Lately I have been coming across articles regarding money, investments, budgeting, and saving for a rainy day. As a person who has had plenty, almost went bankrupt, and is now getting my head above water again, I can say that I have learned a few things along the way. First and foremost, learning how to create a zero based budget and sticking to it. Second, focusing on the Seven Baby Steps to financial peace.
One of the things that I read recently struck me as powerful. It came from some articles Dave Ramsey has written and it is this: “Learning how to say no to yourself is an exceptionally valuable skill. Cultivating the grace of self-denial means that you will likely be spared the stress of living on the edge of financial ruin all the time.”
In my financial journey, I have continually had to learn the difference between a “want” and a “need.” Fortunately, by the grace of God, I have never gone without a need: food, shelter, clothing, and transportation. I have had to sacrifice many wants, and to this day, still continue to do so. I’ve learned that some of the things that I thought I needed, really were things that I wanted.
In the Lord’s Prayer, it says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” That word “daily” means just that; daily. In the financial crunch times, I have had to rely on God daily for His provision. As Dave Ramsey puts it: “Daily bread is a metaphor for everything that you need to have a healthy and productive life. Jesus’ choice of the lowly word “bread” is a reminder that God obligates himself to give you everything he thinks you need, though perhaps not everything you want. “Daily bread” reminds us that God generally doesn’t front us our supplies a year in advance. He prefers to dribble it out on an as-needed basis.”
“God gives us what we need, though perhaps not everything we want.” We live in a society of credit and having the purchase power to fulfill our desires. However, sometimes these desires are really wants rather than needs, and those wants end up holding a debt weight over our heads. That weight pushes us down every day and sometimes we do not even realize it. One of my friends introduced me to a song that I think is appropriate here. In Marie Miller’s song 6’2, she writes about the desires of her heart, yet she wants them on a specific timeline and in a specific way.
We often don’t get to choose how God decides to work things out in our lives, however, we can trust His promises. Psalm 37:25 says, “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” In other words, God has never forsaken those that are His. I believe that if we learn to set a budget, live within our means, and make good choices each day, we will experience a freedom that, deep down, we all desire. If you have made financial mistakes, keep your head up. I know for a fact that God provides for us in the midst of our mistakes because I have made plenty of them! God desires to see you happy, healthy, whole, and financially stable. He will help you get on the right track, if you are willing to take the necessary steps. Create a zero based budget and decipher between needs and wants. When I sat down and created my zero based budget, I started to feel like I was in control of my money, rather than it being in control of me.
What ‘wants’ have you purchased lately? Have they caused you to carry a load of debt that weighs you down? What are some ways you can cut out some excess in order to enjoy the freedom of living within your means? What are some tips that work for you? I’d love to hear about them…