If you weren’t able to read my last post, I mentioned one of the top 10 resolutions people make for the new year and in this post I will be sharing another one of those resolutions from that top 10.
With the first month of 2018 almost coming to a close, I wanted to share how I have been “cultivating” financially for this month of January.
Also, in case you missed it, this year I started what is called a Monthly Word Focus. Each month, I plan on featuring a special lady who will talk about that specific word for the month. You can read more about it here and here.
No doubt, most if not all of us have been at the place where we might have worried about our finances. You may be reading this as you are currently in debt. Don’t worry, I’m there too. I have been reading Dave Ramsey’s book, “The Total Money Makeover” and I appreciate how he quickly addresses that the book is not a guide to “get rich quick.” So I am doing the same.
Please do not mistake what I share as something that will get you out of debt quickly or even make you rich… In fact, this post is definitely not about how to get rich so if that’s what you’re looking for, then you can just exit out of this page because I would hate to disappoint you.
Growing up, I didn’t have much. I was raised mainly by my dad from the time I was 5 since my mom and younger siblings stayed behind in the Philippines. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that they were able to come join us here in the states.
My older sister and I didn’t get allowances; we didn’t always have birthday parties; we didn’t receive a lot of presents during Christmas. But one thing is for sure, my dad made sure we were never hungry. In fact, my sister and I are petite so my dad would always try to overfeed us. NO JOKE! (Maybe that is how I got a good appetite!)
Getting money as a gift was a big deal to me. I made sure to make whatever was received last for as long as I could. I’m not the best with money but I can truly say that I have learned to make use with what I have and appreciate the little that I have.
Just like an average family, we have debt. We still have a car payment and loans to pay off. In addition, we have a growing family that we must continually feed and provide for, along with bills to pay So with this new year, our goal is not to pay off our debt completely, but to make sure that we are doing something about it.
Zig Ziglar said, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” So with the paycheck that we’re provided, we are doing what we can to tackle this debt. I have come up with three ways that we can do so.
1. DO A CLOTHES-SHOPPING FAST.
Yup! You read that correctly. As a lady, I find shopping to be therapeutic. (Just ask my husband!) Now, I don’t shop for clothes regularly because I just find it unnecessary. However, I am not judging you or looking down on you if you do. But for me, to shop for clothes on a monthly basis is a WANT, not a NEED. To be honest, it’s a luxury! So I have decided not to shop for clothes for the first 6 months of this year! (eeeeekkkk!) I have gone back and forth with myself and have debated on whether I should change it to just the first month or the first 3 months. BUT I HAVE DECIDED AND DETERMINED not to buy any clothes until after June of this year. (you can send your prayers right about now! haha!)
2. DECREASE EATING OUT.
We live in world where we want things quickly and on-the-go. I am not against eating out. Sometimes, it is more convenient when you’re pressed for time. However, this year we have decided to not eat out for the first 3 months unless it is really, absolutely, no-other-choice necessary. We have been eating mainly from home and it’s been going well. I make a smoothie or two for my husband every week day, (weekends if necessary) just to reduce his temptation to buy a snack elsewhere.
3. DETERMINE TO LIVE SIMPLY.
As a married couple serving in full-time ministry, we can honestly say that living simply is a must. At the end of last year, we began getting rid of stuff – throwing unnecessary things and donating unneeded possessions. But how do we gauge what simple living really is? Does it mean that we live without a tv, or the newest gadget, or only have 10 tops in our closet? Honestly, simple living is different for everyone.
If you want to live simply, you must identify what is truly important to you and eliminate what isn’t important.
Some ways that I, Judylynn, have determined to live simpler this year are by:
A) Canceling Unnecessary Subscriptions. It wasn’t until last week that I remembered my blog was on a business account but when I checked the price for the whole year, I knew that I had to cancel it. If one of my goals is to help tackle our debt this year, then I have to learn how to say “NO” to some things.
We have subscriptions to HULU and NETFLIX but we are planning on canceling our HULU subscription next month because it isn’t used as much as NETFLIX. (BTW, we don’t really watch regular tv shows).
We cancelled AMAZON prime because we rarely use that and it eliminates our temptation to buy things simply because of free and quick shipping. I’m sure there are more benefits from Prime, but for now, we have that cancelled.
B) Rejecting Unnecessary Offers. This can be a vague topic but we have all been at the place where we have had to say no. Saying “no” can honestly be a hard thing to do but also one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Too often, we get invited to go out to eat and although it can be flattering that people would like to spend time with us, we have had to think about what was more important and beneficial for us – our “want” for yummy food and fellowship or our “need” to eliminate our debt.
Some of our closest friends have memberships to the great attractions here in San Diego like the Zoo or Sea World, but we’ve also had to say “no” for this year since our priority is to make sure our family is on the right track financially.
In addition, being on social media and seeing story after story of people promoting a brand or having try-on sessions of their recent best buys can be quite tempting. But as I have mentioned before, I’ve determined and committed myself to do a clothes-shopping fast for the first half of 2018. (Anyone reading this can technically be my accountability partner.)
One important thing I haven’t expounded on or emphasized is the need for both husband and wife to be on the same page. If you are married, it is vital that you and your spouse are honest with each other and agree on the same goal. Failure to do so will can result in arguments, heartache, and possibly divorce. I have heard that financial problems is one of the top reasons why married couples get divorced.
Money is such a necessity but the LOVE OF MONEY is the root of all evil. 1 Timothy 6:10 says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
Money itself, is not evil but loving it to the point that it is your main focus in life can bring a lot of sorrow and ruin to you and your loved ones.
So friends, whether your goal is to get out of debt or get on the right track financially, three things you can do are:
1) Identify what is important to you.
2) Eliminate what isn’t important to you.
3) Start. (It’s not too late!) All it takes is just a decision to start.
The Lord has been so good in helping me apply the word of the month (Cultivation) and I look forward to sharing what February’s Word Focus is in just a few days!
Until Next Time,
Featured Image By: Jonathan Brinkhorst on Unsplash.com