Supporting Local initiatives

Did you know that by participating in local initiatives, organizations help to identify skill gaps and decide how much help is needed, and it can be done in some many ways. Therefore all of us should support local businesses that understand that. And we all have the power to do so by “voting” with our wallets.  For example, companies that support “the ACT College and Career Readiness Campaign” deserve our attentions. if you agree please read on to see how you can help.

I am for example a huge discount shopper and love to save money—and actually have become a pro at it.

But it wasn’t always that way. I (Quinn Lumber) used to swear up and down that my brain is hardwired to spend money excessively. Once I started college, however, living on such a low income and constantly think about your paycheck, taught me exactly how important it is to spend my money wisely. Having that conviction, though, didn’t make it any easier. But having good parental examples enabled me with money-managing skills that will carry me beyond college and into my professional life.

1) Have someone you trust help you set a budget. My dad is an accountant with 30 years of experience, so he helps me with mine. If you’re not familiar with how to make up a budget, it goes a little something as follows: Calculate your monthly income and use that as your base starting amount for the budget. Write that on a sheet of paper or a program like Microsoft Excel (this takes a little more technical skill, but you can always have someone with such set it up for you, which is what I did), but make sure if you do it on paper that you have enough room left for more information.

Then calculate your monthly outgoing expenses, like rent, utility bills, co-pays, groceries, and other general occurrences. Next, you add up all the outgoing expenses (if you have Excel, it will do this for you) and subtract them from your base income. This will give you the amount left over, which is your spending money for the month. If you want to be more precise, I advise you to do it every week once you get the hang of it. But at least start with once a month. If you have to take your calculated sheet shopping with you, then do exactly that. It doesn’t matter if you look silly. Managing your money is more important.

2) Stick to your budget and support local businesses. Part of this is the tips above: take your budget with you and update it regularly. Again, this will make it more precise. Also, shop discount as much as possible. This means knowing sales by studying and comparing local weekly ads. Get to know the workers and managers at your favorite stores. They’ll be more apt to help you get the weekly deals (in no illegal or unethical way) and you may even get familiar with exactly what times each week/day they put out their sales. However, the danger of overspending still exists, so make sure to limit your discount items to a reasonable number. This depends on how low priced the items are and how much/often you will use them and whether or not you really need them. This may also include some accountability by bringing someone with you on a big shopping day, especially during sale periods.

3) Set up separate banking/savings accounts. I am a college student and sometimes get overage payments based on the amount I receive in student loans. When I got my first check, I stuck it into my personal savings account. That was a mistake. Like most people, my bank accounts are online and, as a result of my love for discount shopping, I found myself transferring money to cover the excessive amount I was spending to ensure I didn’t overdraw my account. I was convicted by the Holy Spirit that overspending on discounts is still poor stewardship. Even though I managed to save about $5000, I was still slowly wasting it. Because I knew I had to find new ways to resist spending temptation, I opened up a separate savings account.

Here’s the trick, though. With this kind of thing, the old adage “out of sight, out of mind” reigns supreme. Because my dad helps manage my money, I opened up a savings account in his name that doesn’t show up on my account when I log into my online banking. All my extra money goes straight into that account and because it’s not in my name, he has control over how much comes out. I cannot legally take it out, so I cannot spend frivolously without him knowing. This is great because it holds me accountable for the times I <em>am </em>taking out money from that account. I would suggest finding someone to manage your money with you because God’s word tells us that iron sharpens iron. Make sure, however, that this person can be trusted morally and financially.