Well, it happened yet again to another friend. They lost their home. It just breaks my heart to see people I love struggling. It seems to be a familiar tune lately……lost homes, lost jobs, lost sense of security. But! We all know, as followers of Christ, that we don’t find our sense of security from any of these things…RIGHT? Because we know all to well that all of these things we put our security in could be gone in a blink of an eye. However, what a blow when one of these trails happens upon our lives.
It wasn’t long ago that my husband and I were basing our quality of life off of what cars, house, and material goods we had. We were chasing after the “Joneses’” Whoever they are.
We were over 40,000 dollars in dept when we stepped into our first Financial Peace class. It was there we learned how to be true stewards of the money God had entrusted us. And now, 6 yrs. later, other than our house we are dept free. We are now facilitators of a Financial Peace University class, and believe me when I say besides us helping others take control of their money, lives, and relationships; it has been a source of accountability for us, because life can so easily pull you in so many directions.
I’m going to attempt to give you some practical steps on how to take control of your finances that I have learned throughout the years:
Live within your means– I don’t think I need to tell you we live in a gotta-have-it-now society. It’s kinda old fashion to tell ourselves we have to wait and save for something. It’s gotten to the point where we feel we are depriving ourselves. I will just put it bluntly….If you can’t afford it, you can’t have it!
Avoid the gotta-have-it-now syndrome- Try the 10 second rule, which is walk around the store alittle with the item that is a must have and think a few minutes if you really need this item or is it just a want. Nine times out of ten you will discover it was just an impulse buy and you probably have 10 of them at home. Another idea would be to wait over night before you make any big purchases. This will help eliminate buyer’s remorse the next morning.
Bargain shop- Ok, my husband loves this one. He loves to go and hunt for the best deals. And he has found plenty of them. The first item you see in the store is not the only one in the world. Go home and check places like Craig’s list, eBay, and other store sales before making any big purchases.
Grocery Shopping- The worst thing you can do is go into the grocery store without a shopping list. I guarantee you would save a substantial amount of money just by taking the time to make out a menu for the week and only sticking to the items that are needed. Avoid making frequent trips to the grocery store. You might intend to only go in for a gallon of milk, but I bet you will come out with a lot more. And if you want to save even bigger bucks throw in some coupons and watch the savings come. Here is an easy coupon site that I use http://www.couponmom.com.
Cash Only- It is so easy to justify getting that item or items that you never intended to get or don’t need when you are paying with your debit or credit card. Carrying cash in the grocery store is what keeps me on target…that and my trusty calculator.
Budget- I couldn’t talk about money without throwing in the “B” word. Think of it this way…a budget is just telling your money what to do. And it helps you to know if you are over spending in an area or if you are you have more month than you have money. When we first started a budget, we were shocked to find that we actually had money each month leftover after paying all the necessities. Soooo where was all the money going? We were just throwing it away. Yeah, money that could we have been putting away for savings, retirement, college, and for those fun things in life. We will discuss savings next time.
Have an accountability partner– If you are married, this is your spouse. If you are single, go find someone who will speak truth into your life and hold you accountable and help you stay on track in your spending.
Pray- If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
To Be Continued………………..
Let me know what you think. Share some of your tips………