We had an interesting experience with our girls watching the online interview last week on finances in a financial crisis. Now I get it, they are young, but our two older girls were wide eyed and a bit overwhelmed at some of the advice being given. Invest this percentage, budget this much, save for the future. It can be overwhelming, but just because it can be complex isn’t an excuse to sign out. I think it is like anything, start with the basics, ask questions, learn and give yourself time to grow in this area. One of the reasons the bible talks so much about money is it affects so much of our life. Good saving, spending and investment habits actually allow us to be more generous, more joyful and more God centered.
Here are my top tips in surviving a financial crisis:
- Write a budget and track your progress. Making the budget is only half the job, the harder part is tracking your finances, but this is incredibly rewarding if you can get into the habit. I use getpocketbook.com to track our spending.
- If you are struggling to pay debts, make contact with whoever you owe to see if they can provide financial hardship conditions. If you are really stuck call CAP Debt Centers on 1300227000.
- Save money: Cut back if you can. Access places such as Food Barn in Ipswich which does basic groceries at crazy cheap prices. Don’t buy big yet, the word on the street is there will be enormous sales coming toward the end of June. Save money on car insurance by renegotiating. Use the time you have to service the things you have eg. Clean the lint filter on your dryer and change the filter in your dishwasher. If you are in a position to, begin a rainy day fund of at least three months worth of expenses for the future.
- Increase your income: Can you sell any goods online? Are you getting government help and benefits (check out centrelink)?
- Learn! Beginning on Thursday evening 7 May we have a free webinar (paid for by the church) which will outline advice on financial health. Register by clicking here.
So much of how we handle our finances reflects where we are positioned spiritually. I would certainly be inviting God into that space in your life. There is no shame in asking for help or even admitting past mistakes and asking for his grace as you move forward.