Last week I came across an oldish TV show called Extreme Cheapskates. I thought it might be fun to watch because I have always had a bit of a frugal streak. I like collecting points with retailers' rewards cards, I save scraps of paper and fabric to repurpose, and I try not to spend wastefully. But after seeing the appalling and, well, stupid lengths some people will go to in their efforts to pinch their pennies, I had to stop watching after a few episodes.
In case you think my use of the word "stupid" was harsh, here are a few examples of what I saw (I'm not even going to mention the really disgusting ones):
- A couple shared an electric toothbrush instead of buying a second one. (Why not buy two non-electric toothbrushes?)
- A woman asked a seniors' residence if she could host her 10-year-old son's birthday party there because it would be cheaper than renting another venue, and then she drove all around town in her SUV to try to collect free promotional balloons (that said things like "SALE") from various businesses so she wouldn't have to buy decorations.
- A man made his daughter have her sweet 16 birthday party in a strip club because, not being in use during the day, the manager let them use it for free. He also brought home leftovers from his coworkers' lunches for his family's suppers rather than cook fresh meals at home. (His wife got sick three times from the leftover food.) He was a firefighter (so gainfully employed).
- A young wrestler dried and reused his tissues to save a few dollars a week, but his body was covered in tattoos. (Ummm...?)
You get the idea! While I'm sure we can all find plenty of examples of people who have the opposite approach to money, practically burning it up with their wastefulness or extravagance, I think we can agree that it's possible to hold on to it too tightly.
Here are seven basic principles from the Bible that can help us have a healthy attitude about the money (and other resources) God has entrusted to us as managers:
- Everything comes from God and belongs to Him (see James 1:17 and Psalm 24:1).
- We should give a portion of our resources back to Him, not because He needs it but because it's a form of worship and an expression of gratitude (see Malachi 3:7-12).
- We must avoid the love of money (see Matthew 6:24; 1 Timothy 3:3 and 6:10; 2 Timothy 3:2).
- We shouldn't store up "treasures" on earth. In other words, keep a loose grip on your worldly wealth and focus more on the things that have eternal value (see Matthew 6:19-20).
- We should be cheerful and generous givers (2 Corinthians 9:7 and Psalm 37:21).
- We must take care of the needy (see James 1:27 and Romans 12:13).
- We should give no matter how little we have, trusting God to provide for our needs (see Luke 21:4).
There's nothing wrong with enjoying a nice home, good food, a restful vacation, or any of the other things God has created for our pleasure, but life is sweeter and less stressful when we're not obsessed with earning, spending, or saving money. The most beautiful things in life really are free!
P.S. If you do struggle with making ends meet, here are some practical tips on saving money
that won't make you a crazy person.