Have you ever made a financial mistake? Me too, it’s so easy to do. Bounce checks, overspend, get too much debt, buy on impulse, fail to keep records, and the list goes on.
This Sunday we are looking at Financial Boundaries. Another word for boundaries is limits. We often go beyond our limits or boundaries when it comes to our finances. According to Dave Ramsey,
- “70% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.
- The average American is spending $1.13 for every dollar they earn.
- The average amount of credit card debt is $9000.
- This may be normal, but NORMAL is broke!”
Here’s what we see from God’s word, to Have Financial Boundaries….
1. We Need a Financial Plan
Not just living financially by the seat of your pants. Do you ever say this: “I just don’t know where all my money goes”? It’s a warning light that says, “I need a financial plan and my money is going in the wrong places.”
“Plan carefully and you will have plenty. If you act too quickly, you will never have enough.” Proverbs 21:5 (TEV)
Proverbs says that financial freedom is not based on how much you earn, it’s based on how you plan and how you spend it.
“If you act too quickly,” you’ll never have enough. Today we call it impulse buying. I see it, I want it — I’ve got to have it! Advertisements, commercials and merchandising tools are geared to get us to buy impulsively.
Another word many of us cannot resist is the word “SALE”. I know I have to be careful, when I see that — “On Sale” — it’s like a magnet. “I should get this now, because it’s on sale!” Look how much I’m saving!” It doesn’t matter whether I need it or not, it’s on sale.
Also credit cards lend themselves to impulse buying or piling up debt to buy things we should have prayed about, saved for or waited for. Credit cards may seem like a savior to our finances but they are actually the beginning of our bondage if we are not careful.
Have you ever got into trouble with credit cards? I have. To realize I paid a lot more for something by adding finance charges, interest and late fees! It’s frustrating isn’t it? Or maybe you and your wife have sat down and figured your payments based on the minimum payment, “hmm let’s see…punching in a calculator…wow! It’s going to take us 243 years to pay this off, and we will pay 6 million dollars!”
I have read about and talked to people who are well off financially and I have never heard anyone say, “Well it was my Discover points- that was the turning point for me! Or “My airline miles are how I got rich!” “Those credit cards are the secret son!” You know I have NEVER heard that. We need to be aware of how we are manipulated by our own emotions, greed and impulses.
Someone has said, “If my outgo exceeds my income, my upkeep will be my downfall!”
This next verse is will warm your heart and be such a spiritual encouragement.
“… Stupid people spend their money as fast as they get it!” Proverbs 21:20 (TEV)
I don’t like this verse; you probably don’t either, because it hurts. Money is God’s IQ Test! How smart are we? God says it’s dumb to spend our money as fast as we get it.
Have you struggled with your kids at the store and not even want to go because they want to buy everything? I have had this conversation with my kids before I go in, “we are buying X & Y and that’s it!” As parents it’s our job to teach our kids they can’t have everything.
What stops us adults from trying to buy everything? It’s like we too need someone to slap our hand and say, “no! You can’t buy that!” Who does that for adults? I’ll tell you it’s a spending plan. How do you break the habit of impulsive buying? You have to nip it in the budget! A budget is telling your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went. Is it time to plan your spending and live on a budget? That’s the first step.
Here’s a link to Dave Ramsey’s website for a free budget to download: http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/
Secondly To Have Financial Boundaries…. We Need to Save for the Future
The average Japanese person saves 25% of their income. The average European family saves 18% of their income. The average American family according to the Commerce Department statistics is saving NEGATIVE 2.2% of their income.
Why aren’t we saving anything? Because we’re too busy “keeping up with the Jones’.” I often have to remind myself that Jones’s are bankrupt, and have marriage problems! I shouldn’t keep up with them.
If I base my lifestyle on what everybody around me has, I won’t save.
Forget the Jones’ and start saving.
“People should learn a lesson from the way ants live. They store up their food during the summer, getting ready for the winter.” Proverbs 6: 6-8 (TEV)
What God tells us to do is pretty straightforward, it works but we need examples, we need inspiration. Would you like to have 1.3 million dollars? It’ easy to think, “To have that kind of money I would have to win the lottery!” No, you can have 1.3 million by saving $200 a month in an average growth stock mutual fund for 35 years. What happens is we spend that $200 a month and we don’t save it. God tells us from His word to save some of our income. I wish I would have started saving sooner, but better late than never.
This passage also reminds us that life is seasonal, there is a “summer” of growth and earning, but “winter” or a time of limited growth is coming. Are you ready for colder or limited times? Is it time to start saving?
Lastly to Have Financial Boundaries… We Need to Give.
Bring the full amount of your tithes to the temple. Put me to the test and you will see that I will open the windows of heaven and pour out on you in abundance all kinds of good things.” Malachi 3:10-11(TEV)
God says; ‘give the full amount of your tithe (10% of your income) to your local place of worship. If you don’t believe me, just try it and see if I don’t dump on you a LOT of good things.’
Oh, I wish that I would have tithed sooner! For years I knew I should tithe, but didn’t. As a result, I had money problems. Even the things I bought got stolen, lost or broken. When Niki and I got married, we decided we would put God first in our money and that we would tithe or give ten percent back to God. If we made a hundred dollars, ten dollars would go back to God every time before we paid anybody else. We didn’t want to be in debt to Him. We needed God’s help and His blessing for the 90% that was left go farther. We’ve done that through thick and thin and God has blessed us. Now from years of good experience, I highly recommend tithing.
You might be thinking, “I can’t afford to tithe.” I think that you can’t afford not to. You need God’s blessing on your finances. When’s the best time to start tithing? Now, even if you have debt. I believe we can do more with the 90% that God blesses than with all 100% on our own.
Most of us have our money management in this order:
- We spend money on what we want
- We earn it
- We pay off debt, if there’s any left over from that which there usually isn’t
- We save some; if there’s any left over from that then we give some.
- We have guilt, stress, and anxiety.
That’s backwards. Here is the order God blesses,
- We earn it
- We tithe it
- We save it
- We spend it and repay it
- We enjoy it and then we can sleep at night and have peace in our lives.
Its different I know, but it’s what God says, and it works. Are you ready to have financial boundaries?
For more information about The Ridge Fellowship or Darrell Koop go to www.ridgefellowship.com