Practical Ways to Save Money
“With prices going up, we could all use some tips for buying what we need without going into debt. Here are some practical ways to save money.
You go to the grocery store to buy a few necessities and walk out with two bags for $75. What?
Your child has outgrown his or her tennis shoes and even cheaply made ones are $30.
Gas prices make it painful to fill up your car.
Do these things ring true for you and sound familiar? Because of inflation and the economic downturn we are all living in right now, it’s important to really think about and plan how to live more frugally. We must be proactive.
Make God your partner
The first step in anything big in life is to make God our partner.
When I start getting stressed out about all of life’s little details, I say to myself: God is the Creator of the universe!
When a 90-year-old woman wavered in her faith about conceiving and bearing the child God had promised, God asked, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14).
Jeremiah 32:17 echoed this theme: “Ah, Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and outstretched arm. There is nothing too hard for You.”
This is a principle that we can take to the bank—we can fully trust in God, who cares for us.
With that firmly in our minds as a backdrop, are there practical things we can do to live more frugally and still have an abundant life? Yes, there are! Let’s look at a few.
Budgeting is imperative to making our money stretch. Know how much you have coming in and how much is going out. Budgeting helps us to live within our means. Because it is key to successfully navigating a rocky economy, budgeting must be a component of our plan to live more frugally.Part of every Christian budget should be tithing. There is a promise from God in Malachi 3:10: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and try Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.’”
If you can’t afford something, don’t buy it. If it is an item you absolutely need, bargain hunt. But no matter what, create a budget and stick with it.
Become a bargain hunter
Bargain hunting is an art form for some, so if this is a new concept to you, don’t reinvent the wheel. Ask around your workplace, church or community to find a budget and bargain mentor. Those of us who are bargain hunters love to show others the ropes.
When I was a young mother of two small children 18 months apart and was enrolled in nursing school, we were very tight on money. My 2-year-old daughter was outgrowing all of her church dresses. A friend who had three small children of her own helped me find seven new dresses for my child by introducing me to Goodwill. Seven dresses for $20 was amazing for a young mother. It was my first lesson in thrift shopping.
There are thrift stores and consignment stores in almost every town. This doesn’t mean you should never shop retail, but if you do, shop the sales and bargain hunt. There is no need to pay full price for anything. There is no need to sacrifice quality either; just find the best quality for the price.
I love the hunt! It means being patient and comparing—no impulse buying allowed. Our society is all about instant gratification, and the advertisers know this. However, do you really need 20 pairs of jeans? Would having fewer work? Then you could put those extra funds into savings for when an emergency comes up.
Stock up when you see items you need on sale. We live in a small condo, but we still invested in a small chest freezer so we can purchase things that are on sale.
Bargain hunting is fabulous; just keep in mind that less is more.
Become a minimalist
Once I started applying this principle, I realized how many beautiful benefits it brought.
In order to become a minimalist, you need to survey your stuff and ask yourself two questions: Do I need it? Do I love it? If the answer to both is no, then there are several options for disposing of excess.
In an anxious time in history, how wonderful it is to know that God is on our side and will help us with every aspect of our lives! One option is to sell stuff you don’t need. Facebook Marketplace is a great place for this. Another option is to consign your items. There are consignment stores for household items and clothing in almost every town. I use this option a lot. For example, when my child needs a new pair of shoes, I consign the ones he has outgrown and then pick out a quality used pair in his new size, paying little or sometimes nothing!
Another point to becoming a minimalist is to create a capsule wardrobe for everyone in the family. One rule we have in our house is, if you buy something, you have to get rid of something. This really prevents impulse shopping. I always ask myself, Do I need this? And if I do, do I love it more than something I already have?
It’s also lovely not living in a house full of stuff we never use. It feels like it is so much easier to clean when there is not excess.
Another practical thing to do with excess is to give it away. I first try to find someone in our church congregation who could use the item, but if no one needs it, I donate it to a thrift store. If you attend a congregation with a lot of children, you could organize a clothing exchange a couple times a year. This can help all of the families clothe growing youngsters and save money.
