1. As we work with integrity, our lives are blessed forever.
From the manual:
I believe in the gospel of work. There is no substitute under the heavens for productive labor. It is the process by which dreams become realities. It is the process by which idle visions become dynamic achievements.
What have you learned through hard work?
2. We have a responsibility to help others lift themselves and become self-reliant.
From the manual:
It is our solemn obligation … to “succor the weak, lift up the hands which hang down, and strengthen the feeble knees” (D&C 81:5). We must help them to become self-reliant and successful.
How can we help others become self-reliant?
3. Prophets have encouraged us to prepare ourselves spiritually and temporally for catastrophes to come.
Watch: Temporal preparation President Hinckley encourages church members to be prepared for future calamities.
Read or watch: Becoming self-reliant
From the manual:
We teach self-reliance as a principle of life, that we ought to provide for ourselves and take care of our own needs. And so we encourage our people to have something, to plan ahead, keep … food on hand, to establish a savings account, if possible, against a rainy day. Catastrophes come to people sometimes when least expected—unemployment, sickness, things of that kind.
What are some small, gradual things we can do to prepare ourselves?
4. We enjoy independence and freedom as we avoid debt to the extent possible and set aside money for times of need.
J Reuben Clark gave some great advice about interest in 1938:
‘Interest never sleeps nor sickens nor dies; it never goes to the hospital; it works on Sundays and holidays; it never takes a vacation; it never visits nor travels; it takes no pleasure; it is never laid off work nor discharged from employment; it never works on reduced hours; it never has short crops nor droughts; it never pays taxes; it buys no food; it wears no clothes; it is unhoused and without home and so has no repairs, no replacements, no shingling, plumbing, painting, or whitewashing; it has neither wife, children, father, mother, nor kinfolk to watch over and care for; it has no expense of living; it has neither weddings nor births nor deaths; it has no love, no sympathy; it is as hard and soulless as a granite cliff. Once in debt, interest is your companion every minute of the day and night; you cannot shun it or slip away from it; you cannot dismiss it; it yields neither to entreaties, demands, or orders; and whenever you get in its way or cross its course or fail to meet its demands, it crushes you. ‘ (in Conference Report, Apr., 1938)
Steps to using a budget
1. List all your expenses – go through your bank statement and list everything you spent money on. Look at the cash you withdrew from the cash machine and write down what you spent it on. This exercise will also help you to review your spending habits. Do you really need to buy a newspaper? Do you really need all of those channels on your TV? How much are your phones and electronic devices costing you? Look at your shopping habits – are you buying lots of food that you then throw away because it has gone out of date? You can avoid this by shopping to menus?
2. Prepare a budget – use this information to prepare a budget showing all of your income and expenditure. There is a simple pro-forma in the ‘All Is Safely Gathered In’ pamphlet.
Don’t forget to pay the Lord first – make sure that you include your tithes and other offerings in your budget.
Plan to save – if you save what is left there won’t be anything left! So decide on a fixed sum or percentage to save and build that into your budget. BYU suggests that we should save 10% of our income,
Then adjust your spending to fit your income. Don’t forget to take into account irregular or annual payments such as road fund tax, birthdays, Christmas etc.
3. Implement your budget – discipline yourself to keep to the budget you have set. You will sleep better at night.
4. Compare your budget and your actual expenditure – at the end of the week or the month review how well you did. You may find that there were some items of expenditure that you forgot about – build them into the next budget. If you kept to the budget – pat yourself on the back and then keep keeping to it!
Within a family setting, this will only work if both husband and wife are committed to it – family finances and budgeting should be a joint responsibility. Marvin J Ashton wrote:
New attitudes and relationships towards money should be developed constantly by all couples. After all, the partnership should be full and eternal. Management of family finances should be mutual between husband and wife in an attitude of openness and trust. Control of the money by one spouse as a source of power of authority causes inequality in the marriage and is inappropriate. Conversely, if a marriage partner voluntarily removes himself or herself entirely from family financial management, that is an abdication of necessary responsibility. (Marvin J Ashton, One for the Money)
Build a reserve
‘Gradually build a financial reserve, and use it for emergencies only. If you save a little money regularly, you will be surprised how much accumulates over time.’ (All is Safely Gathered In)
As mentioned above, save a specific amount. Aim to build up an emergency cushion of 3 months essential obligations (mortgage, fuel, Council tax etc). Save for missions, weddings, education, a deposit on a house, retirement. Shop around for the best rates of return but be careful to avoid get rich quick schemes. If something seems to be too good to be true, it is because it is too good to be true.
Watch: Becoming provident providers Elder Robert D. Hales encourages us to stay out of debt and live frugally as he recounts a story from the early days of his marriage, when his wife exemplified the principles of provident living.