Monday, December 19, 2011

It's Money Monday, and You Can Help!

(I love that commercial!)

So, I've been reading Radical by David Platt.  It's one of those books with a cult following that I wait until the hype has died to read because cult followings annoy me.  It's about how Christianity and the American Dream are so combined that you can't separate one from the other.  The author is presenting his opinion on what needs to happen to get Christianity Christ focused again.  It's an interesting read.  I'm not going to write a review, but I'm also not going to say I support it 100%.

The question it brings up for me, or brings up again-I've been struggling with this question for a long time, is where should our standard of living be?  How much of our income should we use for our purposes, and how much should we give away?  And this isn't something that Dave Ramsey or Crown really have the answer for.  They can give you percentiles and guidelines, but those don't really answer the question because those numbers (whether saving, spending, or giving) would just increase as your income does.  There is too  much variance.

I'm asking for your help.  How do you determine where you lifestyle line is?  Do you go with a percentage?  Is it simply staying in step with the neighbors?  Is there a number that once you hit it in savings, you won't work another day?  Is it about a little bit more?

I can look at my life and see plenty that could be cut out.  Luxuries like cell phones, television, internet, dining, convenience foods, helpers, and vacations.  But should I cut them out?  How little should I live on?  What luxuries should I afford my family?

What are your thoughts?  Leave a comment and let me know!

8 comments:

lizbeth321 said...

So it seems natural that as income increases so will the level of your lifestyle... I just don't want to make more/spend more, make more/spend more, make more/spend more without my heart being content at each level. I also don't want to feel so guilty for what I do have that I don't appreciate and enjoy it.
As far as how much to spend for our own purposes...maybe if our purposes and heart's desires line up with God's, that will be easily answered. (although, an approved budget spreadsheet from God could prove helpful! LOL)

Nora said...

I think a person must decide for themselves. I believe, if we trust God and ask for His guidance, He will convict our hearts, one way or the other, about our lifestyles. I used to think "Absolutely no fun spending until all bills/debts are paid." But I will always have those, whether it be medical bills or school loans or whatever. So am I never to have anything fun or to look forward to? What is wrong with internet, cable, or vacations, as long as I'm don't make them my sole focus or main priority?

Anonymous said...

As I grow more mature spiritually, I am finding that those luxuries are no longer important to me. My personal conviction is that it is a sin for me to spend so much on luxuries that I cannot readily help someone in need. I see it among Christians in my office. They cannot spare a five dollar bill to feed hungry families that wander in b/c that five dollars is to spend on the cell or IPad or the new car payment. I think that if you fast and pray God will help you to discern the scriptures that he has given us on how to deal with the poor and needy among us.

Lynne D. said...

hmmm - you're likely in shock that I'm leaving a comment; but you realize that I live with Harry so gotta just say that we feel that this is something that you simply need to determine thru prayer. The Lord has a particular plan just for your family - just ask him!

panaMOM said...

Lynne- I'm thrilled you are leaving me a comment. My money guru's opinion matters oodles to me! We try to allow the Lord to move us as He chooses, but I am curious why this topic isn't discussed in money circles more often. I miss y'all (though the voice of Tight-Wad Dodd is never far from me) ;)

panaMOM said...

Lizbeth- I hear you. My wise husband once determined that we wouldn't increase lifestyle with income increases. That def put us on the right path. (Like almost all the rest of his financial decisions.)

panaMOM said...

Nora- I think the question for me about isn't about is right or wrong, but what I'm refusing to sacrifice. Not a thing wrong with a vacation unless I've been called to help someone with that money. KWIM?

panaMOM said...

Anon- No doubt the Lord will guide as we seek him. I have a mentor/friend in Panama who I was discussing this with. She told me to "not look at the need, but at the Lord and He would guide us." Love that quote because it's so true- I can't take care of all the needs, but I can do what He asks of me.

I think the answer to my ponderings is less about answering the question and more about being intentional with the answer. Or pausing to think about the question in the first place.

Thanks so much for sharing your thought and how the Lord is leading you!