The Debt Free Christian
10 Principles for Christian Debt Solutions
The average Christian is deeply in debt but longs to be a debt free Christian.
I can relate.
I was there too. I was in debt well beyond my ability to pay.
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My problem is that I didn't just get myself in debt once. I did it multiple times. One time a family member helped me out. But the other times I had to dig out all by myself.
How did I do it?
I implemented ten basic principles.
- Cut up your credit cards. A wise man once told me that as long as you pay off the credit card at the end of the month, there's no problem having credit cards. While that is true, people who are in debt are usually there in part because they can't pay off their cards at the end of the month. So cut them up. Don't just put them in your dresser droor. Get some scissors and cut them up. You can't get control of your debt as long as you have access to easy credit. Let me say it again, Cut Them Up!!
- Get on a budget. There is no better way to become a debt free Christian than putting a budget in place and sticking to it.
- Set aside $50 from each pay check. One of the reasons people get into debt is because when the unexpected happens, they don't have the funds to take care of the problem. You weren't expecting your car to break down - where will that $300 come from? You didn't expect to need a repair man come look at your furnace. Out comes the credit cards or you take money from other things. Once you get into the habit of setting aside $50 from each pay check, you will realize that you don't really even miss the money.
- Consolidate your debt. There are some people out there who advise against doing this. But I believe that consolidating your debt helps you pay off your bills in less time and at less expense. So, consolidate your debt.
- Get a car you can afford. The late financial advisor, Larry Burket famously said, "the cheapest car you will ever own is the one you have right now." That's probably true, unless you are paying $300 a month for a loan. Get rid of high-priced cars and purchase something that better fits your budget.
- Stop eating out so much. Today's hectic schedules make for weary people at the end of the day. It's so much easier to pick up a pizza than it is to make a meal at home. But, as you and I both know, eating out is more expensive than making your own meals. You don't have to stop eating out altogether. But cut down on how often you treat yourself.
- Lower your health care bills. Do you really need to have your teeth professionally whitened? Do you really need prescription sunglasses? Do you have to see a specialist when a general practitioner will do? Are there generic medications that are cheaper than the name brands? Use every available means to lower your health care bills so that you can become a debt free Christian.
- Start a work-at-home business. Yes, it will take work and time. But the rewards are well-worth it. I currently earn about $1,200 a month with my online business. And I expect it to eventually take the place of my "day job." To move toward being a debt free Christian, start a home business.
- Never buy on credit. Department and electronic stores are famous for selling you things with no interest for 60 days... or even a year of no interest. But the way they make their money is that they encourage you to make very small payments each month. That way you will still have a lot to pay when the interest begins accruing. Make sure you have the money to buy before you make your purchase.
- Never shop "hungry." It's a common piece of wisdom that says you should never go grocery shopping while you are hungry. You tend to buy too much and too much of the wrong stuff. But the principle applies to all purchases. Some people just can't pass up a sale - even if they don't have the money. Some people go to the store convinced they need something they really don't need. Be careful when you shop. Having a budget and knowing how much you have to spend will help you avoid shopping "hungry."
The Debt Free Christian Conclusion
None of these principles or steps are easy. But they are simple in the fact that their benefit is self-evident. No one can look at that list and conclude that I am way off the mark.
But even if you only implement a few of the principles, you will still make progress toward being a debt free Christian.