Is Being Frugal Keeping You Broke?

(Click here to listen to the podcast version)

I firmly believe that financial success is 90% spiritual, 10% practical.

And over the years I’ve become living proof of that truth.

People assume I’ve been successful financially because I’m some kind of “money guy.”

But here’s the deep down honest truth:

I don’t even have a budget.

I didn’t graduate college, I don’t have a degree.

I also don’t have some crazy understanding of finances or even business for that matter.

Though I do very well in both of those areas.

I’m definitely not “lucky” (which isn’t a real thing btw) and I didn’t come from a wealthy family.  No one in my family is even an entrepreneur.

I’m telling you all this to eliminate all your excuses and justifications as to why you’re not where you want to be financially.

You want to know why I do well financially?

How I have more than enough?

How I got out of paycheck to paycheck living? (Which is true poverty)

It’s not the decisions I made.

It’s HOW I made those decisions. 

It’s my decision making process that has led me down the path of  success, wealth, and increase.

Let me show you what I mean:

You go to the gas station to fill your car up. Which option do you choose:

Far left, every single time.


Because it’s cheaper.

Or how about this: You take your girl out on a date to dinner.

You want the steak. You know you want the steak. You can practically taste that medium well ribeye right now.

But let’s face it, you’re gonna pick the chicken.

(And secretly you hope she picks the chicken too.)


Because it’s cheaper.

Oh and don’t even get me started on people who buy the off-brand Oreos just to save $1.27

Trust me, I’ve done it before. You can literally taste the regret in every bite.

I forbid you to ever buy these again:


I’ll give you one more.

When I was 21 I went and bought a brand new car. It cost $21,000.

I found the one I want, it was the color I wanted, had the wheels I wanted, the interior I wanted, had all the bells and whistles of the time. It was wonderful.

But when I went to go and actually sign the papers and pick up the car, I saw another version of the car parked next to it. It was the same make, but the step-down, base model version. It wasn’t quite the color I wanted, had smaller wheels (which looked weird) and had a smaller engine.

But it was only $18,500!

So at the last possible second, I told the people I wanted THAT model.

The cheaper model.

We spent the next hour and half filling out the paperwork and setting up the financing.

I finally get out to my car at about 9pm, sat down in it, and… my heart sinks.

I looked around, it didn’t have cruise control, (which I use ALL the time) it had cheap interior, I didn’t like the seats, IT DIDN’T EVEN HAVE POWER WINDOWS!!!

What had I done?!

I sat there for about 10 minutes feeling like a chump.

Then at 9:10pm I went back inside, owned up to it, and said, “Guys, I made a mistake.”

They were quite annoyed, but we redid the paperwork and I got the car I REALLY wanted.

You want to know the difference between the cheap model and the high-end model?

$20 a month.

stupid gif 1

When did this happen to us?

When did we start making life choices based off what’s cheaper?

Since when did we let money become our boss?

No one ever went broke because they spent the extra dime per gallon and got the good gas.

No one ever “went under” because they paid the extra $1.27 for the real Oreos.

No one ever lost their house to the bank because they spent the extra $8 and got the steak.

And I didn’t end up homeless because I spent the extra $20 and got the car I wanted. (I still drive this car 11 years later and it runs like a dream)

You see, we’ve developed this “scarcity mentality” over the years (usually from our parents) and we have let it bleed into all the decisions we make.

Somehow, we have convinced ourselves that we must spend as little money as possible, or we may run out.

“Well Travis, those little things can add up you know.”

(I can literally hear your tone right now)

And ya, it does add up – if you get the good gas, the good oreos, the good steak and the good car, it will add up to an extra $40 a month.

Get the good stuff. You’re gonna be fine.

(I hope you can hear my tone right now)

We have become trained to make poverty/scarcity/fear of lack choices, and we are now reaping the fruit of those choices.

I truly believe we keep ourselves living a life of “just enough” because our decision making process directs us down that path.

How to make choices that lead to financial abundance

First off, when you have a choice to make of any kind, we always start by going to God’s word.

Even if it’s a little choice like buying the delicious Oreos or buying the disgusting cardboard knock-off Oreos.

Literally, my favorite article I’ve ever written was “How to Make the Best Financial Decision Every Single Time.”make sure you read this later.

