Archive | July 2012

Crunching Numbers

One of my regular blog reads is  I am always on the prowl for logical, money-saving ideas. More recently I have been trying to investigate more money-making ideas that don’t require long hours away from home, sapping the life and happiness from my family.  “Better is a little with the fear of the Lord than great treasure and trouble therewith. Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.”  Proverbs 15:16-17

I would venture a guess that most working women with chronically ill husbands who don’t work are crunching numbers on a slender income. Some have valuable skills and are making ends meet without sweating the basic monthly bills.  My skills are valuable, too, but just not the sort that usually generate a large profit.

Reading through the Proverbs reminds me of some important truths about this topic:

  1. The faithful child of God whether rich or poor is a FRUGAL child. “He that loves pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loves wine and oil shall not be rich.” Prov. 21:17  We live in an “I’m worth it,” sort of culture. Not that pleasures are sinful, but when our spending exceeds our income, we need to check our budget!  We cut back our internet and phone service to the cheapest available in our area. A salesman from Comcast was shocked to hear that we do not subscribe to cable TV.  He commented that we must be the only ones in our neighborhood that do not (and we live in a lower income area).
  2. The DILIGENT (not the greedy) are highly praised by God. “He becomes poor who deals with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” Prov. 10:4  Balancing passages of Scripture do not equate hard work with certain riches, but it is a legitimate possibility. For a caregiving wife, her diligent effort have to be balanced between providing the financial needs of her family, and keeping the actual home fires burning.
  3. Wastefulness is akin to laziness. “The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting: but the substance of a diligent man is precious.” Prov. 12:27  My parents were right when they scolded us for not turning out the lights when leaving a room!  Now we look for ways to cut back the water and electric bills, too. Right now I am running the laundry and dishwasher after 9 pm to get a cheaper electricity rate.
  4. “In all labor there is profit…” Prov. 14:23  Any sort of legitimate job is better than doing nothing. I clean people’s toilets for my morning job.  Not my favorite thing by any means, but it is much better than being unemployed.  My grandmother used to say, “Anything useful you can learn will come in handy.”  As a forty year old, I have found that to be utterly true.  While laboring, try to learn more useful skills.  I am trying to learn the art of blogging.  Some folks have made this a legitimate source of income.  If I could do this, I could clean a few less toilets, eh?
  5. Generosity is ever so much better than hoarding riches. “There is one who makes himself rich, but has nothing; there is one who makes himself poor yet has great riches.” Prov. 13:7  The Lord has blessed me with some delightful opportunities to give.  I have a few generous cleaning clients who offer me their very nice discards.  I so enjoy having nice things to give to those I love and those in need. Plus, some of those items have met my personal needs. There are so many verses praising generosity in Proverbs that it could be the subject of several blog posts.
  6. “Riches have wings and can fly away”  was a pithy saying from my childhood.  Imagine my surprise when I found this saying in Proverbs 23:4-5, “Labor not to be rich: cease from thine own wisdom….for riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away as an eagle toward heaven.”  In all my labor, it is tempting to be envious of the rich.  However, “the rich and poor meet together: the Lord is the maker of them all.”  The ground should be level at the foot of the cross. Riches are not a sign of spirituality.
  7.  “…The borrower is servant to the lender.” Prov. 22:7 The larger the debt, the deeper the servitude. Debt is a relentless master, and one I would like to be free from. Our country is deeply at fault for the financial enslavement of its citizens. With so many hidden fees and taxes, it is very difficult for a family to make ends meet on a single, modest income.   However, the Proverbs encourage me to keep following Biblical financial principles. Learning ways to incorporate them into daily life is  my challenge.    What are some specific ways you have personally applied them to your life?  I would love to hear from you.