Christian Budgeting, Finances, Savings
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Money Problems? Don’t Use a Band Aid When You Need Surgery

  • Jason Cabler Celebrating Financial Freedom
  • 2013 26 Apr
Money Problems? Don’t Use a Band Aid When You Need Surgery

Money problems have been a big concern over the past few years for a large number of people.

With so many people experiencing layoffs, cutbacks in working hours, underemployment, and stagnant wages, it has become difficult to make ends meet for millions of people. All this, along with the large debt load that so many people carry, money problems are a reality that just never seems to go away.

Cutting Back Won’t Solve Your Money Problems

So when people start experiencing financial problems, what is the first thing they usually do?

They start cutting back on cable TV, expensive coffee, meals at restaurants, and other things that can save a few dollars quickly, thereby reducing their impact on the family wallet.

This is what virtually every personal finance guru recommends as a first step in tackling money problems.

However, this initial step is where too many people stop. They never really  take the further steps necessary to changing their money problems for the better.

It’s not all that difficult to cut back your spending on some items, but where does that really get you?

Sure, cutting back on expenses can put you in a little better financial position. However, the heart of the problem is usually much deeper than cutting back on lattes’ and nail appointments can fully solve.

The Usual Causes of Money Problems

Usually the money problem at hand consists of one or both of these two things:

  • Too much debt
  • Too little income

So what should you be doing if you have one or both of these problems?

First, recognize that cutting back is a good first step, but it won’t completely solve your money problem permanently. If cutting back on expenses is all that you do, you’re doing nothing more than putting a bandaid on a situation that really needs surgery.

Next, understand that you need a solid plan in place to tackle the real source of your money problems.

Tackle Your Debt

If debt is part of your money problem, then it’s time to start keeping track of every dollar using a written budget. This is always the most effective way to keep track and understand where your money goes so you can exert total control over it.

Then make a written get out of debt plan that will act as your roadmap to eliminate your debt problem for good.

Increase Your Income

If you have cut expenses, and you’re still not able to get by very well on what you’re making, your money problems may be at least partially due to the need for more income.

In this economic climate, millions of people are unemployed or underemployed. Because of that, most of those people need a plan to increase income in order to make ends meet.

One of the first things you have to do, is to recognize that the job market has fundamentally changed. Because of  that, many of the tried and true rules of finding a job and maintaining a career no longer apply in today’s working world.

It’s very important that you start to understand this phenomenon and take steps to change the way you look at employment and earning money.

I won’t get into the nitty gritty of the new job market in this post, but I do recommend a few good books that  can help you get a better grasp on the situation along with showing you how to find a career you can be passionate about. (The following are affiliate links)

“Quitter- Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job” by Jon Acuff

“48 Days to the Work You Love- Preparing for the New Normal” by Dan Miller.

“Crush It” by Gary Vaynerchuk

These books will help you recognize:

  • How the job market is changing
  • How to recognize your own unique talents that are valuable to the rest of the world
  • How to develop your own customized plan for your career that will propel you into your best future.

At the end of the day, cutting back on latte’s will not solve your money problems.

It takes much more effort and planning to get the job done the right way when you’re struggling financially. But when you have a good plan in place that tackles the heart of your money problems...

You WILL start to turn things around.

You WILL start to prosper financially.

Have you ever cut back on your expenses, only to find that this didn’t totally solve your problem?

Tell me about it in the comments. I’d love to hear about your experience.

You might also want to check out my Celebrating Financial Freedom online course when it becomes available (soon). It’s in the beta testing stage at this point, and if you would like to get more info on the course when it’s done, you can sign up for the email list here. I’ll keep you updated on its progress, and when it’s done I’ll even extend you a killer special offer just for those on the list.

Article originally published on Celebrating Financial Freedom. Used with permission.

Dr. Jason Cabler is a Christian personal finance blogger, author, and speaker. He teaches how to get out of debt and live a debt free lifestyle through his Celebrating Financial Freedom blog and self study course. His new book How to Budget:The Quick and Easy Guide to Making a Budget That Works is now available (more info here). He can be reached for interviews or speaking engagements by email, and can be found on Twitter, Facebook, and Google +.

Publication date: April 26, 2013