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Stewardship - Inspire January 09 - on the money

Steve Pierce responds to your financial concerns
 
I give my children small change to put in the offering/collection each Sunday but it isn't very meaningful for them. What can I do?

Parents know to teach children to share from a very early age, and they will see fundraising modelled at school. When they start to receive pocket money, help them to discover the joy of giving. But flipping them 20p as the plate comes around sends out all the wrong signals! Encourage them to give from their own money as a thank you to God. Talk with them about how much they will give, who will benefit and why it matters. Older children will understand giving a percentage.

Make it a priority; they won’t like or learn from reluctantly giving their last pennies! Link it with saving. Giving 10%, saving 10% and enjoying 80% is a pretty good guideline! Being faithful in small things makes it easier when we have more to be faithful with.
 
I’d like to get my money in order for the New Year. Where do I start?

TV shows remind us that we can makeover our car, our home and even ourselves, so finance should not let us down! There may be tears; opening our financial wardrobe and letting go of things we thought suited us can be hard, but the end result is well worth it.

Begin with an honest assessment of debt: loans, cards, mortgages. Check the interest rate and repayments. Most credit is expensive so shifting debt matters. If debt is a real problem tell someone you trust immediately and seek help: your CAB, a debt centre or the CCCS on 0800 027 4995.

Next step: a budget. We can’t take control if we don’t know what is going on. Nearly five million of us spend more than we earn and our spending has more leaks than the water companies! A budget plugs the holes but more than that it’s a financial map to reach our personal goals.

Third step: emergency savings  to cushion against the unexpected. This is the one exception to repaying debt asap. Not easy for low income families, but a local credit union can help by mixing saving and cheap borrowing.

A final thought: if fashion guru Gok can get people comfortable with their bodies, don’t be afraid of asking for help to get your finances looking better.
 
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Steve Pierce is the Head of Stewardship Money, the education ministry supporting churches in giving and good stewardship practice. Send your questions to him at steve.pierce@stewardship.org.uk
 

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