Nothing wrong with having material comfort – but by working hard, budgeting sensibly, spending wisely, and not over-borrowing, we can all save and give more than we otherwise could.
A life where we give as much as can is surely more rewarding than splashing out today and dreading the credit card bill tomorrow? Much as the credit crunch has caused untold pain and misery to many people, perhaps it has also brought some good. One of the virtues that I hope will come out of the credit crunch is frugality (probably not the right expression, but it’s a lot less long-winded than anything else I could think of).
A few points to ponder (as I switch into “rant” mode a tad – apologies in advance):
- How many of us know how much we have right now in the bank?
- How many of us pay cash for that new TV/PC/gadget/car/pair of shoes?handbag/posh frock?hairdo that you “must have”?
- How many of us pay for it using “the plastic fantastic” or (extended) credit terms?
- How many of us save? (Let me qualify that. I mean “save” as in, putting money away in the piggy bank or sparkonto, as well as “buying for tuppence what you could have bought for sixpence ha’penny?)
- How many of us have opened savings accounts for our offspring?
- in fact, come to think of it, how many of us have even got a piggybank or moneybox for our kids?
- Could we, instead of giving our children a pile of material presents at Christmas, skip just one of them, eg one X-Box game, and put some form of savings away for them? Could we put £10 or £20 into a savings account, or buy a £25 Children’s Bonus Bond (see http://www.nsandi.com)?
Let me make one thing clear. I won’t claim to be a great practitioner of frugality myself. My aim is not to condescend or patronise, but to do my bit to help people think about the savings habit. Some of you may be fans of Martin Lewis, Mr Money Saving Expert. I haven’t seen him on TV, but I have bought one of his books, and I can heartily recommend his website, http://www.moneysavingexpert.com. I use Martin Lewis’ excellent budget planner to work out how much (or how little, leider) I have each month. Quite a useful exercise when you see it in black and white. As the quality management people will tell you, “You can’t improve that which you don’t measure.”
Finally, here are some Bible passages which I think are relevant to frugality and good stewardship.
A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed. -Proverbs 11:25
Jesus said, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” – Luke 12:15