Life on A Dime
Are you a good money saver? We all can probably use a few tips on how to do it better. Read how one Camp Director does it!
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law.” Romans 13:8
I think I could have written a book called “College on a Dime”. I spent 5 years of college, barely working, taking only $200 from my parents (a loan I still need to pay back) and only had about $1,000 in debt from loans to which I paid back in under six months. How did I do it?
- If it was free, I “bought it”. – This was especially important at meal time. Three different campus ministries did weekly lunches. The Wesley Foundation on Monday – they had the best corn. The BSU (now the BSM) on Wednesday – had to sit on the floor, but what could I expect when it’s free and the Catholic Campus Foundation on Thursday – always delicious and the line was usually short. We all loved Jesus and I loved free food, so it was a win-win. I basically stopped drinking coke (soda if you’re from the north) in college because water was free. How often are we embarrassed or not willing to take advantage of things like coupons, free day at the fair and your local pet shop as a free zoo!
- Learn to say “No”. – I had no cable, no internet and sometimes we had no heat. Why pay for electricity when blankets are free! Life is full of things to spend money on. If we learn to live without some of those things, then the old adage proves true, “a penny saved is a penny earned”. Today we still don’t pay for cable and try to say no to a lot of things to help out the budget. How badly do we really need those snacks at the gas station? What’s wrong with the car we have? Did you know a bicycle gets great gas mileage?
- Debt is a downer. – Don’t spend what you don’t have. We all know how dangerous credit cards can be. They seem like a special super power. “Fear not. Buy Whatever I Want Right Now Man is here!” Too bad that guy usually makes things a lot worse. I make it a habit if I ever spend anything on my credit card to pay it off that month – no interest. Interest is like a man who meets you in the alley to sell you a watch, then after you buy it he punches you in the stomach and takes your toll money. Stay out of the alley and that won’t be a problem. And beyond credit cards, do your best to pay off other loans as quickly as possible (car, school, medical, house). Make the necessary sacrifices now, to reap the rewards later.
Money is a good thing. God uses it to provide for needs, it allows us to do fun things, and we can use it to further the kingdom. However, it can destroy our lives if we let it be our master. Control your money, don’t let it control you.
Start good saving habits now. If you earn any money through allowance or work now, practice some of these tips. Save some regularly, give to the Lord’s work, and practice saying no to things you can do without.