There's Hope, So Let's Get to Work!

Somehow, some way, you've managed to get yourself buried underneath mounds and mounds of debt, and it may seem like there is no end in sight...I'm here to tell you that there is hope! There is hope; however, it will require some work on your part. First, you must understand that remaining in debt is a choice, your choice. Without that acknowledgement you deny yourself the power to change. Like any other sin, you have to admit to your wrongdoing, ask for forgiveness, repent, and start again. Getting out of debt is no different. Sure, you're the on that made the bad decisions to put items on credit cards, take out loans, put spending as a priority over saving, etc. But guess what? That same person, you, can also make the decision to turn away from your consumer ways and walk in the things of God. God doesn't want you to suffer in debt any more than he wants you to suffer in your sin. That is why he gave us the gifts of forgiveness and grace. Is he disappointed that we aren't better stewards of the resources that he's given us? Sure, he is. However, the moment that we decide to turn back to Him, he is there, waiting with open arms to help redeem us. Your debt isn't going to disappear just because you ignore it. In fact, the bible says that the wicked borrow and do not repay (Psalm 37:21). You chose to borrow the money, so now you must repay it. The sooner that you do, the sooner you can move on. It's definitely going to take some time and sacrifice to get it done, but it will be worth it in the end.

Proverbs 16:3 says, "Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans." Let God help you through this process. He loves you and wants you to be debt free so that he can use you. On the other hand, you have to put in the necessary work to get it done. Show him that you're serious about changing your ways by doing a budget, giving on a regular basis, controlling urges to spend unnecessarily, etc. God will get you through it, but you have to put in the work. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. First you have to see it, then you have to move towards it. You are in control of your financial destiny. The question is, will you go after it? Redemption awaits!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

How to Control the Urge to Spend

1 Corinthians 9:24 [ The Need for Self-Discipline ] Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. BOGO's, Coupons, and Sales, Oh My! Retail marketing sure has a way of enticing us to spend money that we don't really have on things that we don't really need. You know how it is. You've gone to the mall or some store thinking that you were just going window shopping, keeping a friend company, or picking up only a few items but came home with more than you intended. Have you ever bought something, gotten it home and said, "Now I know I didn't really need this," but ended up keeping it anyway? This is an example of the on-going battle between temporary pleasure and long-term gains. At some point, the long-term gains have to speak louder than temporary pleasures and impulses. It can happen if you modify your shopping habits.

You have got to be so committed and dedicated to getting out of debt that something as little as a sale sign won't completely derail your plan. If it's on sale and you weren't planning on buying it, it's simply not a good deal! It's only a good deal for the store that now has your money instead of you being a payment closer to debt freedom. I know, I know, it would be a sin to let that 40% off coupon go to waste. After all it's like throwing away free money right? Wrong! The retailer wins and you lose. Now, I will say this...if you already had money allocated in your monthly budget to purchase a particular item and you just happen to get a coupon for it, then by all means take the deal. However, impulse buys are not good buys and can quickly diminish your progress towards debt freedom. It's just not worth it.

How can you control the urge to spend?

  1. Learn to say no. You will be OK if you don't buy that thing right this second or participate in every social outing.
  2. Keep your financial goals in mind. Before you spend the money, ask yourself if it's worth it. How will the purchase impact your progress?
  3. Allocate "play" money in your budget. You can still treat yourself while you're getting out of debt, just do it in moderation. Once the money is gone, it's gone.
  4. Use cash. It's very easy to overspend by swiping a debit card. Using cash will give you the reality check that you need when making buying decisions.
  5. Ignore marketing tactics. If you don't need it, no coupon or sale can change that. Your favorite store wants your money, but when's the last time they sent you a check?

Remember, the goal each month is to have as much money as possible left over to apply towards debts. Even if it's only $5 or $10, the impact on interest could be significant. Be intentional and smart about your purchases. Talk it over with yourself first. I may have eliminated my consumer debt, but I have a long way to go in the wealth building area. Every dollar matters as much today as it did when I was paying off my last student loan, and it will continue to matter until I have no need for money. As marketers chase after consumers' dollars every day, you be the one that gets away. Debt freedom awaits!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

What Can Separate Us?

