If over-spending is your problem, it means you’re not controlling your money. Your money is controlling you. Today on MoneyWise, Rob West has some ideas about how to change that. While it’s certainly true that God created everything and owns everything, it’s also true that He’s put each of us in charge of just a tiny portion of His holdings, and He expects us to be faithful stewards of His resources. To do that, we have to control money and not let it control us. God’s word contains over 2300 verses about money and possessions and when we follow those principles, we become financially free. When we don’t, we become slaves to money. It controls us. Here are Rob’s key steps to getting control of the money God has given you: 1. Avoid debt. Proverbs 22:7 says, "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender." And Proverbs 21:20 tells us, "Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man's dwelling, but a foolish man devours it."If you have trouble managing your credit and debit cards, stop using them. It is possible to use cash for many of your budget categories. The advantage to using cash is you can’t overspend like with a credit card if you separate your cash into envelopes or categories. When an envelope is empty, you can’t spend any more in that category. If you don’t sneak and dig into another category, you’ll still have the money you need for other things. That part is just simple math. Rob also talks about the strong psychological component to using cash. When you have to hand over actual dollars, it’s much more difficult to part with them. Studies show people spend 10 to 30-percent less just by using cash instead of plastic, so it’s a real help in controlling impulse spending. 2. If you already have debt, pay more than the minimum payment each month. When you pay just the minimum on your credit card, for example, a lot of that money is going toward interest only, so it will take years to pay it off. Instead, pay as much as you can above the minimum each month to get that card paid off quickly. If you have more than one card to pay off, Rob recommends paying the one with the lowest balance off first to get it out of the way, then taking what you were paying each month on that card, adding that amount to what you have to pay on the next lowest card, and pay it off in the same manner. That’s called the snowball method. You’ll get a quick psychological boost from paying off a card. That gives you incentive to keep going. When that’s paid off, you can go on to the next card with the lowest balance and so on. 3. Avoid the lure of credit cards offering big rewards unless you already have a spending plan in place and you’re already using it. Those reward points will be dwarfed by the interest payments you’ll have to make if you don’t pay off the entire balance each month. Many people think they won’t let that happen, but then an unexpected expense comes along and the easy way out is to use the credit card. This leads to the fourth step in Rob’s plan to control your money. 4. Set up an emergency fund. Rob recommends it be able to cover 3 to 6 months of living expenses. Then, when an extensive medical emergency or a job layoff pops up, you use emergency fund money to pay for it and keep you afloat. Next, Rob answers listener questions including the following: --We applied for a PPP small business loan in 2020, received the money, and then applied for and were granted loan forgiveness. Are there any surprises we should be aware of on our taxes or elsewhere? --I’m getting married in January, and we don’t want to combine our finances until after we’re married. How would you recommend we plan for the time when we DO merge our money? (Rob answers the question, but also recommends the book "Money and Marriage God’s Way" by Howard Dayton.) --I’m trying to help my mom purchase her first home and may need to co-sign in order for her to qualify for a loan. I don’t really have extra money to help her, so what would you recommend I do? Remember, you can call in to ask your questions 24/7 at (800) 525-7000 or email them to [email protected] Also, visit our website at MoneyWise.org where you can listen to past programs, connect with a MoneyWise Coach, and even download free, helpful resources like the free MoneyWise app. Like and follow us on Facebook at MoneyWise Media for the very latest discussion! And remember that it’s your prayerful and financial support that keeps MoneyWise on the air. Help us continue this outreach by clicking the Donate tab on our website or in our app.