Need Some Financial Recovery?

I have no idea if you'll be going shopping today - it is "Black Friday" and all. I won't be, mainly because I don't feel like getting up early or fighting crowds just to buy things. Not my idea of fun.

If you're like a large percentage of Americans, though, just today's Christmas shopping won't be what's put your financial picture all out of focus. It takes some time to get into debt or use up your savings, but some effort can get it all back on track.

* Tithe your firstfruits. As Christians, we are commanded to give 10% of everything (your gross) before we do anything else with our money. This means giving to the storehouse, the local church you are a member of. The tithe comes before any missions offerings, love offerings or other special giving. Without this obedience we won't have the full blessings of God. He doesn't need the money because it was His to begin with, but He is pleased with our following His direction.

* Put money into savings next. Tuck away a portion of your family's paycheck each payday before you do anything else. If you budget well with what's left, you won't even notice that portion is missing. Aim for 3-6 months worth of living expenses in your savings account.

* Map out your credit card payoffs. Start with whichever card has the highest interest rate and work your way through. If you start doing the math, it's insane what you'd be paying in fees and interest just for having balances on your cards.

* Track your daily spending. We do some much unnecessary spending every day, but when you have to actually look at where your money goes you'll find lots of ways to cut back. This doesn't mean cutting out everything that's fun in your life, it just means that you get wiser about where and how much you spend.

* Check on your credit score.
If you've never done this before, you have no idea what kinds of errors might be there. Go to one of the free websites or have your financial adviser check it out. This will ensure that you can get loans and credit cards when you need them.

* Change your money mindset. When we let money, possessions and the other "things" of the world influence us, we inevitably dig ourselves deeper into financial problems. If you want a completely different financial forecast, you have to change the way you look at spending. What are the priorities in your life right now and what steps do you need to take to get there?

* Make the ultimate list! Sit down with everyone in the house and start making a list - every body gives their input on where money is being spent, what can be cut back, what the goals are for saving and what each family member can do to help. With everybody on board, you can make some significant steps to finding financial freedom from within your own home.

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