In my previous post, we looked at the first five ways you can quickly improve your finances. Here are five more stewardship tips.
6. Make a Separate Checking Account for Entertainment
Many young adults find expenses from entertainment and eating out add up quickly. It’s a challenge because we all want to be with our friends when they go out and not everyone can bare the awkwardness of ordering just water. Entertainment can be a quick budget breaker. One way to keep control is to put a predetermined, budgeted amount in a separate checking account every month with its own debit card. Then only use that card for entertainment. When the money is gone, so is your fun … literally. Some have done the same type of thing with cash, but I hate carrying cash. Getting into this habit has saved me hundreds over the years.
7. Stop Misusing Credit
Credit card debt is epidemic today. Young adults, particularly, are using credit cards to get through school, racking up thousands of dollars of debt and struggling for years to pay them off after graduating. Don’t fall into this trap. How to avoid credit card debt should be one of college’s first lessons. Even after college, do whatever you can to avoid credit card debt throughout your life, and you will save tens of thousands in fees and interest. One of the reasons credit cards can offer such great benefits is because people misuse them and pay for those perks a dozen times over. Pay credit cards off every month, or skip them altogether.
8. Skip the Bank, Join a Credit Union
Credit unions almost always offer better rates than banks because banks must make money for their shareholders. Credit unions, on the other hand, are owned by their members and account holders. Credit unions don’t have shareholders and can put that extra money back into better products for their customers. I once refinanced an auto loan from a big bank to a credit union. My APR dropped from 5.21 percent to 2.49 percent, and I instantly saved over $1000. Mortgages, loans, saving accounts and investment accounts are often better at credit unions.
9. Be Content with What You Have
In addition to generosity, the Bible consistently commands God’s people be content with what they have. We should avoid a mentality where there is always one more thing we want or need. Instead, with gratitude, we should be content to steward all God has given us. We live in a world with lots of stuff. It’s not bad to have or use stuff, but it is bad to love our stuff and to always want more stuff. As Paul wrote to Timothy, “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). We must learn to steward our resources in a way that cultivates contentment.
10. Constantly Learn How To Steward Money Better
I believe financial stewardship has become a lost art. Many learn these lessons later in life when it is too late. Whatever you’d rate your own stewardship, keep learning and growing in this area. I read a book on financial wisdom almost every month. There are also helpful financial classes available in many places. Over time, I’ve learned a lot about stewarding money and have been able to improve my own finances. The more I learn, the more I see many young adults suffer financially because they never learned how to manage their money. Make growing in financial wisdom and stewardship one of your lifetime priorities. Lord willing, it will allow you to provide generously for your family and countless others.