Is there anything in your life that you want to change? The likely answer is, “yes”, so why hasn’t it changed yet? Since we’re only a few days into the new year, let’s look at ways to make financial adjustments that will help to bring about the changes you’ve been waiting for. Let’s not look at the obvious ones that everybody talks about. Instead, let’s find the hidden money bleeds and address those.
“If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
You’ve probably heard this quote before. In your life, you’ve probably found it to be true. Your world doesn’t change until you change it and God has something to say about that. He wants you to know that you live in a place full of actions and behaviors you shouldn’t copy.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2
Many of those actions are financial. Just because you found a news story, an “expert” financial column, or a well-meaning friend gave you advice, doesn’t mean that it’s true. Your parents may have even given you advice that is contrary to what God wants for your finances. Let’s make 2013 about turning away from financial habits that are causing us to lose money slowly.
Ouch! We’re starting off with a tough one. Starbucks has become the guilty pleasure of so many. Going to work just feels better with a grande something or other in your hand, doesn’t it? One study found that the average customer went to Starbucks 4 times per month and spent an average of $6.37 each time. That’s $300 per year. Admittedly, that’s not too bad but let’s get real. It might be you or somebody you know, but we all know people who are at Starbucks multiple times per week. That can add up fast. Two times peer week is $662 per year. Maybe it’s not Starbucks. Whatever your guilty pleasure, what if you used that money to pay off debt?
Are you one of those people that doesn’t make bill paying a priority? You might have the money to pay them but you would rather do other things than give your money to everybody who wants it. The problem, of course, is late fees. That $25 you pay in late fees can add up fast, have a negative impact on your credit, and cause your interest rates to go up. It’s better to make the minimum payment on time than to make a larger payment later. Make 2013 about avoiding unnecessary fees.
Look at your Bills
How long has it been since you took a look at your cable, cell phone, and other bills? Are you paying for a cell phone plan that has features you don’t use? Are you paying for hundreds of channels you don’t watch? How about the gym membership that was utilized only a handful of times in 2012? Streamline your life. Get rid of the extra features and cut out other expenses altogether. You don’t need all of it.
Turn Stuff Off!
How often do you leave lights on in empty rooms? Does it bother you to know that if you’re the average home, you’re wasting at least $150 each year simply by keeping your “stuff” turned on. (And that was a 2002 study) When you’re not in the room, turn the lights off, adjust the thermostat or buy a programmable unit that doesn’t heat your home when it’s empty. Possibly most important, turn off your computers and cable boxes. Unplugging these when not in use will save a lot of energy. You would be amazed at how much energy they use.
One way to make more money is to march into work and ask for a raise. It may work but even, better, spend less. Find all of those sources of money bleed and eliminate as many as possible. If you live like you’ve always lived, don’t expect change. Make 2013 about making drastic changes to your financial habits. Wouldn’t it be nice to get to January 0f 2014 and see that you really made a difference in your financial life?