What about entertainment? Do you have to go without fun to survive? No way! Let your imagination and creativity lead you in this area.
Game nights are an example of inexpensive fun. We recently hosted a group of young people in our condo’s community room. We simply had a meal and played games. It was fantastic!
Picnics in the park, hiking and camping are some other ways to enjoy family time or time with friends. There are so many ways to have fun without spending money, and there is no financial guilt incurred.
My favorite dates with my husband involve walking and ending up at a new coffee shop for a cup of java. If you are foodies, as we are, find new recipes and cook as a family. For us, it’s just as much fun to spend $20 on some yummy ingredients and have a theme night—like Mexican or Greek—as it is to go to a restaurant and spend $20 per person.
Entertaining others doesn’t have to break the bank either. Make it a potluck, and everyone can contribute a dish. Some of the inexpensive things you can do include setting up a hot dog bar or a baked potato bar with all of the toppings. Most people just enjoy the opportunity to fellowship with their brethren, and the food doesn’t always have to be gourmet quality. So be creative and generate some fun memories.
“The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty” (Proverbs 21:5, New International Version).
In an economy that is struggling, we can feel the pressure to stretch our money. In response, we can diligently plan a budget, bargain hunt, be creative with our entertainment—and end up profiting from the whole experience.
In an anxious time in history, how wonderful it is to know that God is on our side and will help us with every aspect of our lives!” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/finances/practical-ways-to-save-money/?
“Budgeting is a helpful and wise way to manage your money. There are biblical principles that can help you develop and use a Christian family budget.What does the Bible say about managing money and a Christian budget?
Most people are familiar with the term budget, and many understand that budgeting is a smart way to keep track of their money. But how many actually use a written budget as a part of their personal or family finances? Not very many.
Budgets are required
Small and large businesses have and live by their annual budgets. Budgets help businesses know where they are, what they need to accomplish and where they can change to improve their financial standing. Therefore, budgets are required by boards of directors, shareholders, banks that give business loans and, in some cases, even the government as a qualification for certain types of programs. A budget is required because it makes good financial sense.
Does it also make good sense for our families? When it comes to individuals or families, there is a greater tendency to let the budgeting thing slide. It may be seen as too much trouble or just not necessary—and as a result, many families find themselves in serious financial difficulties. Sadly, a major factor for the failure of marriages today is financial problems.
How many individuals and families truly understand how to budget? Of those, how many have a balanced Christian budget? We use the term Christian budget due to the fact that there are sound scriptural principles that you can find in the Bible that can help you and your family become successful in managing your finances.
Throughout the Bible, God gives us important principles for life, including how to handle money and finances. So let’s consider a few pertinent scriptures:
“The plans of the diligent lead surely to abundance, but everyone who is hasty comes only to want” (Proverbs 21:5, New Revised Standard Version).
A budget is nothing more than a plan for saving and spending money. It includes where the money will come from and how much to expect, as well as what expenses that same money will be used to meet. A good budget takes care of all the regular and important bills—like rent or mortgage, utilities, food, gasoline and insurance—and allows for the unexpected or occasional expenses.
With budgeting, when the paycheck comes in, the family already knows how much of this check needs to be set aside to meet the bills coming due, and how much is available for extras—perhaps dinner out and a movie. Everything is planned for and covered.
To live without a budget often leads to shortsighted decisions: “If I have money right now, I can spend it right now. So if I want new clothes today, and I have the money today, why not spend it? The rent isn’t due until next week, so I’ll worry about that then.”
In the terms of the verse we just looked at, this kind of thinking is “hasty.” This describes a person who jumps at a purchase without a plan and without thinking through the consequences.
Unless you are one of those rare individuals who makes more money than you can spend, you will need to develop a plan for where your money goes or it will slip out of your hands. Sometimes it will disappear in small amounts that add up quickly, maybe a candy bar purchase here, a newspaper there, a cup of coffee or some fast food. Supermarkets, convenience stores, fast-food chains and so forth are all successful in squeezing money out of you, especially if you have no budget—no plan. After all, it is only money, right?
