Friday, March 6, 2009

Financial Wisdom

Yesterday, Lee came home in a somewhat ominous mood. I could tell he'd been listening to too much talk radio. He told me we needed to sit down this weekend and go through our budget so we could make the "radical" changes necessary to be prepared for the potential crash of our financial system.

I am in agreement that we need to make some decisions regarding how we spend our money. We've already decided that eating out is going to be drastically reduced in our family. When we went through our bank records for the last three months we were ashamed to see how much we had spent on fast food and other frivolous purchases. I've also been trying hard to watch how I spend our money at the grocery store. I still need to get in the habit of making up a weekly menu, but otherwise, I'm doing alright.

But this was something more for Lee. He was fearful. We talked briefly for a few minutes about what exactly he had in mind. First on his list was to cut out cable. I told him I'm fine with that as long as we get ABC because I need to be able to watch LOST. Everything else can go. But what else? We don't have a lot of needless expenses. Gym memberships are perhaps the next thing to go, but I'm not silling to give up on those just yet, especially because we have as inexpensive of a gym plan as possible.

I had really been holding out for a new, fancy cell phone, but told him I'm willing to give that up so there goes that expense. But what else? After our brief conversation, I could tell that Lee felt a little better. I think just knowing that we're both aware of the danger and willing to do what it takes to prepare helps. But I told him, I will not be operating out of fear. I'm not going to slash out every expense because we're afraid of what might happen. I want to be wise, but not fearful. And listening too much to the news or radio can make a person fearful.

It's frustrating to sit back and feel so powerless as the people who are in charge of our country seem to be making poor decision after poor decision. I believe wholeheartedly that being prepared and in control of as much of our income as possible is the best thing we can do. We have to protect ourselves right now. And we have to be prepared for the worst.

But I will not live fearing or expecting the worst. That's no way to live. I will not be confined to my home because I don't want to use gas. I won't live in worry daily over that which I cannot control. And in the moments when fear starts to creep in, I will remind myself that there is One who is Higher and in perfect control of everything in our lives. In Him I take my rest and I find my hope - not in a government who is making poor decisions.

What about you guys? What are you doing to cut back during these days when the financial market teeters on the verge of breakdown? Are you feeling fearful and how do you combat that feeling?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I was going to give my opinion, then just ran across this by Joel Rosenberg...I think he sums it up all too well!
In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where theives break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where theives do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” I asked the men, “If some of you have lost 30% to 50% of your assets, what are your plans going forward? What if another 30% to 50% of your wealth vanishes, or is confiscated in a massive new tax increase? Wouldn’t it be better to invest some or all of that wealth in the kingdom of God now, while you still have it?” My point wasn’t to raise funds for any non-profit I’m associated with. My point is that it appears the Lord is shaking our country and purifying His Church. He is forcing us all to reconsider what we value, where our treasure is, where our hearts are. He is preparing us to see Him face to face. And when we see Him, there will be a day of accounting. He will ask us what we did with the resources He entrusted to us. What, then, shall we say?

Good stuff, huh?
Becke'

KC Silverman said...

Tell Lee that Glenn Beck is great, but sometimes you need to turn him off.

blessedpath said...

Oh, thanks Becke...good word! It's kinda wierd what i'm about to say, but I am glad we are ALL going through this....things were getting way out of control... we all have been trying to keep up with the Jones for too long. Mike and I too, have had discussions about trimming down our finances...I have to say, cable should go, but it's our one source of daily entertainment since we don't go to movies. I usually wathch HGTV. I have been back and forth about getting rid of my cell, then our landline goes out.
One big thing is summer camps and activities....are you doing them?
I'm curious what else everyone is giving up too. Yes, God is in control. We as Christians, must always remember that. Money to God is nothing but paper.

kelly said...

thanks for blogging about this, kelli. funny that c & i just had a talk about finances last night, too!
i think it's so hard to find extra $ to save "just in case", when you're already trying to be frugal! & especially when grocery prices have gone up so much.
we usually get take out on friday or saturday night (or both) as a treat, but are trying to cook something those nights - but something fun that we can do together, like pizza tonight. that will help some, i think. & also i'm trying to take advantage for free activities w/ hudson, like library time.
i agree about not living in fear, though. & i do think this time is a great opportunity for all of us to reprioritize the important things in our lives :)

kelly said...

PS - just catching up on your blog & saw you gave me a shout out :) thanks!
PPS - clint & i often find ourselves watching t.v. after dinner & hudson is in bed b/c we're just so darn tired! what do you & lee plan on doing (or do you already do??) on nights other than LOST wednesdays w/o cable??!

Kelli said...

I don't know because we do tend to turn on the TV nearly every night and just flip channels for a little while. Maybe we could both finally read our books at a reasonable hour instead of watching TV until 10:00 then staying up till midnight reading!

Julie said...

One crazy thing that Brian and I are thinking of doing, in June, my car lease is up and we are talking about going down to one car. We would be saving on insurance and gas. I would drive him to work two days a week so I could get things done and go places with Kaylee. Not sure how that is going to work. My biggest problem is groceries. We rarely eat out and so we were spending so much on groceries. I have recently tried to buy groceries for a two week time period and then I keep a running total on how much I have spent total. I am trying hard to cut it down tremendously. It has been an adjustment with dropping down to one income and I do worry about the economy adn Brian's job. We are just not sure how stable it is, but it is hard to go somewhere else because then your job may really not be stable. We are refinancing our house right now also. Rates aer pretty low and that will save some money, if that is an option for you.

It was good to see you at the zoo today. I should have joined you, I would love to get to know you better and since you were by yourself, adult wise that is!

Bethany said...

Mmmm, okay. We've never had cable, and we're about to lose the analog signals too. (did anyone else lose channel 30/abc recently??) This makes me determined to watch at least ONE cool show, so that I'm not totally lost when it comes to pop culture. We watch the "must see" shows on the channel's website, abc.com, cbs.com, etc.. Also, you can see these popular shows on hulu.com. No need for cable of any sort!! :)

Melissa (aka Kitty) said...

we bought the crown ministry CD on managing money. it was great for a $20.00 spend. it put things into perspective. i've been buying in bulk and storing in the basement. i've also done more shopping for basics at family dollar. i don't seem to go to the store as much, which is good.

the broomes said...

We went to the cash system about 4 months ago and that really seems to help us. Not only does it give me a better handle on where our money is going, but it also frees us up to enjoy eating out or buying something for the house as long as we have already budgeted the money for the expense. I am really enjoying it. I am about to start doing the grocerygame.com as well. It's a great online resource for cutting down on grocery expenses by using coupons/sales at whatever store you choose. We don't have cable either and now only get one channel since everything has gone digital. We watch shows (Lost & 24!) online as well.
I really enjoy figuring out how we can save money and be good stewards of what God has blessed us with. I think that this economic stress that we're in is a great opportunity for us as believers to trust the Lord with what is His to begin with.

Tiffany said...

http://www.hulu.com/watch/1389/saturday-night-live-dont-buy-stuff

Um...this is just for you my dear.

Rachel - Puppy Dog Tales said...

My husband is out of work so this financial crisis has really affected us. We've been trying to cut out everything we don't need and we've been saving hundred of dollars a month on our grocery bill by using coupons. I'm hoping that this will make us stronger in the end because when he does get another job we'll have better habits in place.