Discover the Financial Principles of the Bible

Stop Putting Your Money into a Bag with Holes

Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes. Haggai 1:6.

Most people spend every dime they make (and then some). They have good intentions about saving money, but they just seem to keep putting their money into a “bag with holes” as Haggai so eloquently put it. Even people that earn six-figure incomes often file for bankruptcy, because they didn’t understand how to build wealth. In this article we take a quick look at 10 ways to help you build wealth.

It’s really hard for God to bless someone that isn’t following His instructions. Tithing has been a common theme in all of the Christian Finance articles that I’ve written, because I believe strongly in the tithing principle found in Malachai 3. I have “proven” the Lord on this concept and found it to be true.

Use debt wisely
A person that is working to build their personal wealth buys assets. A person that is living to enjoy life buys liabilities. Think about that for a minute. Wealthy people use debt, but it’s typically to purchase an asset that will result in a cash flow or a future gain. This could be a college education, real estate, stocks & bonds, etc. However, others use debt to pay for their vacations or new TV. They haven’t used debt wisely, but have rather purchased a liability that will cost them for months or years to come.

Buy on sale
Other than for the bare necessities, it’s rare that I ever buy anything that’s not on sale. Regardless whether it’s buying Christmas presents or a new car….I want a good deal! I stay in hotels that I’ve “Pricelined”, I give gifts that I’ve found on Amazon’s lightning deals and I buy pizza using coupons. Even if you can save only a couple of dollars, it all adds up. To build real wealth, you not only have to be prudent with your purchases, but just as importantly you have to save the money that you didn’t spend and not just find somewhere else to spend it.

Max out your 401k
If someone walked up to you on the street corner and offered you a fistful of dollars, you would probably take it. Yet many people fail to take full advantage of their employer’s company match for their 401k program. Since contributions made to 401k plans are made with pre-tax dollars, those serious about creating wealth often contribute well beyond the level their employer matches.

Own vs. lease
In most cases choosing to buy makes more financial sense than leasing. Whether it’s a car, house or furniture you save money in the long-run by buying rather than renting. There’s something very refreshing about owning something outright (e.g. debt free) rather than just renting it with the knowledge that you will never own it.

Adequate insurance
One of the leading causes of bankruptcy is health bills resulting from having inadequate medical insurance. However, the principle applies to all types of insurance – health, auto and life. It’s never fun paying those premiums every month, but you sure will be glad you did if a real catastrophe strikes. It’s no fun eliminating your savings account or wiping out your 401k account just to pay doctor’s bills.

Pay on time
Late fees and interest can eat away at your ability to build your personal nest egg. This can be avoided by ensuring that you make all of your payments on time. Even credit cards can be used responsibly if used in this manner. Most credit cards don’t charge you any interest if you pay it off in full by the due date. However, if you’re late…you are stuck paying high late fees and pointless interest payments.

Live below your means
One great attribute of the Depression-era generation is that they often chose to live below their financial means. That meant not spending every dollar they earned. They saved religiously knowing that the prudent man forseeth the evil and hides himself. You may not live as lavish a lifestyle as your neighbors, but you will be much further along the pathway to true financial independence if you can implement this discipline. There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up. Proverbs 21:20.

Save your raises
Most people get an annual review that is often accompanied by a salary increase. Unfortunately, most people often just adjust their spending levels higher to account for the increased income rather than increasing their savings. Even taking just half of your raise each year and saving it will go a long way towards building wealth.

Maximize your earning potential
You may start out your career in a minimum wage position, but you have to find ways to increase your earnings potential if you want to build real wealth. This could require going to college or a trade school to increase your skills and thus your employability. Even if you have a good job, you could increase your earnings potential by taking on freelance projects or starting a side business. Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. Proverbs 13:11.

Just following these 10 principles will allow you to build real wealth, rather than just spinning on the treadmill of life while living from paycheck to paycheck.

Filed in: Budgeting, Christian Finance, Stewardship

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