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ss spotlight - NQ edition,  managing your money

managing your money

Liz Capper offers sage advice on financial management habits to get into early in your career

Are you a saver or spender? Since childhood you will have developed a relationship with money. As you commence your career, it's important to get a grip on money management.

Early on, a Christian uncle talked to me about regularly putting aside money for God's work. He introduced me to a precursor of Stewardship, 1 and encouraged me to set up a small standing order, month by month. Then I nominated the Christian work I wanted it to go to. This has been so enriching, a blessing, and a privilege to contribute to initiatives, and to respond to the Holy Spirit's prompts. It started small but has risen over the years, where possible setting aside ten per cent of my money.

Also, I started saving small amounts in a Building Society type fund. Nowadays, there are many such funds or ISAs. I chose ones from which I could not withdraw for a length of time, as a discipline! Alongside that, I set up an easy-access fund for the charges I knew were coming through the year. As the money went automatically from my bank, I got used to considering only the remainder as available expenditure.

So many things are deemed essential today: smartphones, TVs, laptops, holidays, etc. In the sixties, we had far fewer belongings. To give you an idea, we were instructed to bring a mug and a saucepan when we moved into the nurses home, as I started training. My Mother sent me off with four mugs so that I could be hospitable. I was considered rich!

Putting aside small amounts became ingrained. It meant thinking about those little treats, such as coffees or pizzas.

I think contactless cards and paperless bank statements contribute to getting into real trouble. Rent, food, energy costs, travel, and car expenses easily run away with our money. Adverts scream temptation - you must have this! You're worth it! Work out how much you have each month and budget accordingly. Getting into debt is so easy and creates so much grief. Where possible, ask you bank for paper statements each month to make you check.

As Christians, we need to prioritise ensuring our money goes to projects led by Christians. Begging letters flood in for very worthy causes, but others can give to them.

We are all noticing the scary escalation of the cost of living, but we need to remember that, in contrast with the vast proportion of our world's people, we are well off. We are privileged, so be thankful to God and use his money wisely.

Liz Capper is a former Chief Nurse at Hammersmith Hospital in London, and a former CMF and NCFI Trustee

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