Prepare your outside work, Make it fit for yourself in the field; And afterward build your house. (Proverbs 24:27 NKJV)
The Reformation Heritage Study Bible comments on this verse that we will need to focus on supporting our lives before seeking comforts and pleasures. Meaning, we shouldn't be spending more than what we can afford to live on. We need to secure that money is coming in, before we consider building and/or buying a home. One step at a time: prepare and plan ahead (make it fit for yourself), then build your house.
Think of it, if you are having guests over for dinner, you would not just jump into cooking it 30 minutes before they arrive, would you? Instead, you would be planning and preparing ahead of time. You would plan the meal, think of what you will need, make a shopping list of the ingredients, and go to the store to buy them. Then, back home, you would prepare and cook the food. All of this ideally happens in good timing so that when the guests arrive everything is well taken care of. But not only that, you would also consider if you have enough money to buy the ingredients to cook this meal. Could you afford it?
No different, if you were to plan and prepare your home for your future family. You wouldn't go out to buy things for the baby 30 minutes before giving birth to your child, would you? Instead, you would plan and prepare the home - including the child's room before taking the newborn home from the hospital. But not only that, if you didn't want to go into debt, you would consider beforehand what pieces of furniture and layette you could afford to buy.
The way we differentiate between our wants and our needs will affect the way we are using our finances. It's a shame that in today's world most of the financial advice focuses on how to "pay off debt" instead of how to "stay out of debt." The main focus of advertisements is never on the essentials. They are out for the money. So they will give their best shot to ignite a craving in you for more things - even if you couldn't afford to buy them. You want more? They'll offer you to "buy" things on credit. And, if you are already deep in debt, they'll fool you into taking a credit to "pay off" your debt. What they will not tell you is that you will make your self more and more dependent on creditors.
Live Within Your Means
One of the most important things to learn when handling finances is: spend less money than what comes in each month. Easier said than done? Not really. It just takes a good dose of self-control and persistence. Start by keeping a family account book.
Having said all this, it is important for us to remember that:
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain. (Psalm 127:1 NKJV)
We can plan and prepare all we want to, if the LORD is not the foundation we build upon. we will eventually labor in vain. Sooner or later our family home will begin to crumble - because we've built it on sand.
Link/Tip: I have come across Larry Burkett's books a long time ago. Even though I slightly disagree with a few things he has taught, I have found his books to be the best on this topic so far. Crown Ministries was founded by Larry Burkett. Check out their website. They have many free downloadable resources and also offer a few courses there.