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Remember, I have moved my book reviews to their own blog. Tracy's Book Nook is now active.


Tuesday, March 10

Choosing Life in Finances

It’s time once again for the next part in Choosing Life! I’m excited that my Choosing Life column for Take Root and Write is being published twice a month, on the second and fourth Monday of each month. As such, I’ll republish my article here, the following day after it posts on my column there. TRW is a wonderful place to read amazing articles from over 40 different columns and women. I encourage you to check it out.

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"This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live." ~ Deut. 30:19


With all the doom and gloom news out there, pertaining to the economy, I felt it would be a good idea to talk about Choosing Life in our Finances. Times are tough right now, that’s for sure. Families all over America, and the world, are feeling the pinch. There are many reasons for this. Truth be told, some of these things we have no control of, but we do have control over some of it.


It is common sense, and recommended, to have an emergency savings fund set up, with three to six month of salary set aside. Because emergencies, situations, and life just happens. Yet most families don’t have a month, or even a half-month, of salary saved. And for most of these families it’s a matter of priorities. Whether it’s with their time, talent or treasure, people make a way for whatever is a priority to them. And up till now, savings hasn’t been a priority to many people.


While it’s true that the majority of people and families live paycheck to paycheck, and beyond their means via credit, it’s also true that this is a choice they’re making based on the priorities they have. Children often have a ridiculous amount of clothes and toys, and for parents, they too often have a ridiculous amount of clothes and toys. Is it really necessary to have a new big screen, flat-panel TV, or the latest version of a gaming system? What about cable with 400 channels, cell phones or computers for each family member, TV’s in all the bedrooms, and for that matter, do children really need to each have their own bedrooms? Or how about eating out frequently, regular spa treatments, or daily stops at Starbucks for a $5 coffee? Of course the answer to all of these questions is no, but these are the priorities many of us have had.


Any of the above choices, and so much more, is choosing death financially, if we don’t first choose life financially, by reprioritizing, and putting the first things first. How do we do that? We sacrifice our need for instant gratification. We choose to not use credit, but purchase with cash. We choose to simplify, save money and invest wisely (it is possible). And we choose to make short-term sacrifice for long-term gain. (Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. ~ Prov. 21:5 NLT)


None of the above items or services are bad things, and living well certainly isn’t a bad thing, but we must live wisely. We should purchase the items we want, after taking care of what our family needs – including the savings account. (Put first things first. Prepare your work outside and get it ready for yourself in the field; and afterward build your house and establish a home. ~ Prov. 24:27 AMP) A $5 coffee doesn’t need to be a daily item, but it can be a special treat, an indulgence we allow ourselves once in awhile. Prosperity is a reward, not a right. And living beyond our means is not prosperity, it is enslavement. (The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is servant to the lender. ~ Prov. 22:7 NKJV)


There are many resources available for financial fitness. The Bible has much to teach about finances – especially in Proverbs. Financial Peace University is an amazing Bible-based program which helps people to overcome the burden of debt and live well. There are many other books and programs, both Biblical and secular, which offer a wealth of wisdom about how achieve financial fitness. (Get all the advice and instruction you can, so you will be wise the rest of your life. ~ Prov. 19:20 NLT) By taking control of our finances, by shaking off the shackles of debt, by having a real savings account, and by living within our means, we are choosing life financially.

3 comments:

Thankful Paul said...

Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit. JEREMIAH 17:7-8

gzusfreek said...

I like that verse from Paul, but this is a great post, Tracy. I've got to bookmark it for referenc :)

Nitewrit said...

Tracy,

Amen and well put. I hear a constant claim that the American Dream is impossible, that you can't live on one paycheck anymore and that "our children will not live as well as their parents". What nonsense. If one has the right priorities and realistic goals, they can gain their dream. By the same token, they can live on one paycheck. And measuring generations, look at the glut we have piled upon ourselves. I go back a way. Most people who had a car had one car. There were none of these multitude of electronic gizmos, no huge TVs (for awhile no TVs at all), no computers, no cell phones, etc. I see people constantly buying new cameras and phones and TVs every time another fancy, and generally unnecessary, feature is added.

And the Starbucks thing I don't get at all. It tastes awful.

Larry E.