Note: Our hearts are breaking for those impacted by the devastating floods in Texas, Oklahoma and Mexico. Epic rainfall has crippled the area. Reports indicate that at least 35 people have been killed and scores more are missing. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged. Please join me in praying for those mourning and navigating these very difficult circumstances. -JD
Well, the first of the month is right around the corner, and for many of us that means the mortgage or rent is due. So is the water and electric bill.
You might even have a car and insurance payment due.
And gas. And a trip to the grocery store.
That’s how it goes, doesn’t it? The money comes in, the money goes out. And, for a lot of us, there’s not much left over when it’s all said and done. It’s a never-ending cycle that leaves many families wondering how to get ahead when they’re barely making it.
Generally, the most common solution couples discuss is making more money. That may be one piece of the puzzle. The trouble is extra income may ease some of the immediate financial pressure we’re under, but it’s usually not a long-term solution.
That’s because, typically, the more money we earn, the more we’re likely to elevate our standard of living, and, therefore, our spending. It’s no wonder couples making $50,000 per year are strapped, and those making three or four times that are struggling as well.
Ultimately, the only solution that works is learning how to live on what we make – no matter our income level.
That can require some tough choices that force us to dig deep and sacrifice. On one end of the financial scale, it may mean selling a car or downsizing our home. On the smaller end, we may decide to eat out less or limit our entertainment choices.
Of course, if the discipline to control spending were that easy to harness, debt probably wouldn’t be an issue in the first place, would it? Discipline has to be developed.
But how? Well, there isn’t just one way, but author Michelle Singletary has a unique suggestion that I think will capture your interest.
If you’ve heard of the “Daniel fast,” you’re already familiar with the basic premise. The Daniel fast mimics the Old Testament character’s diet. You abstain from meats and sweets and limit yourself to fruits and vegetables. Throughout that time, you look to God in prayer. By resisting common desires that normally tug on your life, you re-center yourself in God.
Financial fasting follows a similar pattern. Instead of abstaining from food, you avoid unnecessary spending and credit cards for 21 days. You pay all of your bills, of course, but for everyday purchases you use cash and follow a tight budget.
But it’s also a time to invite God into your finances. Michelle uses the acronym PAY as a guideline for this time of spiritual connection.
PRAY daily about your financial situation.
ACT on godly principles that will help you gain control of your money.
YIELD to God’s will.
Financial fasting isn’t a secret to achieving wealth. It’s about learning to be content within the means God has provided. And, really, who can put a value on that?
So if money tends to be a constant source of stress in your life, I hope you’ll join us for our conversation with Michelle Singletary today, the first of a two-part program, “Fasting for a Financially Fit Future.” She is an author and a personal finance column writer for The Washington Post, and her practical ideas may be just the thing you need to get your money on the right track.