Money Management

Unlike economics, personal finance is all about money.

That's not to say there aren't definite parallels. Both involve extensive planning, allocation of resources, occasional negotiations, balancing needs and desires, and abandoning a course of action if it becomes obviously untenable. Well, both involve those things if they're successful. Plenty of people have trouble making ends meet because their approach to personal finance is laissez-faire and disorganized.

If you have a family and you want them to have everything they need and (within reason) want, you literally can't afford to ignore your personal finances. Some people hire professionals to keep track for them, but if you really want to know what's happening with your money you need to handle it yourself (especially if you make less than tons of money a year).

One of the most common topics of any book on personal finance is Debt. Gradually, as people realize governments and businesses can't continue to accrue unmitigated debt forever, the attitude toward it is growing less positive, but most Americans still live well beyond their means via credit cards, loans, and mortgages.

We're not suggesting you shouldn't make house payments (they're unavoidable for most of us), but if your income won't permit you to buy that brand-new yacht (or even that leaky fifteen-year-old skiff) it's a better idea to just walk away than to ask someone else to buy it for you so you can "pay them back."

Nowhere in the Bible does God say you shouldn't have nice things. In fact, material blessing is often seen as a reward for faithfulness (though this is certainly not always the case, as the stories of St. Paul, Jesus, and Elijah demonstrate). What is wrong is an acquisitive attitude and willingness to spend money you don't have on things you don't need.

A less common but (for Christians) just as important subject for a book on how to manage your money is tithing. Our wealth is not our own. It is only what God has chosen to give us, and our gratitude and His commands compel us to return a portion to Him. Obviously, this return is both literal and metaphorical, but as is so often the case with biblical mandates, the literal giving is representative of our entire attitude.

Most of the books we carry on personal finance are guides designed to help Christians escape debt, primarily its more pernicious aspects, in order to better support and provide for their families. Yes, we have a book by Dave Ramsey, but we also have some of the classics, including well-known titles by the late Larry Burkett.

It's important to remember that the main goal of managing your money isn't to get more. The reason Christians are called to wise stewardship is that (just as with talents, abilities, knowledge, etc.) what they have is from God, and it is our duty as His people to take care of what He has entrusted to us, not simply squander it on our own selfishness.

In some sense, a good personal finance book will be kind of like a devotional. Managing your money well is one aspect of showing your love and devotion to God, and the best way to learn it as a skill is to become more firmly rooted in your desire to do His will. Not that guides by non-Christians are necessarily bad or offer sketchy advice (we do carry a few), but those authors will maintain a different attitude not necessarily consistent with a Christian worldview.

Even when reading a book by a Christian author, however, it's essential to compare every claim they make to the truth of Scripture. No one is infallible, even the most successful financial planner. But before you dismiss personal finance as a purely secular or worldly concern, consider that God has put us in the world as His witnesses, and that even how we use our money will be taken into account both by Him and by our unbelieving neighbors, friends, relatives, and co-workers.

Review by C. Hollis Crossman
C. Hollis Crossman used to be a child. Now he is a husband and father, teaches adult Sunday school in his Presbyterian congregation, and likes weird stuff. He might be a mythical creature, but he's definitely not a centaur. Read more of his reviews here.

 

