My personal finance blog, Kemberley.com, is based on five principles I believe are necessary to obtain a financial healing. These five principles have not only been a blessing to others, but have also been a blessing to myself to get my own personal finances in order. I refer to these principles as the B-A-D-G-E!
A badge is defined as a means of identification. As you travel your financial journey and have to make difficult financial decisions, you have to be certain you are wearing the BADGE of God!
So, let us look at what the B-A-D-G-E stands for!
B – Budget
In order to get the most out of your finances, you have to create and stick to a budget. And not just every now and then, you must budget consistently. Budgeting provides an understanding the purpose of every dollar that comes into your possession! Not only does budgeting give you an understanding of how to use your money, but it also provides a blueprint of what you can or cannot afford.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it—lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish’?
(Luke 14:28-30 NKJ)
This scripture tells us the importance of budgeting. Without a plan, we may only lead to a life of financial lack.
Everyone has the ability to earn money, but increasing your wealth is true financial freedom. Wealth, which is defined as your assets minus your liabilities, thus the more assets the better! Building wealth is the gateway to opportunities. Wealth allows for creating entrepreneurship, funding your children’s education, purchasing a home and leaving an inheritance for your children’s children!
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children. But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
(Proverbs 13:22 NKV)
D – Debt
Debt is the enemy of financial freedom. Having too much debt or using debt unwisely can cost more than you bargained for. There is some debt you should simply stay away from. Using debt can either enhance your financial life or destroy it. Be mindful of every loan, credit card, or mortgage you obtain. Determine whether the debt will move you closer to your financial healing or further away.
The Lord will open to you His good treasure, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season, and to bless all the work of your hand. You shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. (Deuteronomy 28:12 NKJV)
G – Goals
If you don’t know where you are going you won’t know how to get there. Many people do not use a holistic approach when it comes to finances as a result they have investments or assets that do not align with their goals. Each and every dollar has a purpose! Know both your short term and long-term goals and identify how you will get there. Simply put, create a plan for your money!
The plans of the diligent lead surely to plenty, But those of everyone who is hasty, surely to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)
E – Earnings
You can’t expect a blessing from God without living by His principles. His key financial principle is tithing. The great thing about tithing is He promises He will open the windows of heavens and your fruit will be fruitful. But first, you have to trust Him.
Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, And try Me now in this, ” Says the Lord of hosts, “If I will not open for you the windows of heaven . And pour out for you such blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it.”
So what Badge are you wearing? Will you wear God’s badge and be identified as a person of God? Or will the world not recognize your financial stewardship because of the financial mistakes you are making.
Remember: your choice, your future!
If things seem a bit tight or finances are weighing you down, you have to understand it will not always be this way.
I know firsthand. While in college, I made financial mistake after financial mistake. If it wasn’t the mall calling my name, a night out with my girls, or just living beyond my means, I always found myself spending money I didn’t have. After graduating from college, it finally dawned on me; I had to make some financial changes. [Read more…]
Not to long ago I wrote an article concerning how I crawled out of credit card debt. After finally getting out of credit card debt, I started thinking…If I could get out of credit card debt, wouldn’t it be great to get out of ALL debt! I now believe it is possible to be even free from my mortgage and Ms. Sallie Mae! So, now I am on a mission!
Use what you have
Nothing inspired me more than the passage found in 2 Kings 4:1-7. It speaks of a widower whose husband left her with debt. She had nothing in her possession but a jar of oil. After seeking wise counsel from a prophet, he instructed her to simply use what she had to get out of debt!
Wow, I thought…we all have something in our possession to help us get out of debt. The key is asking God to reveal it to us and use it to become debt free. This could be items that you are no longer using, downsizing your lifestyle, using your passion or purpose to further the kingdom and more importantly, applying the money earned to become debt free!
Take a pause
Before starting this journey of simply becoming debt free, I remember not long ago that I felt it was time for me to add a new shiny car to my lifestyle:) So I started looking. However, I just couldn’t seem to find a great deal. But I now know it was nobody but God who allowed me to not put myself into an unnecessary obligation. The great thing is God has blessed me with a car that has been faithful and paid for!
So, before signing your name to another loan, credit card, or debt, think twice! It now makes sense to me. God wants us to be debt free. More importantly, God doesn’t wish for us to pass down debts to our loved ones, but requires us to be careful and cautious for every dollar that comes into our possession.
I hope this message was an eye opener for you just as it was for me! I am now on my way to becoming debt free!
Remember: your choice, your future!
Many of us make a mortgage payment month after month, but dream of the day we will own our house free and clear.
By thinking a little differently and more strategically, you can reduce your mortgage debt faster. Here are some tips for speeding up the payoff process.
Break up your payments
Consider breaking up one large monthly payment into two smaller payments.
For example, if your monthly mortgage amount is $1,000, pay $500 at the beginning of the month and the remainder on the due date. Making payments in this manner allows you to reduce the amount of interest over the duration of the loan.
It also reduces the length of the loan. For more information, visit Bankrate’s biweekly mortgage calculator to determine how your loan duration and the amount of interest you pay can be reduced.
Many people who want to pay off their loan faster opt for shorter loan terms, such as a 10-, 15-, or 20-year loan. While these loans allow consumers to pay less interest over time, they come at the expense of higher monthly payments.
For example, a $100,000 loan financed at 5 percent over 15 years would require a monthly payment of $790. By contrast, the same loan financed at 5 percent over 30 years requires a monthly payment of just $536.
One alternative to taking out a loan with a shorter term is to choose a 30-year loan, but make payments as if it were a 15-year loan. This way, you are not required to make the higher payme
nts, but can do so as your comfort level allows.
The biggest advantage of this technique is that it gives you more flexibility. If an unexpected expense occurs, simply pay the required amount on your mortgage loan, and nothing more.
Direct all extra cash to your mortgage
Dedicate bonuses, windfalls, tax refunds or other unexpected cash to paying down your mortgage principal. It doesn’t have to be much, but adding a little money can help reduce the loan over time.
For example, making one extra payment yearly on a 30-year loan can reduce the loan duration significantly — even by a number of years, depending on the payment and interest terms. Every extra dollar you pay toward a mortgage helps you get out of debt faster.
Remember, financial healing starts with taking things step-by-step each and every day.
Kemberley Washington is a professor at Dillard University in New Orleans and certified public accountant. She writes a personal finance blog at kemberley.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kemwashcpa.