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How to Keep Your New Years Resolutions

fireworks-1827537_640The beginning of the new year is a time when most people make resolutions. One of the most common resolutions is to finally get the family finances in order, whether this means spending less, saving more, being more generous, or just figuring out where the money is going.

In Ephesians 4:22-24 we read: “That you should put away the old self of your former way of life, corrupted through deceitful desires, and be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and put on the new self, created in God’s way in righteousness and holiness of truth.” Many times our “old self” is the way we are slaves to all the consumerism the world throws at us. 

One of the best ways to get your finances in order is to understand that God plays a role in your finances and one day you will be accountable to him for how you handled what he has given you. He is the Master and Provider.  We are the stewards.  So while many resolutions come and go, if you truly make a resolution that is God-centered and wrapped in prayer, it is much easier to maintain the strength to keep that resolution.

Once we decide to make a change and use the word of God to support our plan, we can be renewed in spirit and it will be much easier to stay on track through the whole year.

With that in mind, here are a few Bible verses that will provide support to help you stick to financial resolutions this year. It’s much easier to make a change if you are increasing your prayer life and time with God at the same time.

GETTING OUT OF DEBT:

Meditate on Proverbs 22:7 if your resolution is getting out of debt: “The rich rule over the poor and the borrower is the slave of the lender.”  If you are in debt and don’t think you are a slave, try missing a payment.  You’ll be surprised at how fast your interest rate is increased and the late charges are added to your account. As the borrower, you can not make decisions on where your money goes because it is already committed to debt payments and you are enslaved to the lender’s terms and conditions.

Start paying off debt by tackling your credit cards. We suggest paying off the card with the smallest balance first as a way to gain a quick win. Use the information in your credit card statement to figure out how long it will be until you are debt free with that particular card.

PAYING OFF A SPECIFIC LOAN:

Sirach 20:11 gives you something to think about if paying off a specific loan is on your list of resolutions.  “There is one who buys much for little, but pays for it seven times over.”   

Many people happily put purchases on a credit card, or take out a 30-year mortgage or a 6-year car loan, but rarely figure out the total cost of the purchase when the interest charges are included with the purchase price.  In fact, depending on your interest rate, you can pay more than twice as much for an item by making only the minimum payment on a credit card. And a 30-year mortgage often adds up to more than double the original purchase price of the house.

To motivate yourself, figure out the amount of money you are wasting by paying interest. Are you “paying for something seven times over?”

INCREASING THE AMOUNT YOU SAVE:

If your resolution is to save more money, think about Proverbs 21:20, which tells us: “Precious treasure and oil are in the house of the wise, but the fool consumes them.” Too often we spend everything we make and savings can be an afterthought, rather than a priority. 

Spending first means there will never be enough money to save and unexpected expenses cause you to go further in debt. By building an emergency fund and saving for those unexpected expenses you’ll have a small nest egg to take care of things that come up like needing a new tire or having the dishwasher repaired. The emergency fund keeps you from putting unplanned expenses on those plastic cards and adding to your debt.

STOP OVERSPENDING:

To stop overspending, consider 1 Timothy 6:10: “For the love of money is the root of all evils.” When we overspend it can be due to using money as a form of gratification. The power, fun, fulfillment and short term happiness we get from spending can quickly turn into idolatry if our spending habits overwhelm our financial stability.

All the people we know who are in control of their finances use a spending plan. It helps them understand where the money goes so they have enough facts to decide if they are spending it on what is most important to them. This decision-making part of a spending plan allows them to see if they are wasting money or using it wisely. Create a spending plan to monitor where your money goes.

INCREASE GIVING:

Acts 20:35 tells us “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, who said it is more blessed to give than to receive.”

Giving increases around Thanksgiving and Christmas, as it is a natural thing to do at that time of year. The trick is to continue that attitude of generosity the rest of the year.

If you are trying to be more generous, take a long hard look at where you are currently giving:

Church or other organizations

How much?

How often?

It may sound counter-intuitive to give when you are getting finances straightened out but is is a form of discipline to help you consciously recognize that God owns everything and you are his steward. This concept is the foundation of all your financial planning.

Our prayer for you this year is that you eliminate financial burdens in your life and honor God in the way you spend, save and manage your finances.

Evelyn Bean

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