I discuss in depth, the spiritual force that is naturally on money. In the bible, this is spirit is known as mammon.

Let’s look at what Jesus said in Luke 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise and be against the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. (Deceitful riches, money, possessions, or whatever is trusted in).

Now, at first thought, it’s easy to think that this scripture doesn’t apply to you.

You don’t serve money, you don’t even have any of it to serve!

But then God showed me something I hadn’t realized I was doing.

It hit me like a ton of bricks:

Who told me to buy the cheap gas?

My bank account.

Who told me to buy the cheap oreos?

My bank account.

Who told me to get the chicken instead of the steak?

My bank account.

Who told me to buy the cheap base model car?

My bank account.




My bank account.

I didn’t even ask God for His direction on any of these financial decisions.

I literally served money.

Money told me what to do, and I listened.

The reason you can’t serve both God and mammon is because when you seek God’s financial instruction, it’s almost always the complete opposite of what your natural brain tells you to do.

Proverbs 11:24-25 proves that, by showing us the key to becoming wealthy:

“Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.
The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

Another translation puts it this way:

“Some give freely and still get richer, while others are stingy but grow still poorer.
The person who blesses others will prosper…”

Isn’t that interesting?

See, I’ve convinced myself that God can’t lie.

Once you’ve done that, you see the true power in God’s financial instructions.

He literally tells us the decision making process that will make you wealthy and prosperous: Give freely and be generous.

How do we lose everything and grow poor? Be stingy. 

The definition of stingy is “unwilling to give or spend, ungenerous.”

There is usually a root of fear in being stingy. Fear that if I spend, if I give, if I’m generous, then I will run out of what I need for me and my family.

What is so hard to understand about this? 

If you do this action, then you’ll get that result.

Seems pretty cut and dry to me.

“Well Travis that’s easy for you to say, you’ve got extra money, you’re not broke, you don’t know what it’s like. Once I get some extra THEN I’ll be generous.”


Not gonna happen.

Because the way you get extra money, is to make the decision that you are going to be generous NOW.

You won’t get out of your rut until you become a generous person right where you are.

Remember the scripture up there? BE generous, and you’ll become more wealthy.

It does not say get wealthy, and then be generous.

And that’s where we’ve been missing it.

By looking at our natural circumstances, we have trained ourselves to make stingy decisions by default.

Those “stingy” decisions are doing exactly what Proverbs 11:25 said it would do; cause us to grow poorer.

Philippians 4:19 promises that God will meet ALL our needs according to His riches and glory in Christ Jesus.

“All your needs” includes financially. In fact the entire context of that verse is dealing with money and generosity.

If I truly believe ALL my needs are met, then I don’t have to make stingy financial decisions.

I can make spirit led financial decisions.

I can let God tell me what to do and what to buy, and what to drive, and which home is right for my family.

I can eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1:19) and bless my wife by taking her to the nice steak house, and drive a nice, high end, safe vehicle.

I’ll ask the Lord what to do, seek His will and His instructions, and then trust that He’ll pay for it.

Your Action Steps:

Okay, we’re going to break this fear-based decision making process. I’ve done it, and you can too.

  1. Next time you have a financial decision to make, big or small, pause for 20 seconds and ask the Lord what to do here. (Matthew 6:33 and James 1:5)
  2. DO WHAT HE TELLS YOU TO DO. Don’t reason it out, just be quick to obey. He’s working on something in you.
  3. Ask yourself, is this a fear-based, stingy decision? Will this lead to poverty, or will this lead to abundance?  Sometimes you gotta say, “Money, you’re not the boss of me!”
  4. Each time you make a purchase or financial transaction, under your breath I want you to say to yourself, “All my needs are met, and there’s plenty more where that came from.” (Philippians 4:19 and 2 Corinthians 9:8)

That’s it. Stick to this, keep speaking Proverbs 11:24-25 over you life. “I AM generous and because of that, I am made more wealthy, I’m not stingy, I’m not afraid to use money. I am blessed to be a blessing. All my needs are met, there’s plenty more where that came from!”

You can do this. The life of abundance that Jesus promised us in John 10:10 is waiting for you.

Now go be the generous person you’ve always wanted to be!

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