Focus on Finances

Manage Your Family Finances

Wise money management is important for a thriving family.  Learn the principles of budgeting, ways to eliminate debt, and practical ideas to teach your children about money. Focus on the Family's preferred provider, Money4Life Center, offers and online envelope budgeting tool and personal debt counseling.

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  • Teaching Your Kids About Money: Things You Need To Know

    Five powerful cultural trends support the idea you are vital to your child's financial education:

    • Most kids are financially illiterate.
    • Advertisers and credit card companies are targeting children and teens.
    • Most parents believe-mistakenly- that someone is teaching their kids about money and finances.
    • Whether you like it or not, your kids look to you for financial guidance.
    • Financial support for churches and ministries is dropping as the younger generation loses touch with the importance of giving.

    Teach Kids Biblical Principles on Money

    1) God owns it all. "What do you have that you did not receive?" asks Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:7. Everything we have comes directly from the Lord. He is the Owner; we are only His stewards.

    2) We are in a growth process. Our time on earth is temporary and is to be used for our Lord. Money and material possessions are just one aspect of the bigger picture (Colossians 3:2).

    3) Faith requires action. Simply knowing that God owns it all is not enough. God's resources should be used with an eye to God's goals and objectives (Matthew 25:26-27).

    If your kids can grasp these fundamental concepts, they'll be well on their way to becoming effective managers of their money. It's all a matter of building on the right foundation.

    Teach Kids Practical Money Management Habits

    1) The importance of Tithing and Giving

    • You can teach the importance of giving by organizing a family mission project. This could mean delivering meals for a food ministry, volunteering to serve in a soup kitchen, or shopping to fill shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child.

    2) The Rewards of Work

    • Kids need to understand the fundamental connection between work and financial resources. A good way to drive this point home is to hire your kids to do extra chores around the house. Post a list of jobs on your refrigerator or family bulletin board.

    3) The Wisdom of Saving

    • Children should be trained to see the value and importance of delayed gratification. Ask thought-provoking questions. "Would you prefer 1) $50,000.00 a day for the next thirty-one days, or 2) a penny doubled every day for the next thirty-one years? Which do you think adds up to more?" (The answer is #2 -

    4) The Necessity of Budgeting

    • If kids are to succeed in this world, they're going to have to know how to work with limited resources. The Envelope System is one of the best tools around for teaching kids how to budget. Beginning about age eight, give each child a recipe file box containing five letter-sized envelopes with cash: a Tithe envelope, a Save envelope, a Spend envelope, a Gifts envelope, and a Clothes envelope. Let the kids have control of the use of these funds that you have budgeted for the current month. When they are old enough to use an online tool, try Mvelopes.

    Download the complete article here.

    Excerpted from Your Kids Can Master Their Money, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2006, Ron and Judy Blue, Jeremy White. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

  • Learn the Basics of Family Budgeting

    What does it mean to live on a budget?  In plain, common sense terms, it’s a matter of making sure that your income exceeds your outflow.  “Living within your means” – that’s budgeting in a nutshell, with one important addendum:  for a spending plan to be really successful, it has to include provisions for emergencies, and other unexpected expenses.


    Laying the Groundwork


    1)       At the base of the entire system are seven important biblical lifestyle principles.  These foundational attitudes have implications for your approach to handling money. 

    a)       Prayer.  The Christian life is based on prayer.  It’s about seeking God’s guidance and direction for every aspect of one’s existence in this world:  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding:  in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5, 6).

    b)      Contentment.  An ability to remain satisfied with one’s standard of living, whether high or low, is also foundational to a genuinely Christ-like lifestyle. (Philippians 4:11)

    c)      Freedom from greed.  This is a natural consequence of contentment.  Your life can’t be balanced if you’re constantly desiring something you don’t have – especially if that something already belongs to somebody else. (Exodus 20:17)

    d)      No comparison.  Greed and covetousness generally grow out of the impulse to “keep up with the Joneses” – in other words, the temptation to evaluate your lifestyle by comparing it with that of other people.  (1 John 2:15-17) 

    e)      Gratitude.  If you happen to have wealth or resources, there’s no reason to feel guilty about it.  Instead, give thanks. (1 Timothy 4:4).

    f)       Simplicity.  This is essentially the idea that “less is more.”  It’s a basic element of the character of a New Testament disciple.  (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12).

    g)      Non-conformity.  In the midst of a culture where personal worth is measured in terms of material wealth, it’s crucial for followers of Jesus to stand apart from the crowd. (Romans 12:2).

