Tame Your Finances in 30 Days
- Friday, September 15, 2006
Does your money seem to run out as fast as it comes in? Are your financial records out of control, and your discussions about money filled with stress? If your finances are running wild, you can tame them in just 30 days – and be well on your way toward a healthier financial future.
Here’s how you can tame your finances in 30 days:
Day 1 – Write the vision: Think and pray about a financial vision for your life. Ask God to help you come up with short- and long-term goals. For example, in the short term, you might want to save a certain amount of money to take a vacation, and in the long term, you might work to save a set amount to fund your kids’ college education. Prioritize each goal and choose a specific date by which you hope to accomplish each goal. Share your goals with someone you trust to help you stay accountable to them and support you along the way.
Day 2 – See where you stand: Make a list of your assets (what you own) and liabilities (what you owe). Then write down your income from all sources, and all your expenses – both fixed and variable (to get a good idea of variable expenses such as food and entertainment, keep track of every expense you incur for seven days at a time for four weeks, and study the record).
Day 3 – Prepare your plan: Develop a budget through these steps: determining where you’re currently spending money, evaluating your spending in light of your financial goals, identifying and eliminating behaviors or circumstances that lead to unnecessary spending, and monitoring your ongoing expenditures to make sure they’re consistent with your financial goals.
Day 4 – Fund firstfruits first: Make it a high priority to pay your tithe, offerings, and alms (money to help people in need) before you use your income for anything else. Trust God to provide all you need when you’re faithful to obey His command to give.
Day 5 – Save strategically: Establish a small emergency cash reserve. Then prepare for the future more by contributing the maximum amount you can to your company’s matching retirement plan, paying down your consumer credit, accumulating a living expense reserve for two to six months, and putting money toward long-term investments such as a home or rental property.
Day 6 – Diminish your debt: Pay off your debts one at a time, starting with the one that has the lowest balance, and using the money you free up to pay down other debts until you’ve cleared them all. Ask God to help you resist the temptation to incur additional debt. Cancel all unnecessary credit cards and make every effort to stay out of debt.
Day 7 – Ask for what you want: Don’t hesitate to ask for a favor, such as a loan for a new business you’d like to start, a discount for car repairs, or for delivery charges to be waived on an appliance. Know that if you ask for a financial favor that’s reasonable, you might just get the help you’d like.
Day 8 – Investigate your insurance: Understand that it’s good stewardship to review your needs for health, life, auto, home and other types of insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones. Buy appropriate policies to meet your needs.
Day 9 – Let go of a luxury: Limit some of your indulgences for a season. Stop spending money – for now – on extras such as eating out, getting manicures, or buying CDs.
Day 10 – Cease comparing: Don’t buy anything out of pressure to keep up with what other people have or maintain a certain image. Decide that you’ll only buy what you can afford – and no more.
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