Biblical financial principles
So we can see that it takes a plan to make our funds stretch to meet all our needs. This is where a Christian budget becomes a useful tool to receive God’s blessings as wise financial stewards. Through proper planning, it is possible to have a balanced budget and to have a reserve for unplanned expenses.
God’s Word, the Bible, is filled with principles of sound financial management.
Wise King Solomon wrote: “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the hay is removed, and the tender grass shows itself, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, the lambs will provide your clothing, and the goats the price of a field; you shall have enough goats’ milk for your food, for the food of your household, and the nourishment of your maidservants” (Proverbs 27:23-27).
The principle is that of a wise overseer. It isn’t always easy to wisely use and manage family assets. It will require not only planning, but self-discipline to stay within the budget. It will probably involve putting off some purchases until later or deciding against others entirely. But men and women who can wisely and carefully manage their resources can successfully see to it that the family needs are met.
Where do I begin?
Once the need to budget is clearly understood, the next question may be: “Where do I start?”
One challenge some face is: “What if my income is not easily predictable?” Many people earn commissioned sales, and they face this very problem. Let’s draw a lesson from the way a business handles this dilemma.
Since most companies generate their revenue by selling goods or services, they can’t know with certainty exactly what they will earn each month. So they must create a proposed or projected budget. They evaluate their past months of business income and expenses and propose an estimate for the following year. And as they go along, they have to make adjustments as income and expenses vary from the estimate. The same approach can be applied to a Christian budget.
Regardless of whether you work on commission or know exactly what your paycheck will be, let’s start at the beginning of how to budget.
How to budget
Following are the important elements that will assist you in developing a Christian budget for you or for your family.
1. Budget together as a family. If you are married, it is extremely important that you and your spouse plan the budget together. Imagine what a tremendous teaching example this can be for your children!
2. List all of your expenses. In order to understand a budget, you must know exactly what you are spending. Sometimes a husband and wife can lead separate lives financially and have no idea what the other is doing. If credit cards are abused, expenses can careen out of control, leading to painful experiences in debt. For a budget to work, both husband and wife must be honest about expenses. So, take a sheet of paper and list your expenses.
3. Prioritize your needs. After specifically itemizing the expenses, you need to decide which expenses are the most important and the first to be paid. Food, shelter, utilities, clothing and transportation are the basic necessities that should be at the top of the priority list. Within a Christian budget, one must not forget to give God what belongs to Him. (For a more complete discussion on tithing, please see our article “Tithing: What Is It?”)
If you do not have a steady income or if you are at a place in your life where the outgo is exceeding the income, use this process for prioritizing your needs. When one is “down in the dumps” and without a plan, it can be easy to spend recklessly.
4. Learn to say “No”! It may not be easy, but learning to say no will go a long way in helping to balance a Christian budget and avoid the trap of excessive debt. If it isn’t in the budget, then it shouldn’t be purchased at this time.
The mantra of Western culture seems to be, “Why wait when you can have it now?” Advertisements scream: “Buy now—pay later!” “Easy credit terms!” “No interest, no payments until [month and year].” “Sign and drive!”
It all seems very enticing—and even more so when it means that new car, flat-screen TV or living room furniture can be yours today! But should they be?
Why wait? The answer is found in the Scriptures: “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). The deeper in debt we become, the greater the problems for our budget and family finances. “Just say no” applies to more than illegal drugs!
5. Increase your education. Most of us would like to make more money than we do. Would your income improve if you were to get a degree, trade certification or learn a new skill or trade?
It may not be possible to go back to college and get a degree (or it may take years of night school), but there are other ways to make yourself more valuable to an employer. Take advantage of continuing education programs that may be offered by your company or in your profession. Study and seek more advanced certifications in your field. Perhaps apprentice under one more knowledgeable and skilled in your field, or seek such a person as a mentor.
King Solomon once wrote, “Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget, nor turn away from the words of my mouth. Do not forsake her, and she will preserve you; love her, and she will keep you. Wisdom is the principle thing; therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding” (Proverbs 4:5-7).
In the working world, wisdom and understanding require education. Investing wisely in your education may be one of the best financial investments that you can make.
