Put Your Finances on Solid Ground: Opportunity 1

Living in the basement

Living in the basement is an old New England trick to allow saving until a family can afford to build more of their home.

Today we start a new series. I’ve collected more than 1,500 commands from Scripture. From these, I’ve selected 101 Opportunities to Follow God Today. Comment, tell how you follow these opportunities, enjoy! In the part of New England where I grew up, thrifty families sometimes live in little more than a hole in the ground. A family buys a piece of land, digs the basement for their home, pours the foundation and puts some kind of roof on top of the foundation wall. Then they live in the underground rooms until they can afford to construct the main house. God directly encourages this kind of thrift.

“Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house.” Proverbs 24:27

Today, “outdoor work … [to] get your fields ready” is usually whatever job we do to make sure there will be a paycheck to cover the mortgage for the house. Most of us lack the personal skills and skillful neighbors that make it possible to build our own homes. My husband and I, like many newlyweds, crammed ourselves into a bit more than 700 square feet of mobile home for two years while we saved for the down payment on our home. The townhouse we chose was in line with what we wanted to spend for housing, not what the bank said we were “able” to borrow. Nearly ten years after we moved in, we had saved enough to remodel the well-worn and poorly designed kitchen.

How We Kept Finances Stable During Good Times

During the times that looked good, we didn’t take out a home equity line to cover vacation trips, remodeling projects, and other splurges. When times turned bad, we didn’t find ourselves underwater on our second or third mortgage. We built our house from what we’d harvested in the fields God had given us.

How We Strive for Stable Finances Today

Of course, we’re in the long tail of the Great Recession now and the fields haven’t been doing so well. We’ve been planting every scrap of soil we can find, metaphorically speaking, and we’re still hoping that one of the many “DBA” independent enterprises will make up for some of the many lost hours of regular work. We’ve added two friends to our household to increase our financial base and improve their living conditions. We’ve started a jewelry business that’s showing some promise. The “fields” God is asking us to ready at this time undoubtedly also include some patches of character, trust and faithfulness. We still do the odd “home improvement” once in a while, but mostly we remember that this is the time to prepare our fields. What opportunities has God given you to prepare your “fields”? What work “building your house” have you postponed?


About Carlene Hill Byron

The former editor of New England Church Life and The New England Christian, Carlene Hill Byron is enjoying being home in Maine after 20 years in North Carolina. She is a member of the Redbud Writers Guild. Find her at christianpurposeblog.wordpress.com, churchandmentalillness.wordpress.com and on Facebook at MyHouseHasHistory.
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