Temporary Sacrifices, Long-Term Gains

Anytime I hear the word “sacrifice” I immediately start to wonder if what I’m giving up is going to be worth it. After all, most people choose to make a sacrifice based on the fact that the outcome will somehow be in their favor. I can’t even imagine making the choice to sacrifice an only child. But God did it, because he knew that the outcome would be far greater than the son he was going to lose. Not only was he going to gain the entire world, but he was also going to get his son back. I’m so glad that God thought that we were worth it. Thank you Lord for the ULTIMATE sacrifice!

If you want to win with your finances, there are some sacrifices that you’re going to have to make along the way. Keep in mind, they may just be temporary. For instance, if you do your budget (and you should be doing your budget) and you see that 20% of your income is going towards eating out, you may need to sacrifice eating out for a while so that you can apply that 20% towards paying down your debts. I know, I know, but you really like hanging out with your friends, hate to cook etc, but you can get over it if your financial freedom is really worth it to you. You’re going to have to make some tough decisions to get out of debt, but it will all be worth it. Once you’re free, you can start adding those things back into your life that once impeded your progress of getting out of debt. What can you change now, that will put you in a better position later?

My challenge to you is to take your last month’s bank statement, and really go through and categorize your expenses by percentage. What percent of your income are you spending on entertainment, shopping, gas, housing, food, cable, etc, and see where you can make some adjustments. The child in you is going to start screaming things at you like, “I don’t want to do that,” “It doesn’t take all of that,” or “I can’t live without it.” Tell your selfish emotions to shut up! You’ve got some growing up to do financially, and you’re going to do whatever it takes. Trust me, you’ll be fine, and so will your emotions. Remember, the quicker you get out the debt, the quicker you can start living a debt free life with little worry, more peace, and more fun! So, go ahead and decide which sacrifice you’re going to make starting today. It won’t hurt for long, especially once you see your net worth increasing and your debt decreasing. Like Dave Ramsey says, “if you live like no one else, later you can live like no one else! YOU’RE WORTH IT!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

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Monkey in the Middle

As this year’s election quickly approaches, I can’t help but to wonder what will eventually happen to the middle class if they don’t take matters into their own hands. For as long as I can remember, it’s really not fun being in the middle. You either made too much money to qualify for assistance, or not enough money to qualify for a tax break. Being in the middle always seemed like receiving the short end of the stick. It’s almost like an ongoing game of Keep Away. Even in our day-to-day lives, the middle position seems to have the least amount of freedom compared to those on either end of the spectrum. Think about what it’s like to sit in the middle seat on an airplane or in the back seat of a car. It’s never really as comfortable as when you’re sitting on either end. Why is that? What if God never intended for his children to live their lives in the middle? What if the middle is supposed to make us so uncomfortable that eventually we’ll do whatever it takes to pass through to where God wants us to be?

I recently read a book by Keith Cameron Smith titled “The Top 10 Distinctions between Millionaires and the Middle Class.” What I concluded was that it’s not the money that separates the two, but rather a mindset. The author’s points are as follows:

  1. Millionaires ask themselves empowering questions: Middle-class people ask themselves dis-empowering questions.
  2. Millionaires focus on increasing their net worth: The middle-class focuses on increasing its paychecks.
  3. Millionaires have multiple sources of income: The middle-class has only one or two.
  4. Millionaires believe they must be generous: The middle class believes it can’t afford to give.
  5. Millionaires work for profits: The middle-class works for wages.
  6. Millionaires continually learn and grow: The middle class thinks learning ended with school.
  7. Millionaires take calculated risks: The middle-class is afraid to take risks.
  8. Millionaires embrace change: The middle-class is threatened by change.
  9. Millionaires talk about ideas: The middle-class talks about things and other people.
  10. Millionaires think long term: The middle class thinks short-term.

We’ve got to find a way to break away from the middle and separate ourselves from mediocrity. The top 1% should be, and can be, filled with children of God. Not because we’re greedy, but because God has promised us an abundant life. As we can see, when abundance gets into the wrong hands, everyone suffers. What are we to do? We can exercise the power that we have, right where we are by getting and staying out of debt, by boycotting the use of credit cards, by committing to give and save, by starting our own businesses, etc.

It’s time to make a shift. Quite frankly, I’m tired of playing Monkey in the Middle with the world. We’re the monkeys, and the world is playing keep away with our finances. The good thing is, we get to choose how long we’re going to continue to play simply by changing our behaviors. God has plans to prosper us, not the world. I pray that no matter who wins the election, that we see a much bigger picture and continue to strive towards debt freedom and dominion over our lives. Sooner or later it will be the ultimate mode of survival.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Imagine Me…

“Imagine me, being free, trusting you totally; finally, I can…Imagine me.” Kirk Franklin

Close your eyes for a minute and imagine a debt free life. What do you see? What’s the weather like? What emotions are being displayed? Who is around you? I saw blue skies, the bright sun, perfect breeze, and nothing but smiles and laughter with my friends and family. The weight of debt was off my shoulders, and I was free. That’s the way that life should be. In fact, that’s the way that God intended for our lives to be. The thing this, if you can’t see it in your mind first, you won’t see it in your reality. You have to have an image of what your life will look like when you’re debt free and keep that image in your mind until it becomes your reality.

