Debt Free Legacy

Improving my cash flow control

Improving my cash flow control

by Bob & Kristi LaMontagne

Accurate records are necessary to improve cash flow control– you need to know your current financial situation and establish future financial goals. In Luke 16:1-3, we are instructed to give an account of our management, so we are clearly responsible for the administration of our God-given resources. There are three proven cash flow systems available to help you keep track of your money on a daily, monthly and yearly basis and achieve financial freedom from all debt. These are the envelope system, computerized PC based software packages, and a three form manual cash flow control system. Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus, by Bill and Maureen Sitter, will introduce you to these effective cash flow control systems which will enable you to manage God’s resources more effectively while allowing you to become totally debt free.

How can I control my spending with an envelope?

How can I control my spending with an envelope?

by Amber Drabek

 

I never dreamed that I would be stuck in a financial hole, as deep as I was, three years ago. God had led me to a new chapter in life and to a new city. However, the choices I had made financially finally caught up with me. Whenever I felt empty inside, I would grab my credit card and start spending. I needed my God to fill that empty place inside of me—not material possessions! God placed it on my heart that He had plans for my life and they were beyond anything I could ever imagine! Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP): “For I know the thoughts and plans I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.” However, the question that I had for myself was: How can these plans come to fruition if my god was a credit card?

The Lord came to my rescue once again and led me to the Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus book and course. God used this program to show me ways to control my spending and my cash flow. A cash flow system is a way to keep track of where your money goes and how it is spent, saved, or wasted. One of these cash flow systems is an envelope system. A flexible spending plan is projected and planned to allot specific funds to specific spending categories. Some examples of these categories are as follows: groceries, rent, clothing, entertainment, and savings.

Now, to use the envelope system, take your envelopes and label them with these specific spending categories. You can use whatever category you choose, but those that you have a more difficult time controlling are great places to start. Once you receive your paycheck, place the allotted cash monies into the envelopes. A log sheet or register should be used, for each envelope, to track incoming and outgoing monies. If your spending plan is balanced with a positive monthly cash flow, then there should exist sufficient monies for each envelope. Once the funds from an envelope are used, then spending from that category must be stopped for that time period. Money can be transferred from one category to another, if need be. However, new debt is not an option. Restraint and discipline are required for the system to work properly.

A simple envelope cash flow control system has enabled me to avoid the use of credit cards and stop overspending. This has been imperative for me to remain on a road to complete financial freedom and to achievement of God’s life plan for me. Of course, for anything to flourish and prosper in life, God has to remain in the center. I have to continually pray and to remain in God’s Word. “Then you will seek Me, inquire for, and require Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13 (AMP)

Computers and Cash Flow Control Software

Computers and Cash Flow Control Software

by Bob & Kristi LaMontagne

God made us and He intends for us to be good stewards, or care takers, of God’s money. Fortunately there are many modern tools that can help us do that with relative ease. Are you fearful or do you get excited when computers are mentioned? Today, there are many user friendly software programs to assist anyone interested in tracking their finances on a computer. However, discipline and accuracy are vital to properly record and safeguard information entered. With computer software programs you must faithfully enter all transactions. As a benefit, you should receive easy to read reports, and detailed summaries for your income and expenses, broken-out by the major categories you pre-select. For instance, you can customize most reports to match your spending and biblical giving plan categories.

Easily available on the market today are many popular financial software packages like Intuit’s Quicken and Quick Book Pro, which are well designed for small business and personal use. Also, available on the market are software packages that deal with money matters by Crown Financial Ministries. Larry Burkett’s team originally developed these software packages, which are reasonably priced. Then, of course, there is Microsoft offering their Microsoft Money which is generally included in their Microsoft Office software package.

Financial software programs offer great assistance to anyone willing to work with computers to take control of their cash flow and become debt free.

One big caution, if you (or your spouse – if married) do not totally understand computerized records; start with the easy-to-use Manual Cash Flow Control System, included in Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus. Once you have this process down cold, then you’re ready to move on to computer-based software, if desired.

Analyzing My Monthly Cash Flow

Analyzing My Monthly Cash Flow

by Kristi LaMontagne

Failure to use a flexible spending plan is one of the leading causes for financial woes. Many people lack a clear understanding of basic accounting principles; therefore, learning a few of these simple principles can help you better manage your money (Prov.27: 23). Cash flow analysis on a monthly basis shows you whether you are generating enough cash to meet your financial obligations and how your expenditures (outflow) relate to the money coming in (inflow). A monthly cash flow analysis helps you determine where you lack capital or have a surplus. This information can then be compared monthly to the records that you have accumulated in the past months. Putting God in the center of developing your flexible spending plan will give you an assurance and peace that you are moving toward a well balanced cash flow.

Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus is a Bible-based workbook that will guide singles, couples and families step-by-step through all the basics of managing money. Chapters 4 – 7 focus on the Flexible Spending Plan concept and Cash Flow Management.

Is My Biblical Giving Proportionate to My Income?

Is My Biblical Giving Proportionate to My Income?

by Kristi LaMontagne

When we stop and think about it, God owns everything in the natural world and we are merely stewards or managers of what He has entrusted us to take care of. (Ps.24:1, Deut. 8:18). God makes it clear that everything we manage for Him comes from Him. As good stewards, God expects us to wisely manage the three sources that He gives all of us: our Time, Talent, and Treasure.

In Mal.3: 8-12, God instructs us to give back to Him a tenth of what he has given to us. This is the basic amount He asks of us. The Lord also wants us to give freewill offerings to advance His Kingdom and alms (charity) to the poor.

Our tithe is not derived from our net income, after taxes, but from our gross income before taxes! Many people are unaware of this biblical truth. For example, before my husband and I learned this principle, the enemy was vexing us in the area of our finances. By failing to give God the entire tithe, we put ourselves under a curse. (Mal.3: 8-9). After learning this principle, we corrected this misconception and our finances began to get into line with God’s Word so that we were then able to hear how God wanted us to allocate His money. Within one short year, we were on our way to becoming completely debt free, except for our home mortgage…and we hope that soon follows.

Once we understand that the true tithe is what the Bible calls a first fruits obligation, and that it is 10% of our gross income, we see that as God increases our income we should be cheerful about paying a larger tithe in proportion to our income. Offerings and alms are the second and third components of a three part biblical giving plan. These are based on freewill decisions that should be prayerfully made. We certainly encourage you to increase freewill giving as God blesses you with more income.

Is the concept of giving on your “gross income” new to you? Is your response “I can’t afford to give that much”? As things appear right now, this may appear to be true, however according to Mal. 3:10-12, you will find that this is the only place in the bible that the Lord gives us the challenge to test Him. By being obedient and putting God in the middle of your finances, you give Him your permission to break the power of the enemy over your finances and that positions you to enter into the abundance of His blessings! (Jer.29:11) I’m sure glad that we did!

Biblical Giving in Your Family

Biblical Giving in Your Family

by Joyce Shoemaker

My parents never talked to me about tithing, giving, or the sowing of alms. I went to church only when my parents felt like taking me. My only example of biblical giving while growing up was when the offering plate came around; dad would reach in his wallet and drop in a $20 bill, since they only took me to church for Vacation Bible School, Christmas and Easter, I did not develop an understanding of responsible biblical giving. When I began to understand what God’s Word says about biblical giving, I fully realized it was my responsibility to pass on a legacy of financial principles to our children so that their children’s children would walk in the prosperity of God’s promises.

