Tame Your Finances in 30 Days
- Friday, September 15, 2006
Day 11 – Clear the clutter: Eliminate clutter from your home so you’ll know where your financial records are, can locate your bills to pay them on time, and won’t waste any money on duplicate purchases of items you’ve lost in the mess.
Day 12 – Maximize your minutes: Make the most of your time, because – like money – once you spend time, it’s gone. Keep track of how you spend your time for a few days, then think and pray about how you can use your time better. Every day, write a prioritized to-do list.
Day 13 – Spend smart: Don’t fall for the myth that you have to buy everything new. Consider used cars and previously worn clothes. Stick to the basics when you shop. Be creative about saving money on entertainment, such as by volunteering to serve as an usher to get into events for free.
Day 14 – Do-it-yourself: Rather than paying for other people’s services, decide to do what you need yourself. Learn how to do your own domestic chores and repairs, and groom yourself rather than visiting a stylist.
Day 15 – Eat economically: Avoid unnecessary trips to the grocery store by making a list when you do visit. Buy and cook in bulk when it makes sense to do so. Clip and use grocery coupons, and don’t go to the store hungry. In restaurants, split a meal with your spouse or child whenever possible; and skip drinks, appetizers, and desserts; and take home uneaten food to eat later.
Day 16 – Restructure your recreation: Think of low-cost alternatives to expensive pastimes. For example, instead of playing pricey sports such as golf or skiing, go on a hike, swim, or ride a bike. And rather than going to a movie theater, rent a DVD (or check one out of the library for free) and make your own popcorn in your microwave to enjoy while watching the film.
Day 17 – Spend in sync with your spouse: Make sure you’re in agreement with your spouse before your make any major purchases. Decide together on a maximum dollar amount that you each may spend without consulting each other. Then refuse to spend more than that amount unless your spouse agrees.
Day 18 – Pare your presents: Know that you can express your love fully to others without having to use expensive gifts to do so. Be creative about choosing thoughtful – yet inexpensive – presents for others.
Day 19 – Further your financial intelligence: Decide to improve your financial knowledge, such as by finding out your FICO score on your credit report, researching business deals (such as car leases) thoroughly before committing to them, getting legal and accounting expertise, learning about tax laws, and more.
Day 20 – Eliminate your emotional spending: Stop to check your motives before spending money on any item and service. If you’re motivated by anger, boredom, depression, insecurity, frustration, or some other strong emotion rather than a rational need, don’t spend your money at that time.
Day 21 – Ponder your purchases: Understand that impulsiveness makes you bait for dishonest or pushy salespeople and scams. Beware of hot deals and high-pressure deadlines. Take at least 24 hours to think about major purchases before deciding whether or not to make them. Before you buy, ask yourself: "Is this a need or a desire?", "Can I afford it?", "Will I use it immediately?", "Do I already have something similar?" and "How can I glorify God with this purchase?".
Day 22 – End your enabling: Don’t enable a family member or friend to remain irresponsible by bailing them out of poor decisions or not requiring them to carry their fair load. For example, refuse to cosign a loan for someone else. And if your able-bodied, adult child moves back home, require him or her to pay for rent, part of the utility costs, and his or her own food.
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