Do you just HATE debt? Has it ever felt like a noose around your neck? Ready to come away from the slavery? Here are some quick tips to help you attack that debt and find the freedom that you are longer for!
==> What’s in Your Hand? Yep! What do you have in your hand to battle that debt with? Do you have a skill? Do you have stuff? Do you have a product? Do you have equipment? Want your dreams to come true? Well, offer up those “fish and bread” in your hand to the Great Provider. Watch Him do a miracle! He may ask you to use your skill of cleaning to begin an office cleaning business–talk about a great business model with a very limited investment. Maybe you have tons of old books that are just collecting dust–hear the call to sell on Ebay? What about those purses that you make…or books that you have written…or even parts from that junk car in the yard–sell it on Ebay! What about that lawn mower…or that bobcat? Put that ad in the paper and offer up what you have in your hand. Watch God bless!
==> Stop the Leaks! If your money bucket is leaking quicker than you are filling it up, stop everything right now. Find a way to stop the leak! Write down every penny you spend for a week. Shock you? Little things will make a HUGE difference. Just cutting out soft drinks for our family of four saved us hundreds of dollars. Don’t believe it? Just do a bit of math–
Family of 4 drinking 2 soft drinks per day–1.25 each–$10.00
Hummm..7 days a week all month—$310.00
JUST ON SOFT DRINKS! That doesn’t count the calories or the health problems!
==> MAKE a budget and LIVE the budget! First, write down all of your necessary expenses–tithing, housing, utilities, gas, food, financial commitments. Decide which part of the month you will need to pay each. Next, look at all of the other things that you spend money on– Find any of the leaks on your budget and apply the money from those leaks to get rid of debts one-by-one. Not enough money for all of the month? Take a look again at what is in your hand–what can you do to make more money? Nothing? How about looking around you for an extra job–we can truly testify that we always need help with our businesses but few people genuinely want to work hard for money. Debt hurt bad enough? It only takes a little while to catch back up and be free. Find that extra job. Or get rid of of those extras for a little while. There may be things that have to be set aside until the debt is retired. More than likely just using a budget will help to give the accountability needed to get rid of most debt and debt problems. My favorite resources for figuring up a budget (and all of the incidentals) can be found here: Dave Ramsey’s Website or at Living On a Dime’s Website.
==> “Live like no one else today so you can live like no one else tomorrow!” Anyone know who says that one? Yep! My favorite writer and speaker, Dave Ramsey. Dave is SO right! If we will just tighten our belts for a little while, in only a little while, we can have our dreams! I don’t know about all of you, but I cannot stand being in captivity to the debt taskmasters. I want to go for all that God can give me in this life. I cannot do that if I am serving the master of debt too. I remember the day that Harold and I with our children decided that we would commit to live like no one else for a period of time so we could live like no one else later. The dream of having daddy home with us is worth it! The dream of having a business that our children can have as a heritage is worth it! And…it really only takes a little while!
==> Don’t presume upon the future. This is one HUGE lesson that God spoke to my heart about my debt. He let me go through a period of not having “enough” to pay off the debts that I owed. It was a long, stressful, frustrating time. At any time, He could have removed that “thorn” from me. Yet, He didn’t. He left me in the wilderness–in the heat of the journey. Talk about one I do not EVER care to go through again! If He spoke this word to my heart once, He spoke it a million times–no exaggeration there! Really any debt is presuming about our future. It assumes that we will have another heartbeat–we will have another chance. It assumes that the check will be here. It assumes that the needs for tomorrow will be less than the needs of today–unlikely! Boy! That will bite us! There are no guarantees. Even when people owe us money, there are no guarantees that *they* will be able to pay us–not even employers. We just cannot commit to spend tomorrow’s money until it gets here and God gives us a clearance to spend that money. God is so very faithful. I have not finished my study through the entire Bible on money and debt (that is what I am studying right now). However, the very first thing that I remembered being taught as a little girl was to pray that God would give us our daily bread. Remember that? Jesus taught us to pray that request. However, it was not to pray for next year’s daily bread so we could have extras today. That is just not how it works. We have to learn to use great self-control with our finances. Every single need will truly be provided faithfully by our Heavenly Father. Plus…watch out! Faithfulness also brings His lavish blessings upon our household. He is certainly our good Master!
==> Hit Debt Bit-by-Bit! Got debt? Want out, but have no idea how to begin? Beloved, first know that it won’t take but a little while! Hate the debt and hit that debt! In a little while you are going to be free from the shackles. True Freedom! Get started by stopping the leaks to your finances. If you are going further and further in debt each month, take a long hard look at your finances. Are there things that really need to go? Soft drinks? Eating out? Lessons for the kids? Cable TV/Satellite? Cell phones? Telephones? Those car notes (sell and buy a cheap, good vehicle)? Going too much? Cut those extras! Add up how much all of those things are costing you. For a season, fast from those things. It won’t take long and your debt can truly be mastered. Also, simplify everything! Cook meals in bulk–we always save tons with crock pot meals, staples like red beans and rice or soups, and eating sandwiches. We also save on entertainment by checking out videos for free from our library rather than renting, paying extra for cable/satellite, or going out to the movies. Really those things are great money savers, but they also save the family life–you can make sweeter memories with your family all together. What a perk! Finally, also write it all down–be accountable on paper. Every single penny should be logged. Let the whole family see the expenses. Talk about accountability! The kids have helped me to see the waste in Latte’s and how much nicer it is to be able to exercise and afford regular family memories every single month with that one commitment!
==> Get God’s Vision! Lastly, we want to encourage you to look past the debt for a little bit. Look past the hard times and the struggles to get past this desert in your life. Think about the joy set before you! Can you imagine the difference in your family life? Can you see Daddy coming home for his dream business? Can you see that monthly income without all of the envelopes and threat letters in piles? Can you imagine the joy of seeing your children build their own homes and have their families without all of the debt? Can you see your children’s children walking in freedom and liberty? Yes! It is worth it today! This is truly only a small period of time for you. It will be the thing that will make tomorrow a joy and delight. Read Deuteronomy lately? I have been camping there myself this past few months. I have been studying several things in depth in that book. One thing that is an underlying theme of that book of the Bible is God’s plans for us financially. They are good plans! He wants to lavish us with blessings. He wants for us to pass on a legacy to our children that distinguishes them among our culture. He wants for us to be the lenders and givers to those who are in need–not to be the ones in need. He has chosen us to be His precious children–ruling and reigning in dominion over the world we are in. And…great news! He has a wonderful plan, complete with how-to’s for how we are to get there! So, grasp for His best! Get a vision of all He desires and go for it! You have treasures awaiting you!