Christian Blog: Irrevocably Beloved

For Jesus And For The Culture. . .Being Black, Christian and a Millennial In America

Saving

Dear Reader, 

Today we are going to talk about saving. Eh. I know. I even hate uttering the word. It’s especially hard to save for a rainy day when it always seems like it’s raining or when your life seems to just move from one crisis to another. Alas, saving is necessary and it’s a biblical principle. Even in the first days of God making his presence known to the Israelites, we learned about saving because he had them save mana because it wouldn’t drop on Sabbath. Exodus 16:23–24.

One of the easiest ways to start putting money together for savings is to spend less. Maybe there’s something in the budget that can be cut for now. For me, I cut out certain streaming devices and cable because I don’t really have a ton of spare time to spend watching tv so it only makes sense for me to have one or two streaming services for that rare Saturday night when I want to binge. I also really wanted to do those monthly delivery food service things but I couldn’t justify 400 a month as a single lady on food when I have a full pantry!

Another way to save money is to go outside less. If anything, the global pandemic taught me that if I stay inside I somehow stick to my budget and spend less money. For some reason, my people pleasing antenna is so heightened I just get in the mode where I want to look like everyone around me and wear what they wear, eat what they eat and drive what they drive. The problem with keeping up with the Joneses is that some of the Joneses only appear rich, when in fact, they are broke. If I center myself around activities that uplift me and please God, I can probably spend less money. If God puts me in places where I rub shoulders with rich people, I know that I am not them, I may not have the same handbag but I’m at this table because I have something to offer. 

Full disclosure, I am notorious for saving money and then having to use the savings like three months after accumulating it but nevertheless I persist in saving. Here are the methods I’ve tried and you can too: 

  1. Automatic withdrawal of a set amount from checking to savings biweekly
  2. Naming the savings account- For example: moving expenses savings; health emergency savings
  3. Buying a Keurig. I used to work at Starbucks and other coffee shops so I am obsessed with coffee; I like trying different kinds and flavors. Keurig gives me the same opportunity to try different brands and flavors, the same convenience of instant gratification, without the dent in my wallet. 
  4. Wait a day or a week. When I find something I am just burning to buy, I wait to buy it. It turns out that the burning desire to purchase that item may just be pressure from targeted marketing and a few days later I realize I don’t really want it anyway. 

How to Save Intentionally: No Spending Days

Dear Reader,

Don’t you just love the shot of dopamine that you get when you click buy on an online website? Doesn’t your heart just sing when you walk away from the store with a bag? Then scheduled no spending days are for you. 

A spending day is any day where you spend more money than you intended. It can be caused by anything from a spontaneous shopping spree to buying lunch when you already had dinner plans. Unfortunately, these days can quickly add up and wreck your budget. If you’re looking for a way to save intentionally, then consider trying out no spending days. A no-spending day is exactly what it sounds like: a day where you don’t spend any money. This can be a great way to get your finances in check and start saving for the future!

Choose a day or two each month to abstain from spending money

You might be surprised at how easy it is to live without spending money for a day, and you’ll probably find that you don’t miss it as much as you thought you would! Just make sure to plan ahead so that you have everything you need for the day. It can be really eye-opening to see how much money we spend without even realizing it, and this exercise can help us to be more mindful about our spending in general. Plus, it’s a great way to save some money! So why not give it a try?

Plan ahead by creating a list of things you can do instead of spending money

There are plenty of things you can do on a no-spending day, and many of them are probably free! Here are just a few ideas:

• Read a book or watch a movie

• Go for a walk or explore your city

• Have a picnic in the park

• Cook dinner at home

• Play games with friends or family

• Work on a hobby

• Clean your house or apartment

• Organize your closet

• Learn something new (take an online class, read about a subject you’re interested in, etc.)

Get creative with free activities in your area

There are plenty of free activities to do in your area if you get creative. For example, many parks offer free events and programs throughout the year. You can also find free concerts and performances at local libraries or community centers. If you enjoy being active, take advantage of free group fitness classes or hiking trails. And if you have kids, there are often free or affordable activities offered at schools and daycares. With a little research and effort, you can find plenty of ways to have fun without spending a lot of money.

Make sure to have enough food and essentials on hand so you don’t have to go out and spend money unnecessarily

You should also take some time to plan your meals for the week so you know exactly what you need to buy and don’t end up wasting food. Meal planning can help you save a lot of money in the long run! Cooking at home more often is a great way to save money. Eating out can be expensive, so cooking at home can help you stick to your budget. Be careful. You can also get carried away with spending when cooking at home. Got an elaborate meal planned?- Make sure it’s in your budget. 

Stay disciplined and resist the temptation to spend money unnecessarily.

It can be difficult to stick to a budget, but it’s important to remember that every dollar counts. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track:

  • Make a list of your regular expenses and track where you’re spending the most money. This will help you identify areas where you can cut back.
  • Set aside money each month for savings and emergency expenses. This will help you avoid dipping into your savings when unexpected costs come up.
  • Try to stick to cash instead of using credit cards. This can help you stay within your budget and avoid accumulating debt.
  • Avoid impulse purchases by waiting a day or two before making a decision. This will give you time to think about whether you really need the item.
  • Talk to a financial advisor if you’re having trouble sticking to your budget. They can help you develop a plan that works for your unique circumstances.

