0445-02 Personal Finance & Bookkeeping - Self Exam, etc.

                                                 - - - Rejoice in the Lord always ... again I say Rejoice !!! - - -

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                    TO: Interested Christians                                                                                                FROM: Jim Bramer, Retired CPA
                                                                                                                                                                    FILE: 0445-02/env

                    RE: Personal Finances & Bookkeeping - Self Exam, etc.                                        Originated:  October 2004                                    

        Below is a hypothetical Online Email thread (THRD) between any one of the following eEnvelope participates: John (Husband or non married male),  or Mary (Wife or unmarried female) and Jim@BCIDOT.ORG   Click here and go to List of threads (THRDs) at Ministry Finance Team Helps

FR: Mary

        Jim,  I just read your editorial at 0917 --- the quote below rings a bell with both my husband John and I.

     "BUT what concerns this retired "Bean Counter" is that people need help beyond the extremely valuable Bible Study and Fellowship time and even beyond the establishment of a Budget per se.  Namely, since most of today's families buy a lot of things using plastic and checks,  they MUST do the necessary bookkeeping so they can timely know their financial status and make wise buying decisions."   

 FR: Jim Bramer, Retired CPA

        Thank you, Mary ----  let me share a little more perspective.  I am so very very thankful for the Ministries that are set forth within 4999 --- they provide tremendous spiritual resources for all of us.  However, my heart particularly goes out to those  who DO NOT do well with the necessary financial record keeping and therefore are not likely to timely know if they are within spending limits.  Or they are guessing and likely to overspend with the obvious negative results.
        By the way ---- please be aware after July 2006 of this  Spending Control  website.

FR: Mary:

        Yes, John and I have been involved in one of the ministries above and they have really been a significant blessing to both of us. 
        But before we get into any more details on improvement along these lines ----   do you have any Self-Exam means that will allow us to evaluate ourselves?

FR:  Jim B.

        Yes ---  I trust that the list below helps you discover your strengths and weaknesses as you mark either the  OK  or  Not OK  column   Please take special notice of the  Nbr-ed  tasks below to the left that have a bracket  (xx)  around them since I will discuss them later.


              Probable Sequential Tasks


Not OK


Agree re Righteous Personal Finance vow - Click Here re sample


Divide up and agree to Spousal Duties - Click Here for more info


Establish and evaluate your budget every three months


Keep needed records of money received


Keep track of bills to pay


Timely pay bills - mark when/how paid


Update your Check Stubs - payee, amount and classification


Keep a running balance of money in Bank accounts


Reconcile your Bank Account records to the Bank Statement


Timely record ATM withdrawals etc


Keep slips and track Credit Card buying


Keep record of how much is owed to the CrCard Co


Reconcile your Credit Card record to their Statement, etc.


Timely pay so you incur no CrCard Interest Expense


Maintain/update "Actual to Budget" records


Reporting of "Actual to Budget" status


Filing and location of financial records.


Readily have info for Tax Return preparation, etc.


Maintain supply of finance paperwork


Make appropriate use of a Personal Finance Computer System

              as that found when you go to 0400

FR: Mary:

   Obviously, If John and I mark off too many in the  Not OK  column above,  we are the people that you are concerned about.  Let's suppose that we obviously need some improvements.  What options do we have? 

            FR:  Jim B.

        In my judgment,  you need to email me at Jim@bcidot.org and we dialog about the following options:

   A>  You want to utilize the Internet and have some one else do virtually all of your bookkeeping for you.  If so, please take a look at the content of 0905
   B>  You prefer to learn how to do the bookkeeping yourselves, but you need help with method determination and the necessary training. 
   C>  Whether you do the bookkeeping yourselves or you out-source the bulk of it, I trust you understand the applicable 0400  Envelope Spending Control system per the following overview.

   1> You define "Spending" areas of your life.  See the Envelope areas shown in this sample report
> You determine in advance how much of your available money goes into these "Spending" areas and you place all of your money upon receipt into these virtual Envelopes
>  You do your prudent buying from the available balance in the applicable Envelope.  You discipline yourself as you thoroughly understand the weekly reports that includes the most current Credit Card and/or Bank activity. This enables the family buyer to always know how much money there is to spend in each spending area and make appropriate buying decisions there from.  You make no buying decisions simply based on your Bank or Credit Card account balances.

FR: Mary:

        Please tell me a little more about some one else doing portions of our bookkeeping, etc. And why is this peculiar to the Internet?     Also what about the bracketed or  (xx)  items appearing in the Self-Exam above -- what do they mean?

FR:  Jim B.

