Where does it go?

“I just don’t know where it all goes. The month is not finished and we’re short already.” This seems to be a common phenomenon, affecting people with all sizes of income. However much money we earn, there always seems to be more month than money! It is a well-known saying that “money talks”, but all mine seems to say is ‘Goodbye’!

Managing money is not just a matter of adding and subtracting all working with percentages, that is easy; managing money is more of spiritual discipline, because it has to do with our character, priorities, and values.

It seems to be a problem in the old Testament Times. The prophet Haggai passed on Gods words.” Now, therefore, thus says the Lord of hosts; you that your ways. You have sown that much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but never have your Phil. You close yourselves but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes.” (Haggai 1:6)

 I must confess I am spender rather than a saver. I like buying  things. Fortunately, I have a wife who is very frugal  and always looking for bargains. I have learnt that spending without a plan is a recipe for disaster. I have experienced first-hand what the wise Solomon so graphically describes. “In the blink of an eye wealth disappears, for it will sprout wings and fly away like an eagle.” (Proverbs 23:5)

God is asking us to consider our ways. He is inviting us to adjust our lives to his ways. Haggai’s picture of bags with holes is a powerful image. In a recession, or financially difficult times, we will probably begin to spend less-reining in our use of credit and so on. But I think the message of Haggai runs deeper. God does not want us to just patch up our bags and wait for things to get back to normal. Instead we must find a new way of living as faithful stewards of all that God has given to us. Don’t patch the bags; get new bags!

Secret to financial success is very easy. Spent less than you are over a long period of time and you will be financially successful. To do this we need to setup a spending plan, together with God who is the owner of our money, to plan our finances so that each month so that we are spending less than is coming in. This requires discipline, the ability to say no to purchasing items we have not budgeted for, to stick to our plan.

Here is a spending plan tool.

7 Characteristics of Debt-Free People

Family #1 manages to pay off $40,000 in debt in two years on a $35,000 annual income. Family #2 makes $100,000 a year but can’t seem to make the slightest dent in the same amount of debt. Why is that? Obviously, the second family has a spending problem. They make plenty of money—more than enough […]

Family #1 manages to pay off $40,000 in debt in two years on a $35,000 annual income. Family #2 makes $100,000 a year but can’t seem to make the slightest dent in the same amount of debt.

Why is that?

Obviously, the second family has a spending problem. They make plenty of money—more than enough to pay off that debt in two years. But they have so much money going out, they can’t keep their head above water. Whether it’s in the form of an overbearing mortgage, credit cards, a hefty car payment or just making poor choices like eating out every night, their debt keeps them from making progress.

So all of their income gets sucked up by other stuff, which leaves them making minimum payments on their debts and never gathering any momentum. It’s a difficult, stressful way to live.

At some point, people who become debt-free decide that enough is enough. Their old lifestyle wasn’t working, and they’re ready to make some serious changes. It’s like they have a personality change, but that’s not what really happens. All they are doing is rediscovering aspects of their personality that have always been there.

So what are some of these traits of people who get debt-free?

They are wise.

People who decide to ditch debt for good realize that debt isn’t a tool. While their FICO score may go down, their net worth goes up. They treat debt like it’s a skin disease—which isn’t a bad idea. Don’t you wish you could wipe away debt with a little Benadryl cream?

They are patient.

Someone who really wants out of debt can walk right past the shoe aisle or the flat-screen TV aisle without blinking. Why? Because they know all of that stuff can wait. Impulsive, impatient purchases are debt’s best friend.

They are confident.

People who are getting out of debt don’t care what others think. You know you’re on the right track when your broke friends are making fun of you. Getting out of debt can require drastic lifestyle changes, which means you’ll never succeed if you aren’t mentally prepared and confident in your decision to find financial peace.

They are goal-driven.

No-brainer, right? Getting out of debt is a goal in itself, so of course people who want to get out of debt are goal-oriented. But the catch here is that these people do more than just set goals—they map out how they plan to get there. That’s what Dave’s Baby Steps are all about—small goals that lead to the one giant goal of being debt-free!

They are responsible

Getting out of debt takes a sense of responsibility and maturity—two traits that match up well with patience. And maturity has nothing to do with age. Some 50 year olds still treat money the same way they did when they were 20. They just have more of it now. When you’re responsible, you want to get out of debt as fast as possible so you can begin saving, putting money into a college fund, investing, and paying off the mortgage early.

They are not materialistic.

Becoming debt-free isn’t about stocking a garage full of cars and living in an eight-bedroom house. The purpose is to change your family tree for generations to come, helping others along the way. Materialism can affect any of us—rich or poor. It’s all about how much importance we place on stuff.

They are willing to make sacrifices.

Eating out. Cable. Going to movies every week. These are the types of things that might have to go while you’re getting out of debt. But keep in mind: Budget cuts are just temporary. When you’re debt-free, you can begin slowly adding those things back into your lifestyle.