By Ahmad Davis
Special to Inside The Pew
According to the Wall Street Journal, 70 percent of people in North America live paycheck to paycheck. There are a few great timeless pieces of knowledge to avoid living this way.
1. Set clear written goals
According to Proverbs 13:16, “Wise people think before they act; fools don’t – and even brag about their foolishness” (NLT).
Keep your goals simple, but precise. If you have a savings goal, then it might look like this – $1,000 for my emergency fund by June 20.
The major keys to this goal is that there is a specific target ($1,000), a specific goal name (emergency fund), and a date to achieve it. First, keep your goals simple and to the point, then work out a way to achieve them. If you challenge yourself during the goal setting process, you will find that you can achieve a lot more than you thought in a shorter period of time.
2. Create a written budget
“And the Lord answered me and said, ‘Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets that everyone who passes may [be able to] read [it easily and quickly] as he hastens by’” Habakkuk 2:2 (AMP)
A written budget is the key to gaining control over your finances and start telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it went. Once again, keep it simple. You can have a spreadsheet, a yellow pad, a piece of paper, or whatever makes you comfortable. Work these basic steps every month and you will see results:
- Write a monthly budget before the month begins (October budget written before October)
- Start with your expected income at the top
- Subtract out expenses by priority (giving, saving, food, housing, transportation, medical, clothing, creditors, debt snowball, entertainment, other)
- Spend all of your income down to zero
- Walk out your budget to
- Make adjustments the next month to fit your life and habits better
3. Save money for the expected and the unexpected
“The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get” Proverbs 21:20 (NLT)
One of the keys to building wealth is the ability to delay gratification. Saving and investing are the foundation of this principle. Now saving is for short term things that may occur within 5 years, while investing is long term five years or more. The very first thing you must do is start saving for things that you know are coming like:
- Car repairs/maintenance
- Non-monthly bills
- Non-monthly memberships
In order to save for the unexpected you should have an emergency fund. I recommend three to six months in a non-investment account that is easy to get to, but not under your pillow.
4. Get Out Of Debt
“Keep out of debt and owe no man anything, except to love one another” Romans 13:8 (AMP)
Debt robs you of your ability to give, save, and invest. Every dollar in a loan payment is a dollar that could have brought you from broke to cash in the bank. Get out of debt as quickly as humanly possible, because you can slip into debt with credit cards, car notes, student loans, mortgage, and the like, but you have to be very intentional on getting out.
- Keep the process simple when killing debts.
- Organize your debts from smallest to largest balance
- Pay the minimum payment on all of the debts except the smallest
- Send all extra monies to the smallest and pay it off quickly
- Take the money you were using on the smallest debt and combine it with the next smallest debt to pay it off quickly
- Repeat process until all of your debts are eliminated
Overall, the key to stop living paycheck to paycheck is to have cash in the bank. So work this process and I guarantee results.
Ahmad Davis is a coach with Victory By Design, a firm based in Beaumont, Texas, serving clients locally, nationally and internationally. Ahmad provides solutions for individuals, couples, and businesses who are overwhelmed and stressed financially. Ahmad’s typical clients’ are pastors, single parents, lawyers, couples, doctors, business executives, newlyweds, business owners, and others who want a simple solution with remarkable measurable results. For more information, visit http://www.thebiblicalblueprint.com. To get your questions answered on the Inside The Pew Forum, email Ahmad at firstname.lastname@example.org.