Money Management for the Christian Family

Written by Walter Moodie

In his day, John D. Rockefeller was one of the richest men in the world. For all practical purposes, his money was virtually limitless. Once, an interviewer asked him, “How much money is enough?”

Rockefeller replied, “Just a little bit more!”

As outrageous as it sounds, haven’t we all been there? Whatever our income level, we think to ourselves, If only I had just a little bit more… Then, at last, our budget would have some breathing room and we will be satisfied with our finances.

But Rockefeller’s response pokes a hole in that theory. The truth is, control over money has less to do with how much we make, and a lot more to do with how we manage what we have. Financial health is important not only to our bank balance but to the atmosphere in our home. More marriages have blown apart over financial issues than almost any other factor.

We need to recognize that managing money is a spiritual issue. Did you know that Jesus spoke more about money than He did about any other topic? In fact, 15% of all the recorded words of Jesus are on the subject of money—more than His teachings on heaven and hell combined. Why did money matter so much to Jesus?

To Jesus, our attitude towards money is of utmost importance, because it is a reflection of our attitude towards God. As Larry Burkett said, “You can tell more about the spiritual lives of a couple by looking at their chequebook than by anything else.”

Everything we have comes from God. He owns it, and He entrusts it to us to use for His purposes. True financial success comes not from accumulating a large surplus in our bank account, but from following God’s plan for our finances. As we do this, He will provide for all of our needs.

Are money problems rearing their ugly head and causing tension in your family? Has it been difficult for you to manage your finances and to know where you really stand? If so, consider this simple three-step plan to successful money management.

1. Give to God first

As Christians, our first financial priority, just as in every other area of life, should be God and His work. The issue of managing all of our gifts including our finances is of great importance to God. Figuring out how much to give as a minimum is fairly easy, as the Bible instructs us to give a tithe, or one tenth or our income back to God. This is a great starting point for Christian giving and should be calculated on the gross salary (or on net income before taxes for those in businesses for themselves).

Now, you may be thinking: How can we possibly do that when we are already struggling to make ends meet? I thought you were going to tell us how to get out of financial trouble, not make it worse!

The truth is there will never be “enough” to give. If we wait until all of our needs and desires are met before we start to give, it will never happen. In fact, statistics show that in Canada, the more a person makes, the less they are likely to give, percentage-wise. The more we have, the more we think we need.

It is interesting, but people today talk very little about their actual salary or how much they are worth. Like all secrets, this gives far more power to money than it actually deserves. Similarly, and more properly, people who tithe do not go around boasting about it. But I would like to challenge you to ask people you trust whether or not they tithe. If they do tithe, ask them about their experience. In all my discussions with people about money I have never heard anyone say that their financial problems started or got worse once they started to tithe. On the contrary, people who tithe seem to be better off than those who don’t. It is one of the many mysteries of how God works.

2. Set aside funds for regular savings

An important second step is to establish the discipline of setting aside money for inevitable expenses and large purchases, such as the down payment for a home, college education, vacations and retirement. This will allow you to spend from cash resources and eliminate the need to borrow when that is not wise. You will be surprised by how much can be accumulated by a simple but disciplined savings program.

Do not plan your savings after you plan your spending, because experience shows that those who try this rarely succeed. You may decide to make this a percentage of your income, and this will probably change as you go through the various stages of life. All financial planners will tell you that the sooner you start saving the more you will be able to save, so plan to start right now.

The issue of savings is one that requires a balanced perspective. The Bible makes it clear that we are supposed to save, but it never tells us how much is too much or too little. The purpose of saving is to provide for legitimate future needs, and for some it will allow you to become one of those special people who can fund important needs of others.

3. Spend the rest on what you need

The key to good money management is expense management. We need to learn to live below our means and be content with what God has given us. This is hard for all of us, but it is an important life lesson. The key is to develop a good budget, which is basically a spending plan. Invest the time in learning to use helpful tools, such as a computer spreadsheet or a financial program. If you have never had a budget, spend two or three months tracking your spending. Try keeping a log every time you spend money so that you can improve your budget understanding. Then examine your habits and determine how you would like to proceed and where you need to cut back.

