Put Your Money Where Your Heart Is
Ever find yourself worrying about money? Feel like you're always waiting around for pay-day? Jan tells us how the CAP course changed her attitude towards her finances.
There is a Chinese saying; ‘Money is not the answer to everything, but you cannot be without it’, which was the mantra I was brought up with. Regardless of this, growing up it was not an infrequent occurrence to witness my parents pulling their hair out over their less-than-wise investment decisions. I knew from a young age that money can buy some happiness but can also bring grey hair and stress.
When I started working, despite the fact that I thought I lived within my means, I would always forget to budget a few things (e.g. car-related costs, gift day donations, birthday or Christmas presents for my loved ones, ad-hoc donations for my friends, multiple costs related to my profession). Quickly, I found that my hard-earned savings which I thought could go towards my next adventure abroad were gone. I love travelling so I was not a happy bunny! The problem was nobody had taught me anything about handling money. My parents tried but were not the greatest role models. University never taught us how to handle our finances either (I never skipped lectures so trust me!). My friends all seemed to do better than me, but out of British courtesy I could not bring myself to discuss budgeting around the dinner table.
I had heard about Christians Against Poverty through the church I attended before moving to London. I’d always thought ‘well, I’m not in debt and so I don’t need any kind of agency to help me’. However, at the same time deep down I knew I had a fear of money. I have read far too many biographies about great men and women, Christian or not, who unwillingly or unknowingly succumbed to the vice of money. So when I was told it was not just for debt cancelling, but also to provide some tools to deal with money, I knew I needed to face my fears up front, so I went on the CAP course.
I was expecting a golden formula, a written prescription, a panacea to all things money-related. Instead, during the first exercise we were asked to bring all our statements in and work through the CAP budget sheet. I found out I did not have enough money to be as generous as I wanted to be… which was a painful wake-up call! We were asked how we could cut or minimise our outgoing costs, so that we could spend our money on the things that really mattered to us. That was enlightening! Deliveroo once a week can most definitely be cut. Snacking during work can be better planned, with healthier options prepared at home. Regular cheeky McDonald’s after a long shift has to go. (Yes, most my ‘unnecessary’ outgoings were food related!) But thank goodness that to help me to do this, I was also introduced to tools to help me manage me money effectively, even just simple things like getting into the habit of checking my bank balance frequently. Most importantly, I learned to be content with whatever I have. Philippians 4:12 says:
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
I have always understood that money is one of the many assets that God has given us. Nothing is ours. God has called us to be stewards of His money, and I would rather let money serve me than the other way round. I would like to serve God with my money [Matthew 6:24]. If you have been given a musical instrument, you go to lessons to learn how to play it well. In the same way, CAP started my journey of learning how to deal with money with the right heart and attitude, and provided practical skills. If you’d like to learn how to handle your money better, come along to the CAP course. Even if you do not have any major earnings yet, you can come to be equipped with the right mindset and tools to deal with your money when you have it! I would really recommend it as a helpful and practical way of thinking about your finances.