I like what The Message Bible says in Malachi 3:8-10 about being blessed or cursed when we tithe or don’t tithe. “Begin by being honest. Do honest people rob God? But you rob me day after day. You ask, How have we robbed you? The tithe and the offering—that’s how! And now you’re under a curse —the whole lot of you—because you’re robbing me. Bring your full tithe to the Temple treasury so there will be ample provisions in my Temple. Test me in this and see if I don’t open up heaven itself to you and pour out blessings beyond your wildest dreams. For my part, I will defend you against marauders, protect your wheat fields and vegetable gardens against plunderers.”

When both of our children began to receive monies, we taught them the principle of the tithe. When they cheerfully gave of their tithe, they received blessings. When they withheld their tithe, they got dropped from their work schedule, or got their hours reduced. They quickly learned and lived the lessons of Malachi. Have you passed the torch of biblical giving to your children? What have you modeled in your generation that will carry on from generation to generation? 
The Message Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8:

“Remember: A stingy planter gets a stingy crop; a lavish planter gets a lavish crop. I want each of you to take plenty of time to think it over, and make up your own mind what you will give. That will protect you against sob stories and arm-twisting. God loves it when the giver delights in the giving. God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it, He throws caution to the winds, giving to the needy in reckless abandon. His right-living, right-giving ways never run out, never wear out. This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.”

As covenant-keeping Christians, it’s our responsibility to learn what God’s Word says about resources, tithing and giving beyond the tithe. God owns everything and He is our only source of resources. Our children will learn, live and do what we have modeled for them…let it be a godly legacy.

Tithing….Is It Really for Today?

Tithing….Is It Really for Today?

by Bill Sitter

I am privileged to address the topic of tithing because it is one of our favorites. Tithing is extremely vital, just as life blood is to the human body. Before going any deeper, I would like to share our observations from 20 years of teaching Biblical Principles for Finance. Maureen and I have seen hundreds of people complete the seven week small group course and begin to faithfully tithe. The fruit has been absolutely amazing, time and time again. And, we have Never seen or heard of these tithers wishing they had never learned about tithing on their first fruits, their increase, to the Lord…..Never!

Malachi 3: 8-12 tells us that tithing keeps us from robbing God and positions Him to rebuke the devourer (the devil) on our behalf. God then pours-out huge blessings on us; which is what He longs to do. Okay, but that’s the last book of The Old Testament. Good News: in Matthew 23:23 Jesus personally reinforced the ten percent tithe when He rebuked the Pharisees for tithing on their garden plants (being legalistic) but neglecting the weighty matters of justice, mercy & faithfulness. They were neglecting to show love and compassion to others, even including their parents. Jesus basically said: (my paraphrase) “you should have tithed, but that’s no excuse for neglecting these other Kingdom Principles”. This same message is also stated in Luke 11:42.

Some may say that tithing is “under the law”; it is good to reflect on the fact that Abraham set the example of tithing ten percent of the spoils of war to Melchisedec (a representation of the coming Lord Jesus). It is essential to note that Abraham’s full ten percent tithe occurred long before Moses was even born, and prior to the Old Testament laws ever being written. (Hebrews 7:1-4)

I believe the case for tithing today is very clear: tithing is validated in (the above referenced) Scriptures, by Abraham – before the law, under the Mosaic Law, and then by Jesus’ reinforcement in the New Testament.

I realize that many readers of this article are committed tithers who are not seeking excuses to avoid tithing. However, you may be able to refer to these scriptures when faced with tithing questions. Hopefully these Scriptural references will prove helpful as you witness to others, so they can enjoy the benefits of being able to (not forced to) tithe a full 10 percent of their “increase” (which for most normal wage earners is their gross pay, before deductions for anything).

Chapter Two in our small group workbook: “Financial Freedom in 7 Weeks Plus…Legacy Edition” is devoted to the topic of true Biblical Giving. It emphasizes tithing and gives examples of how to properly calculate “increase”. This chapter also addresses a three part Biblical Giving Plan which includes tithes, freewill offerings to spread the Gospel and alms for the needy.

So, the answer to the title question is….YES! Tithing is really for today!