Book Study
Lesson 2

Spend brightly

Your daily spending can be:

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Brightly Shining
I actively track my spending
My spending is planned
I show my spending to Jesus
My spending tends to be enjoyable
I tend to under-spend
Shadow
OR
The following are benefits of being bright with daily spending.
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Shielded from costly consumer debt.
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Express daily gratitude for your daily bread from God.
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Slide 3
Remind myself that I am a steward of God's money.
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Slide 3
Restful with a little spending margin.
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Right now, how brightly do you shine a light on your spending?

1: In the dark.......10: Brightly Shining

Spend Brightly Video

Proactively shine light

Shining a light on our spending is best done by “tracking” our spending. To track is to simply keep record of what you are doing.

There are 4 primary reasons we should proactively shine a light on our spending through tracking our spending:

(1) Spending Exposed by Light Becomes Light

“But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.” Ephesians 5:13, NIV

Bad habits fester in the darkness. The more we make our spending habits visible to the light, the more likely we will make better spendings where we are not spending more than we earn.

(2) We can cultivate gratitude for our daily bread

A simple regular exercise of looking and tracking our income and expenses can help us realize and express gratitude for Jesus’s daily provisions. Without daily recognizing how Jesus is providing for us, it will become more and more tempting to view ourselves as the source of our daily bread.

(3) We are Managers

“Imagine a father who decided to give his 21-year-old son some responsibility to manage a part of the family business. The father sits the son down and explains that $6,000 will be given to him every month. The father did not give much guidance about how to spend the money, and the son did not ask. 

Six months pass, and the father calls the son into his office and asks him what he has done with the family money. The son is surprised by the question, and sulks a bit. Without raising his eyes, the son quietly says, “I don’t know.” The father is shocked, “how can this be?” But the son shrugs and says, “I haven’t been paying attention.”

“One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?” Luke 16:10-13, ESV.
  • If God asked you today how you have been spending His money, could you quickly provide an accurate account?

(4) We gain valuable information for making a spending plan

As we track over a long period of time, we get to know our habits and patterns. This will allow us to make more accurate spending plans that go with our actual behavior, not our wishful thinking.

Activity: Spending Bright Habit

You may complete activity on PDF Worksheet

(1) Choose flashlight

  • Cash every paycheck and place money into designated spending envelopes (e.g., groceries, gas, restaurants, etc..)
  • Many studies have shown this will save you 30% since you become more sensitive to the price of everything.
  • Hard to maintain since society is moving towards a cash-less system and carrying lots of cash and change around is not ideal.
  • Digital envelope system.
  • Reasonable monthly subscription (free for a year as a student; ynab.com/college)
  • Highly recommended. I personally have saved hundreds of dollars from this service.
  • Reasonable monthly subscription (free while a student).
  • Very similar to YNAB with a digital envelope system.
  • Has faith-based budgeting resources.
  • Beautiful visualizations, but not great digital envelope system.
  • Highly innovative digital envelope solution (monthly subscription required):

Steps:

  1. Open up banking account with them and receive a Qube debit card.
  2. Put money into your Qube banking account and allocate your money into different digital enveloped (i.e., Qubes).
  3. You are not able to use your Qube debit card until you designate what digital envelope you will be drawing money from.
  4. This is the closest thing to using actual cash available.
  • Free for manual tracking, but subscription for automatic importing of transactions.
  • Good service, but missing digital envelopes.
  • Free and highly customizable.
  • Labor intense.
Track Spending with Paper PDF

(2) Find time

Find a time to import and categorize expenses:

3 minutes a day OR

15 minutes a week

(3) Savor

Treat the daily habit of categorizing expenses in a tracking software like a spiritual discipline, since you want to take seriously your role as manager of God’s money and also put yourself in a position to be generous through avoiding future debt. As you see God’s hand in every income and expense that you categorize, savor God’s goodness and care for you.

Consider reading the following liturgy from Every Moment Holy before, or after, you track and categorize your expenses,

O God who does provide all things necessary for our lives, be present with us now
For there is little in this life that will so starkly reveal our insecurities and our struggle to trust your tender care
As will the state of our hearts when we consider
The state of our finances –
When we are anxious about money, O Lord,
We can slip so easily into the downward spiral of believing that simply having more of it would guarantee our security.
As if our security could ever rest anywhere outside of you, O God.
So guard our hearts against that lie.
Let us learn to view money and all material things as an arena in which to learn and practice a more faithful stewardship,
And as a means by which to invest in things eternal – But never as ends in themselves.

Month-to-month you are teaching us –
In this paying of bills – the slow vocation of trust.
Do not abandon us to our anxieties over finances, O Lord,
But use those worries to turn our hearts and thoughts to you – then teach us both a greater contentment and a greater confidence in your constant care.
Amen.
from “A Liturgy for the Paying of the Bills”
Every Moment Holy (Rabbit Room Press)
by Douglas Kaine McKelvey
Used with permission

(4) Consider using digital envelopes

If you want to go “next-level” in how you manage your daily spending, slowly putting money into digital envelopes is a powerful way to create more financial resilience and stability.

STEPS:

  1. Identify your top five lifestyle expenses that are not every month, but happen regularly enough where it would be very useful for you to have digital envelopes with cash set aside (shoes, clothing, vacations, car maint., etc.).

    _______________________

    _______________________

    _______________________

    _______________________

    _______________________

  2. Determine the monthly expense for these items. For example, if you only get running shoes once-a-year for $120, the monthly expense would be $10. If you tend to replace your computer every four years for roughly $1,500, then your monthly expense for having a computer would be $1,500/(48 months) = $31.25
  3. After every monthly paycheck, allocate these monthly expenses to each relevant digital envelope.
  4. Only pay for things out of your digital envelopes. If your envelope is empty, then don’t buy it.
  5. Make your envelope names as specific as possible. The more you personalize the bucket, the less likely you will raid it (e.g., “Kindle” instead of “electronics” or “Florence trip 2023” instead of “vacation”).
  6. Here is an example from my YNAB budget:

Notes:

  • The middle column are actual expenses this month where I have drawn out of my bucket for costs incurred this month (or budget/envelope).
  • I allocate $22 every month of my monthly income to ‘Apple Watches’ in order to replace my apple watch every 3 years, as well as my wife’s watch. This bucket has grown to $280, and is big enough now to replace my wife’s Apple watch. Since her watch still is working, I will let the bucket continue to grow.
  • I plan on replacing my iPad every 5 years ($400/60 months) so I contribute $7 per month of my monthly income to my iPad bucket.

Transition

The greatest enemy to a spending plan is the misuse of credit. In the next lesson, we will explore the dangers and benefits of credit.

Next Lesson