February 2010 Visiting Teaching Message

Managing Resources Wisely and Staying Out of Debt

So…last month I could have taught this message perfectly. Today, not so much. I just bought a house and a car. (We were planning on the house. The car thing, well, that happened when our CR-V broke down with the same problem for the 8th time in the last 15 months…)

Because of my recently acquired debt, I feel extremely unqualified to teach this message, but I suppose I’ll still do what I can to ponder this message and think of a way to share with the sisters I visit teach.

Managing Resources

Well, I guess I’ll start off with the first quote:

“‘Provident living’ . . . implies the [conserving] of our resources, the wise planning of financial matters, full provision for personal health, and adequate preparation for education and career development, giving appropriate attention to home production and storage as well as the development of emotional resiliency. . . . If we live wisely and providently, we will be as safe as in the palm of His hand.” – Spencer W. Kimball

For the most part, I have lived my life where I’ve done what I can to plan my financial matters. This has meant giving up luxuries and comforts in order to save for future purchases. This means doing a budget and keeping to it!

I like that President Kimball also included keeping track of our health. It is such a huge expense! This may mean procuring Health Insurance – even if it costs a lot. A few years ago, I found myself in a situation where I needed to get a surgery. If I hadn’t had medical insurance, the surgery would have cost me $30,000. I’m grateful for insurance. Even with insurance, the medical bills cost me about $5,000. This required planning and sacrifice.

We need to be prepared with an education – especially for times where we may need to be in a career. This has been stop and go for me. Before I had children, I obtained a Bachelor’s degree. I’m grateful that I was able to do so as it has served me well during my adult life. A few years ago, I was divorced, and I found that I needed to get a job. Now, I’m blessed to be married and at home again, but I do feel that I need to keep doing things that will help me professionally in case I find myself in a situation where I need to go back to work.

W e need to give appropriate attention to our homes. This makes sense. If we are taking care of our homes, then we should be able to reduce home-improvement costs. We can also save money by eating at home rather than going out.

I love the promise that President Kimball gives here – “If we live wisely and providently, we will be as safe as in the palm of His hand.” I have felt this safety in my life. It is so comforting to know that you have money in the bank – in case something happens. It is comforting to know that you are doing all you can to prepare, and because of such sacrifice, you can go to the Lord for help.

Avoiding Debt

This is a good one. Man. I’ve been out of debt for a long time – until last month. I have to say, I hate the feeling of debt. We needed to take it on. We needed a home and a car. However, the burden of debt weighs heavily on my mind – especially when it has been so long since I’ve had any debt.
I especially like the quote given by Elder Hales:

“To pay our debts now and to avoid future debt require us to exercise faith in the Savior—not just to do better but to be better. It takes great faith to utter those simple words, ‘We can’t afford it.’ It takes faith to trust that life will be better as we sacrifice our wants in order to meet our own and others’ needs.” – Robert D. Hales

I guess that this is really the way to do it. Some of us will find comfort when reading the Visiting Teaching message this month. Some of us will read it, like I would have last month, and think, “I’m so glad that I have listened to the counsel of the prophets. I’m glad that I’m not in debt. It is so comforting and satisfying to know that I don’t owe anyone any money.

Some of us will read this visiting teaching message, like I have this month and feel overwhelmed and burdened by the weight of debt – whether or not it is necessary debt. We will read this and feel a poignant dependence on the Lord for mercy – that our financial situations will not be stretched any further than they already are.

There is comfort in Elder Hales’ comment – even as we are in debt – we can choose to do better and be better. We can choose to sacrifice further luxuries and comforts so that we can get ourselves out of debt. We can choose to spend our time and money serving the Lord and serving others. We can exercise the faith needed that the Lord will continue to support us.

I am so grateful for the counsel and wisdom of our Church leaders. Managing our resources wisely and avoiding debt truly help us to live happier lives with WAY less stress.

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2 Comments

  1. Great ideas. Living by faith and His Word will always provide a more sustainable life.
    In addition to health insurance, don’t forget about paying a little extra now for some preventative eating habits that can help reduce the long term expense of “sick” care. For example, paying a little more for God’s foods like an apple can go much further for your long term health than a bag of chips or many other unhealthy man-made foods.

    Keep up the good work!

    Reply
    • BDO: I agree. I think that it is worth the cost to eat well. It is also worth the cost to work out – whether that means join a gym, buy exercise equipment, or get good shoes. Preventing disease is a much better investment than trying to cure it.

      Reply

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