Chances Are…

Chances are you weren’t one of the three winners of the Mega Millions jackpot. So now what? It’s back to business as usual! The chances of you winning the lottery will always be ridiculously slim. But guess what? The chances of you taking control of your resources and maximizing them to the best of your ability will always be 1 in 1. You simply cannot go wrong taking control of your financial future.That doesn’t mean just taking a gamble and letting the dollars fall where they may. I’m talking about being intentional about each  expenditure, investment, gift, saving, etc. As small or large as they may be, each one will have an impact either now or later.

Just like your chances are 1 in 1 when you’re in control, your chances are least that high with God, if you believe. Most of you don’t even realize it, but I would say that mustard seed-sized (maybe even smaller) faith was at work all over this country the last few days. The amount of money that people were dropping for a 1 in 176 million chance of winning was astronomical. I’m willing to bet that the majority of the same people aren’t willing to  sow into the Kingdom with the same kind of faith. Why not? Are our chances of becoming rich greater with the lottery than with God?

I guess it all boils down to who you’re willing to trust. Who is in control of your financial future? Is it the lottery, the media, the mall, you or God? Really think about who is controlling your finances right now. If you’re not where you want to be, then maybe it’s time for a new manage. Who do you want/need to be in control?  If it’s God, continue to sow faithfully and your harvest will come. If you want to be in control, then do the best that you can to maximize what you have through saving, investing, and giving. If it’s the media and society, just keep spending and focus on acting and looking rich. Chances are, whoever or whatever is in control will determine your financial success or lack thereof. The choice is yours.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

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Swiper, No Swiping!

Now, I have to tell you that switching over to using cash is one challenge that I’ve not yet taken up. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve seen it, read it, or heard about it, but I just have not gotten myself together to do it. Why? Because I’m a chronic swiper! I’ve just gotten so used to using a debit card that I absolutely despise having to carry cash around. Not to mention it makes your wallet a lot heavier than if you just carried a piece of plastic right!? And, people can’t really tell if you have money or not when you use a debit card since the actual transaction goes on behind the scenes. It’s like magic! Who doesn’t love a magician?! OK seriously, I think I’m actually going to try it this time.

I’m doing a pretty good job at paying down my debt, but it’s definitely time to kick it up a notch. I love a challenge, and this whole cash thing is going to be one. The one comment that I’ve read in several different articles is that you simply have to do what’s best for you. The area in which you’re more likely to overspend is probably a good start. Perhaps you’ll commit to paying for groceries, entertainment, and restaurant food in cash. Of course setting up a budget for this is going to take some trial and error at first, but it can be done. Using cash will help us develop better discipline when it comes to our spending. If you know you only have $20 to spend on entertainment for the week, you’ll probably end up picking dinner or the movie, but not both because it will put you over budget. If you don’t know what you’re spending in these areas now, monitor your receipts for the next 2 weeks or so to get a feel. At least you’ll be in the ballpark once you finally switch over.

One of the things that I’ve learned through this process is that money management is an on-going journey. No matter where you are right now, you can always get better and find new ways to maximize what you have. I’m willing to take on a new challenge that will hopefully propel me further ahead and closer to freedom. Are you?

If anyone is already using this method, please share with the rest of us. We’d love to hear from you! For everyone else that is joining me in the challenge, repeat after me: “Swiper, No Swiping!”

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Rich Towards God

If you haven’t heard by now, the Mega Millions Jackpot is now up to half a billion dollars or $500,000,000 for my visual readers. What would you do with five hundred million dollars?! Maybe, go on a shopping spree, pay off bills, buy a mansion, a few cars, travel, etc, etc. With that kind of money, who wouldn’t? But what about God? As I clicked through headline after headline and read about all of the things that people said they would do with the money, including everything listed above, there was one person that came close. The guy’s response was “I may give the church a little and maybe I would travel a little … oh, and I’d buy a penthouse on Fifth Ave. or Park Ave. by Central Park” (NY Daily News).

Two things are apparent to me with this response. First, he hasn’t planned on or isn’t expecting to get rich. Whether it’s through the lottery or some other method, with a list that vague and incomplete the expectation isn’t there. You should already have a list of tasks ready to go if you really believe that you’re going to win. Second, if he’s only thinking about giving a little to the church if he wins, he probably only thinks about giving a little to the church on a regular basis. Giving is a habit, period. If we truly are what we repeatedly do, then we’re either givers or we’re not. There is no hesitation, whether it’s a little or a lot. So again, I ask, what about God?

One news station showed footage of a convenience store that had people in line for about two blocks waiting for their turn to buy tickets. Can you imagine a Sunday morning where people were lined around the block to give their offerings because they thought they had a chance at being blessed by God? Do we really believe that the odds of getting rich are greater with the lottery than with God? I’m not saying that God can’t bless someone through the lottery; but what I’m questioning is, why don’t we have that same, if not greater, excitement when it comes to sowing into the Kingdom?

Well, whoever wins, I hope that they will add these Rich Towards God elements to their portfolio: Trusting God, Giving Generously, Advancing the Kingdom, and Enjoying Contentment. All of these are acts of stewardship that we should practice every day whether we win the lottery or not. Let’s get into the habit of sharing our riches with God right where we are. For if we are faithful over the few things, perhaps God will make us rulers over many or possibly $500,000,000 :-).

