Debt and Budgeting. . .Living Within Your Means
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The United States has, for at least the last sixty years, been spending way beyond its budgetary constraints. To my mind, the annual budget presented to the U.S. taxpayers is merely a smokescreen. Unseen are the backroom deals which result in waste that is almost beyond comprehension. Sadly, because of the ease with which credit (which brings about massive debt and enslavement) is given, most Americans are only a paycheck or two away from disaster; most Americans have soaring debt and almost no savings. What a recipe for disaster! Is there hope? Of course there is…
Monday…Have you ever heard these words: “Plan your work and work your plan”? Simple concepts…and, they will make all the difference in your life. People who operate their lives without careful planning are inviting serious heartache. People who, particularly, do not have a long-range financial plan are headed for deep trouble. Part of that plan is a budget. The book of Proverbs in your Bible has excellent advice for money/budgeting/debt/credit, etc. Google this: What does the book of Proverbs say about money? You will be blessed to read these timeless verses.
Tuesday…Having a plan is one thing. Forcing oneself to be responsible to that plan is quite another. Self-discipline is absolutely required when it comes to money because the human being is naturally greedy. II Timothy 1:7; Proverbs 25:28; II Peter 1:5-7 and scores of other verses speak to the critical area of self-control. Gaining control of one’s finances is partially obtained by constructing and adhering to, a budget.
Wednesday…Albert Einstein is reputed to have said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who does not understand it, pays it.” I have also read that Baron von Rothschild said this. Whoever said it is a bit irrelevant. The fact is that this is a true statement. When you make up your budget, notice those things you are paying for that involve interest (simple and/or compound). Calculate how much money you are spending per month on interest. Shocking, isn’t it? A budget will help you prioritize, observe and prevent. What should be first on the budget? Proverbs 3:9.
Thursday…It is interesting to compare the U.S. poverty level with what people actually earn in different countries around the world. You may have done this and have been shocked to see that what is considered ‘poverty’ in our country is luxury in virtually two-thirds of the world. That last statement is demonstrably true. What sinks literally millions of people is the failure to distinguish what is necessary and what is luxury. A sound budget will help with that failure. Note these verses: Philippians 4:11-13. Now note this: when Paul wrote this, he was imprisoned for the sake of the Gospel.
Friday…Many people think that a budget is restrictive when in fact the opposite is true: a budget allows long-term freedom. Real restrictions occur when spending is out of control. Beth and I like to take cruises. We have gone on five such vacations and have another one coming up in January of 2020. For the better part of eight days, we will be restricted to a ship. To leave the ship while it is at sea would be suicidal. The ‘restriction’ of the ship allows us to be safe while we enjoy the amenities of being on the ship. A budget is like that. A budget offers certain restrictions to be sure, but adhering to those restrictions allows great freedom both immediately and down the road. Think of the skydiver being ‘restricted’ by the parachute and you will get the picture. Make a budget, honor God with the first of your income and watch how He blesses.
by Dale Holzbauer