Interview with a Savings Expert: Jason Price

Don’t know how to get your finances under control? Wish you had more money to donate to charity? Jason Price answers these questions (and much more) on his blog, One Money Design. Read the following interview for Price’s advice on budgeting, overcoming debt, and saving enough to give back to charity.

Your blog, One Money Design, came out of your ministry work as a financial coach. What parts of your background drew you to this field, and what inspired you to start the blog?

I enjoy learning and sharing biblical principles of stewardship and practical tips to help people manage their money wisely. I enjoyed volunteering my time as a coach and find that the website provides an avenue to reach more people.

You created a Financial Manifesto based on your ideas about money. Your beliefs include following a budget, donating to charity, and paying off your credit cards. Which of these tenets do you think are the hardest for people to follow?

I think it’s in following a spending plan or budget. It requires discipline and some time investment each month to follow a plan and track spending. It’s hard to be disciplined and not go out to eat when that budget category has run dry. Technology has helped with this with the creation of iPhone apps and budgeting software, but people still have to make wise choices.

On your website, you frequently discuss how your religious beliefs have shaped how you manage money. Have you always relied on your faith to guide your financial decisions?

Not always. I made financial decisions in the past based on my own personal desires and what would make me happy. Today, I try to think about big financial decisions from the perspective of a steward. In doing so, not only will I have more financial freedom, there will be opportunities that can be used to help others.

One of the areas you feel strongly about is donating funds to charity. What are some easy ways for people to give back even if they’re struggling to stay within a budget?

Simply add a giving category to a monthly budget, and then automate it. Our giving is an act of faith. It would be easy to think we could use that money to pay for things we need, but as Christians, we’re trusting God to provide for our needs.

A big part of obtaining financial freedom is by avoiding taking on any debt. What are the main steps you would recommend a person take to become and remain debt-free?

Start with getting $500-$1,000 saved up. This covers most minor emergencies aside from job loss or major medical expenses. Then, create a plan to get out of debt. I like the Ready for Zero tool and included it on my recommendations page.

For parents looking to teach their children about financial responsibility, do you have any specific steps you take to educate your own kids about money?

I think the best way to teach kids is to simply provide them nuggets of wisdom from time to time. Involve them in money discussions that they can understand (saving for something they desire), paying bills, etc. I think it’s also important to teach them responsibility by giving them some jobs around the house. Parents should find a way for them to earn money each week so the kids can then learn how to manage it. We purchased Give, Save, Spend banks for our children, and their income gets allocated to each when they receive it.

Your site features a very helpful Recommended Financial Products section. Are there any specific sites or apps you would suggest for people just starting to get their finances under control?

Yes, I’m a big fan of YNAB (You Need a Budget). It’s software focused on creating and tracking against a monthly spending plan. I also like Manilla for bill management and Ready for Zero for creating a debt plan.

When readers sign up for your newsletter, they get a list of your favorite financial suggestions. Is there one lesson you wished you’d learned earlier in your savings venture?

I think starting to save even with just a little bit of money is the best tip to follow, especially when investing. My wife and I don’t really have a lot of extra money for saving for our children’s education, but a few years ago we decided we would automatically invest a small amount for each child each month. We’ve been consistent with this savings and have already seen the benefits of compounding work. The compounding has helped us gain at least 6 additional months of savings. Unbelievable how that works!

Thanks so much for taking the time out to answer our questions. Any last words of wisdom for our CouponPal readers?

I think personal finance is easy to overcomplicate. My advice for people is to keep it simple. Read a couple of books to get educated on the basics, e.g. Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover,” create a budget that isn’t too crazy in the details, subscribe to a couple of blogs and one magazine, avoid debt, save consistently and always give first.

Like this interview? Check out the rest of our Interview with a Savings Expert series. Have a question for an expert or someone you want to see interviewed? Tweet your suggestions with #SavingsExperts to @CouponPal!

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