Punch the Joneses in the Face
You’ve heard the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses.”
It basically refers to the situation where you see your friend buy a nicer car than yours, so naturally, you don’t want to be shown up, so you go and buy yourself a nicer car then he has.
Then he sees your new car, and tries to one up you again, by purchasing an even nicer car…It’s a prideful (and expensive) cycle to be a part of.
This can be done with clothes, houses, cars, guitars, jewelry, even girls…I did it with my bicycle when I was younger.
In fact, we do it more than we know, there is something in us, especially us men, that want to have the best stuff. And to be frank, that’s okay. God wants us to have the best stuff.
In Psalm 35:27 the Bible tells us that “…the Lord hath pleasure in the prosperity of His servant.”
It’s okay to be blessed and prosperous, in fact we should live our lives in His blessing and prosperity, BUT we have to use wisdom when it comes to acquiring and purchasing certain things.
Let me give you a case in point.
One of the BIGGEST financial mistakes young men and women make today is when it comes to purchasing a car. So we are going to focus on that here in this lesson but it could be any big purchase.
Let me take you through this;
Cars are cool. I really like cars, I enjoy them. I like newer cars, ones with navigation, heated seats, back up cameras, remote start, bluetooth that syncs to my phone. I like luxury cars, BMW, Audi, Mercedes, Range Rover, that’s my more my style, and there’s a good chance it’s your style too.
I know you want one, but before you start going on test drives, let’s take a look and see what it ACTUALLY costs to own one of these cars, and HOW it will affect the rest of your life.
Many moons ago, when I was 21, I went and purchased a brand new 2006 Mazda 3. At the time it was $21,000. (Which I paid full sticker price for since no one had taught me about negotiating. I will cover this in the BONUS module)
I financed it out at the longest amount possible, 6 years, so that I could have the lowest monthly payments possible. It came out to be $381 a month.
So here was my thought process, “Okay, I currently make $400 a week at my job. The first week of the month will pay for my car payment, the second week will pay for my rent, (which was $400) and then I’ll still have $800 left over for the rest of the month! Sweet, I can do this!”
Well, that’s not quite how it goes.
I’ve spent 4 years in the Auto Insurance industry and I see this next mistake happen DAILY.
First off, most people don’t factor in is the cost of tags, title. and tax. After I bought my car I had to pay $742 to get the thing tagged, BUT THEN you have to get insurance.
When you purchase a brand new vehicle, the finance company is going to require you to get full coverage insurance, usually with a $500 deductible. (The lower your deductible, the higher your monthly payment will be)
Now, when you are under the age of 25, your full coverage insurance payment is usually right around the same cost as your new car payment. That means not only are you paying $381 for your car, now you’re paying $325 a month in insurance. (There goes my 3rd week of pay!)
(All too often I’d get a call from a kid who just purchased a brand new car, now has to get insurance on it, only to find out, because of their age, they will be paying $450 a month in insurance, I’ve even seen rates as high $725 a month for for teenage drivers on new luxury vehicles.)
In addition, when you’re young and you have a brand new car, what do you do? You drive it. A lot.
Which costs money to do so. I did a little research and found the average American spends right about $163 a month on gas.
So let’s take a look at the TRUE cost of this vehicle, but more importantly, HOW it affects your lifestyle:
If you make $12 an hour at your job then every 2 weeks you get to take home $736. (After taxes, this is the amount you get to keep) So you make $1472 per month.
Let’s see how this plays out:
$1472 (Take home pay per month)
-$381 (Car Payment)
-$325 (Full coverage insurance)
$603 left over at the end of the month.
Okay great, $603 that’s doable.
Oh wait, I forgot to factor in my rent which is $400 a month.
And of course a fella has to eat, so there’s at least another $150 a month.
So now we’re down to about $53.
And of course you gotta pay for your cell phone, and gym membership and you can forget taking that girl out on a date…the list goes on.
Pride-based financial decisions like this is what keeps boys from growing up into men.
You can see that this one “poor decision” can keep you poor, and living at home until your 32. (Which is SUPER attractive to girls by the way)
But here’s the deal, it’s just now worth it yet. Maybe you make more than $12 an hour or maybe your insurance isn’t quite as high, but at the end of it all here’s the bottom line:
You have to build margins into your financial life.
Proverbs 21:20 “The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.” -This implies that the wise are wealthy because they DON’T spend everything they get. It also implies that fools are poor because they spend everything they get.
This proverb was written by Solomon, whom God said was the wisest and the wealthiest ruler to ever live. We should probably listen to him.
Don’t spend all your money, be wise in this area, it will affect everything. I promise if you get this concept down before you make these big financial decisions, God will stretch your money further than you ever thought possible.
Here is what that looks like in real life:
My wife and I have both of our cars paid off (in fact we have no debt except for our house and rental property)
So guess what? We get to keep most of the money that we make. It’s one of the greatest things there is because it allows us to do more.
We can do more for us, we can do more for our family, we can put more in savings, but MOST IMPORTANTLY we can do more for the Kingdom of God.
If we want a new pair of shoes, we can get them.
If a group of people are going out to eat after Church, we can go with them. (And often buy someone’s meal!)
If we want to take a vacation, we do it.
Something on the house or car break? No biggie, we can handle it.
Christmas coming up? Let’s get people great gifts they’ll really appreciate.
But here’s the kicker, here’s the game changer for me:
We can give. We can be generous givers.
From age 26 to 30, my wife and I gave over $80,000. We give God all the credit for this, and have been blessed financially because of it.
My heart is to give and bless other people, it’s something I’ve always been passionate about, and as Christians, it has to be a big deal to all of us.
In Psalm 112 (and many other scriptures) it tells us that as Christians, we are to be generous givers. (Just like God!)
But let’s be real, it’s really hard to be a generous giver when you’re broke.
It’s really hard to invite someone to Church and take them out to eat after when all your money just went to your car insurance. Hey, taking someone out to eat after Church may very well be the thing that turns their life around, or gets them to finally “stick” at your Church.
Buying someone’s meal may be all it takes for someone to accept Christ as their Savior and go to Heaven because of you.
Don’t downplay it. It happens all the time.
The world is changed by generous people.
Let’s set ourselves up to be generous.
I want you to think about it like this: When I feel led to give some $500 can I do it? OR does it have to go to my car payment.
Give $500 to someone in need, OR drive a brand new Mustang?
There is nothing wrong with buying brand new cars, just don’t do it yet.
Be patient, your time is coming.
Learn what I’ve outlined here in this course, tithe, and follow God’s instruction on financial increase and you will be able to buy those brand new cars without it affecting your life.
For now, save up, do some research and buy a nice reliable car. Pay cash for it or maybe something with a REALLY low monthly payment, maybe $100 a month. Just make sure you are building those financial margins, don’t max out your budget, leave room for generosity.
Take a minute and get this established in you. Commit to making wise, spirit-led financial decisions when it comes to your cars or other big purchases. Ask God for wisdom and direction before making any major purchase.
If you have ALREADY gotten yourself in tough financial spot, God will give you wisdom on what to do as well. Ask Him.
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