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Earlier this year we spent some time thinking about money, generosity and winning the battle against the constant desire to have more, and better (a battle many of us are struggling with the day after apple released some new stuff!)

At the moment I am reading a book which I highly recommend by Bill Hybels (in fact, you should read everything he has ever written) which is called ‘Simplify’. One of the early chapters deals with money and the way which we deal with it. He shares that as a church leader of nearly 40 years, he has met thousands of people crippled by debt and struggling with the burden of unwise decisions which they made – only for it to come back and bite them on the backside.

Bill is much more wise than I will ever be, and I liked this little nugget of practical wisdom so thought I would share it. He describes the “10-10-80” principle. The first 10% of his money is given back to the place where it came from, returned to sender if you like. It goes straight to God, straight to the church, straight to people who need it. He says he does this by direct debit, no-negotiations, as there is never a month when we think “wow, I have so much more money than I need, what shall I do with all this excess?!”.

The second 10% goes into a savings pot, ready for when big, unexpected and costly things happen. The boiler breaks, the car dies, the dentist replaces every one of your teeth…one-off hits which would otherwise cause a massive problem are easily felt with by this fund which is built up over time. This pot can also be raided if the Lord leads you to a particular one-off gift to someone.

The remaining 80% of the monthly/weekly pay cheque is then what he lives off day to day.

I really liked the clear, practical and faith-filled way Bill describes this. It makes sense to me. It puts God first, it allows me to be generous. It protects me and my family from disasters. It ensures that I make wise decisions with the rest of my money and live in a prophetic way. You never know, I might even try it!