Celebrate your success at the end of the day or week!

You did it! You completed your goals for the day or week, and now it’s time to celebrate your success. Whether you treat yourself to a new book, go out for dinner with friends, or just take some time for yourself, make sure you enjoy the fruits of your hard work. This is an important part of keeping yourself motivated because it shows that your efforts are paying off.

Credit Cards: Necessary Evil or Financial Lifesaver?

Dear Reader, 

There is a lot of debate about whether credit cards are necessary or evil. I personally didn’t even attempt to get a credit card until my thirties! My mother told me that credit cards were from the devil and I believed her and that was that. Now, I have come to believe that they are necessary, but with the caveat of being very very careful. Credit cards can provide emergency funds, help you finance big purchases, and protect you from fraud. Not to mention that using them responsibly is also a great way to build credit.

Some people argue that credit cards are unnecessary because you can function without them. My debit card is good enough. Yes, that is true. However, a debit card does not build credit and the days of paying cash for everything (without your credit being run) are over. I believe that having at least one credit card in your wallet is a good idea. In the event of an emergency, it is always good to have access to funds. Additionally, if you want to automate bill payments, you never run the risk of overdraft. 

Of course, none of this matters if you do not use your credit card responsibly. Just like with anything else in life, moderation is key. You should only charge what you can afford to pay off and make sure to pay your bill every month. If you do this, using a credit card can be a great way to build your credit.

What are credit cards and how do they work?

Credit cards are a type of loan that allows you to borrow money up to a certain limit in order to purchase items or withdraw cash. You will need to repay the amount you have borrowed plus any interest and fees that may have accrued. The credit limit is determined by the card issuer, based on your credit history and income.

How can credit cards help me?

There are several ways that credit cards can be helpful:

  • Emergency funds: Credit cards can provide you with emergency funds in case of unexpected expenses, such as a car repair or medical bill. BUT REMEMBER TO PAY IT BACK, PROMPTLY. 
  • Finance big purchases: If you need to finance a large purchase, such as a new appliance or piece of furniture, a credit card can be a good option. You can often get a 0% APR promotional period, which means you won’t accrue any interest on the purchase if you pay it off within the specified time frame. REMEMBER, PAY IT BACK. It’s not free money. 
  • Protection from fraud:  Much like a debit card, when you use a credit card, you are protected from fraud.  If your card is lost or stolen, you can report it to the issuer and they will cancel the card and issue you a new one. You will not be responsible for any unauthorized charges that are made to your account.

How can I use credit cards responsibly?

There are a few things you can do to make sure you are using your credit cards responsibly:

  • Pay your bill in full and on time every month: This will help you avoid interest and late fees, and will also help you improve your credit score.
  • Keep your balances low: It’s a good idea to keep your balances well below your credit limit. This shows lenders that you are a responsible borrower and helps you avoid paying high-interest rates.
  • Use automatic payments: Setting up automatic payments can help you make sure your bill is paid on time every month.
  • Monitor your statements: Keep an eye on your account balance and transactions so you can spot any fraudulent activity quickly.

Credit cards can be a helpful tool if used responsibly. They can provide emergency funds, help finance big purchases, and protect you from fraud. Just be sure to pay your bill in full and on time every month, keep your balances low, and monitor your statements closely. Doing so will help you avoid paying interest and fees, and will also help you build good credit.

Per Paycheck Budgeting: The Pros and Cons

Per Paycheck Budgeting: The Pros and Cons

Dear Reader:

Per paycheck, budgeting is a financial strategy that has been gaining in popularity in recent years. The basic premise is simple: break your monthly budget into smaller, more manageable chunks,— aka two weeks, if you are paid biweekly. This way, you never have to worry about “overspending”, since your spending is spread out over the entire year. This means you might have to change the date that some bills automatically come out if it’s better for it to come out later rather than sooner. You just focus on the two weeks and being within budget for those two weeks That sounds like a great idea, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. There are pros and cons to per paycheck budgeting, and it’s important to understand them all before deciding if this type of budgeting is right for you.

The Pros of budgeting each paycheck

Budgeting each paycheck can help you to save money and live comfortably. When you figure out how much money you need to live comfortably, you can stick to that amount and not overspend. Automating your finances can help you to stay on track with your budget and avoid temptation. Tracking your spending can also help you to see where you can cut back. And lastly, don’t forget to treat yourself occasionally!

The Cons of budgeting each paycheck

First, It can be hard to stick to a budget when you only have so much money to work with each month. You may not have enough money left over at the end of the month to cover your expenses. It’s easy to get discouraged and give up on budgeting altogether.

And side hustles, extra gigs, and other tasks  can make you think you have more money than you do because they weren’t accounted for in the paycheck budget. 