Some of us have been bound by debt for so long that we’ve accepted it as the norm and can’t see ourselves any other way. As long as you see yourself in debt, you will remain in debt. Your actions will continue to reflect what has been ingrained in your heart and mind. The war against debt starts in your mind first. You must retrain your thoughts so that your actions will follow. Vow to never use another credit card again. Make a promise to pay for your next car in cash. Commit to paying extra on loans each month even if it’s just $5. Pray that God would position you to rely fully on Him as it pertains to your finances.Take time out of each day, close your eyes, and envision your life debt free. If you continue to do that on a consistent basis, your circumstances will start to change.

Are you willing to see yourself debt free? A lifestyle that some will only hope for can be yours if you would just use your imagination and work your faith. I not only imagine myself debt free, but I also imagine my friends and family being debt free as well. Free to focus on God, and free to enjoy life. Dare to be different by living free. You’re only a thought away…

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Take the Limits Off!

The song by Israel and new Breed says, “No limits, no boundaries, I see increase, all around me. Stretch forth, break forth, release me, enlarge my territory.” Translation? Get out of debt! That’s what it means in my mind anyway…

No limits, no boundaries =  Lord, you have designed me to live free. I want to be able to answer all of your financial calls no matter how big or small. I can have all of the desires of my heart debt free.

I see increase all around me = Lord, as I get out of debt I’ll see my savings and giving continue to grow. I believe that I’ll have more money at the end of my month, instead of more month at the end of my money.

Stretch forth, break forth = Lord, I can’t do this without you. You are my source! I recognize and call on your supernatural power to get me through this process.

Release me = Lord, I no longer have the desire to live in financial slavery. Free me from the hands of my lenders. Allow me to be a better steward than I was before.

Enlarge my territory = Lord, as I continue to manage the money that I have and sow seeds, multiply my harvest so that I may be ruler over much more. Allow me to touch more lives than ever before!

Let’s take off our financial limits by living debt free. Let’s show the world just how blessed the children of God are. We will stand out by living limitless, debt free lives. Today I choose to take the limits off!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Tell Me Something Good!

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 habits.

Here are a few other quotes that you can use that I’ve adapted from the book “Secrets of a Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker:

  • “I have a millionaire mind!”
  • “I focus on building my net worth!”
  • “I am an excellent money manager!”
  • “I commit to being rich!”
  • “I create the exact level of my financial success!”
  • “I choose to adapt new ways of thinking that support my happiness and success.”

Now, you have to truly believe in the above statements. No matter how many times you say something positive, if a negative thought follows, they’ll cancel each other out. You’ll need to repeat the positive phrase again so that the positive action will follow. It may take some getting used to at first since we’re attempting to change behavior, but keep at it and your actions will eventually follow.

Whether you choose one of the phrases above or come up with your own, pick something that will encourage you. For the next 21 days repeat it aloud at least once a day. Put it on a post-it note at home or at work, or set an appointment on your cell phone if you have to. Observe the actions that follow the words that you say. Did you save more, spend less, open a savings account, set new goals, stay on or below budget, etc? So go ahead and pick your money mantra, and speak your way into financial freedom!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

It’s Not about the Money…

Wait, how is it possible that getting rich isn’t about money? Simply because getting rich is about freedom, which has no monetary value. The money is just a by-product of your success. Whether you are making 5, 6, or 7 figures, if you’re in debt, you’re not living free.The Bible says that “the rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7). Most, if not all of us are repaying our debts under someone else’s terms. They tell us when to pay, the amount to pay, how long to pay, and add on an interest rate to top it all off! Do you really want to spend the rest of your life in financial slavery? I know I don’t; I’m way too controlling for that!

Imagine if someone tried to buy your salvation from you. There isn’t enough money in the world that could pay for it. Treat your financial freedom the same way. Don’t let the media, your friends, name brands, or society buy that from you. Hence the reason why getting out of debt is our first step to freedom. Then, we continue to increase our net worth, pursue our dreams, and change lives. Having Kingdom wealth allows us to operate according to God’s terms (abundantly) and not the world’s (sparingly).

As you continue to prepare your budgets and set goals, focus on living free, even right now. Imagine what your world would look like if you paid for everything free and clear, no loans, and no interests rates. If you focus on the freedom, the money will come. Just look at our friends in Hollywood. I guarantee you, the ones that went bankrupt were focused on the money, and the ones that get richer by the day are focused on not only their freedom, but the freedom of generations to come. If you haven’t done so already, shift your focus and remember, it’s not about the money!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne