In a previous article, I revealed what I sugest as basic habits for a healthy financial life. If you want to read items 1-5 on the list, you can check out this list.
A Guide to Successful Financial Health (Part II)
6. Make Sacrifices to Do Things You Love
You might think this is a weak personal finance stance, but my wife and I have always made it our policy not to allow finances to dictate what we do and do not do. We sacrifice and sacrifice until we can afford those things that are important to us.
Part of the process is being vigilant about the expenses we will avoid.
I think a lot of people share the first part of this financial value (don’t allow money to dictate what they do and do not do), but they neglect the second – sacrifice. You cannot borrow money to support a lifestyle of overspending.
Travel is one thing we’ve always loved.
Over the last five years, each month we’ve saved a portion of our income for travel. We’ve skipped dining out at times so we could make our vacation budget. We’ve avoided buying new things so we could have money in the vacation budget.
When we came to the mission field, it was not a financial decision. We were called to do it, and knew we would make the sacrifices necessary.
It hurts me to hear people say, “we can’t because of money” for things they really want to do.
Don’t get me wrong. My wife and I often choose not to do a lot of things because of the cost so that we can say yes to the things that are truly valuable to us.
7. Always Make a Car Payment to Yourself.
Six years ago we started this practice. Every month, $100 of our income goes into a savings for a future vehicle. Depending on the type of vehicles you drive, it might need to be more.
We’ve already bought our car in Wyoming. Purchased it for $1,900.
I guess we’ve saved $7,200 for a car, so we’ll only be touching a fraction of it this time around.
For most people, I’m guessing this number should be closer to $200-$300 per month.
8. Keep a Budget
When my wife and I started a budget about eight years ago, it was one of the most liberating things we did with money.
We knew if we would have enough for groceries. We knew there would be money in the bank for the insurance bill. We even knew when we could afford to go out to eat without any worry or guilt.
I did let you know that a few months ago we stopped budgeting. However, I do believe it is one of the most important financial disciplines to help you get your finances in order.
9. Respect the Positive and Negative Potential of the Credit Card
If you’ve read my travel blog, you might be surprised to hear this one.
I know that a credit card that is not managed well will destroy my finances. I’ve used a credit card for 15 years, and I plan to continue to use them.
I’ve also never had a late payment or financing charge in that time.
If, for a moment, I forget how big a responsibility having a credit card is, I’ll cut them all up in a second.
Most people who have serious financial problems can trace those to improper credit card usage.
We have some credit card guidelines that help us control our spending.
10. Develop a Worst Case Scenario Fund
This is sometimes called an emergency fund.
I’m starting to view ours as a safety net and a tool that allows us to take risks.
As an example, we’re getting ready to transition from missionary life to missional entrepreneurship.
This fund has eased our transition.
At times, I’ve wondered if I the fund is a crutch to my faith, and then I remember that the word is providing me with enough uncertainty that my faith is being challenged in those ways.
At home nothing ever goes as planned, so if you need some money for a worst case scenario, you’ll be prepared.