Margin in our marriage means that Nancy and I do not overschedule our lives to the point that we are left with little or no time for each other. Margin in our finances means that we spend less than we make so there is extra at the end of each month.
Nancy and I are both self-employed, so our income varies. When either one of us gets a check, 10 percent immediately goes to our church. That works really well and gets the money out of our account quickly so we aren’t tempted to do something else with it.
Something we do today that I wish we had started many years ago is we take the next 10 percent and put it in savings. I would encourage you to do that faithfully—and if you’re still young, don’t wait to start! You will be amazed how it multiplies. We know what our monthly fixed expenses are, and then we allocate money for other expenses, including recreation together. We try to plan for big purchases and expected projects. Sometimes big, unexpected expenses slam us—like the rough year when the air conditioner and sewer line both gave out.
Our goal is to have money left over at the end of every month so we can use it creatively. Sometimes we use the extra money to buy something we have been wanting and waiting for. Having margin also allows us to give to ministries we believe in and to help others out who are going through a difficult time. The really awesome thing about having margin in our finances is that it also gives us margin in our marriage! We don’t fight over money and don’t spend hours each month trying to make ends meet. Our budget is a road map for our money that lets us know at any time exactly where we are financially.
What would it take for you to have margin in your finances? You may think it’s not possible, but it is. All it takes is a commitment from the two of you.