Are you doing everything you can to reduce your expenses, but feel like your family is just trying to survive? Do you feel like you are encased in a water tank and you are just trying to keep your head above the water line? For a lot of our readers this visual description is a reality.
Early on in my marriage we had a lot of credit card debt and student loan debt. It was a big inhibitor in our ability to do a lot of things. In a good nature attempt I quickly tried to pay as much as we could possibly towards our credit cards after just one month of marriage. Come month two I had to pay our rent, and we had less than our due rent.
My wife and I scrambled to cash in all of our change and move pennies around from savings accounts to our primary checking. By the 1st of the coming month we had just $4.14 left after we paid our rent. This was a super stressful time early in our marriage. However, I could only be the one to blame. I wasn't a good financial steward in knowing what bills we had left in the coming weeks. All brought on by my good intentions to pay off debt.
That event that occurred over 14 years ago is still an experience that impacted me in a significant way. Do you have a similar experience where you were guided by good intentions, but your passionate pursuit of something costed you? What did it cost you?
For me I learned a lot of things from this experience, as well as some others that have taught me a lot in how to reduce stress through financial decisions. Let's look further:
- Make Sure You Have a Buffer – do you have enough padding in your accounts to weather a financial storm? You need a financial buffer (emergency account) and time buffer to weather storms that will come. Storms are guaranteed to come, and isn't a question of maybe. Also the storms won't always be created by others (loss of job, drop in income, or medical issues). Don't assume you won't have any problems along your financial journey.
- Seek Private Godly Council – so often we are so inwardly focused and not dependent on anyone else. We think that we can pull up our bootstraps in all situations and handle any situation ourselves. Seek out a man or woman (of the same sex) to run things past. You can gain a lot of insight into things you may not see. Find someone that you can be open and honest with and give them permission to speak into your life.
- Value Your Spouse's Inputs – a lot of times finances with spouses can be dicey. God wired men and women completely different in their thinking and rationality. What a great thing! Huh? Ya…He wired you to look at things differently, which is undoubtedly a good thing. A man or woman's perspective isn't solely right in itself. Ask the other spouse's opinion and be open and honest with each other (easier said than done in a heated conversation).
- I'm Commanded to Lead My Family – in a lot of situations I hate taking the lead for my family. I have to make some hard decisions that can have either positive or negative long term affects on my wife and kids. I don't always like that responsibility. My daily decisions will have significant impacts on my legacy that will live on in my wife and kids. Consider the verse:
“Wives, follow the lead of your husbands as you follow the Lord. The husband is the head of the wife, just as Christ is the head of the church. The church is Christ's body. He is its Savior. The church follows the lead of Christ. In the same way, wives should follow the lead of their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives. Love them just as Christ loved the church. He gave himself up for her. He did it to make her holy. He made her clean by washing her with water and the word. He did it to bring her to himself as a brightly shining church. He wants a church that has no stain or wrinkle or any other flaw. He wants a church that is holy and without blame. In the same way, husbands should love their wives. They should love them as they love their own bodies. Any man who loves his wife loves himself. After all, people have never hated their own bodies. Instead, they feed and care for their bodies. And that is what Christ does for the church.” – Ephesians 5:22-29
I don't take the above verse lightly. Sadly it is counter to my nature. However, I realize that I need to do things for my family body that will relieve stress or burdens on the “body”. What decisions are you making that are adding or relieving stress on your family?
Stress is something that is so hard to see or measure before a major decision. It isn't something you can predict like an incoming storm. I'd love to hear from some of our readers on what stresses you've weathered. What stresses are presently worrying you in the near distant future?