As I'm wrapping up my thoughts about finances, I thought I would leave you with some tips I have learned about saving, spending and finding a balance between the two. Most of it I learned the hard way.
- Be content. This one thing will enable yo to strike a balance between saving and spending. If we are content, we will have no desire to spend what we do not have, and we will avoid the trap of keeping up the Jones'. Being content means that I can look at others and what they have and be happy for them, without feeling the need to run out and get it for myself. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
- Don't worry. This seems to go right along and possibly hand in hand with being content; like salt and pepper. If we are content with what we have, then we will not be anxious and upset about our finances. By not worrying we are, in fact, telling God that we trust him. We are acting in the faith that God loves us and knows what we need. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life
- Know the boundaries. A good principal to follow is, don't take on debt you can't afford. If you must borrow money or use a credit card, be sure you can afford it. This means that you must be aware of what you spend and what you make. There is no way to know if you can afford something if you have no idea of whether you actually have enough money to afford it. A good farmer knows that the best way to keep track of the cows is to put up a fence. If you want to keep track of the cows, build a fence. If you want financial freedom, set some limits. You need to know how much you make and how much you can spend. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough
- Remember that it is just money. Money and finances can change in a moment. No matter how careful you are, or how much you save, the economy is fickle and what you have today may be gone tomorrow. It's how Paul can say "If I have money, it's okay and If I don't have money that's okay too." (Sharon translation) and how Paul can tell Timothy to keep his life free from the love of money. Knowing this one thing can help us keep a balance between saving and spending.
- Do your homework. Know what you are looking for, especially when it comes to more expensive items. Often we fall into the trap of not knowing what we are really looking for or what we need. I may know that I want a cellphone but If I do not know what I want in a cell phone, I am likely to end up with something that I do not want.
- Know if it's a need or a want. Believe it or not, there is a difference between a need and a want. In our culture, we are not always taught to make that difference. In fact, we are often taught if we want it we should have it. Not only should we have it, but we should have it NOW. When we start to think in terms of needs versus wants, then we can say no to some things because it's a want and not a need. I may need a car, but I may not need or be able to afford the most expensive one on the lot. When I make a distinction between wants and needs, I can think clearly, and I won't end up paying for more car than I need.
I'm sure I could write more but I like to keep these short, so I am going to stop with these six words of wisdom. Most of what I've learned about finances I have learned the hard way. I don't always have it down perfectly myself but I am getting better and it is gratifying to know that we can pay for unexpected expenses without it killing us financially. If you find you need more help and really are serious about getting control of this area then I would suggest
Crown Financial Ministries or Dave Ramsey these are two good organizations to help you get on track.
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