For most of us, receiving a lump sum of money, such as the COVID-19 stimulus check, can raise a lot questions about the best and most responsible way to allocate the funds. Let’s take a look a six things to do with your stimulus check.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He we will make your paths straight.” (Prov 3:5-6)
As you thank God for providing a Stimulus check, consider how He would have you use it. Here are some things to think about:
1. Cover the Basic Essentials
Have your hours been cut at work or your salary reduced?
- If so, use this money to “make up” the difference for a few more months. Take care of your four walls first (food, utilities, shelter and transportation-in that order).
- Don’t use it all at one time - be strategic about how you spend it and find ways to stretch it as much as possible.
2. Pay Down Debt
Depending on your situation and goals, this may be a great opportunity to pay down some of your outstanding debt. Continue to make minimum payments on all outstanding debt and ask about payment deferrals if you’re not able to make your minimum payments during this time.
3. Build Your Emergency Savings
If you do not have a fully funded emergency fund and you’re able to make your minimum debt payments, saving this money can allow you to use it for future emergencies and have peace of mind knowing you will be able to cover potential surprises.
4. Serve an Individual or Family in Need
If you are feeling financially secure and you’re grateful for a stable job, look for ways to “live and give like no one else!”
- Be generous and help others that are going through a difficult time. Maybe you have a neighbor that was laid off or a friend in need.
- Find ways to bless others. Consider giving above and beyond your tithes and offering to our Benevolence Fund to help those in our church family and our community negatively impacted by COVID-19.
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)
5. Support your Local Community
Supporting our local communities is more important than ever. Buy from local, independently owned businesses. Order carry-out. Check out a local farmer’s market. Tip better than you usually do. There are also several ways you can jump in and help through Community Impact. Consider designating an online gift to Community Impact to support their ministry efforts.
6. Invest for the Future
if you already have an emergency fund and your job is secure, you may want to consider using your stimulus check to invest for the future. Take advantage of compounding interest working in your favor. Save for retirement or start a 529 plan for child(ren)’s future college education expenses.
“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (2 Corinthians 9:8)
“Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise, but as wise.” (Eph. 5:15)
Sources and Additional Resources:
- Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University https://www.daveramsey.com
- Coronavirus: What to Do if You’re Out of Work https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/what-to-do-if-you-miss-a-paycheck
- How to Manage Your Money (and Business Finances) During a Crisis https://www.daveramsey.com/blog/how-to-manage-money-during-crisis
Published on Apr 20 @ 8:47 AM CDT
During this unprecedented time, we understand that you’re inundated with information and guidance regarding everything from the right way to wash your hand to social distancing to how to manage your finances. Understanding that it can be overwhelming, we’re breaking down what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your money in a crisis
Don’t Lose Hope
“Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
There’s a lot of information coming at you these days-everything from the right way to wash your hands to how far to socially distance yourself from another breathing human. And in the middle of all the information overload is your money. Let’s break down what you should and shouldn’t be doing with your money in a crisis.
What Should I Do if My Income is Stable?
- Keep saving!
- Keep working your baby steps. (If that term is new to you, consider joining one of our online Financial Peace University groups starting soon)
- Continue to make minimum payments on all outstanding debt.
- Keep paying your bills on time.
- Use your stimulus money to help those in need. Consider giving to our Benevolence Fund to help those in our church family and community who are negatively impacted by COVID19, or Community Impact to support their ministry efforts in our community.
- As stewards of God’s grace, we should “use whatever gift we have received” to serve others” (1 Peter 4:10)
- “If it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously…” (Romans 12:8)
- Look for ways to “live and give like no one else!” Be generous!
- Do not pause your debt snowball.
- Do not cash out your 401k. Contact your financial advisor for guidance.
- Do not defer your student loan payments.
- Do not stop paying your mortgage.
- Get and stay on a budget. Give every dollar a name. Review your expenses against your budget, at least monthly.
- Again, if you haven’t taken Financial Peace before, now is the time! Check out our online group schedule here.
What Should I Do if My Income is Not Stable?
- Pause your debt snowball. If you’re out of work or have a potential job loss on the horizon, go ahead and pause temporarily, but don’t stop indefinitely!
- Make sure your four walls (food, utilities, shelter and transportation-in that order) are covered, then save as much as you can.
- Make the minimum payments on your debt (if you can).
- Cut out all unnecessary spending from your budget (need vs want).
- Get and stay on a budget. Give every dollar a name. Review your expenses against your budget, at least monthly. If you haven’t taken Financial Peace before, now is the time. Check out our online group schedule here.
