Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lessons Learned in Life - Part 1

One of the things that has been on my mind recently is the need to share with my children and grandchildren some of the most important things I have learned in life. I don't know if you've experienced this, but there are things in many different areas of life that stand out as important lessons that have a profound affect on how we live our lives. Usually if we learn such lessons, life is better and more rewarding in many ways.

Another thing that I think is important is for the older generation to share those lessons with younger people so that perhaps they can learn from them and avoid some of the pitfalls that occur in life. So little by little as I think through these learning experiences and as I prepare them in written form to share with my family, I thought it might be helpful to share them with a wider audience as well so that whatever is beneficial in my experience may help others.

So, we'll get started today with something I learned about budgeting. What I'll try to do is if the topic is too long for one post, which it is today, I'll continue in succeeding days. New topics will appear sporadically as I finish them. They'll all be tagged under Life Lessons so that you can find them easily.

I was blessed to have a dad who taught me budgeting and a wife who understands thrift and careful shopping. Because of what I learned from them, God helped me to know what works best when it comes to using money wisely and saving for the future. I spent my career working as a teacher and administrator in a rural public school district. We decided early in our marriage that my wife would stay home and focus on our children as they came along. Through the years we were able to pay off our mortgage, pay cash for our cars, and send our kids to a Christian college debt-free. The principles that I'm sharing with you are based on biblical principles and actually work. We are a testimony to God's faithfulness in keeping His Word.

Whole books have been written on budgeting, but what I would like to do today is lay down a few principles that you may find helpful in making ends meet and the dollar stretch. What most people don't realize is that even if they don't budget, every dollar is spoken for and by not having a budget, you don't know who or what has claims on the money in your pocket.

Consider this scenario. You're out with the family and decide everyone might enjoy stopping at McDonalds for a frappe. For a family of five, that will cost you over $15. You know that you have a twenty dollar bill and a five in your wallet and so that's enough to cover it. You want to be a nice dad and you want your kids to be happy and so you stop for the treat. The problem is that there are bills and expenses coming down the road. Some you know about and some you don't. Most people I know don't have a lot of extra income compared to their expenses and so most dollars are spoken for. The fact is that even though the money is loose in your wallet, it is probably spoken for. There's a car insurance payment of $400 due next month. Maybe the $15 is part of that. Has your wife told you yet that Johnny needs new shoes? That's coming tomorrow. Maybe the $15 is part of that.

Before the days of computers, my dad had an envelope budget system. I'm going to describe it to you so that you will understand the gist of how good budgeting works. Each person can adapt the illustration to his own situation. 

 Read the rest tomorrow.

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