The moment that we live according to how the Lord wants us to live, we appreciate God’s blessings in a completely new way and live better. A responsible person lives according to their means not to keep up with appearances or to simply spend, as Dave Ramsey once said.
In reality, living according to your means can be a challenge because by the age of sixteen, American teenagers have seen almost 16 million ads, according to a study conducted at Harvard University. Consumerism seems to be a learned behavior in the United States.
Addictive buying behaviors are destructive, expensive, and are not recommended by the tenets of Christianity since the holy bible, in many passages, states the following:
“Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrews 13:5.
“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16.
“Take care, and be on your guard against all covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Luke 12:15.
I say… Mere acquisition of depreciating assets and impulse buy can lead a family to ruin and deviate them from God as financial stress can have these side effects. Therefore, the logical course of action for Americans to have long term financial sustainability is:
1. For a family to buy a house in one income only.
2. To buy (or lease) a new car that makes financial sense. For example, a family bringing 50K a year should not have cars that cost more than 18.5K per car.
3. To avoid financing products or services that aren’t needed. Buying electronics like an iPad or a new phone every year is costly. Vanity is a sin and can be quite expensive. It’s better to build a financial portfolio with this money or to buy assets that can give families money, like photography equipment, than to spend part of your monthly income with machinery that holds little to no value.
4. To Avoid eating out! It’s expensive and can make you sick more often. It’s a luxury that just doesn’t bring much return to your buck. A $25 sirloin steak eaten in a restaurant can be bought in a grocery store for a fraction of the price.
5. To buy a television, furniture and appliances according to your means. A 60 inch Samsung television looks good but it comes with a premium cost that most families can’t really afford. Expensive furniture can be bought in 4 years zero percent financing but it has little value after the asset is paid off. Appliances are better than furniture but they also should be bought with caution.
6. To have a maximum of two kids. Having only one kid is perhaps more ideal since it takes on average of $250K to raise a child, according to Morgan Stanley. Kids aren’t cheap!
Make God the center of your life not money or the necessity to buy. Invest in assets that can help you to generate more income instead of spending your dollars in assets that don’t give your any financial return.
Live according to your means and never make life decisions based on how others will think of you. Remember: You don’t own anything to those who critique your life choices. Do they pay your bills?
There is much more to life than mere appearances and don’t forget to be cautious with what you see or assume… “One person pretends to be rich yet has little. One person pretends to be poor yet has much.” Proverbs 3:7.