Baby Step 1: Getting your money to work for you…

In 2009 my family and I suffered a great loss. There was catastrophic flooding here in Atlanta and our home was destroyed. We managed to get our family – including our beloved dog – out of our home just before the water reached the electrical outlets. Within an hour of our escape, the water was up to the window sills. At the end of the day, you could only see the roof of the house.

Everything we had ever owned was literally washed away.

At that time in our lives we were DESPERATELY IN DEBT and trying to pay for our wedding. We didn’t have any money saved up. We were LIVING IN A FRIEND’S BASEMENT because we didn’t even have enough money to put down for first and last month’s rent on a home. FEMA came to the rescue and covered that expense, but I don’t have to tell you what a slap in the face our new reality was. WE WERE DEVASTATED.

I don’t like to dwell on doom and gloom though, so here’s the good news: Within a month of the disaster, we had a fully furnished home – thanks be to GOD – and were determined to fix our finances.

OUR FIRST STEP IN GETTING HEALTHIER WAS TO GET OUR MONEY UNDER CONTROL.

We had what I like to call, CHRONIC MONEY DIARRHEA. Every time we got paid, the money went right through us. Neither my husband nor I have any idea what we spent our money on…but I can tell you that we don’t have any of it anymore! The flood was a blessing. It helped us REALIGN OUR PRIORITIES with what is truly important: our God and our family. Because of this disaster, we finally recognized the fact that WE WERE NOT BEING GOOD STEWARDS of the blessings God had given us.

To get started, we got all of our unpaid bills together into a (very large) pile and sorted through them. YOU CAN DO THIS TOO! Often times you’ll find that, the stack is large because you’ve been collecting each and every bill from each and every bill collector.

HERE’S HOW YOU CAN GET YOUR BILLS UNDER CONTROL:

  1. Gather ALL of your past-due bills, collection notices, etc. Everything except your monthly utilities bills and rent.
  2. Keep only the most recent collection notices, throw out the rest.
  3. Prioritize your bills from the least amount owed to the largest amount owed.
  4. Pay each bill in turn, from least to most.

It really is that simple.

Photo from freedigitalphotos.net
Photo from freedigitalphotos.net

Now, it took my family just over 13 months to pay off over $30,000 in debt. Mind you – our income at the time was only $45,000. It’s quite the MIRACLE, isn’t it?

After you’ve prioritized your bills from the least owed to the greatest owed, you should begin to pay them off…but not before you cover your living expenses.

HERE’S HOW WE PRIORITIZED OUR PAYMENTS:

  1. Tithe
  2. Rent/Mortgage
  3. Utilities
  4. Food
  5. Transportation (gas to get to work & car payment)
  6. Debts

If you’re not religious, consider the tithe a charitable gift. TITHING OR GIVING SHOULD ALWAYS COME FIRST. Why? It sends a message of abundance and sharing into the world! Ever heard the phrase, “you get out of life what you put into it?” It’s true. When you focus on sharing with and loving others first you will, in turn, receive gifts and love from the universe.

I can tell you story upon story of blessings that we received after we started tithing. The most incredible gift we received was an $8,000 check – it was completely unexpected and came at a very critical time in our lives. Miracles do happen, and they happen more regularly when you give freely of your resources and share love.

Depending upon how much debt you have to pay off, this may take you longer than a year or less than a year. But if you want to live a life free of stress…I can tell you from experience that getting the weight of debt off your shoulders will greatly improve your quality of life!

So, are you ready to get out of debt and start living a stress free life – without all the calls from debt collectors?

Share your answer below:

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