Make the Most of Your Money in Tough Times
- 2009 4 Dec
Editor's Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of Kerby Anderson's new book, Make the Most of Your Money in Tough Times (Harvest House, 2009).
Although you can't control the economy, you can control how you manage your money during his recession. Applying biblical principles to your finances during these tough economic times will benefit you and your family.
Here's how you can make the most of your money in tough times:
Acknowledge God's provision in your life. Remember that God created everything you own and use. Thank Him by doing your best to be a good steward of all that He has entrusted to you. Decide to manage your financial assets well so they don't end up managing you.
Overcome materialism and consumerism. Ask God to help you develop the contentment you need to resist the materialistic and consumer attitudes promoted in our culture. Pursue a simple lifestyle that can free you from the dangers of being owned by material possessions and empower you to live a spiritual life of service. See yourself as a citizen, rather than a consumer. Recognize that, as one of Christ's ambassadors, you have a responsibility to contribute to the world to help make it a better place. Spend more time and energy on activities that contribute to society than on those that focus on your own consumption.
Give generously. Use your money as a tool to support God's work on Earth. Look for opportunities to give financially as God leads you every day. Give generously, cheerfully, purposefully, and sacrificially, to express your love for God, rather than out of guilt or compulsion.
Deal with debt and credit wisely. Work to become debt-free, since that will give you the freedom to follow God's leading in your life without constraints. Pay off existing debt as quickly as possible, and avoid taking on new debt whenever possible. Create a budget that will help you stick to healthy spending habits - consistently spending less than you earn. While having a credit card can be a valuable way to build a good credit rating, limit yourself to one card if you can, and use it responsibly. Pay off your entire balance every month so you won't accrue interest charges. Never use your credit card for impulse buys; stuck to budgeted purchases only. Do all you can to avoid filing for bankruptcy, since you should honor the vow you made to pay your creditors by using credit cards to make your purchases. Don't cheat businesses out of money you legitimately owe them. Instead, develop a payment plan and work hard to repay what you owe.
Save and invest wisely. Set aside six months' worth of income for an emergency or unexpected expense. If you can't save that much right away, just start saving however much you can and build your savings from there. When investing: Choose investments that are easy to understand and track; Invest with a goal in mind; Set a budget for investing; Never take on an investment that causes you or your family too much stress; Prepare for the unexpected, such as needing the money in your investment earlier than you'd planned; Diversify your investments; Invest in gold, since it has historically been a good hedge against inflation; Consider the morality of your investments (paying attention to what values your investment money supports); and Seeking godly wisdom before investing by praying and talking with believers you trust.
Buy insurance wisely. Protect yourself and your family from potential financial disasters by purchasing adequate insurance for your health, life, home, and car. Buying insurance doesn't mean that you're not trusting God. It simply means that you're planning responsibly for the future.
Spend less money. Look for ways to cut back on your spending, such as: buying used cars rather than new ones, eating at home rather than out at restaurants, buying store brands instead of name brands, doing household chores and repairs yourself rather than hiring others to do them, and taking advantage of company benefits like health savings accounts and group purchasing discounts. Eliminate waste however you can, such as by turning off lights when you leave rooms and not letting your car idle for long periods of time. If you have a habit of compulsive spending that you need to break, pray for the self-control you need to resist impulse purchases and discipline yourself to stick to a healthy budget.
Work well. Keep in mind that, since God created people to work, your work can be rewarding and empowering. Ask God to guide you to the right job for you - one that will prove interesting and fulfilling, while giving you opportunities to use your talents and skills make the world a better place. Never take a job just for the money it pays. Focus on the type of work you'll be doing, and whether or not that reflects God's will for you. Give your very best effort to your work, pursuing excellence every day and remembering that you're ultimately working for God. Make time in your schedule for regular times of rest, so you'll be able to keep working with renewed energy.
Pay your taxes faithfully. Respect governmental authorities and pay your fair share of taxes on time.
Participate in capitalism ethically. Enjoy the freedom to earn wealth, but don't let greed creep into your decisions. Pray regularly for the wisdom to earn money fairly and use it responsibly in our capitalistic system.
Adapted from Make the Most of Your Money in Tough Times, copyright 2009 by Kerby Anderson. Published by Harvest House Publishers, Eugene, Or., www.harvesthousepublishers.com.
Kerby Anderson hosts the radio talk show Point of View and is the national director of Probe Ministries. The author of several books, including Making the Most of Your Money in Tough Times and A Biblical Point of View on Spiritual Warfare, he is a frequent guest on programs such as Prime Time America, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Focus on the Family, and The 700 Club. He is a visiting professor at Dallas Theological Seminary.