I was offline for a few days while we moved. We recently bought a second house. Some family will be living in our original house, while we moved into this other house. My family will be covering mortgage/taxes and their basic utilities, and the house remains in my name and I get the equity. Once the mortgage is paid off, they’ll just give me a bit of money to help with my other house. It was quite a decision for us to decide whether this was a risk we were willing to take, and figuring out how it would affect our finances. In the end, we obviously decided that it was worth it. It may make things tight for a short time, but in the long run, it’s better for us (we’ll have equity in two houses) as well as family (they will have a cheap place to live in the long run).
Anyway, I tell you this because at the request of the stake presidency, our ward recently had a combined MP/RS lesson on family finances. It was based on the booklet “One For The Money“, which is based on a talk by Elder Marvin J. Ashton from 1975. We gave everyone a copy of that booklet, along with a copy of the short “All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances” booklet (both are available at no charge from the Distribution Centre). I led the discussion. We read each of the 12 suggestions (but didn’t read all of the information about each one) and tried to get a discussion going. Of course, the main thing that we wanted to get out of it was practical tips on how to manage our money. What has worked for other people? How do you setup your budget? How do you stay on budget? You get the idea…
I had the Relief Society President take a few notes, and the following week we had a small handout for everyone that consisted of the following notes:
Elder Marvin J. Ashton’s points:
- Pay an honest tithing
- Learn to manage money before it manages you
- Learn self-discipline and self-restraint in money matters
- Use a budget
- Teach family members early the importance of working and earning
- Teach children to make money decisions in keeping with their capacities to comprehend
- Teach each family member to contribute to the total family welfare
- Make education a continuing process
- Work toward home ownership
- Appropriately involve yourself in an insurance program
- Understand the influence of external forces on family finances and investments
- Appropriately involve yourself in a food storage and emergency preparedness program
- Financial peace of mind is not determined by how much we make, but is depended upon how much we spend – Elder Ashton
- Just because you make more, doesn’t mean you have to spend more. Try to save a little each time you get paid, so you can build up a reserve.
- It takes great faith to say “We can’t afford it” – Elder Hales
- It might be obvious that we don’t need or can’t afford the big things (TV’s, stereo equipment, new computers, etc), but there are often small things we don’t need (fast food, small toys, junk food, etc).
- Paying tithing really does open the windows of heaven.
- Both husband and wife should work together on the family finances. This doesn’t mean they both do the exact same thing, but they both know what is going on, and both have equal say in how the money is spent.
- Focus on needs and not wants.
- Use a budget, including allowing each spouse to have a designated amount for themselves.
- Participate in leisure activities (sports, movies, etc) within the bounds of your budget.
- Each family member should be contributing in some way.
- Make a plan to get out of debt and stick to the plan.
- Get an appropriate amount of insurance, but don’t duplicate it. Coverage from a job, with a mortgage, or other existing coverage may be enough.
- Accumulate food storage, grow a garden, be prepared
These few points and suggestions are not intended to be all-inclusive or exhaustive. Rather, it is hoped that a need has been brought to the surface for our serious consideration. We need to recognize and be aware of these basic guidelines for wise money management.
If you are interested, you can download the handout here.