Be committed to this plan and do not be discouraged if you do not see results for the first two or three months. It takes time to break old habits, and if you have gotten yourself into a financial hole it will take time to dig back out. Be patient and stick to your budget spending, because it really does work.

Finally, two more important points to consider:

  1. Always discuss finances as a couple. One spouse likely has more financial skills than the other and will naturally take the lead, but this is no excuse for the other spouse not to be involved in the family financial situation. You both need to understand the issues that you are facing, and make decisions as a team. Financial problems are listed as a major cause of strife in the marriage relationship, and it often starts when one partner is being kept in the dark.
  2. If you have financial problems, seek help before it is too late. Financial problems can be solved but it often means changes, some of which may not be that easy. A qualified financial planner can help you identify the problem areas and think through solutions that will work for your family.

Above all, listen to what God may be saying to you through your financial circumstances. Finances can be a dividing factor in marriage, but they can also bring you together in a new and deeper way, as you trust God together and follow His plan.

If you are willing follow this simple plan and begin to intelligently and prayerfully give away 10% of your income, I believe your financial situation will improve. More importantly, you will be storing up treasures in heaven, which is what really counts. After a few months, please write us and let us know what is happening to your financial position. I have never met an ex-tither and I would love to hear your story as you seek to control your finances and serve God in this way.

Related reading: From Success to Significance – The story of how one man’s obsession with money led him to question everything and led him to God.

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48 Responses to “Money Management for the Christian Family”

  • Alpesh John Macwan says:

    Hello Regards and best wishes from Alpesh. I am sending this mail to you to get money help from you. I am christian and i need money help from you due to my epilepcy problem. I am not in good condition to run my family. Please reply back to me and come forward to help. Please reply back to me.

  • Aldo Aldo says:

    Also, Puneet, try placing your request on Facebook. You may get some response from that website.

    Lord, I agree with Jamie’s prayer for Puneet and his colleagues, in Jesus Name, amen.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Another organization that may be able to help is Voice of the Martyrs https://www.persecution.net/

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Puneet, I am sorry to hear about the attack that you and your friends are under. Let me pray for you:

    Lord Jesus I pray Your protection on Puneet and his colleagues. I ask that You would allow their testimony of the life changing power of Your salvation would ring loud and clear in their community. I pray that their testimony would awaken the people there and many would receive the free gift of grace that is offered to all humanity. I pray that the enemies of this message would be powerless to oppose this mission and that those who are the strongest opposition would themselves see Jesus and receive You as their Saviour. Provide for their needs Lord. Amen.

    Puneet, see if you can connect with the part of our organization that bring humanitarian aid to people in need. Go to their website http://globalaid.net/ They may have a way of helping you.

  • Puneet says:

    Hi every im from india and some of my friends and me we are doing a cristian mission. We want to make all pasters and churches in a group al over india b couse now all politition parties are anemy of our comunity and they have decided to open fight with us and we cant fight weapons but we can show them gathering of us and can talk to our pm . But here we have need of money for this so u r requested to help us finencial and spritualy with your prayers my contact no is [it is our policy not to publish personal contact information] pls call me its an emergency

  • Barbara Alpert Barbara Alpert says:

    Hi md shahzad, It is good to hear that you are a believer in the Lord. May you learn to trust in God for all your needs. As you are faithful with what God has already blessed you with He will bless you more and more.

  • md shahzad says:

    I am muslim convert to Christ finincial problems

  • Kennedy Kennedy says:

    Money is one of the resources the Lord provides, but it is likely that He provides something even more important assurance. In our communities of believers and nonbelievers we do have a responsibility to care for each other. If we have needs, we should begin with the community closest to us, those who know our needs the best. Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine…

  • bishop udo says:

    thanks

  • RS SISODIA says:

    I have a mentally challenged child and financially very weak,i have no own house,my family conditions are not so good,so that kindly please help me for financial support i have been sent a message yesterday also but didn’t received any reply,so plz look my crisis. Thanks

  • sisodia says:

    Please subscribed with yours

  • sisodia says:

    Thanks please help you me some possible financial support.

