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 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

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

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