Making Dollars out of Sense

dollars and senseSome of you may not have grown up in a household where you saw your mom or dad doing a budget, saving may not have been a priority, tithing and investing may have been unheard of, and that’s OK. You don’t know, what you don’t know; but that doesn’t mean that you have to stay in the dark. Growing up, I was always familiar with saving, I started investing in 401(k) not long after I graduated, I didn’t really use credit cards, and I thought I had a pretty good sense about money. However, I was overwhelmed with student loans, car payments and repairs, medical bills, and trying to meet basic needs. I wasn’t doing a budget, barely had any money in savings, and I was struggling. Once I  finally got tired of being in the position I was in, I started praying for a way out. My relief came through reading and research.

I started studying the lives of millionaires. After all, they were much better off than I was financially, so there had to be something that I was missing. The books that I read are as follows:

  • The Millionaire Next Door
  • The Five Lessons a Millionaire Taught Me for Women
  • The Top 10 Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class
  • Rich Toward God
  • Secrets of the Millionaire Mind
  • The Total Money Makeover

I recognized that I needed additional knowledge and wisdom to move me beyond where I was, so I committed myself to doing so. The thing is, they all had some of the same basic principles outlined:

  • Spend less than you make
  • Save
  • Give
  • Invest
  • Manage your money regularly/budget

It’s not that it was rocket science, but I was lacking knowledge in those areas. Once I gained the knowledge that I needed, and actually started putting the principles into action, I saw results. My point is, don’t let a lack of knowledge keep you from succeeding financially. There are so many resources available that will help move you beyond where you are. I always recommend doing cross-references to check for inconsistencies. All advice isn’t good advice, so be cautious about using “free” resources that could cost you in the long run. Do your homework and find a method that will work best for you and your particular situation. In order to change your actions, you must first change your mind. In order to change your mind, you must gain knowledge in the area where you want to see change. So get to it! Freedom awaits!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

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An Audience of One

audience-of-one

Romans 8:5 says “Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.”

The flesh desires the approval of others. Our flesh will have us more concerned with what we have (or what it looks like we have), rather than having us focused on pleasing God. After being so used to keeping up with the lifestyles of those in our inner circles, it can become a major challenge to step away. We don’t want to appear cheap, broke, embarrassed, or isolated. But let me say this, you’re the only one that can fund the specific plans that God has for your life. If you were to stand before God and he asked you why you didn’t fulfill your purpose, what would you say? Well God, I didn’t want my friends to think I was broke, so I just kept shopping and eating out with them. Or maybe it would be, well God, I let my ego get in the way, so I couldn’t humble myself enough to turn away from the consumer lifestyle. Well God, I wanted to look like I was blessed and successful. God isn’t trying to hear that. He is not concerned with the ways of the world. He is concerned about fulfilling His destiny through you.

Trust me, I have been there. I love my line sisters, and the time that we spend together is very precious to me. To turn down a trip with them is a very hard thing to do, especially because we only get together a few times a year. But I had to sacrifice some of those trips in order to keep my commitment to God. I didn’t always have extra money to shop for new clothes for homecoming or group vacations; so I made do with that was already in my closet, and hoped nobody would notice. If I wanted to travel, I would put myself on a savings plan so that I could pay for the trip with cash. If it wasn’t in the budget, and couldn’t be paid for with cash, it wasn’t happening. It wasn’t a good feeling, but I had to control my flesh in order to show God that HE was my priority.

Getting out of debt is no easy feat. However, we must focus on God so that our hearts and minds won’t be easily distracted. The Spirit has to be in control of the flesh. You have to learn to tell yourself no! After all, it is your flesh that’s gotten you into the mess that you’re in now. So are you going to keep listening to it, or are you going to turn to the One that can get you out? If you’re currently focused on your friends, family, co-workers, church members, or even yourself, it’s time to change your audience! It was God that wrote your script, and it’s God that’s directing your story. He will forever be your biggest supporter and your most sincere critic. Will you give him your undivided attention?

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne