The Apostle Paul instructs us to be content with what we have. Most Americans however are not ever content with what they currently have. Recently, ThinkFinance, a provider of payday loans and other financial services for consumers, surveyed 1,000 Americans across all income levels who use various forms of alternative financial services and came back with some saddening facts. Although many of these consumers are on better financial footing and optimistic about their economic future this year, the holidays are still a source of stress and strain on their precarious finance. In their poll, ThinkFinance discovered about 45 percent of those polled said the holiday season brings so much financial pressure, they would prefer to skip it altogether. Almost half said their level of stress related to holiday expenses is high or extremely high. That’s probably because nearly the same amount — some 45 percent — say they do not expect to have enough money set aside to cover holiday expenses.
85% of folks in this year’s survey, plan to spend the same amount of money or less on gifts this year, with 54 percent planning to spend $500 or less, and 27 percent are planning to spend between $500 and $1,000 on holiday gifts. To make those purchases, about two-thirds of these consumers are looking into various options to help ease the financial pinch of holiday gift buying. Still, they wish they had more options.
- 41% plan to use layaway programs.
- 59% expect to carry debt with them into the New Year.
What are we doing?!?
Christmas comes- what is supposed to be a magical time with family and friends, but instead of rejoicing with our loved ones over health, life, and Christ, the biggest thing on the forefront of everyone’s mind is Christmas debt and financial woes.
It gets worse…
The average American household (2012) carries $15,328 in credit card debt.
- Average mortgage debt: $149,782
- Average student loan debt: $34,703
- In total, American consumers owe about $11.38 trillion in debt.
- $852 billion of that is just in credit card debt.
- $8.15 trillion is mortgages and
- $914 billion is in student loans.
If we don’t realize something and quick, we’re going to end up drowning in debt and sorrow and, “If only I had a little bit more…” for the rest of our earthly lives.
The fact of the matter is, we can always work on getting just a little more money, but the sad truth is that once we achieve that “little bit more,” just a little bit MORE sure would be great. “If only I could make another $10,000 a year, THEN I’d be truly happy and stress free,” “THEN I could afford to tithe faithfully.”
Let me share something with you that the Apostle Paul learned.
Philippians 4:11b – “for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”
Even the great apostle Paul admitted he had to LEARN to be content. Contentedness isn’t an easy thing. WIFI, High Speed internet, the newest Jellybean 4.1 Android smartphone, Cable, a car, an apartment or a house, are all things that many Americans have come to expect as just part of everyday life. How much of our lives are wasted on morally neutral things?
-The Price Is Right (does anyone still watch this?)
“Shut out all of the junk of the world; silence all of the ignorant noise and you WILL hear the voice of God.” -Mac Powell