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Family Focus Article

MARK MACKAY    May 23, 2024    3 min read   

In marriage counselling, I often share with couples that consistently one of the most significant causes of stress in relationships is money.  And that stress doesn’t just arise out of debt stress.  We can disagree over how money should be managed; what should be spent and when; should we have a family budget and what should be in it; if we overspend in one area, what is the other area that has to go.  

To be sure, in our current environment there aren’t many families who won’t have some measure of financial stress – especially with the well-publicised cost of living.  But, there are many areas of financial stress that are frankly self-inflicted and, if we can get those areas under control, we can reduce so much stress in our homes.  For one example, having a family budget can help – if we know the insurance, rates and electricity are all due in the next couple of pay cycles, we’ll be careful how we spend in other areas.

The Bible is a wonderfully practical book that addresses those areas of our life that cause so much stress, including finances.  One of the key points the Bible makes is that we need to have a healthy attitude in regards to money – For example, “Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income.” (Ecclesiates 5:10) 

Money is a means to an end, not the end in itself and part of having a good attitude to money is knowing the end we are looking to achieve.  I know an elderly couple in Forest Lake who are an outstanding example of a healthy attitude to money.  They have a very limited income and unsubstantial savings.  But they budget well and are great at prioritising their spending.  As such, they can afford to generously invest into the lives of others in a way that inspires me.

So, from a practical point of view, here are some steps we can take in regards to money in our homes:

  • A household budget is a good thing!
  • We need to look at how we spend our money and evaluate whether we are actually spending our money in the areas that are important.  Too often, if we don’t budget, we will just spend as the opportunity/need arises rather than spending on what’s actually important;
  • Sit down as a family and talk about money – communication is always a good step to take.

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