what we’ve been given, or what we’ve earned. there was one summer we spent with him when he challenged us to give ten percent of whatever we had or made all summer, even if it didn’t seem like a lot, and to watch how God moved.
You probably know where I’m going with this: by the end of the summer, my sister and I were blessed with an envelope of money before we left to go back to college, an amount that, to us back then, was more than enough to cover some expenses we’d have while attending school.
And even now as I continue to give as an act of worship to the church I attend, God has opened up an opportunity for me to get more money. Last year, I asked God for Him to provide financially, and instead of just giving me the money from a stranger, or a raise at my job, I was given the chance to play guitar for an evening Sunday service, and I’d get paid a certain sum every Sunday that I played. So, it’s not only a financial opportunity, but another opportunity to worship Him. And, of course, I give from the money I get from this opportunity as well.
I won’t lie to you: it’s hard sometimes on a Sunday afternoon to get motivated to go to that service and play, mostly because a part of me doesn’t want to have to interrupt whatever I’m doing to go and be somewhere else an do something else. But in perspective, I’m spending about an hour and a half at this church, not doing just anything, but worshipping with other believers. And that is something that is truly priceless, especially since there are Christians in other countries who can’t do that freely.
God is gracious because even in my grumbling sometimes of having to take the time to play guitar every Sunday, He still blesses me…not only with the guaranteed money I’ve been told I’d be paid every week, but also with someone who has a giving heart giving me an extra little bit of cash almost every week when I play. That’s something they don’t have to do, but because they felt the move of the Spirit to do it, they did. And they do it again and again. And although I don’t know who they are, I truly am thankful for them, and blessed by them.
In turn, I’m told every week how I bless the people at that church for providing worship music for them. It’s a whole giving cycle, even though not all of it is money. It’s the giving of time and talent as well.
All these thoughts swirled around in my head last night, and I wrote this post to say several things…
It’s not too late.
And it’s never too late. You can start write now by looking up different budget plans. You know when your next check is coming in, and you might just know who much it will be. Start divvying up how much will go where this month, and stick to the limits you’ve made. You are capable of changing things around! Start believing that!
If you’re currently trying to figure out your finances, take a deep breath, and do your best not to worry. It’s hard if there are major factors at stake – food to provide, people to take care of, etc. But remember that if you’ve been provided for before, God will provide for you again!
Now, sitting back and waiting on God doesn’t mean you don’t try to figure some things out on your own. Meaning, you have the capability to stop spending money on things you don’t need, and to save when you can. Leave what you have no control over up to God.
Pray about Giving to Your Church
If you are a Christian, you’ve been hit with the tithing sermon before, and maybe you felt more guilty than convicted to take action. I advise you to pray first before you make the decision to give; ask the Lord to reveal your motives, and to not only gain blessings if you do decide to give, but to be a blessing to others through whatever you give, and with what He decides to give to you.
It’s not everything.
At the end of the day, money isn’t everything. It’s one aspect of this multi-faceted, complex world we live in, and even though our culture and society emphasizes its importance ALL THE TIME, we know deep down that money will never be able to fill us up. I’m not saying don’t pay your rent, but don’t make such a big deal about not having bricks of cash at your fingertips like they do in the music videos because at the end of our lives, we can’t take it with us. Put effort into your finances, but focus more on what’s truly important.
I feel like those were random, all over the place thoughts, but I hadn’t blogged in a while, and felt like I should let all that out.
No, I’m not going to say “Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.” BUT, thanks for reading this post, if you read this far!
Please feel free to comment how you feel about finances: maybe share your personal testimony, whether it be about tithing or coming up with a financial plan, etc. Would love to hear from y’all!