Freedom on a Budget? Can that really happen? Freedom is supposed to be liberating, while budget shows restriction! So how is freedom on a budget possible? Real freedom comes with the responsibility of self-control.
At the start of 2010, I had a huge amount of credit card debt. Honestly, the mountain seemed impossible to remove. I thought I would have had to "penny pinch", eat ramen noodles and stay in my house all the time. Well, with a little wisdom I was able to travel, buy new shoes (my favorite thing), and pay off all my credit card debts and save some money. Using a few biblical principles, I enjoyed life and paid my bills. The bible gives us many details on how to manage our finances; it instructs us to give (See Malachi 3: 10, Luke 6:38 and Proverbs 28:27) save (see Proverbs 21:20,13:11) and spend (Romans 13:7). Here are few suggestions that I personally used to enjoy freedom, while living within a budget.
- Write a list of your expenses including your tithes and offerings.
- Ask yourself after you have paid your bills, how much money you can realistically save. (ex. 10% of your net income)
- Make a list of your debts. Set a realistic timetable to get out of debt.
- Write down a list of fun things you want to experience. Do you enjoy shopping? Do you like to travel?
Okay after seeing your list of bills, debts, and goals, you are probably thinking; there is no way to enjoy my life. Remember self-control is the magic word. Leave room in your budget for one weekend a month. Don't attempt to hoard your income by trying to save every extra penny you have earned. Leave room for a splurge. If you do not create a fun weekend, most likely you will only end up bored and frustrated, spending the money on something less purposeful. So go ahead and live a little! Also, name your savings account. Is it for something short-term or long term? Do you desire a new car? Do you wish to travel to a foreign land? Or are you thinking of your retirement? Specific goals create a lasting sense of motivation. You will be more likely to save if you can figure out a reason for saving.
Jesus came that we might have and enjoy life, (See John 10:10) He wants us to live balanced lives giving, saving and spending money. So go ahead and create your plan for living a life of freedom on a budget.