Friday, December 05, 2008

Spending my money

Sometimes no matter how hard you try the money just disappears. Extras coincide with planned and needed expenditure and by the end of the first week of the month, it's all gone.

Recent extras in our household include £260 on gas boiler repairs and parts. Deep joy. But I have a wife who ceases to function at low temperatures. Heating and hot water made this an essential.

This coincided with a planned expenditure. My motorbike needed an MOT and I needed a new helmet. £100 to keep my head in one piece should I fall off the bike is I think a sound investment. Others may disagree. I'd already stretched the replacement of the old one beyond reasonable. I also happen to think my new piece of gear is quite cool.

When you're on a below national average income these things can be a challenge, it's the timing of these events more than anything. December isn't a great time for most people to be hit by extra financial burdens because on average they will spend £655 on Christmas festivities. Fortunately for us, living simply means this isn't something we'll be doing and because we live within our means and budget we can cope with the extras and (hopefully) quickly return to pre-challenge levels of giving.

A few key lessons emerge for me:
  1. a genuine ability to discern between wants and needs consistently applied means at crunch moments the adjustments on the wants side of things aren't particularly sacrificial
  2. Living within your means and knowing how to budget is such an important skill. If you don't know how because no one has ever shown you ask. Resources abound.
  3. There's grace in it all. I don't feel guilty in months of challenge because in months of plenty we'll give. But I also ask God to help me give even though I feel poorer than normal!


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