Financial freedom... that's a huge topic. I just wanted to cover it very briefly due to certain events that I have seen transpire. Answer this question honestly: What is financial freedom? Some of you may think it's having a good enough job to have the amount of money you need to live the lifestyle you want. "If I just had a little more money, I would be great." Others may think: "Well, I make X amount and as long as I don't spend all of it, that's ok." Before I go any further, please know this is a Christian view of financial freedom and what the bible says about the evil of money. NOT a RELIGIOUS view or most modern day church's view of financial freedom... what the BIBLE says.
I'm sure we have all heard it at one point in time in our lives: "Don't live outside your means," yet so many of us have the same financial situation as the US government. Maybe not to that scale but none the less, same situation. Today's society has put it into our heads that we deserve the nice things this life has to offer, even if it means putting it on credit.
The bible says in 1 Timothy 6:10 "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." Did you catch that, the LOVE of money, not money in and of itself. So what is money? A material thing on this earth that we need to buy other material things that we both need and WANT. Things that we WANT have seemed to overcome the things that we NEED.
So, in knowing that we should not live outside our means, and should not spend more than we make, how do we do it? How do we gain financial freedom? It's rather simple, yet we make it complicated. I am a firm believer in the 10/10/80 plan. Let me break this down for you.
10% right off the top of my income goes to the church for the Lord's work because God has commanded his believers to give Him back 10% of what he has given us.
10% goes into savings.
The remaining 80% is what you live off of. You pay the bills; buy groceries and gas with this money. Anything that is left over can be used for date night, or buying extra food for food storage, maybe a few pieces of gear here and there.
The important thing about the 10/10/80 plan is disciplining yourself to follow it. It will not work if you cannot commit to it. Why would you not be able to commit to it? It sounds great, doesn't it? Only live off of 80% of your income and not have to worry about anything else. Debt, for most, is what stands in the way of this. Debt can be crushing both mentally and physically. First step in gaining financial freedom is to pay off your debt.
Paying off debt can be a little tricky for most. You have to sit down and have a conversation with your debt, and face it head on instead of trying to hide from it. You have to break the cycle of frivolous spending. YOU HAVE TO COMMIT TO IT.
To start this process you have to decide to cut back on this frivolous spending. That means cutting up all your credit cards, no more movies, no more going out for a little while. Now, make a budget with the exact amounts of debt you have and the minimum balances on each debt you are required to pay each month to avoid defaulting on your debt. Pick one debt, preferably a smaller one, and even more preferably, a high interest one. Take any remaining balance left over in your budget each month after all the necessary items are taken care of, and apply that extra amount to the debt you choose. This amount needs to be in addition to the minimum payment required on the debt. If you do not have an extra balance left over in your budget each month, you need to look into cutting everything not necessary back completely.
Interest never sleeps; it does not have a day off. Interest alone will put a person in debt spiraling out of control. As you apply your additional amount each month you will see that debt amount decrease drastically over a short amount of time. When that debt is paid off you simply roll the amount of the minimum payment you were making on the previous debt and the additional amount left over from your budget each month and add it to the minimum monthly payment on the next debt. This is called the snowball effect and it is very powerful. As you pay off debt after debt you just roll more and more money over toward the payment of the next debt, until one day in the near future, you are debt free. Now, some debt is considered ok debt. Your mortgage; your car payment, as long as it is within YOUR MEANS!
Now as you see yourself start to come out of that hole, do not allow yourself to think: "I'm well on my way to financial freedom... I deserve something nice." That's not how it works. Getting out of debt is a long road. Do you need that nice new car? Do you really need a house that big? God tells us we should be thankful for what we have, enjoy it while we have it and to me, that's my family. Why stress over who has the nicest things when you could be spending more of that time with your family and friends.
I found this topic rather important as there are many people out there that want to prepare for what may or may not be coming but they claim they cannot because their checkbook is already strapped. By gaining financial freedom you will then be able to buy extra things like food and water filtration devices.
Having financial freedom also gives you the peace of mind that God intended for us to have, to stay focused on Him! Those of you that spend time with The Lord, do you hear him? Can you here his calling for modern day Christians? Take heed, and do not disobey. Honoring Him with our lives and finances are the greatest things you can do for Him.
Peace through Precision!