Weekly Thought – June 18, 2019
Fred and Mary Alice devoted themselves to fiscal soundness. Growing up in economically depressed situations, they never outgrew their belief in financial responsibility. His thoughts on family budgeting fly in the face of incurring debt and hoping to out run the creditors.
Budgeting is done each year. I look back at the prior year, seeing how much money was spent on each category, then decided what amounts needed to be assigned for the present year. Planning always allows for outgo to be less than income. Items like savings, giving, and investment are integral parts of the overall budget.
We separated our needs from our wants from the very beginning. We needed safe transportation so we bought a used car, never a new one. We needed a comfortable home in a secure neighborhood, but never a luxurious one. Mary Alice fed us well, so we minimized our eating out.
Originally, at the beginning of our marriage we set our lifestyle to live on 80% of our income (which was $208 per month); 10% to savings and 10% to tithing. As the income grew we lived on a lower percentage and increased our savings, giving, and investment. Never did we live above our income.
We never bought on the installment plan because we wanted to make interest on our money, not pay it. We determined to pay cash for all luxuries. Mary Alice was given operating money for her part of the budget. She had a separate checking account she managed and I never controlled. We divided the budget into percentages, not dollar amounts. Mary Alice took 25% to run the household. My 75% covered all other expenses, including housing, transportation, insurance, savings, contributions, vacations, and my own personal expenses.
We focused on realistic needs, not wants. And even as our income increased we didn’t increase our spending, but rather increased our saving, giving, and investment. Eventually we lived on 50% of our income.
When our children were in college we bought a second home in Southern Pines, NC. Our friends were all shocked for they had no idea we were financially capable of that expenditure. Living at a 50% level provides freedom.
I want to say a word about my philosophy of money. Money is important, extremely important. I think of it like blood. I make blood to live, but I don’t live to make blood. Money is option. With it you have opportunities; without it your options and opportunities are greatly reduced. Money doesn’t determine your worth. The amount of money you have represents accumulation, not a measure of worth. Savings provide moral freedom. I knew as a young man how critical it was to have enough saved that I could walk away from a job that asked me to do something illegal or immoral. And finally, materialism is often an idol. Giving is the drain plug for greed.
My budget plan isn’t set in concrete. This is just the way Mary Alice and I did it. It worked well for us and I hope you find a philosophy that works well for you.
This week think about: 1) Do I have a philosophy of money? 2) What is my definition of enough? 3) How does money influence my lifestyle decisions?
Words of Wisdom: “And even as our income increased we didn’t increase our spending, but rather increased our saving, giving, and investment.”
Wisdom from the Word: “Your conduct must be free from the love of money and you must be content with what you have, for he has said, ‘I will never leave you and I will never abandon you.’” (Hebrews 13:5 NET Bible)