Principles of Long-Term Financial Success.


Henry K. (Bud) Hebeler



Norma Booher is an 84 year old lady in our church who is fit as a fiddle and is weathering these tough economic times just fine, thank you.  Years ago, her husband, who was significantly older, turned the finances over to her so she would have not have to learn the ropes after he died.  And did she learn!


She gave the following advice from proven principles but with her twists:


1.  Live within your means.


She quickly learned that she was going to have to cut their spending when she looked ahead.  The first thing she did was go to a used book store to find a cooking book for less expensive meals.  She brought home a copy of “365 Ways to Serve Jell-O.”   They substituted Jell-O for the more expensive deserts they had been eating.  She said her husband lost 20 pounds which may have prolonged his life.


Another thing she did was to plant a garden.  This was quite successful and provided much of their food for the year.  She cut way back on meat, another big savings.


She knew that she had to do more, so she turned down the heat.  They learned to live in sweaters when they were in the house.  To save even more gas and the water bills as well, using a waterproof pen, she drew a line inside the bath tub that marked the highest water level they could use when taking a bath.


The next thing to do was to tackle electric bills.  She was good at calligraphy, so she wrote a reminder on all of the light switches:  “Empty rooms love darkness.”  They got to be a lot more careful about turning off the lights when they left a room.


Finally, when she needed clothes, she went to thrift shops first and usually found something that would do.


2.  Distinguish needs from wants.


Now that she was really into the swing of things, she decided to emphasize the mantra: distinguish needs from wants.  They didn’t have to emulate the Jones.  There were lots of things she didn’t do using this as a guide, but she faithfully paid her tithing to the church figuring that was a need, not a want.  She says that tithing helped a great deal and somehow made the rest of her finances a lot better.


3.  Stay out of debt.


As quick as they could, they paid off the home mortgage.  Once the mortgage was paid, her cash management became a lot easier, and she felt confident that she could stay in her home through some pretty bad times ahead.


4.  Budget wisely.


By keeping track of their expenses and learning to distinguish needs from wants, she was able to develop a spending plan that paid for all that she and her husband felt were really necessary for a satisfying life.  After estimating the year’s income, she made a table listing all of their expense and saving categories, prorated the income, and made sure that they stayed within the budget during the year.


6.  Be honest in all that you do.


She feels that honesty and her tithing go a long way to helping her financial success.  She says this with conviction.  Though her income is modest, she is very active and probably does more than many people who are fifty years younger.  I think she’ll easily succeed till she’s at least 100.