It’s 2014 and we are all excited about a fresh slate! Let’s get those dollar bills in shape and give them some direction. I would love for everyone to think of their budget as “Light and Fast, Fast and Light.” If you know your “Lifestyle Number,” and know there is extra left over, you have more ability to mentally, emotionally and fiscally serve! Remember, God owns it all; he just asks us to steward it for His Kingdom.
I know, I know. You guys are TIRED of hearing about spending plans and budgets. Let’s look at the five overall uses of money as most of it SHOULD be used:
- Giving. First fruits. Let’s not argue about pre or post tax. Just give.
- Taxes. Most of you don’t get a choice. Taxes are taken out before you get your hands of it.
- Debt Repayment. Let’s make sure we don’t owe anyone, shall we? Maybe a house note; and try to pay cash for cars.
- Living /Lifestyle Expenses. Finally, we get to spend our money on stuff we need and want.
- Saving and Investing. This is long-term savings, after you have positive cash flow and six months of cash reserve set aside.
I want to focus on number 4, the Living/Lifestyle Expense. This is where most people get themselves into trouble. You have heard the old Will Rogers’ saying, “Too many people spend money they earned. To buy things they don’t want. To impress people they don’t like.”
Cap and Live with It. Comfortably.
I want you to CAP YOUR LIFESYLE SPENDING, and make it comfortable for you. For the next three months, track what you would consider “lifestyle or discretionary spending.” Know that it’s okay to have some of that; just don’t go overboard and borrow for it. Here is a quick example of a lifestyle plan for people who are in the greater Cincinnati area:
House Principal, Interest, Taxes and Insurance $1,300.00
Energy Bill Annual Average $200.00
Water Bill $50.00
Trash Bill $50.00
Auto Insurance $100.00
Auto Fuel (Feel the Pain) $400.00
Kids’ Expenses $200.00
Only God Knows Where $500.00
Total Lifestyle/Living Expense $3,125.00
This is a general idea, and you will want to figure out YOUR bottom-line Lifestyle/Living Expenses. Why? So you can be content with what you have been blessed with, and know that delayed gratification is okay.
Here are some fun scripture ideas for you:
- Pray to seek God’s direction regarding your lifestyle (Proverbs 3:5-6). Rich or Poor is okay
- Learn to be content (Philippians 4:11)
- Avoid Coveting (Exodus 20:17)
- Don’t determine your lifestyle by what “the Jones’s have.” (Who made them soooo awesome, anyway?) 1John 13-15
- FREELY ENJOY what you spend in the Spirit (1 Timothy 4:4)
- Make every effort to live more simply (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12)
- Don’t be conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2)
Enjoy 2014, and figure out “YOUR LIGHT AND FAST Number”!