“Four things on earth are small, yet they are extremely wise: Ants are creatures of little strength, yet they store up their food in the summer.” (Proverbs 30:24-25 NIV)
One of the noblest characteristics of ants is the way they plan for the future by storing food in good times for use when times are bad. It’s an example that we can use to improve our lives, as well.
Do you often face cash “shortages” that require you to use credit cards? Short-term planning can help you avoid this dilemma. It takes a little time, but it can save you a lot of headaches.
Take utility bills, for example. By averaging them over one year, you can store money from low-use months to off set the cost of high-use months. Check with your utility company to see if it has a plan that allows you to pay an average, constant amount each month of the year. That way, you’ll always know what your monthly bills will be, and huge bills won’t overwhelm you in peak usage months.
Clothing, medical, and dental costs are also good candidates for short-range planning. These costs usually occur on an irregular basis, and when you don’t have the right amount of reserves, you’ll find yourself turning, once again, to credit. So, set aside an average monthly amount for these needs based on how much you spent the year before and how much you expect to spend in the coming year.
You can plan your vacations in the same way by establishing a vacation budget and dividing that amount by 12 to determine what must be set aside on a monthly basis.
In addition, you need to include appliances in the short-range planning process. When a dishwasher or clothes dryer suddenly quits working, it can be shocking to go to an appliance department or store and see how much prices have increased since the last time that you purchased such items.
And, of course, there’s your automobile. Set aside something each month for parts replacement and maintenance, because failed parts can cost you hundreds of dollars to repair.
Daily Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 1-2