Oh boy, this is a particularly relevant topic this month! How many of us go holiday shopping without a budget and just put it on the credit card?
It’s hard to remember that it’s not how big or expensive the gift is, but rather what’s behind the gift . . . the love that inspires it.
How are we ever going to bring more into our lives and keep it, if we don’t respect what we already have? Living beyond our means (in other words, outside of our pay grade) is not respecting what we have. Forty-three percent of all Americans spend more than they make, which leads to a lot of unnecessary pain.
I had to find out about debt the hard way. Nobody ever taught me about balancing a checkbook, managing my income, investing my money or any other financial matters. As a result, I found myself in debt to the tune of $70,000.00 before I started to create – and work – my budget.
I want to point out that my debt wasn’t from buying drugs, clothes, toys or anything like that. It was mostly from my children. But I was the one who was unable to live within my means. I was the one who was unable to say no to my children’s desire to attend private schools and colleges, etc.
I had a lot of healing to do when it came to issues regarding my respect for – and my relationship with – money.
Today, I have less than $9,000.00 in debt remaining, and I have a plan to be completely debt-free by September of 2010. I didn’t claim bankruptcy. I could have, but it didn’t feel right to me. For me, it felt like a cop-out. I also had to learn not to bail out my kids and let them learn their own lessons about money and its value.
Despite the fact that I am paying off my debt, I am still able to make ends meet, travel and enjoy life. I had to find my balance and act responsibly, and I made a conscious decision not to punish myself for my past mistakes. I am very grateful for all that has happened in my life. All of my life experiences have helped me become the man I am today: a happy, fruitful, abundant child of God.
A book that helped me tremendously is “How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously” by Jerrold Mundis. If you’re struggling with money and debt issues, it’s definitely worth a read.
Next week: Don’t Allow Others to Derail Your Holiday
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