        Oh,  thank you for reminding me ..... I intended to share that if you have a number of  bracketed items (xx) in the Not OK  portion of the Self-Exam list above, you are a candidate for getting help to do your bookkeeping.  
As you know,  it is possible to have someone either come to your home or you go to their home/office and regularly have them do the bookkeeping of your family finances. 
        But, our personal finances are very private ---- plus some of us are somewhat embarrassed about not doing a good job in this area of our lives -- or we need to correct some spending mistakes that we have made.  Therefore, as shared in some detail within  0917,  it is often appealing to be able to retain some reliable person that you have never met face-to-face and both of you use remote Internet tools in this process.  Please go to  4201 
( CAUTION:  BuxBox, QBuxBox and Envelope all mean the same thing)  for more details, but someone like a remote HOMER can assist you in at least the following ways:

>>  Together you finalize your Righteous Personal Finance budget
>>  Together you structure your virtual  Envelope  system.
>>  This person works with you re the bookkeeping software/system as it is made accessible via the Internet for both parties.

>>  Works with you to record your weekly Plastic, or Credit Cards, purchases.
>>  Works with you as your Checking account transactions flow weekly via your Bank/Internet to the Envelope system

 Assist you as the transactions are coded and processed for the Envelope system
>>  Produce Envelope system reports that clearly show activity and how much is in each virtual Envelope so that -
>>  You know if you have any money in applicable Envelopes to spend during the following week.
CAUTION:   Remember ... it is the HOMER's primary function to help you bookkeep past history and timely get reports to you, so you can righteously spent in the future as unto the Lord.
>>  And 
NOT necessarily to assist you in tax or investment matters, or provide counsel about Righteous Personal Finance  matters or debt management.  It is probably best to use other resources for such purposes.

FR: Mary:

    One more thing .... I have talked with some of our married friends who begin their personal finance bookkeeping by having separate Checking accounts for "HIS",  "HERS" and
"THEIRS."  Or they divide up the money that comes in and they place it into these separate Checking accounts.  Of course, they also have Savings accounts that contain money that they prefer to not touch unless there is an emergency (1).

           FR:  Jim B.

                    I know of some married couples that have successfully done this for years.  My comments are:

  •  CAUTION:  It is essential that married couples have a united team approach in  all  personal finance matters within a marriage relationship. In my view, such a structure/system could contribute to this not happening and stress in the marriage relationship.

  •  As mentioned when you go to  0006  you should earn as much interest Income as possible ---- or pool your Bank Accounts.    Please also read content of  0933

  •  A common/agreed approach to Righteous Personal Finances  for a family could be difficult when HIS and HERS money is part of their life style.

  •  More bank accounts likely add to the bookkeeping chores

  •  You could assign HIS and HERS money to spend within respective Envelopes and probably accomplish such a needed objective.  Please notice the two sides of the dollar approach  (Side A - Available Resources and Side 1 - Committed Areas) in the sample shown when you Click Here.

  •  Having money in Savings accounts contribute to a "sacredness" and encourages the family toward a "do not touch"  approach.

FR: Mary:

    Right --- John and I do NOT want to have any more opportunities to "fight over money"  that such a set up might allow.  Especially, if I understand what you say about the virtual Envelope system above,  that such money can be in a common Checking Accounts and still be committed for HIS  or  HER  agreed purposes. 

FR:  Jim B.

     That is the overall value of the virtual Envelope system.  It is interesting that some folks prefer to not even include Savings Accounts within their Envelope system, or they restrict the Envelope system to only the needed SPENDING CONTROLS of their usual everyday life style experiences, etc.

FR: Mary:

        Is there anything else I should know, Jim?

FR:  Jim B.

        Yes --- Please be aware of this web contents when you Click Here and Here.  The gives you more perspective about using the Internet to do bookkeeping/accounting tasks as done at Churches and/or Ministries.  At the appropriate time, something along these lines could be provided for use of Internet as to Righteous Personal Finance via the eEnvelope system.

FR: Mary:

      Thank you for providing these resources, Jim.  We will be in touch.          


        Please Click Here for a list of eEnvelope writings on Ministry Finance Team Helps.  Feel free to contact me at Jim@bcidot.org if you have any comments or questions about any of these matters.  Remember -- It is my desire to encourage you in your Christian walk and to be "Your Servant for Jesus Sake:" Thank you.   II Corinthians 4:5B  This was updated last on: June 04, 2010   

Email Address:  Jim@bcidot.org  - Phone: (559) 298-5507  -- 
 Mailing Address:  2628 East Goshen Ave. - Fresno, CA 93720

Ministry Finance Team Helps links:   Spending Control HOME  | :  ABOUT  US   |    Spending Control  Purpose   |   SITEMAP   |   MFTeam HELPS