  • sisodia says:

    I sm financial crisis please help me i have sent a message before
    Thanks

  • Trish Hicks Trish Hicks says:

    I can basically sum money manegement in a Christian household in one word, and that is titheing. I have found that God is faithful when one tithes. It hurts me to see so many people suffering cause they don’t want to tithe thinking it is of the old law.When it applies today just as much as it did back then. In fact they even tithed before the law. When Abraham gave a tenth of his spoils to melchezidech. And the situation with cain and Able that was the first example of it and it was to be carried on forever more i believe.
    Although I didn’t grow up in a born again household,I was brought up catholic.But i have been shown by many pastors since i have become born again,how when one gets paid the first tenth goes to God that is a given, but then some needs to be put back for saving if its a teen I suppose, but then when you have bills the bills must be paid,but that some should be put back,and whats left you can spend on what u want. Unfortunately I can’t say at first hand how this works out. Because from the start of very young, bless my parents heart they did the best they knew how to bring me up.But I was spoiled.I was not a healthy child always, I mean it wasn’t anything fatal praise God but I always had a lot of problems with my stomach. So my mom and dad did cater to me.All my life I might add and even when it came to money.So there fore I have never been very good with money.My current husband also isn’t too good with it,but tends to be a tad better than me when it comes to saving.
    But all in all I say The Christian way of handling finances can be summed up in the one word of Tithe and everything else will fall into place.It is one of the promises of God.
    I hope this little tid bit might help in some aspect perhaps. May y’all have a wonderful peaceful day or night whichever the case me be for you.
    may God bless
    Trish

  • Anil gajula says:

    Please help me I am in great economical problem and I will return yor money contact[it is our policy not to publish personal contact information]

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Fasi, it is great that you want to become a Christian. What is your language? I will see if I can find a mentor who speaks your language who can help explain how to receive Jesus as your Lord and Saviour.

  • fasi says:

    i am musilm i want to became christi.if i get money i promis. iwill became christi.

  • Kate Kate says:

    Thank you for the encouragement!

  • Rigo says:

    Malachi 3:8-12. This bible verse says it all to me. Maybe it will stop the doubt in you. HE asks you to try HIM and then promises to pour HIS blessings upon you until you have had enough. All I need is his WORD and HE clearly states it in this short verse. Meditate on it for awhile. GOD bless!!

  • Rev. Joseph Otieno Aloo says:

    Praise the Lord Servant of God. After reading your teachings on Money Management, I would wish to kindly request you to visit us in Mombasa Kenya and teach us more on money management.
    We could arrange on how to do it.
    Regards,
    Rev. Joseph Otieno Aloo

  • Kujtim says:

    Thanks for the practical insights on how to carefully manage money. I can’t help but note the emphasis you place on giving a tithe or 10 percent to God. I have yet to find a reference in Scripture where Christians under the new covenant are obliged to tithe. Furthermore, I get the sense that tithing is an obligation, based on the way you present it in your article. Maybe what you are saying sounds like this, “As long as you fulfill this obligation, you will be on the right path to prosperity” but if you only give out of obligation then you haven’t given at all, because God is not concerned with you fulfilling a requirement which again the Scripture doesn’t even mandate for Christians, instead God is concerned with the heart of the person giving. Jesus said, “It is better to give than receive. In the New Testament, all Paul does is encourage people to give, but he doesn’t ask them to give a tithe. Paul trusts that if you are a mature believer, and are being led by the Spirit of God which is active and living in us, then you will be guided to give appropriately as the need arises.

