Reduce Your Expenses By Avoiding Temptation
I was reflecting last night on how our lives have changed since we decided to get our finances under control. We strictly follow a budget, put as much money as we an towards paying off our debt and slashed our expenses. One thing in particular that I have done is to avoid temptation.
I intentionally avoid going to stores where I tend to spend money. Places like Best Buy, Circuit City, HHGregg, car dealerships, Auto Zone, etc. are all places where I am surrounded by temptation. It is extremely difficult for me to visit a place like this and not walk out with something.
We love RV camping. We’ve been camping for about 12 years, and recently sold both our camper and the heavy duty truck that pulled it. We really miss RV camping, but decided to sacrifice in the short term while we paid off our debt. When we had our RV, I loved going to the local RV store to see the new RVs, gadgets and gizmos. I wouldn’t go in just to pick up something I needed, but I would go in to browse (read: look for something I could blow my money on). But no more. I occasionally have to drive by the lot on my way home and can’t help peeking over, but I keep on driving. The logic being: if I don’t go in I can’t buy anything.
The same applies for unnecessary food and drinks, places like Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, Panera Bread. I try to avoid going by them so I am not tempted to splurge. It’s getting a bit hard to do with Starbucks though, as it seems like there is one on every corner anymore and with it being so hot here, their Strawberry’s and Cream Frappuccino sure is refreshing…but at $4 bucks or so they are just entirely too expensive.
When you think of temptation as it pertains to the bible, what comes to mind? Temptation can come in many forms and includes spending money. In today’s society we are constantly barraged with marketing. Marketing is all around us on signs, we see it on TV, hear it on the radio, on websites, see it out our clothing in the form of tags and labels, it’s everywhere. Marketers are constantly coming up with new ways to expose us to their products and of course tempt us.
Walking through the grocery store the other day, an ad actually started talking to me! It had a motion detector and started playing a recording for a product when I walked by. If you’ve seen Minority Report you know where this is all heading. The technology to do this is here, it’s just a matter of time until the cost comes down.
How do we avoid temptation when we are surrounded by it and when marketers are constantly using it to convince us to buy things we probably don’t need? Let’s see what the Bible has to say:
- Satan wants to devour us with temptation – 1 Peter 5:8 – “Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.“
- Satan even tempted Jesus – Matthew 4
- God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear - 1 Corinthians 10:13 - “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
- God wants us to overcome temptation! – 1 Peter 1:3 -8 – “…though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
- God will help you – Psalm 34: 17 – “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.“
Temptation involves a choice. Rage war on your temptation and avoid those places that cause you to spend your hard earned money. You will be amazed at how much money you save by doing this. I challenge you to take a look at your expenses over the past 30-60 days, and find expenses that could have been avoided and make the conscience decision to avoid those places in the future.
When you struggle, remember there is hope:
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:3-5