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Spending Wisely

Campers and counselor

Know where your money goes? Ever look up at the end of the month (or maybe even a little before the end?) and wonder where it all went? See what you can learn today from Ben’s wise words on wise spending.

Whoever can be trusted with little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.  So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches?

Luke 16:10-11

The day I earned my first quarter was the day my parents started my lessons on money management.  My folks got me on the “three envelope system” at the start of my career as a household employee using fancy percentages to divide my earnings between tithe, long-term, and short-term savings. I’ll admit, the kid who loved new Legos was not a big fan of that long-term savings envelope.   Probably not until the day in 8th grade when he comfortably dipped into those savings and got a sweet electric guitar out of it was there any excitement about it.

Now, in a country running heavily on debt and instant gratification, and where “wise” money management means applying for another credit card, it’s no wonder so many have become slaves to bank accounts, unable to make truly wise decisions with their own money.  Wise spending habits are one big way to take back control, so let’s look at a couple.

  1. Ask for a better deal. – Everyone loves a good deal, but if we’re completely honest with ourselves the “American” in us is usually too embarrassed to ask for one.  Most of us would rather lower our eyes and hand over our entire paycheck before trying to negotiate a good deal with a salesperson.  Where most of the world would be offended if you didn’t at least attempt to negotiate, we avoid a friendly negotiation like the plague, claiming it’s uncomfortable, inconvenient or immoral. Next time you go out to buy ANYTHING, practice getting a deal!  I’m not saying to put aside your integrity.  Instead look for WIN-WIN situations, know your options, deal in cash, and be patient!  If you want something too badly, you’ve already lost.
  2. PLAN to spend your money! – Do you know where your money is going, or do you prefer the ‘Whack-a-mole’ approach with your finances?  Whenever something pops up, do you swing your money hammer at it and ask questions when the dust settles?  I love John Maxwell’s quote: “A budget is just telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” A few years ago, I got tired of making educated guesses on where my money was going with groceries, insurance, eating out, investments, and you name it.  So I sat down, made a budget, actually FOLLOWED IT, and it’s given me the control to spend my money how I want to spend it! Check out Mint.com if you are looking for a good resource to consolidate your accounts, track spending, set goals and make monthly budgets to take a step towards wiser spending habits.

If taking control of your finances excites you, take a look at the book “Dave Ramsey’s Complete Guide to Money” or see if your church offers his class, Financial Peace University.  May we not just grow as stewards of earthly riches but also of the true riches found in the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Camper Corner

Read Luke 16:10-11 at the top of this devotional.  How disciplined we are in handling small things in life will carry over into how we handle bigger things.  Start forming good habits now with your money.  Ask your parents about learning how to give, save, and spend wisely. 

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