Debt Free: A Biblical Look at Money and Where You Need to Start
In the bible there are over 2000 verses about money. So that being said, I think it is an important subject. More importantly is how we handle the money we are given.
"For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it--lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying 'This man began to build and was not able to finish'?"
Getting out of debt is like intending to build a tower. You have to sit down, face the truths of your debts, and lay a solid foundation. Without that you will not finish. You have to Plan Ahead.
Where to Start When in Debt
As stated above you have to come face to face with all your debts. Then you have to bring your spouse on board.
It is almost impossible to become debt free without your husband's support and involvement. If you have been keeping anything from him, now is your chance to tell him about everything. Money is the number one cause of stress in a marriage, so you need to take that load off of you. If you have always been the one to manage your finances, ask him now to join you. As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another. Proverbs 27:18
Setting a Foundation; Making A Budget
Budget is a word people love to hate. Me on the other hand, well I love it. This is the foundation for everything else to come. You have to start by building a budget and sticking to it. This is the most crucial part of being able to become debt free. If you don't have a budget sheet you will not know where your money needs to go. You have to be able to tell your money where to go. You have to visually see it. I have a budget sheet in excel that I use and love. You can find them anywhere on the internet (If you don't, comment below and I will get you the one I use). I also love good ol' pen and paper! Technology sometimes gets the best of me. Keep the budget sheet simple. You do not need anything complicated. The simpler the better and you most likely will stick with it. At the top write your income (monthly), below that write any extra income. Now list all your categories you will need. Any money you make needs to go somewhere. Here is a list of some common categories:
- Car Loan
- Student Loan
- Gas for vehicles
- Medical Bills
- Credit Card(s)
- Personal Loan
- Animal Feed
- Lawn Care
- Home Maintenance/Improvements
Zero Out Your Budget
This is very important. You must place all your money into a category. Give it all a home. That way you will have gained control over your money. You know exactly month after month where every penny goes. At the end or the bottom of your budget sheet you should have a zero balance. If you have a zero budget you did it correctly. if not just go back and put the extra somewhere. Although you shouldn't have extra really. Any extra you have after paying bills should go to your debt. That will be another article!
Now that you have your budget set, now you must follow it. This at first is easier said than done. You never know when a coffee might be calling your name after a long day at work. If you didn't budget that in...well you will have to take it from someplace. Give yourself Grace. I talk a lot about Grace but I have to. We can beat ourselves up pretty good when we make mistakes. I always have a misc category for times just like this. I'm human and sometimes I will have an impulse buy. Not anything expensive. Having something in misc, covers me. If you make a mistake learn and just keep pushing forward.
There is a debt-free light at the end of this tunnel. Making a budget sheet is the start of a whole new life ahead. This isn't a fast process, but don't give up. I will write a follow up to this about what to do next. Be sure to check back often!
Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am in. I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:11-13