You’ve budgeted, saved, worked hard, and been blessed for your efforts to be financially self-reliant, and you see this trend continuing into the future. So now what?
One common mistake most people make during financial up times is that they tend to increase their lifestyle as their earnings increase—this is called lifestyle inflation. A second common mistake is that they stop paying attention to their carefully crafted budget. Those two mistakes can add up to a big minus on the budget spreadsheet. But worse are the opportunities missed. Sticking to your original budget during times of plenty allows you to save a little more for the future, make a few simple repairs or updates that add to the value of your home, or donate more to fast offerings or other offerings. Also remember that the blessings of tithing apply to up times just as much as they do to down times.
Why do we sometimes sabotage our finances in up times? The answer is mostly because of peer pressure. Something inside each of us wants to keep up with our friends, to be included, to feel secure. The easiest remedy is to dress the same as our peers, drive the same cars, vacation at the same places—and make sure we document it all on Instagram.
Examining our motives for spending and saving is a good place to start when things begin to go well. Some people frame the first dollar they ever made as a reminder of how difficult it was. Others frame pictures of themselves at their first job—flipping burgers, digging ditches, scrubbing floors—as a reminder to not waste money when times are good. Still others keep photos of family as a reminder to focus their efforts on the needs of family members. So take the time to examine your motives.
A little wisdom and self-restraint bring blessings we may not expect. For example, if we manage our resources well so that we are better able to serve those around us, the Lord has promised that “they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). Saving and having enough to support ourselves later in life allows us to serve with more of our time and resources.
Here are a few tips on managing money in up times:
The Lord has promised,
Being prepared financially opens the door to being more prepared spiritually. We all know that good times don’t last forever—just as we know that the bad times don’t either.