Over the last three weeks I’ve shared how I make money blogging, writing, and selling eBooks. Today, I want to take a moment to talk about how that income has impacted our personal finances and my spiritual life.
4 Lessons I’ve Learned By Earning More Money
When Your Income Increases, it is Hard to Maintain Your Standard of Living
Several years ago, my wife and I committed to something called a graduated tithe. We have witnessed lifestyle inflation in so many people (including ourselves).
Interestingly, when we both earned a full-time income, we managed to spend every penny we had. I don’t know what we spent our money on. When we dropped down to one income, we realized that our income had 0% impact on our happiness (as long as we have a reasonable income). We made a commitment that when/if we ever went back to being a two income family, we would not do so just to benefit ourselves.
So we put a cap on our standard of living and committed to giving more if/when our income increased.
But, it has been harder than I expected.
This leads to my second point …
You Might Not Deserve What you Think You Deserve
Sometimes I catch myself thinking that I somehow deserve more because I work harder.
For example, I buy a Coke one time a week. However, on really hot days (it gets hot in the tropics), I think, “Hey, I’m making an extra “$x” every week – I deserve to be able to stop and get a Coke.” Of course, it’s a lot of other things, not just a Coke. It doesn’t matter what it is. If it involves spending money, you can easily convince yourself that because you are working harder you should spend more.
But then I’m able to remind myself that I don’t deserve anything I have. I don’t think I’m more gifted than others and even if I am, it’s only because of God. I may work harder than others (or may not), but it is only because God has entrusted me with gifts that he requires me to use in his service. I am a steward that God has called to care for his resources. Not surprisingly, if a job is done well, God may expect more from that servant.
In many ways, I think income and giftedness can be a burden as much as a blessing. I find that when my income increases, so does my responsibility. There are more decisions to make.
It’s Hard to Work for Others
When you limit your standard of living, you realize that much of the extra work you do will be for the sake of others. That’s the whole point, but it also (unfortunately) takes away my motivation at times.
I don’t need any more money than I have – so why work hard to earn more?
It is easy to be motivated to help yourself, but harder to be motivated to help others.
I don’t like that. I thought it would be the opposite. I thought working to bless others would be easier than working to bless myself.
You Become Less Judgmental
I feel more compassion now for people who make a lot of money.
That’s why I’m less judgmental about wealthy Christians. It’s hard to make a decent income and think you shouldn’t benefit from all that income. It’s hard to say things about others until you’ve first experienced what it is like to ‘walk in their shoes’.
But, regardless of how hard it is, I remain committed to my personal call and my blog mission statement:
Money Help For Christians (MH4C) promotes a frugal, simple, debt-free, and generous lifestyle so Christians can faithfully maximize their resources by putting them at the disposal of God’s Kingdom. MH4C is committed to providing relevant resources in order to assist Christians in this effort.
In the end, the extra income has had little impact on our day to day living. Bottom line – our budget has not increased by any more than $50 per month even though our income has increased by much more. Lord willing, we plan to keep it that way.
Right now we are doing some extra giving and applying extra income towards our mortgage. Lord willing, by February we should have our house paid off.
I’m so thankful that we figured out that money adds nothing to our happiness and that we decided to limit our lifestyle regardless of income.