Before we make the connection between money management and practicing self-control with food, let’s review the definition of a tightwad and consider becoming one.
A tightwad is someone who cheerfully and systematically chooses when to spend or not to spend money in order to meet a financial goal.
What steps did I take to become an expert on money management in my own home? How do I encourage young women to develop skills in this area? After twenty years of handling our personal finances and discipling other women about money management, I have three practical tips for becoming a tightwad:
1. Study Contentment – The dictionary defines “content” as satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else. Christians are instructed in Hebrews 13:5 to be “content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you.” We can have this attitude because Jesus Christ has amply provided everything we need for life and godliness. When Paul described his contented state in Philippians 4:11, he wrote that he had learned to be content in whatever circumstances, so we too can learn by use and practice this godly attitude. Other Bible verses to study include 1 Timothy 6:8 and 2 Corinthians 12:9-10. Practicing contentment might include prayer dedicated to your husband’s provision, your financial situation, your attitude about money, and even praying for 30 days before making a purchase over $50. You might have to put away tempting magazines and catalogs, too.
2. Study Your Own Budget – Do you have any idea how much money your family spends in a year? Do you know how the money is distributed each month between groceries and eating out, clothing, housing and utilities, entertainment, automobiles, and church giving? How much of your paycheck goes to pay debt and interest? Do you regularly save for the future? Before you can set goals and choose your tactics, you must know what you spend. Implement tools such as an annual spending spreadsheet, a cash log, and a filing system. The Proverbs 31 woman is a model of a godly money manager. Also consider the examples of the overseers and deacons described in 1 Timothy 3.
My husband’s job is to make the money, and my job is NOT to spend it all. – Kristen Harper
3. Study Money Management – Seek wisdom from wise counselors (Proverbs 1:5; Proverbs 12:15; Proverbs 19:20) within your church family as well as professional financial planners that implement Christian principles. (One I personally enjoy is the financial ministry of Dave Ramsey.) Husbands and wives should be united in their effort to manage money, with each person fulfilling their assigned roles, holding the other accountable, and encouraging one another. I’ve said for years that my husband’s job is to make the money, and my job is NOT to spend it all. Find creative ways to reduce your regular spending and do some research on strategies such as whether bulk shopping is truly a bargain for your family.
Dear friends, building self-control with money takes time and effort, but once again God’s Word provides wisdom and encouragement in this area. But some of you may be in a difficult financial crisis right now. What can you do today?
- Pray to God for wisdom, then spend some time reading your Bible. Pray to God and ask Him for your daily bread, enough for today, then thank Him when you get it. Pray to God and repent from your love of money or lack of self-control if necessary.
- Accept help gratefully, wherever it comes from, then say thank you to the source.
- Do without cheerfully. What can you say no to that might relieve the financial burden just a little bit?
- Get to work diligently! By this I am not advocating mothers leave the home to get a job, but rather that everyone get busy serving their own families and others, taking care of what we have to use it up, give it away or sell it. It takes work to decrease spending. At some point there may be a necessity to earn more money, too, so dust off your resume and “pound the pavement” until an opportunity is available.
I hope you enjoyed reading through my old notes about being a tightwad. After practicing these tips for over twenty years, it’s been fun to review these ideas, to reflect on the results, and to thank God for His provision for our family over the years.
So how do these ideas about money relate to self-control with eating? Leave a comment if you have some ideas; otherwise, you will have to wait until my next post…