Blog Entry

Battling the Brawny Budget Busters by Deidre McClarin
How many times do you walk into a store to purchase something specific and you walk out with that and much more? More than likely you let your visual desires overpower your realistic needs.

Many times, I have walked into  a store to purchase an outfit for an event that  I plan to attend, and will walk out with the outfit-along with a few other articles of clothing that  just looked  good  on the mannequin. I would  tell myself, "that is sharp"..."that would go perfect with..." After merely a moment's hesitation, I look  on the rack for my size, grab it and move on. Before I know it I'm at the checkout counter paying for more "unnecessary" items that  I thought I wanted and really did not need.

This behavior not only pertains to the purchase of cloth­ing, but items we buy on a daily basis without even giving it a second thought. Ask yourself:How often do I purchase items without even asking yourself if I really need it? Overtime, the cost of these habitual purchases adds up and before you know it,you have spent a small fortune.The question becomes did you really need it to begin with?

God's word  says,"I know what it is to be in need,and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hunger)l whether living in plenty or in want" (Phil. 4:12 NIV). In order to be a good  steward over our finances and conquer those items that  send our bank  accounts southward, we must  prioritize  our needs and wants, as well as look  for alternate and  more sensible, or centsible, solutions. Below are a few suggestions  to consider when assessing how  to get (and keep) your budget  on track:

1.   Track your spending to see what your actual costs are over
a monthly  period,  as well as on an annual basis. You may be amazed by the total cost spent on items that  you thought were "insignificant." For instance,  a cup of coffee and a donut  at Dunkin' Donuts may only cost $2.50.That's $12.50 per week; $50 per month;
and $650 per year!

2. Eat at home. Reduce the number oftimes you eat out each week.The money spent on eating out adds up quickly. Before you know it, one meal at a local restaurant can cost a family of 4 approximately $50.Do you know how  many meals you can make
at home for less than $50?

3.  Pack a lunch. Instead of purchasing your lunch everyday, bring a lunch from home. Take leftovers from dinner the night before and minimize the amount  of food that you may potentially throw away due to spoilage.
4.   Reduce cable bill. Reduce the number of
movie channels/enhancements from your monthly cable bill. Do you really watch  all of those channels?  It may be cheaper to just rent a movie instead  of paying a monthly movie channel service fee.Remembe; you can rent movies from Red Box for $1!

5.   Bundle similar services. Consider  bundling your telephone, Internet and cable TV ser­vices to maximize your cost savings.

6.  Review household expenses. Examine the costs  you spend on maintaining your household, i.e., lawn maintenance, housekeeper, window  washers, etc. Consider  reducing the frequency of their use.

7.   Eliminate the health club membership.There are several less expensive alternatives to use for optimizing your  physi­ cal fitness. In fact, spend time this time working out with your  family.

8. Wash your car instead of taking it to the car wash. More and more families have
modified  their spending habits to align with  that of a weakened  economy and
have more money in the bag. As Chris­tians, we must also modify our spending behaviors  to be in alignment  with God's will."  For it is written,"And my God will met
all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ jesus" (Philippians 419  NIV).

Tell us what's on your Heart.  
Remember, it is your story that helps others overcome the enemy.  What you share has the potential to not only impact someone's life, but their eternity. 


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