Money and Me

Some people may contradict our teaching, but these are the wholesome teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. These teachings promote a godly life. Anyone who teaches something different is arrogant and lacks understanding. Such a person has an unhealthy desire to quibble over the meaning of words. This stirs up arguments ending in jealousy, division, slander, and evil suspicions. These people always cause trouble. Their minds are corrupt, and they have turned their backs on the truth. To them, a show of godliness is just a way to become wealthy.Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it. So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

1 Timothy 6:3-10

 

Well this post is for the “Money and the Church” synchroblog topic, but I really don’t want to write about the church and its involvement with money (although for those who did decide to write about that, verse 5 above sure does ring true!) especially since I myself just don’t have a lot of personal experience over that. I do however want to talk about myself, as it seems a lot are instead writing about other people instead of themselves.

UPDATE: 11/20/07 – Over the weekend we went to Sam’s Club to stock up on supplies for Thanksgiving (and the Respite Program dinner we did last night…), and I saw a Nativity set that were something like 2 foot high. The cost? Almost $500 🙂

I do feel content with enough things in my life, but I still struggle… you see I’m stingy with money. That may not put it in strong enough words. I can be nice and say that I’m “frugal”. I don’t like to buy things new unless I REALLY have to. But here’s the thing – I don’t love money but I’m almost anti-obsessed with money if that makes any sense at all.

My thoughts on “stuff”

Garage sales are just super. I truly would love it if there was someplace I could go with things and just trade stuff [I have but don’t want] for other stuff – that’d just be swell. When it comes to donations for anything (like clothing drives), I don’t immediately think about going to a store and buying new items – I think about what we have but don’t need anymore and what I can buy at Goodwill (or similar) to donate. Is this wrong? I know some things are clearly stipulated that they want as new, like socks or underwear – that totally makes sense. But what about the rest? Is there really anything that wrong with used items? Why can’t we as a culture recycle more of our stuff? You know – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE?

My thoughts on “money”

I just don’t like to spend. I have no qualms over some spending including financial giving (primarily tithing but an occasional donation usually at the end of the year) and groceries, mortgage, gas, utilities, etc. It’s all the “rest” that we spend on that kind of somewhat annoys me. I actually have to stop myself on thinking about these other things. We are on a budget (just started!) and are trying to pay off our debts by this simple plan from a book called Total Money Makeover (I won’t go into the concepts of the book but I really dig what he is saying).

Our culture though is just a bit more than I can take sometimes. Buying so much just so easily. Getting offer after offer after offer for credit cards and lines of credit. This whole idea of “consumer confidence”. Buying new [x] when you can’t even afford to buy a decent used [x]. A serious problem with a lot of people having significant credit card debt. Spending when you just don’t have the money.

I think I’m in some extreme viewpoint – if we just don’t spend any money at all beyond the very bare necessities, then …. but let me tell ya. I’m sure I’m not on the right track especially since I have a family. But here’s the thing – I know someone who is – my wife. She’s frugal – but realistic and not obsessed about it. I know (as she’s told me) that I have on occasion taken the fun out of life over this money stuff.

In conclusion

I really wonder how much any of us can truly do what we do in life without money to some extent. Some of us will have the “gift” (I sometimes wonder if it would be a curse) of significant prosperity and some of us will be far from it. But what I really believe is that ALL OF US must properly understand how to manage and control our money so we put it to good use. Not spending all our money (or more than our money) on anything and everything. Not being deep in debt. And possibly helping others recognize and learn how to control their money too.

So what do you think? Do we have a problem with money?

What about the rest of these synchrobloggers on this topic? OK here you go:

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10 responses to “Money and Me

  1. Our culture though is just a bit more than I can take sometimes. Buying so much just so easily. Getting offer after offer after offer for credit cards and lines of credit. This whole idea of “consumer confidence”. Buying new [x] when you can’t even afford to buy a decent used [x]. A serious problem with a lot of people having significant credit card debt. Spending when you just don’t have the money.

    I don’t think there are any easy answers to that.

    The economy is structured in such a way that if we don’t spend, a lot of people will be out of jobs.

    One thing that disturbs me are advertisments from banks urging pensioners to get into debt though.

  2. Chris,

    I am a “cheap spendthrift”, if that makes any sense. I can be a tightwad on many things, and then turn around and blow a big amount of money on something “important”. I am not “good with money”. Neither is my wife. We are working on it, but the progress is slower than I would like (more reasons to that than I will go into here). Anyway, money is an issue in my life, and I wish it weren’t. We will keep working on it.

    You said, “I truly would love it if there was someplace I could go with things and just trade stuff [I have but don’t want] for other stuff – that’d just be swell.” Well, there is just such a place, and as with all places now days, it’s an online place. It’s called Freecycle (http://www.freecycle.org/). Here’s how it works – you go to the site and search for your city. Then you subscribe to the mailing group for your city (or even specific area if you’re in a large metro area). Then you get emails from the mailing list (you can get a digest form of only one email a day if you want) of people wanting things and people offering things. The only rule for Freecycle is whatever is offered must be offered for free. The whole goal of Freecycle is to promote recycling by hooking people with “junk” up with people who think that “junk” is “stuff”.

