Written by: Trevor Martin

Below are some financial tips to consider as a student (or even beyond). The Bible speaks a LOT about money (there are over 2000 verses!!)  It is an important issue, and these simple principles can hopefully help you, as they helped me as I was greatly in debt in university.

Money is neutral. The love of money is wrong, but money itself is neither good nor bad, it depends what you do with it. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”

Here are four things that should help you in the area of finances.

1. Know that God Owns it All

1 Chronicles 29:11 says, “Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and in the earth is yours. Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and you are exalted as head above all.”  Everything we own belongs to the Lord. Whether you think you have a little or a lot, it all belongs to him. We don’t technically own anything, but God gives us things to steward.

Who is one of the richest people in the world that you can think of? Reflect on how rich God is in comparison.
How can we partner with the Spirit in the area of finances?

2. Be a Good Steward of What God has Given You

Being a steward means that you are responsible for or manage things that God has given you. In order to be a good steward, you need to live within your means. Try to not spend more money than you have, as much as possible. As a Being a steward means that you are responsible for or manage things that God has given you. In order to be a good steward, you need to live within your means. Try as much as possible to not spend more money than you have. As a general rule, if you don’t have enough money to pay for something, then you probably shouldn’t buy it. This is simple, BUT INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT! (governments often fail at this). There are exceptions like school or buying a house, which are generally ok debts to have as they have good value. Try to avoid car costs as much as you can or try going without one, as these are generally sunk costs that do not carry value. 

Which comes more naturally to you: spending money (impulsively) or trying to spend as little as possible so you can save? 

Proverbs 13:11 says, “Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.” We don’t want to love money and idolize it, but saving is a valuable thing and can help you greatly with your financial goals in the future. So, try to develop habits of discipline, and think of ways to save money and not just spend it. For example, buy things on sale (but don’t buy if you don’t need it) and use coupons!  But sometimes you have to spend money and invest in things you value.

A key starting point that will help you is tracking your expenses. This will help you to see where your money is going and see where you are spending more or less than you want. A good option for doing this is using a spreadsheet, or a budgeting app like MINT or YNAB. After you see where your money is going, you will be able to develop a plan and budget. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.” Think about where you want to be financially, and plan out how you can get there. Get help from a trusted friend, parent, or financial advisor as needed. And pray as you do so.

What’s something that you overspend on? 
What is one next step you can take towards better financial management?

3. Limit Debt as Much as Possible

Proverbs 22:7 says, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”  When you have a debt, you are a slave to that lender. They set an interest rate (a fee for borrowing money) and you have to pay that fee. When you are out of debt, you are free from your lender. Then, you can choose to spend your money how you want without any fees!  But the reality is that many students are in debt or will be in debt when they graduate. If you are not, this is amazing, praise God!  Thank anyone greatly who helped you to be in this position, and do not take this for granted!!

If you are in debt, here are a couple of suggestions on what to do. Limit the amount of debt that you have as much as possible. The less debt you are in the better. Make a plan to try and minimize your student debt as much as you can, and then try to set an aggressive goal to get out of debt in a minimal number of years after you graduate. Getting a part-time job during post-secondary or some alternate source of income could be really helpful in limiting or reducing your debt.

If you have more debts than just student debts, a good strategy towards getting out of debt is the debt snowball strategy. In this strategy, you pay off small debts and high interest first (i.e. credit card), then bigger and lower interest ones after that. Credit card debt in particular is a debt you want to avoid because of the high interest. However, I should mention here that having a credit card is one way to build your credit score, which will help when you need to take on smart debt like a mortgage. Just make sure you pay off your credit card as quickly and fully as possible to avoid the high interest. (Note: Minimizing debt is a good general principle, but there are exceptions.)

What is something you are currently doing to reduce or limit your debt?
What’s one other thing you could do towards reducing or limiting your debt?

4. Develop a Habit of Giving

2 Corinthians 9:7 says, “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”  Giving is a great blessing and great opportunity.  So, think of how you can give and invest your money for God’s kingdom and for eternity. We can’t take anything with us when we die. You can’t take your shoes, your tv, your clothes, your car, or your house with you when you die, but you can use your money to love others and point people to Jesus. If you are in debt, it is my belief that you should still get in the habit of giving. If you don’t give now, it will be difficult to give later. You could start with giving 10% of the money you make or receive, if you don’t give anything currently. Here are some practical ideas of how to give and invest your money for eternity.

  • Give to your local church
  • Give to people going on mission trips or missionaries
  • Give to homeless organizations
  • Give to Christian organizations and missions organizations
  • Sponsor a child
  • Do your research and learn about where your money is actually going (churches have budgets, and you can look at them)

What’s one thing you’re passionate about that you could or have already given to?
What’s your biggest takeaway from this article?

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