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hi Eric, I believe that how much money people make does not determine who is the head of the house. I would suggest that headship in God’s mind is actually this: The husband is called to be the chief servant in the family, the one who forgives first, sacrifices willingly and seeks to meet the needs of his family. It’s great if your wife makes a good salary. My wife does too. I would not want her to make less money just so I could feel more manly. With that said, sometimes one spouse will use their higher salary to try to have more control in the relationship and that would be the opposite of having a servant’s attitude.

  • Eric says:

    Do you believe the husband is the head of the house if he does not make more money on the job then his wife.

  • Sophie nkugwa says:

    When it comes to money matters LORD give a voice,i shall know no lack in Jesus name

  • Hazelle Schenk Hazelle Schenk says:

    Hi Wasim, thank you for writing to us! I’m really sorry to hear about your financial crisis. I’m sure that that is a difficult place to be in. Please rest assured that you are in my prayers. Wasim, I am so excited to hear about the spiritual journey that you are on. One of our mentors would love to connect with you. Please go to: http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/ God bless you!

  • wasim says:

    sir
    i want to convert to christian but i have financial crisis . plz contact me. i am from muslim family . can u contact me and help me to converting

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Paul, The wonderful part of money issues in a marriage is that it forces couples to talk. Loving communication is what relationships are all about so take full advantage of the opportunity afforded you by this question of joint accounts. Ask yourselves these questions, “What is the value of a joint account?” “How will a joint account best serve us in managing our funds and continuing to build our trust and love for each other?” “What are the dangers of having a joint account?” “How can we balance the value and the danger of a joint account in our relationship?”

    There is no right answer for every couple. Some couples function best with separate accounts because it helps them feel free to take risks in trust in other areas of their relationship. Other couples put all of their money in joint accounts as a statement of their unity and absolute trust in each other. Your relationship is unique and your solution to this will be equally unique. Enjoy the process that the two of you need to go through in order to discover your unique response to the question of joint accounts.

    Has this been a source of conflict between the two of you?

  • Paul says:

    What is the best practical approach in joint account savings? Can we just agree on a certain percentage of our salaries per month in the account or what can we do as a young or intending couple?
    Waiting for prompt response please.
    Regards Paul.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Paul, do you have any specific questions about joint accounts?

  • Paul says:

    Can you please throw more light on joint account issue in the family setup?
    Thanks
    Paul.

  • shelley anderson shelley anderson says:

    Thank you for this encouraging subject.

  • This article provides valuable insight into financial management as a family. A recent survey has revealed that money is the number 1 source of conflict for couples (followed by 2. – children and 3. – chores). If you want to be successful in managing your family finances, then you should be open to each other and always discuss with your partner about the financial matters that worry you. Never hide from your spouse how much money you really earn or spend – it will only result in more stress and conflict in your family.

  • Anil says:

    Thank you for great idea. I have started practicing it and I have taught to our church members also. Thanks a lot for great advice.

  • Andrew Andrew says:

    @Bruce I understand that your concern that your wife is doing something wrong and that you want to fix it. Even though you are married your wife is responsible for her actions and she may have very well had an accountant check her taxes. First it would be wise to see if what she is doing is legal and then pray that God will give you wisdom on how to most effectively deal with the situation. Try as you might you will never be the Holy Spirit and convict your wife the only option that is before you is to pray that the Holy Spirit will convict her if what she is doing wrong and be loving towards her even if this irritates you. God Bless

  • immanuel says:

    nb immanuel plzzzzzz help our family

  • bruce says:

    Greatings.

    I ve ready the article above and trust me its very helpful.The question I ve is about how money should be handled between two working spouses.I work and my wife does,but the problem I ve is that iam the only one who declares my pay in the home.is it right that a husdand should be the only one to declare his pay whilst the wife who works does not do as wise?

  • israel olusegun says:

    this is awesome!!!

