Bible times budgetingFor this week’s Monroe on a Budget column, which runs Tuesday in The Monroe News, I pulled out one of my favorites from the archives. The original online-only version of this piece was written in 2010:

By Paula Wethington / Monroe News

I was once asked if families who lived during Bible times kept a household budget.

Those who are more learned in Bible culture and history than I might be able answer that question in more detail.

But I suspect any man or woman of long ago who did not have a basic idea of what it cost to support his or her family for an extended period of time would quickly know and understand the consequences.

Families of the Old Testament and New Testament times had annual festivals, baby dedications, religious holidays and weddings to prepare for such as we do today. Behind closed doors and under tents, maybe even on the fishing boats, one can expect there was some discussion along the lines of: “How are we paying for the feast that we will serve when the relatives arrive next week?”

But bigger challenge is that they had to plan for household needs as much as a year ahead. Those families did not have the expectation of an income that arrived on a week to week basis, or month to month, such as we do today. Their food, clothing, shelter and other basic needs were met with the harvest season, butchering season, or fishing season. Even the merchants and artisans such as the Proverbs 31 woman or the tax collectors of the Roman Empire would have incomes that fluctuated according to the local macroeconomics.

In addition, some heads of household were responsible for the needs of not just their immediate family, but that of extended family members.

These questions probably came up as part of those discussion:

  • How many measures of flour did the household expect to use during the coming year?
  • How many lambs need to be set aside for family use rather than for market?
  • How many olive trees needed to be tended for the harvest to be considered productive?
  • How many pieces of kitchen pottery needed to be sold in order to buy a wedding garment for next spring?

The “mother” of all Bible budgeting stories, so to speak, involved a wise man. Joseph, son of Jacob, was his name as a youth. In his adult years, he was known as Zaphnath-paneah, the dream teller of Egypt.

This is the advice Joseph is credited with in Genesis Chapter 41 verses 33-36:

“Therefore, let Pharaoh seek out a wise and discerning man and put him in charge of the land of Egypt.

Pharaoh should also take action to appoint overseers, so as to regiment the land during the seven years of abundance.

They should husband all the food of the coming good years, collecting the grain under Pharaoh’s authority, to be stored in the towns for food.

This food will serve as a reserve for the country against the seven years of famine that are to follow in the land of Egypt, so that the land may not perish in the famine.”

And then verses 55-56:

When hunger came to be felt throughout the land of Egypt and the people cried to Pharaoh for bread, Pharaoh directed all the Egyptians to go to Joseph and do whatever he told them.

When the famine had spread throughout the land, Joseph opened all the cities that had grain and rationed it to the Egyptians, since the famine had gripped the land of Egypt.

Did you catch that word “ration”? Yeah, that sounds like extreme budgeting to me.

Readers may contact Paula Wethington at paula@monroenews.com or (734) 240-5745.

 If you are interested in budget-friendly living in southeast Michigan, subscribe to the Monroe on a Budget weekly newsletter; read my column every Tuesday in The Monroe News; or follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest.

Print Friendly
Tags:

Siena Heights University, 1247 E. Siena Heights Dr., Adrian, Mich., will host its fifth annual Operation: SERVE (Students, Employment, Resources, Veterans, Education) community and career expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 5 at the SHU Fieldhouse on the Adrian campus. The event is a partnership between SHU, South Central Michigan Works! and Monroe […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

A note from your blogger: this event will have very helpful information if someone in your family plans to attend college starting fall 2015, fall 2016 or fall 2017. The Monroe County Counselors – in cooperation with Monroe County Community College – will host College Night 2014 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28 […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

Tanya LaPrade of Monroe has been named GreenPath Debt Solutions Client of the Year. Read the story of how she paid off her debt earlier than planned – despite being off work for a time for illness and having a drop in income as ar result – at MonroeNews.com.

