Are you in debt? Can you identify with any of the following warning signs?
• continually spending money on what you want, rather than on what you need.
• using a credit card or a line of credit when your budget won’t permit it.
• borrowing money, even from family or friends, in order to meet monthly expenses.
• making a minimum payment on your debt without actually reducing the principal.
• feeling the pressure from credit companies who threaten to repossess your assets.
• having your basic utilities like telephone, cable or hydro suspended.
• regularly bouncing checks.
• cutting back on basic necessities like food and clothing in order to pay your bills.
• regularly paying your bills after their due date.
• allowing the stress of your debt to negatively affect key relationships.
• denying that you have a debt problem, and simply ignoring the issue.
• seeing your debt, and not knowing what to do, so you do nothing about it.
• trying to reduce your debt, but failing to see any significant changes.
Question: “How can I take a bite out of my debt?”
Response: This should be no big surprise to you because it begins by seeing your need to change your personal lifestyle. It involves becoming more aware of the extent of your debt, gaining a personal understanding of knowing what to do, acquiring the incentive to begin and maintain the necessary changes, and working with someone to keep you accountable.
1. Debt Awareness: This requires for you to see the big picture: For example, how much do you owe, to whom, for how long, and what are the current financing charges?
2. Gaining Personal Knowledge: For example, have you thought of changing your personal spending habits? Instead of using debit or credit cards to make your purchases, consider paying cash for them. Take out set amounts of money each week for clothing, food, and other basic necessities. Place the money in separate envelopes, get the best deals, and when the money runs out, you have finished your purchases for that particular week.
3. Acquiring Incentive: This is where you need to be motivated to move forward. In Covering Your Debt, I speak about our own personal experience with getting out of debt. I hope that this post, along with other inspiration, will encourage you to take single bites out of your debt.
4. Staying Accountable: When you start being accountable for your spending, then good things can happen. For example, my wife and I were able to work together to develop a realistic budget, to avoid unnecessary spending, and to live within our means. As we saw our debt decline, our stress was reduced, our ways of relating improved, and we learned how to be thankful for what we had been given.
May you draw closer to those who are seeking your help in getting out of debt. Bring them into a better awareness of their current debt situation, direct them to gain a new understanding of what to do differently, encourage them to move forward with your leading, and help them to become more accountable for their current spending habits. Thank you, Lord Jesus. Amen.