DORA, Ala. — With fuel prices soaring and real estate foreclosures on the rise, we’re living in some pretty scary economical times, aren’t we? As believers, how are we to conduct ourselves? Is there a way to sensibly tighten our money belts and still continue to show generosity? Yes.
Cut back where you can and use the savings to bless others. For starters, here a half-dozen simple suggestions:
- When eating out, order ordinary tap water instead of other beverages. For a family of four, this can make an easy difference of around $400 a year in savings, even if they only dine out once a week.
- Unless you absolutely have to use your cell phone for business purposes, switch to a prepaid minutes plan that has no monthly fee. For $100, I buy 1,000-minutes and use about a hundred a month, which comes out to $10 a month.
- Use your GPS or a web site like www.MapQuest.com to find the shortest distance between your home and the places you go. If you discover a route that cuts only two miles each way from your five-day-a-week work drive, over the course of the year, you’ll use two to three less tanks of fuel in the average vehicle. Check your route to school, church, and other places, and you may literally find more ways to save.
- Switch to fluorescent lighting throughout your home. Not only will the bulbs themselves use less electricity, they’ll also help keep your home cooler, which means less air-conditioning expense, because they produce much less heat than an ordinary light bulb.
- Change your home’s heat pump or furnace filter at least every three months. A clean filter means your heating and cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard, which translate to energy and dollar savings. Keep this on schedule by writing the date on the filter and on your calendar. Depending upon the condition of the filter, you may want to switch to monthly maintenance.
- In lieu of funeral flowers, why not a memorial gift to a missions organization or to the person’s place of worship? Twenty dollars won’t buy much in the way of flowers, but it’s enough to pay to place four Gideon Bibles.
All around us, unbelievers are watching to see how our wallets and we respond to this toughening economic period. Those of us who know Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior need to be setting good examples with every aspect of our lives, including our financial management.
James 1:22 reminds us to “be doers of the word and not hearers only.” This means that we continue to give our tithes and offerings. It means that we keep shining and sharing the light and love of Jesus and exemplifying confidence in His immeasurable ability to provide for us, regardless of any economic downturn.
(EDITOR’S NOTE — Bates is a freelance writer, author, speaker and creator of Bargainomics, www.bargainomics.com.)