Text: Philippians 4:12, Proverbs 22:7
Live within your means
“…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”
“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender”
An often quoted maxim is “live within your means”. To live a life that is free of debt, you really have to cut-off living above your earning and change your financial habits. Why is this important? Unless you believe you will be in excellent health to work even to the age of 80 and above in other to provide food for yourself, shelter and other necessities of life.
If you spend more than you earn, you have a very serious problem at hand-the problem is you. Most people do not have income problem; they have spending problem. It’s not what you make; it’s what you spend. If you have managed to tame the spending tiger within you and are living within your means; it means you should save and invest more.
The only way to provide for later years is to live below your means; that’s the hope of achieving financial independence.
Living above your means creates high stress level. High stress level affect your health, spiritual life, emotional life, your marriage and financial life. Living below your means decreases the normal stress of life much more; it gives peace of mind, soul and body.
Research on the affluent and wealthy people shows that believe so much on living below their means and they allocate their money, free time and energy to wealth accumulation.
Practical Ways Of Living Within Above Debt
Be Content With What You Have
Do you have enough to eat and clothes to wear? Then be content with what you have. Lack of contentment is a sin. It is also the greatest cause of unnecessary debt. If it is your sin, then confess it to the Lord and let Him help you change your greedy ways. 1 Timothy 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content”.
Budget your Income
I am not advocating any particular budgeting program. But all budgeting plans are not complicated, (if in doubt, Google is your friend). There are very simple ways to budget if you have never done it before. Budgeting is nothing more than the careful use of your resources. It means knowing how much is coming in and how much is going out. And it means knowing where it is going. You are to work hard to know the condition of your resources. Proverbs 27:23 “Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds”
You are a steward of the resources God provides you. A steward cares for that which belongs to another and must be ready to give an account for his stewardship. Are you able to give an account for your use of the money God has given you?
Create an Emergency Fund
You could never get out of debt until you create a fund for minor emergencies. Some people establish savings accounts. Others incorporate these into complex budgets. It does not matter which method you use. But begin to put aside for the things that break. Start with a small amount but make it regular. Put that portion aside each pay check. I have found that some thousands in my emergency fund can often keep me from greater expenses.
Have a Written Plan
A written plan is an absolute necessity to escape debt’s death grip. This plan’s success depends on you doing two things: creating an itemized list of all your expenses, in their order of importance. And two, classifying our needs, wants and desires. Here are the differences between the three groupings:
- Needs: These are life’s basic necessities. Food, clothing, employment, home, medical coverage all fall into this category.
- Wants: Wants involve making choices about the quality of goods we consume: dress clothes versus work clothes, steak versus hamburger, a new car versus a used car.
- Desires: These are the goods and choices we make not essential to our survival, safety or well-being.
Determine Essentials for Living
Eliminate unnecessary living expenditures, and look for services around the home that can be done without outside cost. If you hire a cleaning lady, roll up your sleeves and scrub the kitchen yourself or learn handyman skills yourself. Tile and grout your floors, build a deck or paint the house to save costs.
When in debt, avoid the use of what is called leverage. Leverage is the ability to control a large asset with a relatively small amount of invested capital. Borrowing money to invest is not a scriptural principle, because when a Christian borrows the money from a bank to invest, the repayment of the bank loan is dependent on the investment making a profit. But if a profit is not made and the investor can’t make the payments, he or she loses the investment and still owes the bank. The result is financial bondage.
Practice saving money on a regular basis. This includes those who are in debt. Even if it is only small amount a month, develop a discipline of saving. This does not mean you should store up a large amount of money while failing to pay your creditors, but one of the best habits a young couple can develop is to save a small amount on a regular basis. Families living above the poverty level have the capability to save money, but many fail to do so because of the contradiction that small amounts can’t make a difference. Others believe that God frowns on saving anything. Neither of these two reasons is scriptural. The prevailing thought presented in the Bible is to save on a regular basis, and it is important that Christians develop good habits to replace bad habits.
Financial stability requires nothing more than the faithful practice of biblical principles. First, you must know these biblical precepts. Second, you must discipline yourself to practice them. This requires you to submit to the will of God in your life. Third, you must faithfully practice them with patience until God blesses.
Prayer: Lord, Teach me to stay contented with what I have. To depend on You for my supplies and the grace to practice steps to help me stay out debt and achieve financial instability.
Confession: God must always be the centre of all that I do. Do not set your eyes on the riches of this world.