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Friday, December 15, 2006

Meeting Modest Needs Part 2

As mentioned in an earlier post, helping people overcome a sudden disastrous financial drain can often keep those families from dropping into poverty. Modest Needs is a charity doing just that. However I would like to touch on the next step; what can be done to keep these people from repeating this cycle. Handouts can only do so much. People want to believe if they can just get through this one event, they will be fine, or they'll make the necessary chances to their life style later and never be in trouble again. The fact of the matter is that as long as we embrace the values of our materialist, wealth driven society we will continue to live outside our means; on the brink of disaster. Once we scale back our houses, cars, clothes and gadgets we'll see we don't need as much as we thought to survive, and with that knowledge comes freedom. The options become endless. We can work fewer hours, save more money, pay off your mortgage or car, take a different job, start up our own business or maybe even quit entirely. An illness or unexpected breakdown doesn't cause panic. It just means you dip into the emergency fund and cut expenses. We need to foster self reliance so when the primary breadwinner is laid up, a family lives out of its own pantry, not the shelter's. Yes, it requires planning and giving up things society will tell you, you can't live without, but security is true prosperity. A full freezer and root cellar is prosperity, not two leased cars in the garage. As Christians, we should be happier with less anyway so it's really a win, win. To review, step one is helping people in need, step two is keeping people from becoming needy. We never turn our backs on those who continue to struggle but when they're willing and able, we give them hope, encouragement and an education. Check out The Tightwad Gazette, Your Money Or Your Life, Backwoods Home Magazine and The Simple Living Guide for ideas. Don't forget Path to Freedom. These resources drastically changed the way I thought about money and making a living. When we remove the desire for designer clothes, trendy gadgets and McMansions, we take away what drives so many people out of the home and away from their families. We can find joy is living with less, and ultimately security from whatever financial pitfalls may come our way.