Print Friendly
Tags:

This post is for my readers in Temperance and Lambertville, Mich: The Bedford Goodfellows will take applications from Oct. 27-Nov. 14 for its Thanksgiving Food Basket program. This assistance is limited to Bedford Township residents. Applications must be filled out Mondays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon or 1 to 3 p.m.; or Fridays […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

The Wings project in Monroe, Mich., has announced its annual Winter Clothing Giveaway. Winter coats, jackets, scarves, hats and other clothing will be distributed at no cost between 3 and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 18 at Eagle’s Nest Church, 620 E. Fourth St., Monroe. “Get ready for winter once again!” the announcement said. Wings is […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

The Wings project, which operates out of Eagle’s Nest Church, 620 E. Fourth St., Monroe, has announced its 2014 Blanket Giveaway. Those who are in need in the Monroe area should stop by Eagle’s Nest Church between 3 and 4:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 11 for the blankets. There is no cost. Wings is a volunteer […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

The Monroe County Job Fair will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday Oct. 22 at Monroe Multi-Sports Complex, 333 N. Dixie Hwy., Monroe. Seasonal, part-time and full-time work opportunities will be highlighted. This event is hosted by the sports complex and the sponsors include Michigan Works!, Monroe County Intermediate School District and […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

Half of my local readers in Monroe County, Mich., have work commutes that are out of town: specifically, Toledo, Detroit, Ann Arbor. If you are among those people, you could easily get stranded on a closed freeway or away from home should winter weather conditions worsen suddenly. That happened twice in two years to my […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

Are you at the stage in life in which a child’s birthday party, retirement party, wedding shower or baby shower invitations come at a frequent pace? The Budget Mama has some terrific ideas at 3 Tips to Help You Build a Gift Stockpile. She’s talking about pricebooking, having an idea of who you are likely […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

Macy’s is one of the first major retailers to announce its Black Friday / Thanksgiving night hours. See Macy’s to open even earlier on Thanksgiving at monroenews.com.

Print Friendly
Tags:

Thrivent Financial has scheduled a series of workshops in Monroe County, Mich., with the topic “Savvy Social Security Planning: What Baby Boomers Need to Know to Maximize Retirement Income.” Jeffrey Long, CFP, financial representative with Thrivent, will be the speaker, and the programs are hosted by Griff Crammond, Terry Gautz and Mark Johnson. There is […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

A Resume and Interviewing Workshop will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 11 at the Whitman Center, room 9, 7777 Lewis Ave., Temperance, Mich. This event is hosted by Monroe County Community College, and is free and open to the public. Topics will include: How to develop effective job search correspondence for today’s market. […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

The Monroe on a Budget column runs Tuesday in The Monroe News. Here is this week’s installment: By Paula Wethington / Monroe News About five years ago, I hosted a birthday party in which one of the guests was surprised at the arrangements. Instead of hot dogs on paper plates as I think she expected […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

This post is for my readers in the Carleton MI area: The Ash-Carleton Goodfellows have announced sign-up details for their Thanksgiving basket project. All applications are due Nov. 4, and this assistance program is limited to residents of Ash Township or village of Carleton. The distribution date is Nov. 18. “Proper ID” will be requested […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

This is the script for the “Grocery shopping on a budget” class I gave Oct. 13, 2014, at Ypsilanti District Library: Hello everyone! My name is Paula Wethington and I’m the Monroe on a Budget columnist and blogger for The Monroe News in Monroe. Thank you to the Ypsilanti District Library for inviting me to […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

Dr. Ben Hanson, Dr. Tracey Smith, Dr. Eric Smith and the team at Brownstown Dental Care, 19249 Allen Rd., Brownstown Township, Mich., are participating Friday in Free Dentistry Day, a day dedicated to providing dental care to the growing number of Americans without dental insurance. “Now more than ever, there are people in Brownstown who […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

Are you looking for a cheaper way to handle the wedding planner book needs than spending $15 to $25 on a prepared organizer or book? Here’s what my daughter and I came up with, and it cost less than $10. A 1 inch binder. 5 plastic dividers. Purchased at Walmart for $5.77. Sheet paper. Plastic […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

Did you read the piece on Huffington Post about the bride who hated all the headaches, money and drama that was involved with her wedding and pre-ceremony traditions? Here it is: “I regret having a wedding.” Sure, the day was great. It was fun and I was happy. But I was miserable for at least […]

Print Friendly
Tags:

If you are looking for the 2014 trick or treat times for Monroe County MI, we have them at monroenews.com.

Print Friendly
Tags: