Dear Grandchildren,

Wise people, including me, listen to advice. My best advice about money and time is learn how to budget. Money and time need a budget, or both will be wasted. This means you have a plan for your calendar and money. You need to budget your time, or you will waste it. You need to budget the money God has put in your hands to be a good steward.

Time budgeting is best known as “time management.” Time management is looking at the hours in the day and planning how you will invest those hours. When we last visited Mia and Noelle, we saw evidence that your parents were doing a wonderful job teaching you time usage skills.

A money budget is a plan for income. Income can come from your work, investments and even gifts. It is a plan for giving, saving, investing and spending. Before anyone is married, they should have these budgets. If God provides you with a spouse, you need to have time and money budgets as a couple. This can change over time. What will this look like today, this year and for the next ten years?

Here is a good way to start: Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals

Your short-term, medium-term, and long-term financial goals will have a huge impact on your overall budget. Short-term goals typically take one or two years to achieve and include things like creating a three-to-six-month emergency fund, paying off credit card debt, and saving for a special vacation. Medium-term goals include saving for college, for a down payment on a house or paying cash for a new or used car. This can take up to 10 years. The most important long-term goal you should have is saving for retirement and that requires saving and investing for most of your working life, which can be up to 40 years. Your grandma Cindie and I did this and that is why we don’t have to take a job. Our job is to care for you, for Great Grandma Charlotte and to go to Northern India to help our missionary Henry John and to help men and women prepare to share God’s Word in India.

When setting goals, many people rely on the S.M.A.R.T. acronym. The words have varied, but the ones often used for setting money goals are:

Specific—State your goal in a few words. “I want to save ten percent of my income this year.”

Measurable—How will you know you’ve achieved your goal? “Multiply income by 10%. Did your savings reach the goal you set?”

Achievable—It must be something you can accomplish. “Can we save that much given my current and predicted future income?”

Realistic—Even if achievable, does it make sense in your situation? “What will I give up?”

Time-based—Your timeline will tell you whether this is a short, medium, or long-term goal. “How long will this take?”

Get started early. Don’t waste precious time or money. Both are gifts from God. Remember that life is short. James 4:14 reminds us of this: “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.

Here is a helpful link with more information:

Step 2: Determine Your Net Income

Step 3: Add Up Mandatory Expenses

Step 4: Calculate What You Need to Save

Step 5: Divvy Up Discretionary Spending

Step 6: Select Your Budgeting Software

Step 7: Schedule a Weekly Money Date