Scared Spitless? How to Be Frugal in an Uncertain Economy
I never have cash. I always use plastic. If I didn’t have my magic black plastic MasterCard, God forbid, I would be stalled on the side of the road gas-less, grocery-less and naked. We do pay our bills as a family and our credit rating is stellar. But the honest truth is that I would be much more frugal if I were handing the cashier dollars and cents instead of my infinite supply of imaginary moolah.
God has basic financial principles He wants us to follow. I’d like to share some basics from my pastor-husband. I also want to share a life-changing article excerpt called “Seven Frugal Habits Everyone Should Develop.”
First, let me share a quick story about two of my favorite people: my parents. Mom and Dad did it right. My mother, the daughter of a poor East Texas dirt farmer, learned to play with corn husk dolls and fabric scraps. My skinny daddy slaved away in his father’s gas station to scrape together enough dough for an itty-bitty engagement ring for his sweetheart. Ralph and Wanda, (their given names) survived on pinto beans and peanut butter. And along came me. Daddy boldly launched a little construction company. His hole-in-the-wall office was a block from our house. Mom was his bookkeeper. They slaved long hours, prayed hard, tithed and saved. After thirty years of penny-pinching, tithing, and helping the poor (not to mention their grateful family), Mom and Dad are quite wealthy. Early on in life, my parents learned to honor God with their money.
God has a sure-fire financial plan for you. I am going to start with the article I mentioned: “Seven Habits of Frugal People.” http://moneyning.com/frugality/7-habits-of-highly-frugal-people/#! Here are some key points.
Be proactive and take the first step. Instead, take a long hard look at your finances — your budget, debts, income, and expenses, and try to understand where your money is going and where you can budget better. Tell people so that you crystallize your goal, and won’t have to apologize for a more expensive lifestyle. Listen. Listen to yourself and to the reasons you give each time you make a purchase outside of your budget or decide not to put spare money into your savings account.
Define your financial goals and make a budget. Just say “no.” Don’t cave to the pressure of your family, or other influencers in your life. Wear the same suit. Eat at home. Understand the difference between possessions and net worth. When the value of your assets is greater than the amount you owe on mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, then you have a strong net worth and are truly wealthy.
Communicate with the people in your life about financial choices. You are not the only person affected by your decision to live a more frugal lifestyle. Understand the goals and needs of others. What about your spouse and your kids? Find out what they perceive as essential and prioritize. You can find a way to be more frugal without them having to give up all of the things that are most important to them.
Synergize. Synergy is creative cooperation — working as a team to find new solutions to existing problems. Look for new ways to be frugal and learn from the frugal people that you know. Be creative.
Take care of yourself. Taking the time to renew yourself physically, spiritually and emotionally will give you strength to maintain the previous six habits, which are essential for your success. Develop a support system. Exercise, eat right, constantly read and develop your skills. And, shocker, even this secular article recommends that you pray about your finances.
Don’t miss this article: There are a number of links and great resources that you can use.
Now let’s address God’s biblical economic plan. My husband Roger has preached on this topic so often I can recite it by heart. If you really memorize these Scriptures, you will see yourself as a steward, not an owner of God’s gifts.
Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5 NIV
Borrowing to supply living expenses and depreciating items says, in effect, "God, you haven't given me enough money to meet my needs and therefore, I am going to borrow to make up for your lack." Borrowing money is a human attempt to satisfy a dissatisfied heart - a heart that will never find satisfaction in the things that borrowed money can buy.
“The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.” Proverbs 22:7 NIV
Over the next five years a $20,000 car will cost you $25,000 and I submit to you that by borrowing money to purchase that car you have just lowered your standard of living by $5000. That, of course, is exactly what our government is doing right now. By borrowing money they are lowering the standard of living of every citizen in this country.
By borrowing money we allow the lender to dictate to us a lower standard of living - and I submit to you that that is a form of slavery. The lender has gotten some of your money and therefore, he has gotten some of God's money. God won't bless that.
"Be content with such things as you have." Hebrews 13:5 NIV
By paying cash for everything we purchase we give God the chance to divinely guide us. He will give us the money if He wants us to have it. He won't if He doesn't. God owns all the assets in the universe and if He wants us to have something, He will give you the money if His own good time and in His own perfect will. If God hasn't given you the money there is a good reason. Borrowing money may "short circuit" God's plan to bless us for free!
“Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share.” 1 Timothy 6:18 NIV
God rewards generosity. Tithe. (Proverbs 3:9-10) Give your Creator the first portion of our income. Budget. Know what you have and spend accordingly. (Proverbs 27:23) Stay out of debt. (Proverbs 22:7) Save for the future. Provide for your family. (1 Timothy 5:8) Give generously to God’s work and to the poor. (Acts 4:32-35)
You'll be glad you did!