This is a series written for those who are struggling mightily with their finances and tough decision are being made about who will and will not be paid. It is my hope that this series will provide practical steps that can be taken to walk out of this situation and into financial freedom.
PART ONE Evaluate
First, you need to determine why you are stuck financially? This will require you evaluate the root cause of the situation.
PART TWO Plan!
I know what you have is limited, and in some cases, very limited. It is imperative, however, that you plan what you do have with a budget!
PART THREE Prioritize
When you have an extremely limited amount of funds, it is important to remember the priorities. (Credit cards vs. house payments)
PART FOUR Execute
Take action! Whenever I am overwhelmed, I’m more likely to freeze up and do nothing. I just want to shut down and ignore everything. However, running away from problems will just make the situation worse. You must follow your financial plan you put together.
I’m sure some will read this “take action” statement as “go work like crazy and earn more money”. I would certainly not disagree with working more and earning more as it is a GREAT way to fill in the gap. There are, however, many more ways to fill in the gap. Here are a few.
Pray. I am a Christ-follower, and I have seen the power of prayer.
If married, ensure that your spouse is on board. There is POWER when you work TOGETHER on your finances!
Sell Something. Maybe your house payment is eating you alive. Sell the house. Sell the motorcycle. Sell the boat. Sell the truck. Sell the swing set. Sell the four-wheeler. Sell the LCD 50″ TV.
Reduce OUTGO. Many times you can substantially lower your credit card payments just by calling them! I lowered my cable/internet bill by 75% just by calling! Use cash for the categories you tend to spend impulsively (groceries, restaurants, shopping, entertainment, spending money). Call and get a new quote on your homeowner’s/auto insurance.
Chop up the credit cards. If they are a crutch that keeps trapping you, it is time to chop them up.
Make it a family effort! There is NOTHING like a unified family. Nothing.
Ask yourself these questions:
- “Is there something that can be sold?” If there are items that can be sold, this needs to be fully investigated to understand how it can help the situation.
- “What expenses can be stopped?” Are there any “extras” in the OUTGO? Common examples of this expense are subscriptions like cable television, gym memberships, etc.
- “How can INCOME be increased?” An extra job or tons of overtime may not be appealing, but living in a pile of debt with no hope is even worse! It is very important to investigate short-term ways to increase income to get out of the current late bill payment situation.
It will be extremely difficult to work through your challenging financial situation. It will most likely not be fixed overnight. This process will take time and it requires you to ENDURE. Remain focused because the end result is worth it!
Below are some practical tips that have worked for me when I have faced overwhelming situations.
- Establish accountability.
- Ask for help.
- Seek wisdom.
These three tips can be summed up with “get a financial coach!” A financial coach will hold you accountable to key decisions you need to make. They will also provide helpful encouragement that will help you endure to the finish.
Remember…YOU CAN DO THIS!