Control your shopping. Commit to avoid buying anything you absolutely don't need or haven't run out of, and if you slip and make a purchase that's not necessary, give something away to compensate for that item. Plan menus before going grocery shopping, research high-ticket items thoroughly before choosing the right products to buy, use coupons and reward points, negotiate with merchants when possible, and buy generic products instead of name-brand products when possible. When buying services, get to know the people who are helping you and be nice to them so you can establish relationships where they look out for your best interests. Get your hair cuts, manicures, massages, or dental work done at a school where students perform these services at a fraction of what they'd normally cost. Be resourceful about using what you already own - such as your clothes - rather than buying more when it's not necessary.

Reduce your home expenses. Downsize your home if you need to, save energy to cut back on your utility bill, and eliminate unnecessary costs, such as cable TV services.

Reduce your activity expenses. Save money you would have spent on expensive restaurant meals by eating at home more often. Consider free or low-cost fun activities, such as hiking at a park or visiting museums.

Form a support system. Get together with some other friends who are currently going through financial struggles and share your knowledge and resources to support each other and meet needs like household repairs and rides to and from place. Be generous about helping your friends with what they need, and let them know what you need so they can help you.

Give thanks. Instead of focusing on what you don't have, focus on what you do have, and express your gratitude to God regularly to keep the right perspective on your finances. Trust Him to continue to meet your needs - sometimes in unexpected ways - and look forward to the good future He has planned for you.

July 23, 2010

Adapted from Divanomics: How to Still Be Fabulous When You're Broke, copyright 2010 by Michelle McKinney Hammond. Published by Tyndale House Publishers, Wheaton, Ill., www.tyndale.com.

Michelle McKinney Hammond is the author of more than 30 books on living, loving, and overcoming. She is the President and Founder of HeartWing Ministries, which hosts annual DIVA Weekend Getaway Conferences. As a relationship and empowerment coach, internationally known speaker, singer and television co-host, it is Michelle's mission and passion to help women and men to first be intimately connected to God and then empowered to become their personal best in order to experience victory in every area of their lives.