Biblical Money Smarts- Part One: #Overspending

I have worked and attended school/Church with many people who seem to never have extra cash. I have been one of those people a few times in my past and sometimes money is still a struggle now that I am re-married, in ministry, a business owner and full time college student. I hear those without money talk about how they cannot afford a vacation, health insurance or that new shiny car. However, most of these folks have made one very dangerous and basic mistake- they spend too much. I say that because I see the stuff they DO spend money on.

Doesn’t it seem logical that every dollar you spend is a dollar you no longer have? Yeah…I know, “Taz, that’s pretty much common sense.” Well…it makes sense but, unfortunately, it’s no longer that common.

For the purpose of this blog my definition of Overspending is a simple one- Spending more money than you need to.
Here’s what I mean.
Let’s say you leave home in the morning and you go through the McDonald’s drive thru, you spend $7 for breakfast, then on your lunch break you spend $10 for take-out at a local restaurant. On the way home you decide that the American-style Chinese food Timmy Chan’s is irresistible so you get an 8 dollar plate to go. That’s a total of $25 in just one day! I know most people don’t buy all three meals in a day so let’s just take the seven dollar breakfast for example. That’s still $35 a week- a total of $1820 a year! That’s a good start to a vacation in New Orleans (feel free to come get me and my wife when you’re headed that way).  For those who do buy all three meals per day, you’re spending about $6,500 a year. Wow! Imagine if you had that in your bank account instead of spread among all those local eateries. Imagine the bills you could pay off, vacations you could take or the band camps for which you could pay 100% cash so you could send your talented child to. (you know you want that loud saxophone of his gone for a week…admit it)

Movies can be another pitfall for the many who are struggling with saving cash. These days it’s about $9.25 for a movie and a bit more if it’s 3D. There are folks I know who go see a movie every week. (They insist on seeing it the day it hits theaters…..gotta love crazy people lol) I am not suggesting you stop seeing movies all together but once a week at $9.25 a pop is $481 a year. You could get a Netflix membership, pay $7.99 a month ($95.88/yr) and watch two to three movies a week instead. More bang for your buck seems to make the most sense to me. Compare going to the theater to a Netflix membership and that’s a difference of $385.12 each year. This does not including the cost of fuel it takes to get to the theater. (You have been paying attention to rising fuel prices, right?)

If you are the type of person described here who spends money on breakfast each day, goes to the movies once a week & you are tired of not having money, imagine the result if you decide to eat breakfast at home,  and replace the movie going with the suggested Netflix plan. (No, Netflix is not paying me) You’d have an extra (drum roll please) $1,945.12 every year! That’s money IN YOUR POCKET….ok, in the bank. If you’re setting aside this cash in a savings account for the next ten years, that’s $19,451.20 before interest is added!!
It’s amazing what some patience and Godly discipline can do, huh?

Here’s an important tip to help reduce over spending. It’s a simple, doable, workable one.  Shop at thrift stores! aka, Resale Shops!

“Whooooaaawww!?!? Taz, you want me to buy used clothing? Only poor people do that. I’m not a poor person!”

You may not be poor,… now,…. but in today’s economy we cannot afford to be picky or to think too highly of ourselves. Jesus lived as a “poor person” having no home and was buried in a borrowed tomb. If He could do without the “finer things in life”, you can too. And shopping at a thrift store doesn’t mean you can’t find designer clothing. It does mean you pay less for them (ssshhhhh…nobody has to know)

Shopping at a resale shop means you get the same clothes you’d buy at Macy’s for a far more affordable price. That’s more money in YOUR pocket. Using your money at a resale shop will yield nice clothing and you’ll leave there with five outfits for the same price- or less- than one outfit at Macy’s. Now if you feel the need to unnecessarily spread your hard-earned cash around, I have a Houston, TX address to give you. I assure you I….aaahhh I mean, someone….will put it to good use.

Here’s a Bible verse for ya: Proverbs 6:6–8 says “Go to the ant, O sluggard, observe her ways and be wise, which, having no chief, officer or ruler, prepares her food in the summer and gathers her provision in the harvest.”

What does this verse have to do with spending money? God is telling us to be wise, work hard and prepare for the future. Can you do that if you are spending your money unwisely? If you put nothing aside for a rainy day- as the ant- will you be prepared for disaster or even small emergencies? If you buy that expensive shirt, expensive rims or spend a ton of cash on fast food, will you have any left over to repair a suddenly nonoperational transmission of your beloved BMW? For most of us the answer is, “No at all!”

Also, consider the story of Joseph in Genesis 41:14 thru 57

Joseph interpreted the king’s dream and advised the king to save grain in the plentiful years so that his kingdom would be ready for seven years of famine. When famine hit all the lands Egypt was still doing well because of what they stored up. They then sold their excess grain to surrounding lands which had no crop to speak of.

They profited during a depression, imagine that.

Are you ready for a major depression to hit? Considering the current economy it’s not a far stretch to imagine it happening in the near future.

One last scripture to chew on: Proverbs 21:5

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, but those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty.”

Yes, you have to make a definite plan in order to enjoy a time of plenty. (I remind you of the aforementioned story of Joseph)

Obviously God cares a great deal that we are wise with the allocation of our funds. He wants to see us prosper. I’m not saying you are destined to great riches, not by any means. I am saying that we are responsible for acting wisely with the money our Father has blessed us with.

Interested in learning more about spending, saving, investing and getting out of debt? Here are some books I highly recommend.

1.     Digging Out of The Money Pit: 30 Biblical Solutions to Your Financial Headaches

2.     Money Came by the House the Other Day: A Guide to Christian Financial Planning And Stories of Stewardship

3.     The Millionaire Mind

4.     The Millionaire Next Door

5. Where Did My Money Go?: An Honest Look At Perpetual Debt and The Fiscal  Slavery Of The American Family from A Christian perspective

 &

5. Whatever Happened to The American Dream?

Recap: Rethink how, where and how often you spend money. Research your spending habits, decide what you can live without. Consider this verse: Proverbs 22:7

“The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”

Which do you want to be, a victorious ruler or a slave to your creditors?

PS: You may be thinking “So, Taz what do I do with this money once I have decided to save more and spend less?” or you might be wondering, “I have some money set aside already. What is the Biblically correct thing to do with it?”

The options are almost endless for sure. Stay tuned for part 2 of this series- Creating Assets. It’s gonna be very interesting topic- to say the least.

God Bless and Happy Saving

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