  • Alfred Alfred says:

    Mary, you ask a very practical question which deserves a practical answer. As far as I can see there is no definite answer to this in the Bible, except that a couple need to be in agreement on their financial dealings and daily spending. I think all major decisions need to be made jointly. Whoever of you two is most inclined to manage your family finances needs to take the major responsibility. In our family it is my wife as she is more naturally gifted in that.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Mary, the Bible doesn’t specifically say that either husbands or wives should be the one to take care of the family finances but it certainly is clear about the husband being the one who is the head of the family. “For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.” (Ephesians 5:23-24) So if we follow the example of Christ and the church we can see that Christ calls us to be stewards of the resources that He has given us but we look for His direction for how to best use those resources. We see that in the description of a godly wife in Proverbs 31 where she is involved in some major financial transactions: “Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is worth more than precious rubies. Her husband can trust her, and she will greatly enrich his life…She considers a field and buys it.” (vs 10-11,16) So I think that it is right for the husband to delegate some responsibility for the family finances to his wife but he will still be responsible for communicating the values and priorities for the family so that she has clear guidelines for how the money is to be used.

    I think it is wise for a couple to look at their own personalities and giftings to determine who is best suited to care for the record keeping and management of finances. Some husbands will be better suited to that role and in other cases the wife will be the better equipped person for that. But no matter who takes on that role of family accountant it is wise for both partners be involved in talking about the budget and planning out how the money will be used. That way everyone is on the same page and works together as a team to hold to those values and priorities.

  • Mary says:

    Im a new christian and I want to have Financial health for the family…this article is really helpful. Another question, is it written in the bible who will suppose to keep the money for the family…the wife or husband? Some men are not entrusting their income to their wives. What is the teaching regarding that?

  • Doris Beck Doris says:

    Tithing is really about giving God what is truly His anyway so you are doing great to be tithing faithfully Mac! Just because we tithe doesn’t mean we won’t have financial challenges. We still need to wise in how we use our money, not spend more than we have income to cover, and plan to save before we plan to spend. Check out Dave Ramsey for some great tips on how to make it happen.

  • MAC says:

    I have tithed from the time I gave my life to Jesus at the age of 14. I am now 42 years old. I have experienced so much blessing in my life, that I partly attribute to giving God first priority in my finances by tithing. Yet I must confess I have a challenge in saving money, and I do face financial challenges.In the middle of financial challenges, I grapple with whether my failure to save is indiscipline on my part, a concern that I may put my trust in the savings rather than God, or my lack of wisdom or prudent sewardship. What stood out for me was “Do not plan your savings after you plan your spending.”

  • cfast cfast says:

    AO, what a neat reminder of God’s faithfulness when we tithe. Thank you for sharing this, as it was an encouragement to me and I am sure to many others.

  • AO says:

    For a long time, I was a very committed tither. My relationship with the Lord grew, and we prospered financially in a way we never had before. But I began having some trouble, my faith began slipping and it followed that my tithing went with it. We began having very noticable money problems when I quit tithing, with my husband even losing his job. At the beginning of this year, I began tithing again, and I can see God beginning to bless our life again. We still struggle every single month, but I know God will be faithful as I continue to give in faith to Him.

  • marlo remo says:

    thanks a lot, this message will surely help me explain to my wife… That in managing our finances it’s not about earning more but wisely spending after saving some first.

  • we are Doing our Best Making sure that our Pastors have Good homes take care of Widows orphanes and we are looking forwoth to have many help in sight of water we need same body to come and TRILL Water.
    yours william

  • Tummie says:

    Thanks for this article, its very relevant. My salary just about pays my rent but I still remain a faithful tither and God has never let me down. I have never been stranded or desperate for money but always have what I need and more, it is indeed a mystery. I would rather go without supper and pay my tithe because it is God who sustains me, not my salary. It also teaches me to be financially responsible.

  • Zippy says:

    Thank you for the great advice. I am a testimony of how God works when you tithe. Tithing and obeying God’s directions in giving towards his works comes along with extra ordinary financial opportunities. I advice people to gives tithe and never to delay obeying God’s instructions even when they do not make financial sense.

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