So once you have completed Step 1: gathering the basic facts about your situation, you should move immediately to Step 2: the basics.
The basics are:
- Earn what you can
- Spend less than you earn
- Give generously, regularly, and proportionally
Let's break the basics down:
1) Earn what you can. This essentially means that you should work hard, no matter what you are doing, as if you are working for the Lord Himself, because, in fact, you are. It also means that you should not neglect providing for your family's needs because it shows God's love. If you are unable to provide for your family's needs with your current income, you must reduce your expenses or increase your income.
2) Spend less than you earn. This means exactly what it says, that you should not spend more per year than you earn. You must consider what expenses you may have or are required to make, like taxes, insurance, or other necessities. For most people the problem is that we purchase too much stuff that:
- We don’t need – your wants are not needs
- We can’t afford – credit doesn’t count
- We didn’t do adequate research – alternatives, really meet needs, used options
- Is too expensive – research, find alternatives
- Is low quality – if quality is necessary
3) Give generously, regularly, and proportionally. I know that God does not want or need your money but what he does want is your heart. Giving reflects our gratitude for what God has done for us and puts our heart in a healthy place where we don't cling to our money and possessions for security or identity. Those are places reserved for God.