10 Strategies That Will Change Your Financial Life
Many people are looking for ways to get a handle on their financial life. Below are ten “easy-to-implement” financial strategies that will get you back on track towards financial freedom.
Develop an attitude of gratitude — Never become resentful for what you don’t have. Instead, be grateful for what God has provided already. Yes, I know you have big dreams and goals, and you may be disappointed with where you are financially, but believe me… you’re blessed! If you have air in your lungs, clothes on your back, food on your table, and a reliable means of transportation; you are better off financially than eighty-five percent of the people in the world! You see, true wealth starts on the inside first. Financial contentment grows out of an attitude of gratitude. "In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).
Keep the "ultimate driving machine" — You know… the one that’s paid for. Just because your old car breaks down doesn’t necessarily mean you need a new one. But you may say, "But it’s zero money down!" Remember, those new car, little-or-no-money-down, financial gimmicks require some budget-destroying payments. "Which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it?" (Luke 14:28). Make sure you are really saving money. Most of the time the most inexpensive car to drive is the one you’re already in! I’m not saying it’s wrong to buy a new car, but I am saying staying in the car you are driving now (a little longer), may be the best financial move you can make.
Don’t keep up with the Jones’s — They’re in debt, too (and you can be sure they won’t make your payments for you)! "Every labor and every skill which is done is the result of rivalry between a man and his neighbor. This too is vanity and striving after wind" (Ecclesiastes 4:4). Envy is the desire to achieve based on the observation of other people’s successes. Don’t set your goals based on what others have. In the long run, envy and covetousness will still leave you empty because you’ll never have enough.
Do the “Johnson Family Vacation” thing close by — In other words, take a local vacation this year. Cancun may be calling you, but there are also interesting things to see and fun things to do within a day’s drive of where you live. People spend thousands of dollars they can’t afford to travel thousands of miles to see things they might not remember next year. Worst of all, they may not want to remember it because of the debt it put them in. Be sensible and go local this year. Instead of driving to the poor house, drive down the road to financial freedom.
Put your foot in your own meals — Put another way… cook at home! Discover the kitchen occasionally and reduce the number of restaurant visits. Your spouse might enjoy meal preparation more at home if some help were provided (hint, hint, is that you?). Almost everyone enjoys eating out occasionally, so make it part of your "entertainment" budget. Then stick to the budget. Save to eat at a nice place for special events rather than squandering it on fast food non-events.
Live below your means — Now I know you’ve heard this before, but it can still be done. It’s become “American” to spend more than you make and live above what you can truly afford. Here’s what you need to do; look at your paycheck, write the bottom-line number down, and then spend less than that! It’s that’s simple (but I never said it was easy). You can’t spend more than what you bring in and continue to get away with it (despite what the government thinks). "I spoke to you in your prosperity; but you said, ‘I will not listen!’ This has been your practice from your youth, that you have not obeyed My voice" (Jeremiah 22:21). The key to staying out of debt is no secret. Spend less than you make, don’t borrow, and you’ll be on the road to financial freedom.
Get a grip on your spending — Spending money doesn’t lift depression, many times it causes it! In fact, after the initial rush it can make things worse. (Yes… like right after Christmas.) "He who loves pleasure will become a poor man; he who loves wine and oil will not become rich" (Proverbs 21:17). It’s not the cost of an item that determines whether it’s an indulgence; its utility determines that. Do you really need it?
Reduce your dependency on credit cards — Said another way... don’t use your credit card so much! Develop discipline in your spending habits. Take away any security you might be using in case of emergencies, like credit cards or other avenues of borrowing. If needed, cut up a few credit cards. Commit to go no further in debt, and you will begin to reverse the process that produced your debt. "The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower becomes the lender’s slave" (Proverbs 22:7). Remember that the problem is not credit cards but the misuse of credit cards.
Raise your standard of giving — Give to God’s work; it’s His money anyway. Loosen up those purse strings; it will help loosen the grip money might have on your heart. "Be rich in good works... be generous and ready to share" (1 Timothy 6:18). Don’t give in order to get. However, you’ll find that when you do give, God will provide you with more to give.
Ask the same question Marvin Gaye asked… What’s going on? — With your money that is. Figure out why there’s always more month left at the end of your money. Develop a monthly budget and stick to it! God will honor your faithfulness. "Commit your works to the Lord, and your plans will be established" (Proverbs 16:3).