Wellness Tip: Living Below Our Means Brings Freedom
Looking back over our lives, I’m sure every one of us can pinpoint bad decisions that we’ve made regarding money. I’ve walked the entire gamut from being financially stable, to almost bankrupt, and then back to financially stable. In this journey, I’ve have had to learn some hard lessons along the way. When I hit the point of financial failure, I knew that things had to change. I had to start making better financial decisions.
The first step in my financial journey was to read books on finances and budgeting in order to get educated on the subject. At this point, I had to really push myself because reading about finances was not something I enjoyed at the time, but I knew it was necessary. Dave Ramsey’s book The Total Money Makeover was one of the first books I read on finances that I could actually comprehend! It is easy to understand and very applicable for those of us that have to start with the basics. I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially if you are just starting out like I was. Another great book is Smart Women Finish Rich by David Bach. (He has also written the same types of books for couples and kids). If you have made financial mistakes, found yourself in debt, or your financial portfolio does not look like you want it to, do not lose heart. There is hope! Here’s a song by Toby Mac that will encourage you in your journey.
The next step was to ask advice from people who I saw were financially more stable than I was. I asked questions about how they achieved financial stability and I learned some of their decision making abilities.
The third step was to learn how to establish a budget and consolidate my expenses to fit within that budget. One of the hardest lessons I had to learn in this part of the journey was the difference between a want and a need. I may have wanted a new pair of tennis shoes, or new clothes, but I had shoes and clothes that fit and I did not need new ones. I had spent so much money frivolously on credit cards that I now had to back track and sacrifice so that I could get myself out of debt. It was not easy and often times it put me in a bad mood. I constantly saw others buying things that I wanted to be able to buy. I saw others spend money without having to count every penny and worry about every cent.
There was a season where I had to walk out the consequences of my frivolous spending decisions. Honestly, walking out those decisions often made me feel like I was taking steps backwards instead of forwards. It was often difficult and it reminded me of my mistakes, however, it was JUST a season. I had to keep in the forefront of my mind that even though it felt like I was taking steps backwards, I really was progressing into a better future for myself.
The final step was to actually stick to my budget! A friend introduced me to Quickbooks. When I started using the program, it did a great job of making me accountable for every dime I spent and it also helped me to stay on track with my budget. When I began to stick to my budget and started to see my debt decrease, I started to feel a freedom from its grip. The debt no longer has a grip on me and the sacrifices were worth it! Honestly, when I was broke, I thought about money a whole lot more than I do now! Now there is a freedom that comes with living beneath our means and making good financial decisions. I believe you can do it. It simply starts with a decision. One good financial decision at a time will start your journey to freedom.
Do you have any good money saving tips or financial stories of how you made it through some things? Post your comments below and let’s learn from one another.