Acton Institute Powerblog

‘Don’t Buy Stuff You Cannot Afford’

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As Dave Ramsey admits, all of the advice he gives is something that you would be able to get from your grandma. It’s a sad commentary on our society that this basic wisdom, that prudential use of money (i.e. thrift) is a virtue, is so alien to us.

Jordan J. Ballor Jordan J. Ballor (Dr. theol., University of Zurich; Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary) is a senior research fellow and director of publishing at the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion & Liberty, where he also serves as executive editor the Journal of Markets & Morality. He is author of Get Your Hands Dirty: Essays on Christian Social Thought (and Action) (Wipf & Stock, 2013), Covenant, Causality, and Law: A Study in the Theology of Wolfgang Musculus (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2012) and Ecumenical Babel: Confusing Economic Ideology and the Church's Social Witness (Christian's Library Press, 2010), as well as editor of numerous works, including Abraham Kuyper Collected Works in Public Theology. Jordan is also associate director of the Junius Institute for Digital Reformation Research at Calvin Theological Seminary. He has authored articles in academic publications such as The Journal of Religion, Scottish Journal of Theology, Reformation & Renaissance Review, and Journal of Scholarly Publishing, and has written popular pieces for newspapers including the Detroit News, Orange County Register, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. In 2006, Jordan was profiled in the book, The Relevant Nation: 50 Activists, Artists And Innovators Who Are Changing The World Through Faith. Jordan's scholarly interests include Reformation studies, church-state relations, theological anthropology, social ethics, theology and economics, and research methodology. Jordan is a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA), and he resides in Jenison, Michigan with his wife and three children.


  • Tracy

    Thansk for the show, Yes I agree something as simple “Don’t buy stuff when you don’t have the money” as funny as the video is can it seems old fashion in today’s standards. I just realize the ave price for a food item is $5-10. The same money will buy a book or two.

  • “Seriously, if you don’t have the money, don’t buy it.”


  • Ryan Schreiber

    Listening to the SNL skit, I couldn’t help but hear a “pained” element to the audience’s laughter… ;)

    Thrift is awesome and I’m glad for the (temporary?) culture change. Unfortunately, if everyone is learning to be thrifty there’s no one left to stimulate the economy. Hence, deflationary death spiral.

    Dave Ramsey is one of my fav’s. Jordan, your avatar is awesome. Have a good day!

  • Michèle Champagne

    I wonder when they’ll come out with “Bailouts For Banks, Brenda And Her Baby”