Please note: These insights are intended for people going through Financial Peace University and are not a substitution or a recap of the coursework or presentation.
- I think if you’re single, and this was just my experience, that having an accountability partner who is also part of your life in other areas is very beneficial. I believe what it does is not only helps identify and change monetary behaviors but you can go deeper and find the root of that behavior that may have nothing to do with money. Spending money may just be the outward manifestation of a deeper issue or a habit. For me I became a parent of a now-20 year old two years ago and having our mentors-in-parenting as accountability helped identify areas that were tied to my new found parenting and certain behaviors on my end that were correctable on the parenting front – and impacted our monthly spending – but weren’t necessarily just ‘spending behaviors’ that could be fixed on a Quick-Start budget.
- Leverage your gifts to save money and add to the emergency fund. If you know how to change your own oil, do it yourself and put the money you would spend on an oil change towards your emergency fund. I want a new laptop computer, I was having major problems with USB Bluetooth connectivity which drives my mouse. Instead of purchasing a new machine with Bluetooth built in, I replaced the Wireless B/G card inside with a Wireless B/G/N Bluetooth 4.0 Combo card. Leverage your gifts, skills, and talents to either re-direct money to your emergancy fund that you would have otherwise spent or at least save you money in the short term by using the skills, gifts, and talents you have to deal with immediate issues. Total cost for the laptop upgrade, $20 and 1 hr of my time. Total savings? $600 over the laptop I was eyeballing, but in fairness I have very specific needs, and what I wanted was the Alienware M11xR3 with the Core I7 mobile processor. Nothing else. So I’ll wait and perhaps take a sinking fund approach to that one later down the road.
- Take the time to be content is the best suggestion over all. Take a look around at all you have. Take a deep breath, be thankful, then take an inventory of all the books, DVDs, Games, cooking ingredients, etc. that you have and leverage those. Can’t afford to go to the movies? Pop some microwave popcorn and watch YouTube videos! If you don’t have cable spring for Hulu+ for $8 a month and watch a few shows or movies at home. Put all your unwatched DVD’s in a pile, pull your unread books….and make a weekend out of it. You’ll find that your entertainment selection at home may actually be pretty big! Be content in all things ,esp the things you have!
- Lastly, plan on your “extra” giving. Last year I noticed that all the short terms missionaries from the Ten Days program at EveryNation came to me all at the same time and it was a financial hit. This year I got informed that all the Ten Days trips were clustered TOGETHER again so when I budget this time around in March/April, I’ll budget money to give – so there are no surprises. If you church has a missions offering on a particular Sunday, plan on it at the beginning of the month or automate that gift. I automate my gifts to several missionaries each month. No surprises.
Next Up: Cash Flow Planning