- Look for a part-time job, sell stuff to make extra money, or start a side hustle.
- Use any stimulus money to cover your four walls and save the rest in your emergency fund.
- Do not take on new debt! Debt is never a good idea, especially when you’re facing a potential recession.
- Do not take out a payday loan.
- Do not get a home equity line of credit (HELOC).
- Do not stop paying your mortgage.
- Do not cash out your 401k unless you’re facing foreclosure or bankruptcy. Contact your financial advisor for advice.
- Seek short-term financial assistance. Try to do everything in your power first. Don’t be too prideful to ask for a helping hand.
Should I File for Unemployment?
- Check with your state government to see if you qualify
- Keep looking for work
- Do not file for unemployment if you can bring in at least 50% of your income another job (full or part time)
What if I Run a Business?
- Take advantage of the payroll tax deferment offered through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act
- Do not take out a Small Business Administration (SBA) loan if at all possible
- Check out our Facebook page COVID-19, My Work and My Faith for resources and encouragement for business owners.
Wherever you’re at right now, just know you’re not alone in any of this. We’re all taking this one day at a time. But hold on, take a breath, and don’t do anything out of fear. We are going to come through this. Moment by moment. Day by day. Hope springs eternal.
“May the God of hope fill you will all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Published on Apr 20 @ 8:46 AM CDT
As we kicked off 2020 with the hope that comes with a new year, we think it’s safe to say that none of us imagined where we’d be today. God, however, is not surprised by any of this. And he wants to guide us through these times of uncertainty, which for many of us includes our finances.
Glorify God in Everything We Do (1 Cor 10:31)
Life can change on a dime! I don’t think any of us imagined ourselves on a lock down, homeschooling our kids, hoping our grocery order has the essentials, or worrying about an invisible virus. Besides the fear of contracting Covid-19, a whole lot of us are worried about our jobs and finances, too. Before we talk about some of the things we can do when it comes to money and spending, let’s pause and remember Jesus promise to never leave or forsake us and find encouragement in His timeless words, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33).
Jesus is with each of us in this very moment of crisis. He has already overcome everything that we will face in this world. Yet, with compassion, He also cares about everything that is on our hearts and mind, including our finances. He desires to exchange our anxious thoughts with perfect, supernatural peace as we look to Him.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, preset your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
God is not surprised by any of the difficulties we are facing; He wants to guide us through them!
Let’s start by taking a deep breath together, staying calm and begin to recognize the things we can control as we trust God to take care of everything else! Even in the midst of craziness YOU can still be kind to others (even when they post dumb stuff online that makes you mad). Remember, HOPE > FEAR. Fear is contagious, but hope is more contagious!
Here are a few more suggestions for increasing hope in financial uncertainty:
- Develop or reinforce a daily habit of spending time with the Lord. Include time praying for your finances each day and ask the Lord for strength to trust in His provision.
- Thank Him for the blessings He has provided and cultivate a grateful heart by taking time each day to list three provisions for which He’s blessed you.
- If your income is stable, consider giving to our Benevolence Fund to support those negatively impacted or Community Impact to support their ministry efforts in our community.
- Tighten up your spending. Have a plan for your finances!
- Connect with others regularly and ask a trusted friend to check in with you about your finances
- If there is an area you tend to overspend, share that and give them permission to ask how your spending is going.
- Did you order take out one too many times this week? It happens to the best of us!
- Were you able to resist that afternoon stop at Starbucks?
- We all need a cheerleader in times of uncertainty – invite someone to share in your celebrations and help keep you on track.
If you would like further help with finances, check out one of our online Financial Peace University groups starting soon! Check out the resources available at www.hcbc.com/fpu or email [email protected] for more information.
Last fall, our entire church participated in FPU together and we learned about how to manage God’s blessings, God’s ways, for God’s glory. There were countless stories of life change as God took our “baby steps” and did BIG things! If you are new, missed it, or need a refresher, check out the Defying Gravity sermon series at https://www.hcbc.com/watch/.
As a stewardship team, we’re here to walk alongside you in your financial journey which is why we want to give you the tools you need to make a budget, crush your debts, and build wealth. Right now, for the first time ever, Dave Ramsey is offering a FREE two-week trial of Financial Peace University. This course has helped over 6 million people just like you take control of their financial fears and live in PEACE. For questions or encouragement, email us at [email protected].
“May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.” 2 Thess. 2:16-17
Published on Apr 20 @ 8:45 AM CDT