Monday, December 7, 2009

Personal Finance


A sister of mine asked, "How do we handle our finance?" And I puzzled as I don't know where to begin to answer that question. I learned throughout the years from books, websites, others, and then figured out (sometimes through trial & error) what works or doesn't work for us. Her question brought me to write this posting (hopefully the first of series of posts on money management/ personal finance matter). As I told my sister, I'm not a financial expert so many others should have better answers. I'm just sharing our personal experience of what we've learned and work for us. Hopefully, it will be a help for some or at least help others to avoid the same mistake that we made.

1. Husband and wife need to communicate openly and be on the same page regarding financial matters.
Larry Burkett on his book: Money Matters wrote: "Most couples are opposites (they really do attract) and, as such, each brings a different set of wants and needs to the table. God is most blessed when, by working together, a husband and wife offset each other's extremes."

Before we even got married, I knew Chris and I have different view/ habit on how we spend our money. We agreed the other money issue: tithing, giving, and saving but I felt he sometimes spent money on things that I don't think necessary. The way we raise or our family background may have a lot to do with it. My dad had to give up school and start working when he was 15 years old to help feed & paid the education of his 7 siblings. Therefore, since I was little, he always taught me the important of living simply and giving to others in need. As for Chris, he is the first son after 3 daughters. Whatever he asked, he'll received. Please don't get me wrong, Chris is not a big spender. He is wise enough to buy only thing that he needs. The thing is what he thought he need is not equal to what I thought he need.

We talked with our pastor about this during our pre-wedding consultation and he suggested us to set a limit for example $20. Whenever we have to spend more than $20, we'll need to ask each other permission. But below that, we shouldn't be accountable to each other on how it is spent. It does helps but still I'm annoyed when for example, he buy a sunglasses. I don't understand why he need another sunglasses when he already has two. And he's annoyed why I'm making such a big deal over a $10 sunglasses.

I remember praying about this one night ... I was so tired for having to sweat over this little spending thing. So I prayed the: "God please change my husband." prayer. And God did answer my prayer - only not in the way I thought/ want. He used Matthew 6:24 to rebuke ME: " No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."

You see... I've been over thinking about this spending money thing. Sure... I might be right about being thrifty after all God told us to be a wise manager of things that He entrusted to us. However, my attitude showed that I love money over my husband & ultimately over God Himself. I have to let this go, otherwise, this little money spending thing will take over my mind and ruin my marriage. I've been set free since then. And the awesome thing is as I submit to God & my husband's leadership, God works on Chris too. Today, I can honestly say that Chris is even more cautious about spending money than me. We no longer question or ask each other's permission to buy stuff because we have developed trust & understanding of each other. In addition, we also adopt some guidelines in buying stuff, which has been a big help to us in making decisions whether or not we should buy something.

Some useful Questions to Asked Before Buying Anything
Do I need it?
Will it be a blessing for others?
How much will I use it?
How long will it last?
Can I do without it?
Could I borrow it from a friend or family member?
Am I able to clean or maintain it myself?
How much do I have to spend to maintain it?
Have I researched it to get the best quality for the best price?
How many do I already have?
Is there anything that I already own that I could substitute for it?
For stuff more than $50 or so, we usually wait to see if we really need it.

Waiting has saved us a lot of money. For instance, we have been blessed to never have to buy a laptop. Chris' precious company used to let him use the company's laptop. However, since he moved to another company, we're thinking to buy because the new company doesn't provide him with one. After some research, Chris has his mind set on a Mac and the price was right at the time but we decided to wait for 1 month to evaluate if we really need it. You know what happen in a month? Chris' coworker happened to have a company laptop that he doesn't use, so he kindly let Chris use it. What a timely blessing! It's a PC so it's wasn't exactly what we want but it's what we need.

2 comments:

  1. Ci Kiki, thank you for sharing. I smiled when I was reading your post. I feel so connected to Ko Chris and your story. It's almost similar to what Marcel and I are trying to deal with financially. :-) *huggzzzz hugzzzz*

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  2. i will try to ask that question to next time i'm buying stuff. thank you ci :) <3

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