    I’ve been on it for over a year. I don’t get things from Freecycle – I have plenty as it is. But I have been able to get rid of a lot of stuff via Freecycle. Things that I otherwise would have had to haul to the dump myself and PAY them to take it, and then it would have just been in the landfill. It’s a cool service – I recommend it.

  3. I am with you.
    “You know – REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE?”

    I am that way. I shop thrift stores for almost everything. I have found some of the best stuff in there.

    I moved across country earlier this year and found most of my decor things at thrift stores, which you would never know (and no one does…everyone loves my house and when they ask where I got my stuff they freak out!)

  4. Chris,

    The Bible discusses money over 400 times so it was pretty important to God because if we can’t handle what HE has given us then how can we be good stewards to what HE wants to award us.

    Money and everything belongs to GOD. We are merely the Stewards of what HE has entrusted to us. The Bible states that we are to tithe to HIM so he can build His Church. We are also to put 5% into our storehouse(savings).

    I have taken a Crown Financial Class and in it we learn what the Bible says regarding money and how we should manage it. It is a great class and everyone should take it so they would know how to manage their life and money biblically.

    So when the Jeep got a ding in it, I didn’t get upset. I just looked up to heaven and said I don’t know why you wanted a dent in YOUR JEEP but there you go.

    When you lay it at the cross and realize that you don’t own anything and it all belongs to GOD, your perspective changes.

    Take Care and God Bless,

    Beamer 319

  5. Steve – I’ve wondered about what you said about our economy being structured to depend on all this spending. Like you say – there is no short and simple way to deal with that, but I can only think that there is going to be no easy way. I really think to when we lived in the Detroit area and saw the economy just not doing that good because of the downturn for the auto industry. *Very* not good stuff for the entire region and by far from easy. I’ve not a clue what could be done for that other than everyone doing their best to transition to something else (and people were – by leaving the area). I haven’t seen any ads from banks about pensioners – but then again, maybe I just never noticed them since I’m far from that sort of situation and point in my life. That’s pretty messed up – how exactly would one get out of debt when they only have a pension to live on?

    Jim – one more thing that makes me think you and I think on the same level…. I like that term “cheap spendthrift” – and it does make sense at least to me 🙂 Yeah we have spent some fairly big $ in the past, but I usually only agree with it (w/o much argument) when I really see there’s no other option (like several years ago when we bought a minivan from family because we had our 2nd child and could barely all fit into our mid-size Chevy Malibu with the traveling we had to do). My wife and I have been able to get me pretty decently with our money over the years, but never good. We never budgeted but didn’t really go into debt – just were slowly paying things off. But we didn’t know where we spending our money really at all. Through this book we are aiming to really control our spending and I think it will eventually shape up our financial habits (I hope). Slow and steady! The beauty of this whole discussion system called blogging! Ask and someone will tell you about it…. I will definitely be looking into and joining the Freecycle group for my area. Thanks for the heads-up!

    Reba – welcome and thanks for commenting! My wife and I recently found a painting for $5 from Goodwill and we really like it. We were just watching some financial show and a person was calling about if it was OK to buy a work of art for something like $5,000 that he said he would really truly enjoy. We were joking because we enjoy ours and it cost 1/1000th the cost 🙂 Sometimes it may take a while to find what you’re looking for (we have a few pieces of furniture that we keep “an eye out for” if we ever find in good shape!). What truly amazes me is that so many people don’t believe you actually can find good stuff at thrift stores, even when you point out things you actually have bought from there that they themselves admit they like…

    Beamer 319 – great to hear from you! The point about being good stewards of what we are given really rings in my mind on the matter of money. Tithing for sure (although if you follow some of the people blogging on this synchroblog topic, you might find some that differ on tithing to a church…) 10%. Hadn’t heard about putting 5% into the storehouse / savings – what’s the verse you’re referring to? I don’t believe we do that amount just yet though… but as part of the book I mentioned, we are trying to eliminate the remaining debts so we have more of the monthly budget able to dedicate towards an emergency fund, then savings for kids college and our long-term savings. At that point, it probably could be more like 10-20% toward savings. Before we got this book, I was strongly considering finding a class somewhere in the area (it still wouldn’t be a bad idea for my wife and I to take sometime!) especially when I’d listened to their radio programs a few times…

  6. Great thoughts Chris…I can especially relate to “…taking the fun out of life over this money stuff”. My wife and I have had several disagreements over this, and I think it’s because I have an extreme viewpoint, and not that she herself is a major spender. I just can’t think of anything major that I NEED that I don’t already have, outside of basic necessities.

    I’m not sure how to change the culture on this though. Look at what Black Friday has turned into.

  7. Joe – I’m trying my best to not have such an extreme viewpoint causing a disagreement with my wife. It’s not worth it for the pain it causes.

    I tend to wonder if we can make do without buying quite a lot though. Could I build it? Maybe I could find it on craigslist? 🙂 Hard to turn off, isn’t it?

    There’s probably no way to change the culture. I just won’t sign on to it (at least very much – I did end up having to go around on Black Friday… not as much for my shopping purposes but for family in-town looking for something).

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