By Megan Pacheco, Crosswalk.com
"Money has never made man happy, nor will it, there is nothing in its nature to produce happiness. The more of it one has the more one wants." - Benjamin Franklin
Just a little bit more…That’s probably the answer most of us would give, if asked, how much money we need in order to live a content life.
Have you ever asked yourself this question: How much is enough? If you set limits on how much you need to live on, you'll reach financial freedom merely by learning to live within your means
But what about striking it rich one day? What’s wrong with buying an occasional lottery ticket in hopes to win a nice sum of money? After all, think about all the debt you could pay off and about how generous you could become!
Well, there is only one thing wrong with this scenario, and even statistics prove it. It doesn’t work!
Did you know that winning a mega jackpot could make you more likely to go bankrupt? Are you aware that 70% of lotto winners will squander their winnings in just few years? There is also another dark side to striking it rich overnight, and it’s the emotional toll that lottery winners often face. It includes being taken advantage of by friends and family, becoming a target of scams and lawsuits and relational, marital breakdown.
So while we daydream of hitting it big time one day, we completely ignore God’s formula for growing financial resources. Yes, God’s word offers us great wisdom on this subject. It tells us to avoid greed and the desire to get rich quickly, and to apply time and patience to the process.
“Steady plodding brings prosperity; hasty speculation brings poverty” – Proverb
Spending less than you make and saving the rest will always be a winning financial strategy! Gathering little by little not only develops our character, but it also proves to be a much better long-term strategy for retaining our hard-earned money.
Here are five tips for all of us who want to become patient, steady savers.
1. Out of sight out of mind. If you’re struggling with overspending, consider an automatic regular withdrawal from your checking account. Talk to your bank and ask them to deposit a certain amount of money into your savings account, and have restrictions put on it so it is easier to resist the temptation to pull the money back out. This is a great first step to slowly build financial reserves God’s way.
2. Where are you wasting money? Every one of us has one category, or a few, where we know we overspend on regular basis. In order to find your personal waste areas, track your spending for 30 days. It will be very telling! After evaluating your spending habits I’m sure you’ll find extra $25-$50 each month that could be reassigned from waste to savings. Many of our Mvelopes budgeting software users recover up to 10% of their income just by finding waste areas.
3. What can you pay less for? All of us use services on daily basis. Whether it’s cell phone, cable, car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, etc. Get in a habit of reviewing your services every 6 months. There is so much competition in the market that just by re-evaluating your range of services on regular basis you’re bound to find $25-$50 monthly savings if not more! Use those extra funds to increase your savings amount.
4. Waiting rule. If habitual overspending is your main issue, institute a 30-day waiting rule on purchases. Any new item will go on a 30-day waiting list. This will help you develop patience, will give you the time to consider “Do I really need it?” and will give you room to compare prices and look for bargains or sales. Impulsive buying is one of the main causes of debt, so break free from it once and for all!
5. Stop using debt as an excuse not to save. Unless you start building savings reserves, you will have a very hard time breaking your debt cycle. Honoring God first and then saving a certain amount of money (no matter how small it is at the beginning) should be your primary agenda.
Use God’s wisdom to build solid financial habits. The world offers us plenty of foolishness when it comes to finances; so don’t fall for the lies. Everything worth having is worth fighting and waiting for. So be patient. Build financial resources little by little, and one day you’ll find yourself in a place of true financial freedom.
Megan is one of the new additions to the Finicity (provider of Mvelopes and Money4Life Coaching) team. She comes with over 13 years of experience in the Biblical Finances area. Her content has been published by Money Matters, Do Well and Lifeway's More than Living. She is a mom of two young boys, and lives with her husband David in the Atlanta area.
Publication date: August 30, 2013