Written by Jim Loscheider* (Elder) on May 5, 2023.
We’ve all bought something we didn’t need with money we didn’t plan to spend — or worse, with money we didn’t have.
Last week, we studied Lesson 5 of our Financial Peace University (FPU) class at Alliance. The title of the lesson is “Wise Spending.” Wisdom is a common theme found in Scripture. So how do we apply biblical wisdom to our spending?
Spending is More About Behavior Than Income
Experts say that managing finances and the money we spend is 90% behavior; in other words, we need to control our impulses and emotions to make wise spending decisions. Marketers know this and use all sorts of emotional messaging in their advertising. They’re good at creating in us a want or desire to the point where we make irrational buying decisions.
One of my mentors told me years ago: “For the Christian, every spending decision is a spiritual decision first, and then it’s a transaction at best.” Have you prayed about your purchases? Have you prayed about how you’re going to handle what God has entrusted to you? There are necessities, such as food, shelter, utilities, and transportation. These are essential expenses. However, even with these categories, we need wisdom, especially as prices continue to rise. Let’s look at how we can manage better.
Wise Spending Questions
Ask yourself these questions before buy big (or small) itmes:
- Do I/we have the money?
- Do I/we have a spending plan (a budget) that tells our money each month where it’s going? Or, like 70% of the population, are you scratching your head trying to figure out where your money went?
- Is this a need or a want?
Asking these questions can help us make wise spending decisions.
The Silver Bullet for Having More Money
Spending less than you make is the number one key to financial freedom and peace of mind. Larry Burkett, Ron Blue, Dave Ramsey, and a host of others agree unanimously on this point.
Marketing…They Want Your Money
Most of us know we’re the target of tons of marketing messages every day. But we don’t realize just how much we’re marketed to. Although there are no official figures, the average person is now estimated to encounter between 6,000 to 10,000 ads every single day 
All these messages have one goal — getting us to spend our money. That makes living on a budget even more important.
Marketing as a practice isn’t evil unless it’s false advertising. To be a wise spender, however, you need to see it’s happening and pause and think – and pray – before you spend!
The Case of the New Smartphone
Jordan pulls up the page for the new smartphone she’s been eyeing. Let’s see how she determines if this is a wise purchase.
Here are the (wise) questions she asks and how she thinks it through:
SELF-AWARENESS “Will this add value to my life? Well, yeah. Sort of. I’d get a better camera and faster internet! Plus, they brought back my favorite color.” Jordan could probably stop here and decide this is not the wisest purchase for her right now, but she asks more questions just to be sure!
MOTIVE “Am I buying this for the right reason? To be honest, probably not. My phone works well. The battery is good. I just want the new one because there is a new one. And my friends all got this one.”
AFFORDABILITY “Is this in my budget? It would be a stretch. Maybe I could cut back on my miscellaneous category or groceries, but that feels risky. I’d still be short, and things would be tight.” If Jordan hadn’t already said no to this purchase, she definitely should now! Never prioritize a want over a need, like groceries! But let’s keep going and see what happens.
RESEARCH “Is this the best option, retailer, and price? Yes. It’s a great price for this version of the phone.”
TIMING “Is now the time to buy it? It’s on sale, but I don’t need one right now. I have a perfectly good smartphone.”
DECISION: Jordan doesn’t buy the smartphone. She’s a little disappointed at first. But she didn’t budget for it, and she realizes it doesn’t matter what her friends do with their money. She’s doing what’s best for her, and she’s proud of her wise spending decision. Jordan’s a wise spender! 
Lord, help me to trust you for my finances. Help me to wisely spend what you have entrusted to me. Help me to be content with what I have and honor you by making wise spending decisions.
In Jesus Name, Amen!
Wise Financial Resources was launched in August of 2022 and provides curated resources from various trusted Christian authorities/experts at our church. Our prayer is that you find Godly advice and wisdom to make wise financial decisions
 How Many Ads Do We See A Day In 2023? | Lunio  “The Case of the New Smartphone” is adapted from Financial Peace University, Lesson 5, Wise Spending © 2022 Lampo Licensing, LLC. 1011 Reams Fleming Blvd, Franklin, TN 37064