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34 Items found Print
America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money
by Steve & Annette Economides
1st edition from Three Rivers Press
for Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$12.50
Banker's Confession
by Gary Sanseri
Revised Edition from Back Home Industries
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$12.00 $8.00 (1 in stock)
Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half with America's Cheapest Family
by Steve & Annette Economides
1st edition from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$14.99
Daring to Live on the Edge
by Loren Cunningham
from YWAM Publishing
for 4th-7th grade
in Sacrificial Living (Location: XCL-SAC)
$9.99 $6.00 (1 in stock)
Financial Peace Revisited
by Dave Ramsey
Revised from Viking Press
for Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Frugal Families
by Jonni McCoy
from Bethany House
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$9.00
Homeschooling on a Shoestring
by Melissa Morgan & Judith Waite Allee
from Shaw Books
for Adult
in Practical Home Schooling (Location: HSR-PRAC)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Life of Fred: Financial Choices
by Stanley F. Schmidt
from Polka Dot Publishing
for 10th-Adult
in Life of Fred Math (Location: MAT-FRED)
$19.00 $13.00 (2 in stock)
Life Skills for Kids
by Christine M. Field
from Shaw Books
for ages 6 and up
in Life Skills for Kids (Location: SS-LIFE)
$14.99 $9.00 (1 in stock)
Making Sense of Your Dollars
by Ian Hodge
from Ross House Books
for 11th-Adult
in Clearance: Christian Books (Location: ZCLE-CHR)
$7.00
Miserly Moms
by Jonni McCoy
4th edition from Bethany House
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$10.00
Money Matters Family Night Tool Chest
by Allen Burkett, Jim Weidmann, Kurt Bruner, Larry Burkett
1st edition from Chariot Victor Publishing
for Kindergarten-Adult
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Money Matters for Kids
by Larry Burkett
from Moody Press
for Adult
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$10.99
Money Matters for Teens
by Larry Burkett
from Moody Press
for 7th-12th grade
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$12.99
Money Matters for Teens - Workbook (Ages 11-14)
by Larry Burkett
from Moody Press
for 5th-8th grade
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$13.99
Money Matters for Teens - Workbook (Ages 15-18)
by Larry Burkett
from Moody Press
for 7th-12th grade
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$14.99 $10.00 (1 in stock)
Money Wise - DVD
by Chad Hovind
from Master Books
for 9th-Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$19.50
Money, Possessions & Eternity
by Randy Alcorn
Rev Upd from Tyndale House
for Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$6.00 (1 in stock)
Money: God or Gift
by Jamie Munson
for 10th-Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$3.00 (1 in stock)
Personal Finance Packet
by Curt & Jenny Bumcrot
from Basic Skills
for 9th-Adult
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$19.50
Preparing Sons to Provide for a Single-Income Family
by Steven Maxwell
from Communication Concepts
for 9th-Adult
in Raising Sons (Location: XFA-SON)
$4.00 (4 in stock)
Raising Financially Fit Kids
by Joline Godfrey
from Ten Speed Press
for Adult
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$4.00 (1 in stock)
Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant
by Robert T. Kiyosaki & Sharon L. Lechter
from Warner Books
for 10th-Adult
in Rich Dad (Location: SS-RICH)
$15.00
Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant
by Robert T. Kiyosaki
for Adult
in Rich Dad (Location: SS-RICH)
$12.00 (1 in stock)
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
by Robert T. Kiyosaki & Sharon L. Lechter
from Warner Books
for 10th-Adult
in Rich Dad (Location: SS-RICH)
Rich Dad, Poor Dad
by Robert T. Kiyosaki & Sharon L. Lechter
from Plata Publishing
for 10th-Adult
in Rich Dad (Location: SS-RICH)
$8.50 (1 in stock)
Stewardship Street
by Pam Forster
from Doorposts
for 1st-6th grade
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$7.00 $3.00 (1 in stock)
Three Cups
by Mark St Germain
from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for 1st-6th grade
in Money Management for Kids (and Teens) (Location: SS-MONEY)
$9.99
Tightwad Gazette
by Amy Dacyczyn
from Random House
for Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$5.50 (1 in stock)
Tightwad Gazette 2
by Amy Dacyczyn
from Villard Books
for Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$5.00 (1 in stock)
Total Money Makeover
by Dave Ramsey
from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for 11th-Adult
$20.00
Total Money Makeover
by Dave Ramsey
3rd edition from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for 9th-Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$14.00 (1 in stock)
Total Money Makeover - Workbook
by Dave Ramsey
2nd edition from Thomas Nelson Publishers
for Adult
in Thrift & Stewardship (Location: SS-THRIFT)
$8.00 (1 in stock)
When the Money Runs Out
by James C. Petty
from New Growth Press
Marriage and Family Resources for Adults
in CCEF Counseling booklets (Location: XCL-CCEF)
$3.99