Family Finance by Crown Financial Ministries, crown.org

Misspending business reimbursements piles up debt

Credit card

It is common practice in today's business world for employers to reimburse employees for business-related expenses: hotel rooms and meals while on a business trip or fuel if the employee's car is used for business purposes.

THE PROBLEM

As in personal finances, credit cards can wreak havoc with business expenses. Sometimes the employee uses his or her personal credit cards, turns in an expense report, and is reimbursed by the employer. The danger is in the temptation to use the reimbursed money to pay for other things, rather than paying off the credit card bills. Thus, the credit card bills continue to increase and more debt results.

THE SOLUTION

Of course, the solution is to resist the temptation to spend the reimbursed money on other things; but it's not as easy as it sounds for some people. However, there are three helpful ways to simplify the problem.

Open a separate account for all business expenses. When the business expenses are reimbursed, that money goes into the business account and is used to pay the credit card companies.

If you can't control the use of credit cards, destroy them. Use cash, debit cards, or even traveller's cheques as alternative methods of paying for business expenses.

Begin paying off any debt already owed, which may mean sacrificing for a while; but, the more you pay off, the less interest you will have to pay. Once you are free of debt, you can spend more freely on what you want.

Beware of the urge to report more expenses than you are due. Not only can these result in the termination of your job, it is also stealing and is a sinful act before God. Today it is also possible to use direct debit from your employer to reimburse your expenses as you present your receipts.

Get control of your debt instead of letting it control you, and you will live a much more rewarding life.

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