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Riches and Glory

As we continue on our journey towards debt freedom, we must begin to speak positively into our finances. Thoughts become words, words become actions, and actions become habits. Instead of using negative phrases such as “I can’t afford” or “I’m broke,” add some positive flare and say “I’m saving up for” or “I’m temporarily out of cash!”  Whether or not your money habits will help or hurt your progress towards financial freedom all depends on your initial thoughts. This is why I love to start the day off saying “Today, I choose to be wealthy!” It brings my financial goals to my conscious, and I’m more sensitive to the purchases that I make throughout the day. If you continue to do that on a consistent basis you will start to notice an “increase” in your finances. The money was there all along, but now you’re in control over your impulses to spend, and creating better money management…

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Checking in!

Hello Everyone!

I’m just checking in on your progress thus far! We’ve talked about a lot the last two weeks, and hopefully you’re not overwhelmed. The point isn’t to try to do everything at once, but just to realize that there a lot of options to get you started. Once you get going just run with it. Every day won’t be perfect, as we all give into impulses from time to time. It’s OK. Just pick up where you left off and keep going. The more you practice being a great money manager, the quicker you’ll become one and the closer you’ll get to your goals.

Don’t let the numbers scare you. When you first calculated what your net worth should be, you might have thought “wow, I’m way off and I’ll never get there.” Let’s change that to, “wow, I’m way off, how do I get there?” Can you save more or put more towards debt each month? Whatever suits you, put everything in motion by setting a realistic timeline and go after it. I may not be where I should be yet, but at least I have a goal in sight that I’m working towards just like you.

Don’t forget to make the process fun! After all, we’re working towards freedom here and that’s a very positive thing! Keep a daily chart and give yourself rewards points for saving, using coupons, paying off debt, etc. Get a group of friends and make a competition out of it. I’ve seen lots of weight loss challenges, so why not have debt reduction challenges? I surely wouldn’t mind it if all of my friends were rich. That’s why I’m sharing this information with all of you! So let’s continue to encourage and support one another. If you haven’t started yet, pick a strategy and get going. We’re all rooting for you! 🙂

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Money = Power, Period.

Simply put, “The rich rule over the poor…” (Proverbs 22:7). The average person reading this will probably say, “but I’m not poor.” My challenge to you then is this…what do you have to show for it? Just because you have things, like a house, a car, college degrees, or a closet full of name brand clothes, that doesn’t mean that you’re not poor. You can be categorized as middle or upper middle class by the amount of money that you make, and still be poor. I know this may be a harsh reality to accept, but in order to move forward, we have to face the facts. The definition of poor means having little to no wealth. So technically speaking, if you’re in debt, you have little to no wealth, which means you’re poor. I’m sure that if the other 99% were wealthy they probably wouldn’t still be occupying Wall Street after all of these months.

Just think about all of the things that you would do if you had unlimited access to money.  You might buy a few things, take a few trips, help some people, and the list goes on. But, building wealth isn’t just about having the freedom to buy what we want, but it’s about having the freedom to make an impact and to change lives and communities. Foundations, scholarships, missions, and ministries require money. The reason why we haven’t done many of those things yet is because we haven’t had the power to do them. People can’t quit their jobs because they need a paycheck. Others don’t start businesses because they lack the necessary resources. Students can’t afford higher education without borrowing. At the end of the day, having money gives you the power to live freely.

If we really want to advance the Kingdom, we have to change our hearts and minds. Every day that we stay in debt is another day that we remain powerless. How much longer will we choose to live like this? It’s time for us to become rich; not only because we can, but because it’s necessary. Commit to change today. The clock is ticking…

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Credit Trap

From early on, we’ve been sold the lie that you need good credit in order to get the best loan rates, higher credit card limits, etc. But honestly, you only need good credit if you plan on borrowing from someone. The whole “buy now, pay later” scheme is the reason why most of us have gotten into the financial trouble that we’re in. So what’s the antidote?

Save now, buy later. Why plan on borrowing from someone? Consumer debt has become such a part of everyday living that we don’t even realize that it’s not supposed to be that way. Our minds have been conditioned to accept the buy now, pay later credit philosophy because it seems as if everyone else does it. You’re right. Everyone else that’s in debt uses credit. We’re supposed to have what we want, when we want it, whether we can afford it or not, hence the overuse of credit cards and loans. But God reminds us that we are not to owe anything except the debt of love (Romans 13:8), and that borrowers are slaves to lenders (Proverbs 22:7). If we are going to live free, we have to retrain ourselves with a Kingdom mindset (Romans 12:2), and get rid of the worldly, impulsive, credit driven mindset.

If you have credit card balances now, pay them off and build your savings for the things that you want. If you can’t pay in cash or use your debit card, you should hold off. As we’ve discussed before, emergencies will happen, which is why you need an emergency fund. You don’t need a credit card for emergencies, you need cash. Focus on building your cash fund, not your credit scores. It may seem odd, but we’re talking about living free here. Think about the last thing that you charged and the burden that came along with having to make payments every month with added interest. Now, think about the last time you paid for something in full and the relief that went along with it? It’s like a load was just taken off your shoulders right? That’s exactly what happened to me the last time I paid off a credit card. Aaahhhh, what a relief.

If you’re currently caught in the credit trap, commit to freeing yourself and never go back. You don’t need credit in order to live free. Remember: Credit = Slavery, Cash = Free. I hope that you choose to live free.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne