"Debt Free Living God's Way" is a choice. You choose the peace of "Debt Free Living God's Way" when you choose to learn to manage your "wealth" according to God's principles. One of God's financial principles is to plan. Step 1 of your "Debt Free Living Action Plan" is to write down your needs, wants, and desires for each budget category. Once you form your written plan (budget) and you find that you cannot pay our monthly bills, you move to Step 2--learn to cut back to the essentials (needs) of life.
Step 3: Think Before You Buy.
Here are some suggestions to consider BEFORE you buy.
• Pay only with cash or check. Stop using your credit cards. Try this for one month. You will find you think and plan more--much more. Plus, at the end of the month you will find you will have spent far less than normal for the "normal" things of life. (Credit card companies have statistics to show that you will "normally" spend 34% more if you use credit as compared to cash.) If you really want some excitement in your life, go on a cash only basis AND carry a small note pad to write down every thing you spend down to one penny. This simple exercise will help you identify and correct some of your poor spending habits.
• Is the "thing" you want to buy a necessity or an indulgence. Can you meet the "need" for this "thing" in any other way?
• Does it reflect your Christian ethics? For example, what magazines, TV, radio, INTERNET, etc., do you allow into your home? Do you even know what is in your home?
• Is this the very best possible price you can get? Are you buying on impulse? You are if you don't take the time to check around for better prices--check Consumers' Reports, etc.
• Is it a highly depreciative item? If it is, look for a better alternative. For example, you can choose to buy used cars and appliances. You can also choose to buy basic cars and appliances and forgo some or all the "bells and whistles."
• Does it require costly upkeep? There is nothing wrong with Christians owning boats, motor homes, lake lots, swimming pools, etc. But, before you buy, consider the cost of upkeep. Many folks get into trouble because they can afford to buy, but cannot afford to maintain.
• Can you rent or borrow rather than buy? You don't have to own all that you use or enjoy.
• And finally, does it bring you closer to God? I love to hunt and fish. I know a lot of great fishermen. Most of them try to convince me fish always bite better…on Sunday mornings.
Remember, all the thinking and planning in the world will not bless you.
When you spend the time to think and plan you place yourself in a position to be blessed. Thinking and planning are not easy, but they are essential to Godly stewardship (management). Thinking and planning are not examples of working for your salvation. They are examples of what Paul calls working out your salvation.
Next time we will cover the final two steps of our Debt Free Living God's Way Action Plan: Avoid Leverage and Practice Saving.
Bob Louder is the Founder and President of Christian Financial Ministries (www.good-steward.org). Bob is also the author of the new best selling book, "Debt Free Living God's Way," available only on the Internet (www.debtfreelivinggodsway.org). Since 1987 Bob has helped people in hundreds of churches all across the country and in the European military community learn, understand, apply and pass on "Debt Free Living God's Way" principles and practical applications. He has represented some of the top Christian financial authors and ministries to include Larry Burkett, Dave Ramsey, Christian Financial Concepts, and Crown Ministries.
Copyright 2006 Christian Financial Ministries, Inc., All Rights Reserved. You may reprint this "Special Report" in whole or in part without permission from Christian Financial Ministries, Inc. Please credit material used to Christian Financial Ministries, Inc.