Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 NLT
I like to share my successes and failures regarding real-life situations. The purpose is not to draw attention to myself, but to give honor to God for His divine intervention, and how He has delivered me from the chains of unproductive habits. I am sharing how I was delivered from being a Spendthrift to a Steward of God’s resources.
Recently, I participated in a blog which was created to teach others how to save money. When I read the post, to say I was shocked at the suggested remedies for improving your financial management skills, is an understatement. Six of the twelve suggestions for increasing assets involved paying variable percentage fees for tracking your daily expenses. Red flag–Daily spending! In fact, these web-based companies are downloaded on your cell phone to ensure that you do not miss inputting any of your expenditures, as their fees continue to accrue. I decided to cease involvement with the blog when I read suggestion number 11: “Play the online slot machines; the chances of you winning are more than the amount you spend, so take the risk.”
Prior to my decision to stop writing for the blog, I did share several financial management tips that I learned from taking a certificate course. Much to my surprise, I had an individual contact me via Messenger who requested that I share my “get out of debt” plan. Not only was this an opportunity to share my behavioral changes regarding money, but I was also able to share my testimony of how God has delivered me from constant spending. Witnessing takes on a different aspect when you are telling others about your personal defeats. Even so, I simply shared that I prayed for God to help me develop a financially savvy plan for my life. Some of the tips that have changed my life:
1. I closed all of my credit cards with the exception of one for emergencies. Calling the companies and expressing that my liabilities exceeded my assets prompted them to work out monthly payment plans.
2. I created a spreadsheet for budgeting and tracking weekly (not daily) expenses. I documented all of my spendings and I do mean everything.
3. When I was employed, I actually spent $2000 in going out to eat in one year. I reduced eating out to weekly with a cap of $15.
4. My car insurance was very expensive although I was claim free and was not considered high risk. I researched and switched to Triple AAA. For the same policy, I saved $800 that year; in addition, they have multiple discounts available for which I qualified for.
5. I sacrificed, and for 10 weeks, I worked a second job and was able to pay off 1/3 of my debt.
6. One of the best decisions was to say good bye to an expensive vehicle. It has been like a breath of fresh air to have my payment on the recent vehicle reduced by $300 per month.
As I review this partial list of tips, I am very grateful that God has enabled me to change my perspective on the financial resources that He has provided me with. I thought that giving tithe and offerings, and helping with the Homeless Ministry was enough. However, God has taught me that complete Stewardship and obedience is what He requires in order for Him to “open the windows of heaven.” Malachi 3:6-12
Thank you, God, for freeing me from the chains of wastefulness. I pray this helps. Be blessed.
Prayer for today: Dear God: I have wasted the resources that you have blessed me with. Please help me to develop a constructive financial plan and to eliminate my impulsive spending habits. Thank you for blessing me with all of my necessities. In Jesus’ name, I pray.
Sonya Johnson Ruiz