Spend less than you can because every success in your financial life depends on this habit.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to be on many radio call-in shows to answer people’s financial questions. If I had a dollar for every question I’ve answered, I’d be a wealthy man! In fact, when I had the idea to write my first book thirty years ago, I mistakenly believed that if I wrote a book to answer people’s questions, the book would be sufficient. I was so very wrong! Even with twenty books written by now, I continue to answer people’s specific financial questions.
It turns out that every single one of us wants to be reassured in our unique financial situations. Whether we are living paycheck to paycheck or are independently wealthy, we all want to know the answer to the question, “Am I doing okay?” or “Do I have enough?”
A few years back, my oldest son asked if I would go to breakfast to talk through his financial questions. A high school teacher with a young family, he wanted me to take a look at his finances to reassure him that he was doing okay. After listening to him share his savings plan, his budgeting efforts, and his thoughts about long-term goals, I was happy to reassure him that he was doing great—way more than just “okay.” My hunch is that I’d be able to have the same conversation with many of you reading this book. You’re most likely doing okay, too!
Key #3: The Pie: Live
As I’ve shared, the path to “okay” is really just to follow the five basic money management principles. Do you remember the first one: “Spend less than you earn because everything else depends on this habit”? This principle is the key to having flexibility in your Live wedge.
But how? I believe that in order to consistently spend less than we earn, we have to learn how to make “ahead-of-time” decisions.
Let me explain.
Scripture offers us three very important guardrails concerning our Live wedge, each of which is found in the book of 1 Timothy.
The first is provision. “But if anyone does not provide for his own, that is his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever” (1 Tim. 5:8).
The second is contentment. “But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these” (1 Tim. 6:8).
The third is enjoyment. “For everything created by God is good, and nothing should be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1 Tim. 4:4). “Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy” (1 Tim. 6:17).
Each of these three guardrails—provision, contentment, and enjoyment—is an area where we can, and should, make ahead-of-time decisions.
Ron Blue and Karen Guess, Never Enough? 3 Keys to Financial Contentment (Nashville, TN: B&H Books, 2017).
We have just released a new Bible study on biblical book of Never Enough.
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