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Money Management: Rocks and Pebbles

seashell and white stones on seashore

Many years ago, while in primary school, I remember having to complete an experiment on soil. I think the subject was called Environmental Studies and I had to present a project to show how soil worked.

We were told to get a jar, go into the garden, and get sand, pebbles, stones, and small rocks. We then had to put all these ingredients into a jar.

At first, I tried to put the sand in first then the pebbles, and then the stones. Unfortunately, I could not get the small rocks in – there just wasn’t any space!

With my mother’s help, and after following the instructions, I tried the experiment again, this time getting the order right: I needed to get the big rocks in first, followed by the stones, then the pebbles, and finally the sand. By following this order, everything fitted in and the fine sand easily flowed between the pebbles and rocks. The experiment worked and I also learned a little about soil that day…

“Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.” (Proverbs 12:15)

This illustration is also a great money management principle. When you look at your budget, you often have it filled with a bunch of small items, and then when you try and fit the bigger (more important) items in – it just doesn’t fit. 

“Do your planning and prepare your fields before building your house.” (Proverbs 24:27)

It is important to get our financial priorities into our budget first. We first need to put “the rocks” into our budget: important elements like first giving to God, followed by our savings and investments. The truth is if these “rocks” are not put in first, they just won’t fit in. We also need to include our other “rocks” like our bond or rent payments and living expenses. Only once these “rocks” are in our budget, should we start adding the “pebbles”, our nice-to-haves, and the “sand” items, which are the luxuries.

You need to get your priorities in the right order. I want to encourage you to get the ROCKS into your budget first. These rocks will help you build towards a more secure future and will lead to a brighter tomorrow.

By the way, one thing I learned from the soil experiment is that by having the rocks in first, followed by the stones, then pebbles and sand, is that this soil composition leads to healthy fertile ground, with good drainage that really helps plants to flourish and thrive.

If you get the rocks in your budget first, with your priorities in the right order, just maybe you will set your finances up to be fruitful and flourishing over the next 10 years.

“The Lord will greatly bless his people. Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up.” (Isaiah 32:20)

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