Blog Post

How I Turned My Budget Upside Down

With a stroke of a pen and a judge’s decree, I was single again and set to raise two children on my own. A flood of emotions from fear and shame to anger and hurt attempted to take me out.

I didn’t need my degree in finance to know that a 90% reduction in income would make holding everything together nearly impossible. For weeks, I toiled over possible solutions. I’d been out of the workforce for five years, just long enough to get rusty. How would I possibly close this gap and keep up with our lifestyle?

A radical solution

One morning a proverb I’d learned as a child popped into mind: “Trust God completely, don’t rely on yourself to figure things out, instead in everything acknowledge Him and He can be relied upon to guide your path.” That’s encouraging, I thought, but I need practical guidance. It came later that morning through a speaker at church who talked about re-ordering our finances. Just what I needed! There was a catch, however, one that turned my previous financial training upside down: Give first, save second, and then create a budget to live on the rest. In this, the speaker challenged us to trust God enough to invite Him into our finances.

The encouragement was to try this method for 30 days and if it didn’t work, go back to our old ways of handling money.

This was radical for me as a 32-year-old single mom of two small girls. I’d always lived on a budget, saved, and given reactively from any financial leftovers. But I was willing to give this experiment a try. I eagerly went home, pulled out my notebook, and recorded my assets and income. Then I prayed, inviting God into my finances. I set my giving number first, set my savings number second, and then created a bare bones budget to live on the rest. I remember my excitement as I wrote the first check, ready to give to help someone else.

An experiment becomes a habit

I never went back. This became a habit and I saw God come through time and time again, many times in big and extraordinary ways.

Now my daughters, ages 22 and 27, do the same in their own homes. And when I remarried, I asked my husband to join me in this giving adventure. So, each January, we set our giving number, asking God to stretch us towards a greater percentage each year.

Inviting God into my finances was one of the smartest choices I’ve made. He moved me from the corrosive power of fear to the freeing power of enough.

My passion was cultivated from this challenging life season. I’m passionate about equipping women to manage all that has entrusted to them, inviting God into their finances, and experiencing the transformative power of giving.

Are you willing to turn your finances upside down?

Pam Pugh

About Author

Pam Pugh

Pam Pugh is one of the founders of Women Doing Well. She guides charitable organizations in strategic planning and implementation through her firm, Reaching Forward, LLC. She is deeply motivated by making connections in the generosity space to unleash a wealth of financial resources to further the gospel of Christ. She lives in Alpharetta, Ga., with her husband and has two daughters. Her purpose statement is “expanding territory.”

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