An Excerpt from Chapter 9:
"I think if people talked about money more, maybe there would be fewer money problems. I don’t just mean your bank account, I mean the way we look at and treat money. For starters, it is not a dirty word. Do you know how I know we have freedom to talk about money? Because the Bible talks about it somewhere between 110 and 120 different times in both the Old and the New Testament. The concept of currency and payment for debt has existed since the beginning of humanity. Adam and Eve weren’t exchanging currency with each other for their fruit and fish, but the minute sin entered the world so did debt. Some one or something had to cover the debt of their sin. Before sin, they had everything they needed to live and prosper and eat. Once they sinned, the instruction came that they would have to exhaustively tend to the ground for what they eat, making their food a form of currency for their hard work. You, working mama, go to work because you “need” the money. You’ve got a lifestyle and bills and debt and financial goals that depend on it. We are no different than Eve, we are all just working hard for the money."
" The ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it." Genesis 3:17
Sometimes you have to give it to get it
I am going to ask you the most over used question in the Christian church, one that you are going to either be quick to answer with a complete lie or that is going to aggravate you so much you might toss the book across the room. But if my questions didn’t cause a stir in your soul, what good would they be? So here goes, brace yourself. Take at least 90 seconds to think about it before you actually answer and don’t be so literal. God isn’t coming down from heaven and speaking by way of burning bush or sending you a DM. Question: If God called you to give up all that you have to follow Him, would you do it? The first step is talking about it, understanding your current state, setting your goals and bringing God into that conversation. Then there is freedom to give, save, and even spend.
If you have a husband, you and your husband need to talk about money. If you're a single mama, you need to have this conversation with yourself. You need to start the conversation, wherever you are on the path of your financial plan, and listen very closely here … you do not need to nag or blame or point fingers about which of you got you in whatever situation you are in. The topic is already stressful, so set the tone by de-stressing the environment. Don’t let you kids interrupt you 17 times to open their juice box or get them another snack, go out to your favorite coffee shop or wait until they are sound asleep and brew your favorite pot. Pull out two chairs at your table, silence your phones and bring your Bible and a pen and blank paper. Here is where you begin:
➢ Invite God into the discussion. If you and your husband don’t regularly read the Bible together or pray, no big deal we don’t either. But when there is something at stake, something important to discuss, we know that God needs to be present and there is no better way to invite Him into the third chair at your table than welcoming His word.
o Open up to Malachi, one of you read Chapter 3, verses 6- 15.
o Pray. If this is awkward and you don’t have the words, one of you just read below:
• Lord, this is weird for us. You know that. But we want to try something new, we’ve been doing it our own way and we want to invite you into the conversation about our money. Soften our hearts, put us on the same team. Create in us a love for you that is so much greater than that of money. Thank you for all that you have blessed us with, and help us to find a pathway to freedom from debt and the fullness of the blessing of tithing to you.
o Now start talking. Where are you today? What are the major stressors?
• Take that blank sheet of paper and jot down 3 things that put strain on your money. This could be your 3 biggest expenses, unforeseen bills, your salary, influx in commissions, taxes, etc. Maybe the two of you don’t share the same three, this is why you need to talk.
o How can you practically tackle just one of those stressors?
• Highlight the one you agree would be the easiest to tackle. Remember the snowball concept? Don’t worry about your biggest problem, start with the easiest. Which one can you start today to make a change or an impact.
• Are these expense or income problems? Are the expenses too high and you need to figure out a way to lower them? When you are on the same page about what you are tackling, you may be able to find new ways to reduce the expense.
• Or is there no further cuts that you can make and the only option is increased income? Talk about ways you can add to this. Can one of you use one of those very marketable gifts God has granted you to pick up some extra income? Are there things you can sell? Never underestimate the power of resale. Nextdoor is a great app to sell things lying around your house that you are not even using.
o What is your biggest barrier to tithing the 10% God commands?
• If this is an area where you just do not agree on the topic, don’t feel convicted to do it or are struggling with the concept of what is really God’s, just talk. Talk about it in a loving way, an understanding way. Find out where you each are on the topic and write it down. Why? Because in 6 months or 16 years when God moves in your heart or changes your feeling on this, you want written proof to reflect on how great He is!
o Check in with your salary. Know the value of the work you are doing and how it lines up with your compensation.
• Glassdoor.com is a great place to get an idea of what others in your industry are making. Talking to your own HR department about how they assess your position for market and cost of living changes is also enlightening.
• If you are finding discrepancies in your pay, lay out a scope of work. There are hundreds of examples on the Internet you can follow, but you can start basic. List the primary tasks you are doing and detail what they entail. Line that up with your job description and highlight the areas where you job has grown or changed since you started. Pray over what to do with this information once you have it. Maybe it’s a conversation with your boss or you start to look for other job opportunities more in line with your pay.
o Spend some money. When you go extreme, cut back on every frivolous item, reduce your Starbucks runs, say you will never eat out again, you are only setting yourself up for failure and robbing yourself of the blessing of enjoying what God has given you. Spend some money, there is freedom in Christ to do that and take the opportunity to profusely thank Him for the ability to do so.
• Decide as a couple which of your frivolous spending options is important to you.
• Set a big goal. If you are going to tackle paying off a loan or a credit card or building your surplus, what is something you desire to do with your first surplus. Maybe it’s a dinner at a new posh restaurant in town, or you each get to buy a new outfit or you get those fancy red-bottomed shoes. Don’t be tied to this goal with such disappointment when it takes longer to reach, just put some fun into all the stress of talking about money.
WE Talked, Now what?
Maybe you need to try a Financial Peace University class by Dave Ramsey. Maybe you want to consult a financial planner to make sure you are making the most of what you have. Maybe you give each other a high five and walk away from the table with a little spring in your step because you nailed this money thing. You get to decide here, but YAY for having the conversation.
o Schedule a follow up conversation in 6 months to see how you’re doing and keep the talk going.
"Money is not a dirty word and if you get to a point where you layer those dollar bills in your garden tub, pop some bubbly and dive in, you owe it to yourself and the rest of the world to snap a pic and tag me, @fortheworkingmama!"
"Some people think I should feel guilty for owning a pair of $700 shoes. They think that because people don’t talk about money. Its not that I make so much that $700 on shoes is just a typical Tuesday purchase, quite the opposite. These were a present and something I dreamed about having for more than a decade after I saw Angelina Jolie wear a pair of black patent leather pumps just like these on the red carpet to some event. Coming to a point where Chris could purchase these shoes for me was after we paid our debt, tithed to our church, gave of our surplus and saved for some of the things we dreamed of for several years. Chris choosing not to buy me those shoes wouldn’t have made a difference to those things we prioritize, it would have easily been spent in a series of unnecessary trips to Target or cash wrap items at the grocery store because we weren’t using Shipt yet. Besides, it goes back to the heart. I do love these shoes, but I love God more. And if he called me to give up the shoes to follow him, I might shed a tear because I’m human and they are so beautiful, but so be it. He is so much more valuable than well- crafted, patent leather, red-bottomed shoes." This One's For the Working Mama, Chapter 9