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“Economy is half the battle of life; it is not so hard to earn money as to spend it well” (Charles Haddon Spurgeon).
THE MORE RESOURCES WE ARE BLESSED WITH, THE MORE IMPORTANT IT IS TO PRACTICE ECONOMY. There is a sense, of course, in which the opposite is also true: economy is especially critical when resources are limited. But the well known principle of accountability says that to whom much is given, much is expected. The more we have, the more responsibility we have to use our resources wisely, and that is hard. As Spurgeon pointed out, earning money is not as hard as learning to spend it well. Managing our resources (whether they be many or few) so that the maximum amount of good is done, is one of our principal challenges as mature human beings.
Sparing. To be economical, we must be sparing — in a good sense. That is, we must exercise restraint in our expenditures. Economy means knowing how to subordinate our impulses to our principles.
Frugal. There is a time and a place for luxury, obviously, but if we are so attracted to luxury that we know nothing of self-denial, then we’re on a slippery slope. Economy means being able to abstain.
Thrifty. An old Latin proverb says, “No gain is so certain as that which proceeds from the economical use of what you already have.” Economy means increasing our resources by eliminating waste.
Economy is essential if we are to remain free in our thinking and in our living. One of the worst enslavements is bondage to a particular standard of living, the kind of bondage that occurs when we are so tied to what we presently own that we can’t do without it. Most of us these days are fortunate to have much more than we absolutely need, and the truth is, we can do without much of our present abundance. We may think we couldn’t survive having “little,” but it would only take a fire, a hurricane, a tornado, or an earthquake to prove otherwise. If our abundance was suddenly wiped out, we would find that we could survive, if we had to, on much less than we thought we could. So it is a healthy exercise to live economically — spending less than is within our power — just to stay out of slavery to our stuff.
“He will always be a slave who does not know how to live upon a little” (Horace).