    2)  While pondering these basic biblical ideals, it’s important to gauge your personal values by asking yourself this fundamental question:  “How much is enough?”  This is just another way of saying that, when it comes to financial planning, attitude is key.


    Mapping Out Your Plan

    Once you understand these Bible-based perspectives and are clear on your motives or reasons for taking an intentional, proactive approach to family finances, you’re ready to begin.  Here are the steps you’ll need to follow from this point forward as you develop a workable budget plan.          

    1)       First, be sure that you apply the basics of financial planning.  Author and financial planning expert Ron Blue says that they’re “as easy as 4 – 5 – 6:” 

    a)      The four transcendent planning principles of financial success:

    • Spend less than you earn.
    • Avoid the use of debt.
    • Maintain liquidity (emergency savings).
    • Set long-term goals.


    b)       The five basic uses of money:

    • Giving.
    • Taxes.
    • Debt repayment.
    • Saving/Investing.
    • Lifestyle choices.

    c)       The six common long-term financial goals:


    • Financial independence.
    • Maximized giving.
    • Debt elimination.
    • Lifestyle choices.
    • Family needs.
    • Starting a business.

    2)      Keeping these guiding concepts in mind, set aside some time with your spouse to write out a number of specific financial goals or objectives for the coming year. 

    Read the whole budgeting article

    Excerpted from Complete Guide to Faith-Based Family Finances, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2008, Ron Blue with Jeremy L. White, CPA. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

    (Icon) Building a Secure Financial Future With Your Spouse{D8E2B94C-4168-4417-87A1-0F364DFF6A25} Husband-and-wife finance experts Scott and Bethany Palmer offer advice on how couples can achieve harmony in the area of money.

    (Icon) Build a Budget – get liberated (Ron Blue Video currently on the budget tab) 

  • How to Get Out of Debt: Principles for Debt Elimination

    If debt has become an issue for you, you should build some kind of repayment strategy into your regular monthly budget plan.  Let’s take a closer look at why this is so important and how it can be achieved. 

    1)      To begin with, because debt is such a huge problem for so many people in the western world, it’s crucial for Christians to know exactly what the Bible does and does not say about it.  The Bible does not say:   

    • That it’s a sin to borrow money.
    • That it’s wise to borrow money.
    • That God will bail you out of debt.
    • That debt is “an exercise in faith.”
    • That it’s a sin to loan money.

    2)       On the other hand, Scripture clearly tells us that

    • It’s wrong not to repay debts.  “The wicked borrows and does not pay back, but the righteous is gracious and gives” (Psalm 37:21).
    • It’s foolish to place yourself in a surety situation – in other words, to guarantee another person’s loan.
    • Debt may violate two biblical principles that are paramount in our relationship with the Lord:  first, it always presumes upon the future; and second, it may deny God an opportunity to provide for our needs. 

    3)       Exactly how can you manage debt efficiently and start moving in the direction of eliminating it altogether?  We recommend you implement the following five-step strategy:

    • Figure out where you are financially.  In other words, determine your total amount of debt, including your home mortgage and any car payments you’re making.
    • Stop going further into debt.  If necessary, perform a “plastectomy” (cut up your credit cards) in order to achieve this goal.
    • On the basis of your cash flow and living expenses, develop a repayment plan.  Decide how much money you can put towards debt repayment each month.  Work on eliminating smaller debts first.  
    •  Include this plan as part of your monthly budget.  
    • Establish some form of accountability.  Make regular reports of your progress to a trusted friend or financial advisor.

    Reward yourself when you achieve your goals (but don’t incur further debt in the process!).

    Excerpted from Complete Guide to Faith-Based Family Finances, published by Tyndale House Publishers. Copyright © 2008, Ron Blue with Jeremy L. White, CPA. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission.

    (icon) Avoiding Common Financial Mistakes - Financial expert Mary Hunt discusses the popular ways people commit "financial suicide" by: living on credit, living an overstated life, stripping their home of equity, raiding their retirement accounts early, taking out college loans and procrastination.{9F61462E-3D95-4D04-9F50-EEB9F823A184}

    (icon) Breaking free from bad money habits – (Amy Streater video on the debt tab currently)


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    Need help with financial issues?

    Money problems in marriage can lead to conflict and discouragement. If you need help overcoming difficult financial issues in your marriage, Focus on the Family's Help Center is here for you.

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