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. (source: nwt p. 25 ¶1-4)
1. Don't overspend
Jesus advised his followers to keep their eye “simple.” (Matthew 6:22) Setting your eyes on lobster and fine wine when all you can afford is dried fish and water can easily lead to financial ruin. If you have a 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.Proverbs 21:17 - “The one who loves having a good time will come to poverty; the one who loves wine and oil will not grow rich.”
2. Don't go in to debt unnecessarily
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. How wise it is to be very, very careful in using easy credit!Proverbs 22:7 - “The borrower is a slave to the lender.”
3. Don't waste
Waste not, want not, says the old adage. Living paycheck to paycheck often leaves no room for the “extras.” While living frugally usually brings people to think about what they are spending, many will forget to consider what they are wasting. If you can adjust your daily habits in some very minor ways, you can start saving some extra cash each month.John 6:12 - “When they had eaten their fill, he said to his disciples: ‘Gather together the fragments left over, so that nothing is wasted.’”
4. Do create 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.” (Proverbs 21:5) Try 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.Luke 14:28-30 - “Who of you wanting to build a tower does not first sit down and calculate the expense to see if he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, he might lay its foundation but not be able to finish it, and all the onlookers would start to ridicule him, saying: ‘This man started to build but was not able to finish.’”
You Can Live Within Your MeansEven 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 Bible principles, you too can manage your assets and escape many of the woes and anxieties that millions suffer today.
What advice have you found that works best to save and live within your means? Please comment to let us know!