Romans 12:2 tells us "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind." Unfortunately, we Christians have conformed to the world's addiction to debt. We've believed the lie that we need debt to get the things that we want. God says to owe no man anything except the debt of love. He also tells us that the borrower is slave to the lender. There is nothing Godly about being in financial bondage; but somehow we have allowed companies like Visa, MasterCard, and Sallie Mae to come between us and our God. Christianity should be synonymous with debt freedom. When the economy fails, every Christian should be able to thrive because we're connected to a God with an unlimited supply of resources. God knows when we desire higher education, housing, transportation, basic income, entrepreneurship, etc. Seemingly enough, God doesn't move quite as quickly as we'd like him to, we aren't willing to do the work required to get our blessings, or we really don't believe that he will provide. As a result, we've chosen to turn to debt in order to get our needs met. In actuality, it would appear as if we have a faith issue more than a money issue. Matthew 21:12 tells us that we will receive whatever we ask for in prayer IF we believe. So we're either not asking, not believing, or a combination of the two.

The bottom line is this, we have to separate ourselves from the world and return to God as our source. Even if you're currently in debt, pray that God would accelerate the repayment process so that you can return to him. As the blessings start rolling in, apply it towards your loans. Show him that you're serious about this. Get out of debt, and commit to never borrow again. It won't be easy, and you'll have to be patient, but God will provide. I can surely attest to that given all of the financial "emergencies" that I've encountered over the last couple of months from having my entire AC system replaced to numerous car repairs. The devil's temptations were no match for the faithfulness of my God! I pray that everyone who reads this would surrender their finances to God, and really give him the opportunity to bless your lives. You'll be glad that you did.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Financial Garden: Maintenance

I know that it's a while since my last post, but I was really struggling with the fact that no sooner than I became debt free, I was knocked right back down to ground zero. It was like running across the finish line only to run right into a concrete wall...OUCH! Here I was, thinking that I was scot-free to finally start building my finances, only to have to come up with thousands of dollars to replace an entire A/C unit. I had cut up credit credits, had money tied up in a CD, what was I going to do? I had kept tithing through it all...but really God? Is that my reward for my obedience? It certainly can't be. And so, for the last 4 weeks  I've just been praying and seeking God for answers. Finally, the revelation hit me. In my last two posts I talked about how debt weeds choke our financial harvests, and that we have to continue to sow while we pay off debts simultaneously in order to protect and prepare for our harvests. I had been doing all of those things, so why did this happen? God showed me today, that it's not that I've done anything wrong, and I'm not being punished, but rather I'm in the maintenance phase of growing my financial garden. Now that I've killed off all of the weeds, I have to commit to rebuilding a healthy harvest. I feel like God told me to keeping sowing, keep tithing, keep saving, and the harvest will come. I can't expect my seeds to blossom overnight. They have to germinate first, and with time I will see the fruits of my labor. So now, instead of being in a state of confusion and discontent, I'm in a state of comfort and confidence.This maintenance phase will pay off in due time.  As long as I continue to do my part, God will work this out, somehow, someway.

The victory isn't crystal clear as of right now, but I do know that since debt is no longer an option, that I have to make some sacrifices in the meantime. And trust me, it's not pretty, but this box fan will just have to do for now. I keep telling people that I'm losing weight in my sleep from sweating at night! In any event, I truly believe that God is going to honor my commitment to Him of living a debt free life. People have suggested using credit cards, taking out a loan, etc., but those are no longer options for me. It might seem stubborn or foolish, but I simply trust God and his provision.

For anyone that may be in a similar situation, be it your A/C, medical bills, car repair, etc.,  I encourage you to keep working. Keep sowing, saving, and giving. If you've given up, put your gloves back on and get back to work. Know that God can and will provide, period.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Financial Garden: Weed and Feed

"I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not drop their fruit before it is ripe,” says the Lord Almighty. Malachi 3:11

The above passage has never been as close to my heart as it is right now. Two weeks ago I paid off all of my debts except for my mortgage, and was finally ready to accelerate savings and investing. This week I'm wondering how in the world I'm going to be able to pay to replace an entire AC unit without going right back into debt, not to mention bear the 100 degree weather. I thought to myself, did I celebrate too soon? Is the devil out to get me? Am I being tested? Why is this happening to me? After realizing that all of this is out of my control at this point, I stopped being mad, dried my eyes, and turned to God.

I am a tither, and in the midst of my frustration, I remembered God's word. Not only does God pour out a blessing on those that tithe, but He also protects our crops! Having to replace this AC unit will more than wipe out all of my savings...But God! I believe that His word is true. While I was weeding my financial garden by paying off debts, I was also feeding my garden with my tithe. Killing off that which was limiting my harvest, while protecting young sprouts of abundance.

That's the difference between using weed and feed, and straight weed killer on your garden. Weed and feed will kill off bad vegetation while nourishing good vegetation. Weed killer will kill everything it touches whether good or bad. My point is, while you're killing off the debt weeds in your garden, you need to also feed and protect that which you desire to grow. It's not enough to simply pay off your debts and leave God out of the process. Your tithe is the weed and feed in your financial garden. God promises to pour out an overflow of blessings, as well as protect your crops from failing.

While I'm unable to see how this will all work out right now, I believe that my tithe has protected me from whatever pests are attempting to set me back. I've prayed about it, and I'm just waiting for God to move on my behalf. So as you remove the weeds from your financial garden, make sure that you have God's protection as well. The pests will come. Will you be ready?

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

I'M DEBT FREE!

"Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and He will establish your plans." Proverbs 16:3

First, I just want to give God all of the glory and honor that he deserves, because none of this would have been possible without Him. Lord, I thank you for the overflow, and all of the strength, courage, and wisdom provided throughout this process. It's been a long road, but together, we made it through! Lord, I thank you...

As of June 15, 2012, with the exception of my mortgage, I am now DEBT FREE! No student loans, no credit cards, no car payments, nothing, nada, zilch! My, how good it feels to be free! What's my secret? Faith, determination, and discipline.

God knows that I have a heart to give. Even though I give regularly, I've always wanted to give more, but couldn't because of debt. About 3 years ago I decided to do something about it. I prayed, continued to tithe, and asked God for wisdom. I started reading books on millionaires, studying their lifestyles, and began putting the principles into motion. That meant spending less, saving more, budgeting, and naming every dollar before it was spent. The change didn't happen overnight, but as I saw the results, the more momentum I gained. Then someone recommended Dave Ramsey's book "The Total Money Makeover," and everything hit home. Over the last year, I've paid off over $15,000 in student loans and credit card debt, which completed my debt snowball. I didn't win the lottery, the process wasn't easy, but I had my mind set on getting free.

I'm not sharing this story to brag, but to let you know that debt freedom is possible, and it's a lot closer than it may look right now. Once you set your mind on something, little to nothing can stand in your way.Think about all of the other things that you've accomplished, how you made it through, every obstacle that you knocked down along the way, the strength and endurance that you built, and apply that same drive towards elminating debt. Not only does it work, but it's more than worth it. Above all else, commit your debt freedom plans to the Lord, and He will see you through.

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

The Rich Plan

Luke 14:28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? There is a difference between hoping to get out of debt, and planning to get out of debt. In order to get out and stay out of debt, we have to create a strategic plan for doing so. Unfortunately, those that continue to hope for debt freedom probably won't get very far. Once you decide to get out of debt, you then need to orchestrate actions that will help you achieve the desired result. How do you do that? By setting a budget and sticking to it!

I know, I know, the dreaded "B" word. I think the word budget has gotten a bad rap. The first word that used to come to my mind when I heard the word budget was restriction! And who wants to feel restricted, especially when it comes to money that you've worked for? Well, that's exactly what debt does. It limits the amount of money that you can control and enjoy. On the other hand, a budget actually gives you more authority. You set the boundaries by determining how much you're going to spend in each category. A budget doesn't have to include only your bills. It should include entertainment, shopping, and whatever else you like to do in your free time. If doing those things strain you financially, then simply reallocate. You are free to design the plan however it best fits you. That's good news!

A budget is not only your plan for getting rich, but it's your road map to freedom as well. Without one, your money will continue to control you. With a plan in place, you are able to tell your money where to go, instead of having it fall where it may. Remember, your budget can and should include both bills and extracurricular activities. After all, you should be able to reward yourself for all of the hard work that you're doing (without going into debt of course)! So get to work, your freedom depends on it!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Re-Order My Steps

God wants you to have the desires of your heart. However, if we are in debt, I believe we have gotten our steps out of order. Buy now, pay later is out of divine order. Why? The bible says to owe no man anything except the debt of love. Look at the trouble debt has caused in not only our own lives, but in the life of the church. We toil day in and day night to produce a paycheck only to have it taken away by our lenders, aka financial slave masters, every payday. To go through that process every month over a lifetime of employment is not God's will for our lives because it limits the work that He is able to do through us. Not only does the Kingdom suffer, but so do we. I must admit, I am tired of that cycle. So what do we do? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expect a different result. If we want different results, we must change our current behavior.

The world focuses so much on consuming, that saving and giving are mere afterthoughts. The two least thought about actions, but they are also the two most important. In order to induce change, we have to flip the script. Give, save, then spend. That is divine order. God first, then ourselves, then the world. When we put God first in our financial order, everything else falls in line. But when we put the world first, our saving and giving suffers.

Giving has to be our number one priority. When we take care of God, He takes care of us. Second, we must ensure our own financial stability by saving. There will always be a time of feast and a time of famine, as we are witnessing in today's financial crisis. The last thing on our list should be spending. At first glance, the child in us would think "but what about me?" Spending is last, but it usually satisfies some kind of temporary gratification. Once we mature, we realize that God's order will satisfy our wants and needs for a lifetime.

I have been on both sides of this fence, and I have to tell you that God's order hasn't failed me yet. If you are currently operating outside of God's financial order, I challenge you to re-order your steps and start experiencing the life that God desires for you!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Interest Match

One of the ways that I've been able to pay off loans at least 2 years early is by paying more than the minimum amount due. I would start off by paying just $5 or $10 more, and then would continue to increase that amount the closer I became to paying of the balance completely. A dollar here and there may not seem like a lot at the time, but it's more about challenging yourself to go above and beyond. Once you see that you can "spare" $5 or $10, challenge yourself to add another $5 or $10 a month and more. To start off, I instituted something that I call an "interest match." It has worked really well on my car and student loans, and I hope to eventually apply the same method to my mortgage. For instance, if your loan payment is $100 per month, a portion of the $100 will go towards the principle balance, while the other portion goes towards the interest. Let's just say that $70 goes to the principle, while $30 goes towards interest. Your payment of $100 only reduces the amount that you owe by $70 instead of the full $100. Over the course of 12 months, that's a loss of $360 that could have gone towards the principal balance owed. Multiply that out over the course of 5 years, and that equates to a total loss of $1800. Can you think of something better to do with $1800 than to give it away to a bank? I know I can. What a nice vacation that would be! The point is, add the interest amount to your minimum payment. In this case, we would pay $130 per month instead of the minimum of $100. That way the principle balance is reduced faster, which in turn will also reduce the amount of interest paid over time as well. Don't get me wrong, you will still lose money by having to pay interest. However, the sooner you pay the loan off, the less money you will lose over time. You might as well take advantage wherever you can.

I often heard that you should pay more than the minimum balance, but I never knew how much more or if a few extra dollars would even matter. I can tell you firsthand that it does make a difference. This is just one way to get you started. If you have any outstanding loans, take a look at your more recent statement and see just how much of your payment went to the principle, and how much went to interest. If you're able, I challenge you to make an interest match on your next payment and stick to it for several months. You should notice a bigger decrease in both your principle and interest payments over time. Once you get into the habit of paying more, you'll be able to apply it to all other loans and debts until you've finally paid everything off. Don't settle for the minimum. Your freedom is worth so much more!

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

Conquering The Debt Mountain

"Whew, and I thought I would never make it..." That's what I'll probably say (after I shout to the high heavens first) once I finally make it to debt freedom. When you decide to face your debt head on, it can definitely feel like you're staring right into the side of a massive mountain. After I totaled all of my debts, calculated monthly expenses, and considered how much I made...I thought, there was just no way. I'm going to be paying off these loans for the rest of my life! But you know what? Better late than never. Actually, since I started chipping away at my debt mountain, it's starting to look more like a debt hill. Eventually, it will become level with the ground and nonexistent. If I hadn't started at all, I'd still be staring at the same, massive pile of debt.

No matter how big your debt mountain may seem in the beginning, know that you have the power to move it off your path. You can start by deciding not to make it bigger than it already is. It will take effort, planning, and consistency. Be encouraged. You just never know what resources will appear once you start you're adventure. For instance, it seems as if I have more money now than I did before, but that's not the case. The difference is, I have better control, and use money as a tool, instead of letting it fall where it may. All of a sudden, my mountain isn't nearly as intimidating as it was before, and it's shrinking faster than I thought it would. So go ahead, face your mountain head on, and I'll see you on the other side!

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

A Debt Freedom Prayer

Lord, today I choose to live debt free. I will no longer manage money the world's way. Free me from the hands of my lenders. Although I have borrowed in the past, I will borrow no more. Lord, I believe that you are my source; not credit cards or loans. From this day forward, I will be a pipeline for Kingdom wealth. I will give, save, and invest like never before. Today, I receive the prosperous, debt free life that you have prepared for me. Renew my heart and my mind so that I may live the life of the rich and glorious. It's in Jesus' name that I pray, Amen.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Debt Devil

Simply put, debt keeps us from God and limits His work through us. Would any of you like to be in a position to give more or to really impact someone else's life? I think most of us would, but we can't because our money has already been directed away from us and God before our paychecks hit the bank. We have the same list of people waiting to be paid each month, and God is lucky if He's one of them. That ought not be. If God has richly blessed us, we should be able to take care of Him first, and have enough left over to settle our desires debt free. But instead, our debt has become a priority over God. We have to get back to putting God's needs first, and separate ourselves from the world.

We know that the borrower is slave to the lender, and that man cannot serve two masters. If we're all enslaved to the world's creditors, who's serving God? And I don't mean just nickel and diming each Sunday because that's all that we can spare. I'm referring to the people that are financially free to answer God's call. Do we want to be one of those people? Do we care if we're not one of them? If so, what are we going to do about it?

Debt not only takes our money, but it can take away our joy and happiness by the stress that it causes. That isn't God's will for our lives. He wants us to live free. He wants us to live in abundance. But we have to put ourselves in position to receive what God as for our lives. The same way that we protect our souls from evil, we must also guard our financial blessings from the debt devil. There should be a visible difference in the way that Christians handle money. Let's regain our financial souls. We can do it with God's help. He's able, and so are we.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

You're Worth the Cost of Freedom!

Freedom isn't free, and neither is debt. In fact, even though debt costs us more, we're reluctant to invest in our freedom which cost less. If you polled a room of 100 people and asked them if they wanted to get out of debt, 90-100 of those people would probably raise their hands. But, if you offered that same group of people a solution that would last a lifetime for a small fee, only 5-10 of those people would actually invest in the solution. Why is that?

Desire. When you really want something you'll make it happen. The small group that takes action has made up in their mind to live free. Their actions are a reflection of what they've already decided in their mind. The Bible says your heart and treasure lie in the same place. So I can tell who really wants to get out of debt by their choice to invest in their debt freedom.

Value. The 5-10 people see a greater value in their freedom than the others. Freedom has always cost something. Whether it's time, money, pride, or something else, freedom has always come with a cost. I'm glad Jesus didn't think that our freedom was too costly. He gave is life for the freedom of millions, but yet we can't sacrifice a few dollars to free ourselves...wow.

Faith. The people that are willing to invest believe that their investment is going to bring the return that they desire. We're quick to by a new outfit, car, etc., because we believe those things will make us look and feel good. The cost doesn't matter because we allow our feelings and desires to take over. We have to be willing to put more faith in good investments than we do in frivolous spending.

God wants you to live free. If that's what you really want, you'll pay attention to and act on the opportunities that He presents to you. Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. Decide today to live free. Ask God to make a way for your financial freedom, and He will provide you the resources. You just have to carry out the plans. Do you really want to live free?

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

Checking in!

Hello Everyone! I'm just checking in on your progress thus far! We've talked about a lot the last two weeks, and hopefully you're not overwhelmed. The point isn't to try to do everything at once, but just to realize that there a lot of options to get you started. Once you get going just run with it. Every day won't be perfect, as we all give into impulses from time to time. It's OK. Just pick up where you left off and keep going. The more you practice being a great money manager, the quicker you'll become one and the closer you'll get to your goals.

Don't let the numbers scare you. When you first calculated what your net worth should be, you might have thought "wow, I'm way off and I'll never get there." Let's change that to, "wow, I'm way off, how do I get there?" Can you save more or put more towards debt each month? Whatever suits you, put everything in motion by setting a realistic timeline and go after it. I may not be where I should be yet, but at least I have a goal in sight that I'm working towards just like you.

Don't forget to make the process fun! After all, we're working towards freedom here and that's a very positive thing! Keep a daily chart and give yourself rewards points for saving, using coupons, paying off debt, etc. Get a group of friends and make a competition out of it. I've seen lots of weight loss challenges, so why not have debt reduction challenges? I surely wouldn't mind it if all of my friends were rich. That's why I'm sharing this information with all of you! So let's continue to encourage and support one another. If you haven't started yet, pick a strategy and get going. We're all rooting for you! :-)

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Credit Trap

From early on, we've been sold the lie that you need good credit in order to get the best loan rates, higher credit card limits, etc. But honestly, you only need good credit if you plan on borrowing from someone. The whole "buy now, pay later" scheme is the reason why most of us have gotten into the financial trouble that we're in. So what's the antidote?

Save now, buy later. Why plan on borrowing from someone? Consumer debt has become such a part of everyday living that we don't even realize that it's not supposed to be that way. Our minds have been conditioned to accept the buy now, pay later credit philosophy because it seems as if everyone else does it. You're right. Everyone else that's in debt uses credit. We're supposed to have what we want, when we want it, whether we can afford it or not, hence the overuse of credit cards and loans. But God reminds us that we are not to owe anything except the debt of love (Romans 13:8), and that borrowers are slaves to lenders (Proverbs 22:7). If we are going to live free, we have to retrain ourselves with a Kingdom mindset (Romans 12:2), and get rid of the worldly, impulsive, credit driven mindset.

If you have credit card balances now, pay them off and build your savings for the things that you want. If you can't pay in cash or use your debit card, you should hold off. As we've discussed before, emergencies will happen, which is why you need an emergency fund. You don't need a credit card for emergencies, you need cash. Focus on building your cash fund, not your credit scores. It may seem odd, but we're talking about living free here. Think about the last thing that you charged and the burden that came along with having to make payments every month with added interest. Now, think about the last time you paid for something in full and the relief that went along with it? It's like a load was just taken off your shoulders right? That's exactly what happened to me the last time I paid off a credit card. Aaahhhh, what a relief.

If you're currently caught in the credit trap, commit to freeing yourself and never go back. You don't need credit in order to live free. Remember: Credit = Slavery, Cash = Free. I hope that you choose to live free.

Change requires action!

Live free!

Arianne

The Weekender

It's finally here! It's the weekend and you're ready to unwind, relax, get in some "me time" right? Have some fun, just don't lose sight of your goals! Hopefully you've been making a conscious effort all week to change your spending habits. Each day before you've left the house, you've said "Today, I choose to be wealthy!" Maybe you've thought about how you're going to S.I.N.G your way to debt freedom or started using your money razor. Whichever methods you've chosen, keep the momentum going. Hopefully you've already started to lose debt weight, so don't let your hard work go to waste.

Now, just because you're getting out of debt that doesn't mean that you have to become a caveman/woman. In fact, I think that's a bit extreme and unrealistic. Instead, find out if some of the activities or places that you frequent offer reduced prices/rates during off peak hours like the movies or bowling.You can still have fun, you just have to find more budget friendly ways to do it. Once you're out of debt, then you'll be free to expand your activities list. For now, free events, matinees, 2 for 1 meal deals, Redbox, and day trips will be your best friends.

If you already had plans for this weekend, enjoy them, and then start planning and budgeting for next weekend. You'll be more likely to spend less if you already have a plan in place than if you just try to wing it. So enjoy your weekends, just don't lose your focus!

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