Documents & Resources

Financial responsibility isn't optional for ministers of the Gospel; it is imperative. As stewards of God's money and as examples to the world, we are held to a high standard. Simply being aware and informed about different financial concerns is the first step toward fiscal integrity. We've created this page to help our students be aware and informed. God provides for us financially when we put Him first, trust His provision and do all we can to spend and save our money responsibly

Budgeting is critical to responsible money management. Life's unpredictability makes budgeting for unexpected circumstances a necessity. The tools below will help you track your expenses (Where is your money going?), establish and stick to a budget , and keep track of your monthly payments.

Income & Expense Worksheet (.xls)
Monthly Payment Schedule (.xls)
Daily Spending Diary Worksheet (.xls)

Want to cut spending? Try some of these money-saving strategies, including several provided by USA Funds:

Helpful Tidbits: Small things add up! A $6.00 Value Meal once a week adds up to $24.00 for the month and $312.00 for the year! Grab a muffin and coffee for a quick breakfast on your way to work each day at a coffee shop and you will be looking at least $1,000/year in breakfasts.

  • Watch network television instead of cable.
  • Buy quality used items instead of new ones when you can.
  • Borrow books and movies from the library instead of buying them.
  • Wait to rent the movie instead of paying $8-$10 to see it in the theater.
  • Consolidate errands to save gas.
  • Turn lights off when not in use.
  • Don't buy things you don't need.
  • Wait a set amount of time before buying something you "just have to have." You may no longer want it or it may go on sale.
  • Stop paying for purchases with credit cards.
  • Put all loose change in a jar. Use it for laundry or save it. Just ten cents of pocket change a day adds up to $36.50 in one year—enough to fill your gas tank!
  • Reduce your food expenditures:
    • Buy in bulk.
    • Don't shop more than once a week.
    • Buy only what is on the list.
    • Compare prices.
    • Use coupons.
    • Buy generic brands.
  • Eat out less frequently and less expensively
  • When eating out drink water instead of ordering a soft drink

References: USAFunds.org, MyMoney.gov, federalreserve.gov

It is vital to know how to manage debt and credit so they don't get out of control. Below you will find tools and calculators to help manage both debt and credit.

Debt

It is highly important that we remember not to spend more than what we make. However financing your education as well as finding a place to live sometimes forces even the most cautious people to borrow money. The most important part of managing your debt is keeping track of what you owe. Below are tools to help you determine the right repayment plan, the best monthly payment, and debt payoff.

Helpful Tidbits: Only borrow what you need. The longer you pay on a loan the more interest you pay. Remember—you are paying to borrow money!

  • Know What You Owe - The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) has information about your student loan history.
  • Repayment Plans and Calculators - Select the loan repayment plan that's right for your financial situation.
  • Monthly Payment - Determine how long it will take to pay off your debt based on different monthly payment scenarios.
  • Debt Payoff - Determine how long it will take to pay off your debt based on different monthly payment scenarios.

Credit

Your credit history is a permanent record of every bill you have ever paid or failed to pay on time. A credit report is a detailed account that documents your credit habits since you first started buying things on credit. Credit reports are rated. Higher scores indicate that you are a good credit risk—you are reliable when it comes to paying what you owe.

Establishing good credit is important. Having good credit will allow you to rent an apartment, buy a house or car, get a good job, and pay low interest rates. Check out the two articles below on improving credit scores as well as getting the most from credit cards.

Helpful Tidbits: Only use your credit card in absolute emergencies.

You can obtain a free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three major credit-reporting agencies. It is highly encouraged that you check your credit report often for any outstanding items or fraud.

Annual Credit Report - This site will guide you through requesting your free report through all three major credit-reporting agencies. It only takes a few minutes to view all three reports:

References: USAFunds.org, StudentLoans.gov, MyMoney.gov, federalreserve.gov, myarmyonesource.com

Identity theft is America's fastest-growing crime. When people steal your personal information, it gives them the power to destroy your credit, ruin your name, and rob you and your family of valuable time and money. Identity thieves steal information through computer software, stealing purses/wallets, and dumpster diving for important documents. The Federal Trade Commission has come up with safeguards to protect your identity.

Helpful Tidbits: Only give your SSN when absolutely required.

  • Deter - Safeguard your information:
    • Shred financial documents.
    • Protect your SSN.
    • Don't give out personal information unless you are sure who you are dealing with.
    • Don't use obvious passwords.
    • Keep your information secure.
  • Detect - Routinely monitor your financial accounts and billing statements.
    • Be alert.
      • Mail or bills that don't arrive
      • Denials of credit for no reason
    • Inspect your credit report.
      • Law entitles you to one free report a year from each of the three nationwide credit reporting agencies.
      • www.AnnualCreditReport.com
    • Inspect your financial statements.
      • Look for charges you didn't make.
  • Defend – Report identity theft as soon as you suspect a problem.
    • Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports by calling any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies:
      • Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
      • Experian: 1-888-397-3742
      • TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
    • Review reports carefully, looking for fraudulent activity.
      • Close accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.
      • File a police report.
      • Contact the Federal Trade Commission.

To learn more about Identity Theft please visit the Federal Trade Commission.

Reference: ftc.gov/idtheft

Don't wait until it is too late! Now is the time to begin taking the steps toward financial security that will impact the rest of your life. Following Dave Ramsey's 7 Baby Steps will ensure that you and your family are financially secure now and long-term.

Helpful Tidbits: Invest in a Roth IRA or some type of pre-tax retirement account as soon as possible. College isn't too early to start saving for retirement!

Baby Step 1: Start an Emergency Fund
An emergency fund is for those unexpected events in life that you can't plan for. Make it your goal to have $1,000 in an Emergency Fund.

Baby Step 2: Pay off all debt using the Debt Snowball
List your debts, excluding the house, in order of amount. The smallest balance should be your number one priority.

Baby Step 3: 3 to 6 months of expenses in savings
Build your full emergency fund. This will help in unexpected events such as a job loss or unexpected pregnancy.

Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of household income into Roth IRAs and pre-tax retirement
Reaching this step will take time. You will have no payments except the house and a fully funded emergency fund.

Baby Step 5: College funding for children
Whether you are saving for you or your child to go to college it is time to start now.

Baby Step 6: Pay off home early
Now it's time to begin chunking all of your extra money toward the mortgage.

Baby Step 7: Build wealth and give!
Leave an inheritance for future generations, and bless others now with your excess.

To learn more about how to become financially secure visit daveramsey.com.

Reference: daveramsey.com