Seek wise counsel
Turning your situation around may be a difficult process, but in addition to the wise principles of Scripture, there are numerous resources available to you. Solomon also wrote, “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established” (Proverbs 15:22). Your budget is the plan; and if you need help, seek the guidance of a wise and understanding counselor. Seek the advice of an experienced family member, successful businessperson or even a debt counselor. Those counselors can help you set a budget; manage your income, expenses and debt; and help put you on the road to taking care of your family in the best way possible.
A successful Christian budget is one that follows some basic principles and guidelines found in the Scriptures. To properly manage the family finances may require a different mind-set than many in our society have.
Working together as a family, you can create a budget that will provide a plan of action, a goal to look forward to! “May he [God] give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed” (Psalm 20:4, New International Version).” From: https://lifehopeandtruth.com/relationships/finances/christian-budget/
See more on Christian budgeting in the “Finance” section.
Lower Protein Diet Proven to Help Kidney Disease
Transcript of YouTube video at: https://nutritionfacts.org/video/lower-protein-diet-proven-to-help-kidney-disease/?
Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.
“How might we cut the risk of dialysis and death in half?
Approximately one in seven American adults have chronic kidney disease (CKD), and the prevalence is higher in those with metabolic risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. That sounds like a job for plant-based diets, which have demonstrated significant utility for the prevention and treatment of all three of those modern-day scourges of society. Their utility for the treatment of so many diseases has led to a growing interest in their applicability for the prevention and treatment of chronic kidney disease itself.
In theory, there are multiple benefits of more plant-based diets in the management of kidney disease. The intake of animal fat is associated with protein loss in the urine, and other components related to meat, such as choline and carnitine, are converted by bad gut bugs into TMAO, which is associated with scarring of the kidneys.
Plant-based diets carry a decreased acid load, whereas ingestion of animal-based foods like meat, eggs, and dairy increases the formation of acid and ammonia––unlike the favorable alkalization from fruits and vegetables. The phosphorus in plant-based protein is less absorbable––which is a good thing if you have ailing kidneys, especially compared to the added phosphorus-based preservatives that are often used in meat processing. Indeed, you can successfully lower blood phosphorus levels in kidney disease patients in as short as one week on a vegetarian diet.
Higher dietary fiber intake can also pull advanced glycation end products out of your system (those so-called glycotoxins), and prevent constipation, which can cause potassium overload in kidney patients. A plant-based diet also lessens the likelihood of exposure to potassium-based additives. A lot of the phosphorus additives in meat are also potassium additives.
And finally, there may be favorable impacts on the gut microbiome, leading to lower generation of uremic toxins. Such “putrefaction” products are generated by protein putrefying in the gut, but plant-rich diets may be able to reduce uremic toxins, in part due to increased ﬁber and lower protein intakes.
The lower the dietary protein intake, the slower the progression toward end-stage kidney disease. And the increased risk of progression to end-stage kidney disease associated with dietary protein intake appeared to have no threshold––meaning it just seemed the lower the better. But even if you just your drop protein intake by just like 10 grams a day, that modest reduction may decrease the risk of end-stage renal disease and death by greater than 50 percent. That’s incredible. It was a randomized controlled trial. They were trying to get people down to like 0.6 g/kg a day of protein, which is like 40 grams a day, but could only get people down to about 60 grams a day, which is technically not even a low-protein diet.
The recommended protein intake is 0.8 g/kg per day, or like 50 grams a day, but just getting people from the usual protein intake of like 70 grams down to 60 cut their risk of dialysis or death by 77 percent. Check this out. By the end of four years, more than 25 percent of those in the usual diet group were either dead or on dialysis from end-stage disease. In the reduced protein group, it was less than 10 percent.
A randomized controlled trial proving massive benefit, yet despite strong scientific evidence, many doctors are still unconvinced that a low-protein diet can help patients with chronic kidney disease. Why? “The reasons for this nihilism are unclear but could be related to insufficient background knowledge, lack of interest in nutrition and dietetics, [and] limited familiarity with the most recent scientific literature.” From: Lower Protein Diet Proven to Help Kidney Disease | NutritionFacts.org