1.) Do Not Covet
The tenth commandment should be ever before us: “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17; Deuteronomy 21:21). Covetousness is a sin that pervades not only society, but every human heart. So much time can be wasted dreaming about what we desire and do not have.
2.) Make Do or Do Without
The old saying “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without” simply means being content and industrious by using what you have until you have the means to upgrade or buy more. Consider how much bondage to debt could be prevented on the premise of “making do.” Imagine the hours of creativity and cheerful industry that could be produced in a home without a television.
We all think of maintaining our cars, but what about oiling our wooden chopping boards twice a year? Do periodic maintenance on everything that you use. Pare down your wardrobe to quality pieces and things you need. Learn to me sew buttons, mend holes and fix hems or find a competent tailor.
Matthew 6:31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”
3.) Make Lists
Every time a need or want comes to mind, I write it down. There is wisdom in praying about whether or not to make a purchase. If you have placed your faith in the saving and sanctifying work of Jesus Christ, remember that God is your Father. He will not give you a stone if you ask for bread, though he may not give you bread either when “you ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures” (James 4:3).
4.) Shop Online
Prices are almost always cheaper than retail on the Internet. For example, I recently ordered some B-vitamins that cost $5.00 less than its retail price. Many online retailers also offer free shipping on orders over a certain amount. Online shopping also prevents impulse buying and wasted hours commuting to stores. Sticking to a shopping list is just as important when shopping online as it is in a physical store. It may be tempting to buy more than necessary because of the variety of products available. Therefore, self-control must be exercised in online shopping or your budget will be blown up with the click of a button.
5.) Be Prudent About Health and Nutrition
According to a study done at Harvard University, defaults on medical bills represent 62% of all personal bankruptcies. Exercising regularly and eating wisely can prevent a myriad of health problems that cost time and money, even life and limb. Albeit, there is no one-size fits all approach to eating and exercise. Theologian Jonathan Edwards once wrote that he “carefully observed the effects of the different sorts of food, and selected those which best suited his constitution, and rendered him most fit for mental labour” (Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume One, 1834).
It may also be helpful to do some genealogy research in the area of health. How did your ancestors die? What are your family’s generational illnesses, if any? If you have the blessing of being adopted, you can start a health journal now for your posterity.
It is impossible to take control of your health and live forever, because God has “appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). God is sovereign and expects us to be good and faithful stewards of everything we have been given.
Cancer, health insurance, bankruptcy | The Economist, Sep 7th 2009
The Works of Jonathan Edwards, Volume One, 1834