Third, You may feel like you’re not able to enjoy life because you’re always watching what you spend. It can be hard to save money when you’re living paycheck-to-paycheck. You may feel like you’re not in control of your finances if you’re following a budget.

Budgeting each paycheck can be a difficult and frustrating process. But it doesn’t have to be! There are ways to make budgeting work for you. You just have to find the right method that works best for your unique financial situation.

How to budget your paycheck if you’re not sure where to start

If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to budgeting your paycheck, here are a few tips:

  • Figure out your regular expenses. This includes things like rent, utilities, food, transportation, and entertainment.
  • Create a budget that fits your income. Make sure to account for both your fixed and variable expenses.
  • Stick to your budget by making small changes over time. Try not to make any drastic changes all at once.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments along the way! Budgeting can be difficult, so give yourself a pat on the back when you stick to your plan.
  • Revisit and adjust your budget as needed. Life is always changing, so don’t be afraid to change your budget as well.

The bottom line is this: there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to budgeting your paycheck. It all depends on your unique financial situation and what works best for you. Budgeting your paycheck doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By taking it one step at a time, you can create a budget that works for you. And don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way!

Tips for sticking to your budget once you’ve created it

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and create a budget, congratulations! You’re on your way to getting your finances in order. But once you’ve made your budget, it can be tough to stick to it. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Create a list of expenses: This will help you track where your money is going and see which areas you may need to cut back on.
  • Stick to your budget by making small changes in your lifestyle: If you’re used to going out for coffee every day, try making coffee at home instead.
  • Find creative ways to make extra money on the side: If you have some free time, there are many ways to make extra money through freelancing, tutoring, or simply by taking on a part-time job.
  • Invest money wisely and save for the future: Investing your money can help you reach your financial goals quicker. And saving for the future is always a smart idea.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it: If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your finances, don’t hesitate to seek out professional help. A financial advisor can offer valuable insights and guidance.

Creating a budget is a great first step in getting your finances in order. And with these tips, you can be sure to stick to your budget and reach your financial goals.

Cash Envelope System

The Cash Envelope System: An Opinionated Look at an Old School Money Management Method

Dear Reader, 

The cash envelope system is an old-school money management method that has been making a comeback in recent years. This system involves using envelopes to track spending, and many people find it to be a more effective way to stay on the budget than using a traditional budgeting method. However, I am not personally a fan of this system- here’s why…

One of the main reasons I don’t like the cash envelope system is that it can be very difficult to stick to. Once you’ve withdrawn your budgeted amount for the month, it can be tempting to dip into other envelopes- or even worse, to take out more cash from the ATM. This can quickly lead to overspending and getting off track with your budget. Plus what’s with the cash and the envelopes? It’s 2022!

What is the cash envelope system and how does it work?

The cash envelope system is a budgeting method where you divide your money into different categories, or “envelopes,” and only spend the cash you have allocated for each category. This system can help you stay on track with your spending and avoid overspending.

To use the cash envelope system, first, decide what categories you will need to budget for. Common categories include food, gas, entertainment, and savings. Once you have decided on your categories, determine how much money you can afford to allocate to each one. Then withdraw that amount of cash from your bank account and put it into separate envelopes labeled with each category.

Whenever you need to make a purchase in one of the categories, use the cash from that envelope. Once the cash is gone, you cannot spend any more in that category until you replenish the envelope. This system can help you stay mindful of your spending and stick to your budget.

What are some of the advantages of using the cash envelope system?

One advantage of using the cash envelope system is that it can help you become more aware of your spending patterns. When you have to physically hand over cash for a purchase, it can be easier to see how much money you are really spending in each category. Additionally, this system can help prevent you from overspending in one area by limiting the amount of cash you have available for that category.

Another advantage of using the cash envelope system is that it can help you stick to your budget. If you have a set amount of cash for each category, you are less likely to overspend or make impulse purchases. This system can also help you save money by forcing you to be more mindful of your spending.

What are some of the disadvantages of using the cash envelope system?

Some people may find that the cash envelope system is too restrictive, as it can limit how much money you can spend in a day. Others may find it difficult to keep track of their spending when using cash, as opposed to using a debit or credit card. Finally, if you lose your cash, you may be out of luck! Overall, the cash envelope system may not be right for everyone. However, if you are looking for a way to stick to a budget and better manage your finances, it may be worth giving it a try.

Alternatives to the cash envelope system that might work better for you

There are a few alternatives to the cash envelope system that might work better for you, depending on your circumstances. One is the “Pay Yourself First” method, where you automatically transfer a fixed amount of money into savings each pay period, before paying any other bills. This ensures that you’re always putting some money away for yourself, even if it’s just a small amount. Then you just follow your budget- My fave is the per-paycheck biweekly budget. 

Another thing to remember is the ” Debt Snowball” method, where you focus on paying off your smallest debts first. Once that debt is paid off, you move on to the next one and so on. This can help to motivate you by seeing progress being made quickly, and can also save you money in interest payments over time.

Whatever method you choose, make sure it’s one that you’re comfortable with and that you can stick to. Otherwise, it won’t do you any good! You’ll just be a grumpy goose.