This one was not on my original list of freedom topics, but it so very relevant today.
I think with my finances I have remained an eight year old for a very long time. If I had money it was my job to spend it as quickly as possible. I have not planned for my future very well. I have accumulated a lot of debt in the past and have lived from paycheck to paycheck for many years. Until recently, I have struggled to keep any amount of cash in a savings account.
October marks my final debt payment and the beginning of a long term savings plan to cover emergencies. I am taking a vacation that was paid for in September AND have the rest of my spending plan in place, trip and all.
This is such monumental progress I cannot contain my excitement. It’s not been easy, and it’s not been fun. I know that there are lots of things I could be doing with these funds, like improving my wardrobe or indulging in regular pedicures. Maybe a new flat screen would be nice. I am learning to tune out the marketing bombardment that tells me I am unhappy without the _____ they are selling.
I would rather not panic if my car breaks.
I would rather know that Christmas is manageable and affordable.
I would rather be able to pay my bills if I became sick and unable to work for a while.
I would rather save and be prepared for the Senior year activities that are about to hit full force.
These things will happen because I am learning to prioritize my budget. Eating leftovers instead of going out. Driving an old car instead of getting a big fat loan for a new one. Deciding that I don’t need new anything for a while. Thrift store shopping is a modern treasure quest anyway! Small sacrifices = big payoff.
Don’t get me wrong. I won’t be dumpster diving or anything crazy. I definitely enjoy a sushi night every now and then. But as Dave Ramsey says, I get to tell every dollar where it goes. Saying no to extra cable channels and a newest iGadget and whatever else is taking my dollars right out of my hand.
This may seem restrictive, but it’s really not. It’s just smart. Getting on a budget just makes sense. It’s just a plan of where my money will go, instead of wondering where it went.
How can I be generous if I can’t pay my bills? How does it honor God if I can’t take care of my responsibilities? To whom much is given, much is expected.
And compared to many on this planet, I am quite wealthy. But hey y’all, I work at a church so not so much. The spending I can control, and trust God for the rest.
I have no one to blame but myself for the financial state I am in. I want to be excited about the next 47 years. I have plans! I have goals! I have a passport now and I hear Italy is fun. Instead of dreaming, I am making a plan to actually go. And that plan does not involve a winning lottery ticket or a sugar daddy.
It involves a decision to free myself from bad money habits so that I can do the things I really want to do.
If you are struggling in this area, let me recommend Dave to you. Sign up for a class. Listen to his radio show. Read his books. Decide to live like no one else, so you can give like no one else. Check him out here… daveramsey.com.
Thanks for reading, until tomorrow!