IMAGINE that you have a bag with a hole in it, and you have the task of keeping the bag inflated. How would you do it? Well, as long as the volume of air you blow into the bag is at least as much as the amount escaping through the hole, you can keep the bag inflated.
That, basically, is what is meant by living within one’s means. Your income can be likened to the air you blow into the bag. Your expenses are like the air escaping through the hole. The challenge is not to allow your expenses to get bigger than what your income can actually support.
Even though the basic idea sounds simple, putting it into practice and benefiting from it is quite another matter. People could spare themselves many financial woes if only they would endeavor to follow this basic concept. How can it be done? Where can we find guidelines that really work? The Bible is a source of much helpful information in this regard. Let us take a brief look at what it has to offer.
Bible Principles That Will Help
The Bible contains many practical principles that can help you manage your finances. We will examine just a few of these. See if you agree that these principles can help you live within your means.
Have a plan, or a budget.
To manage money effectively, you need to know how much money comes in and where it goes. The Bible says: “The plans of the diligent one surely make for advantage, but everyone that is hasty surely heads for want.” Don’t rush to buy something just because it’s on sale. Make a financial plan—a budget—and stick to it. Some use a simple envelope system. Each envelope represents a category of expense, such as “Food,” “Rent,” or “Clothing.” Whether you use this simple method or something more elaborate, the important thing is that you know where your money is going, always putting necessities, not luxuries, first.
Many in developing nations yearn for the things that people in industrialized nations have. On an individual level, many are tempted to want the things that their neighbors flaunt. This can be a trap. Maybe the neighbor cannot really afford them either. Why follow someone else in his foolishness and end up in financial trouble?
Keep your life simple.
Setting your eyes on lobster and fine wine when all you can afford is dried fish and water can easily lead to financial ruin. When people have such meager income, it is the course of wisdom to focus on the basics. However, even in wealthier countries, the same principle can help keep people out of a lot of financial trouble. live simple
Be content with what is really needed.
Having sustenance and covering, we shall be content with these things.” Money can’t buy happiness or contentment. Some of the happiest people in the world do not have a lot of money; nevertheless, they find satisfaction in what they do have, which includes not just material things but the love of family and friends
Avoid unnecessary debt.
The borrower is servant to the man doing the lending.” Although there are circumstances when going into debt may seem unavoidable, those who take on unnecessary debt just to buy something they want will often find themselves shackled to a very heavy financial millstone. This can be especially true when credit cards are used. Time magazine stated: “Once we’ve got our card in hand, our behavior becomes riddled with irrationality.”How wise it is to be very, very careful in using easy credit!
But what if you are already in debt and can’t meet your obligations, try to negotiate new payment plans with your creditors. Be persistent. Use the Bible’s advice to one who unwisely guaranteed a loan and thus took on responsibility for the debt: “Humble yourself, and pester your creditor. Don’t let your eyes rest or your eyelids close until he agrees to a fair way of paying off the debt.” Even if your first request isn’t successful, keep on asking for an adjustment.
Save up money before buying.
Although it may seem old-fashioned, saving up money before making a purchase is actually one of the wisest ways to keep out of financial trouble. Doing so keeps many out of debt and its associated plagues, such as high interest rates, which ultimately add to the price of everything a person buys. In the Bible, the ant is depicted as being “wise” because of saving up “food supplies even in the harvest” for future use.
- Proverbs 6:6-8; 30:24, 25
Keep money in its proper place.
“Don’t be selfish and eager to get rich—you will end up worse off than you can imagine.” Envy and greed not only can lead to financial ruin.
Cut back in some areas, Example, Instead of riding public transportation to get around, walk some of the distances! This helps you
- Learn the value of living a simple life.
- Learn the importance of being content with what one has
- Save more money
Exercise self-discipline and be resourceful, Instead of going to malls, seek out stores that offer better deals. Why pay higher prices when you can get things at a lower cost? Avoid impulse buying.
Save money in advance. If you happen to have extra, even just a little, set it aside so that you have something to draw on if an unexpected expense comes along.
Regarding credit cards have self restrain from using a credit card except in emergency cases. To control yourself, you could try leaving your credit card at the office.
You Can Live Within Your Means
Yes, many are finding that even though the Bible is a book that focuses mainly on spiritual values, it also offers guidelines that can benefit us in material ways. By applying the Bible principles discussed in this article, you too can live within your means. Doing so, you can escape many of the woes and anxieties that millions suffer today.
Note, though that these guidelines are not things you achieve in a day; they take months of careful and diligent planning and practice to get rid of troublesome spending habits. The good news though is that the result is worth the effort so do not give up until you achieve you GOAL.