I decided to switch it up a bit and talk about a very common problem facing many saints today, “economic disparity.” A lot of us want to blame it on the economy and “hard times.” However, many of us are NOT really willing to take responsibility for some of our own bad behaviors that may be leading us down this slippery slope. For example, when is the last time you really balanced your check-book or reviewed your spending habits. The other million dollar question, when is the last time you pulled a free credit report on yourself?
I am NOT in anyway declaring myself as a “financial management” expert, but since I have your attention I would like to share with you some basic practices that may help you get out of the financial rut that you are seemingly in at this time.
1. Pull Your Credit Report
This is so very important. You really need to know what is on your credit report and be somewhat aware when there are changes, additions or deletions to your credit score and or rating. I personally have CreditKarma.Com downloaded on my phone and IPAD so that I am alerted immediately of any changes. This is so important today because many of us have been victims of identity theft and only found out weeks after the credit attacks. You also need to know if you have and bad debt, bad accounts or accounts that you are unaware of being reported under your social security number.
2. Calculate your Net Worth
How many of us no our net worth. (assets-liabilities) Is your net worth currently negative because you have a number of car loans, credit cards and mortgages on your credit. Don’t worry just set a plan to get out of debt and stop getting into debt. You will be surprised knowing where you stand is the beginning of knowledge.
3. Understand God’s Plan of Giving
I prepare tithe and offering before I leave home. I also contribute to my college and a couple of other charities each month. This is planned and automatic for my. I watch out for pressured giving. Of course I believe in “sacrificial” and “seed faith” giving. However, if you have not paid your mortgage, credit cards and utilities that month, you may NOT be able to participate right now. If you have developed a balanced budget and you have been able to save a few extra dollars, responsible “sacrificial giving” is definitely always appropriate. However, you know exactly what your expenditures are and how much you need to survive until that next windfall of money.
4. Review Credit Card APR rates
Most of us have at least 1-3 credit cards. This is NOT a bad idea, but less is more. You should have one credit available for emergencies and maybe one that you can use for travel. You should always have a plan to pay more than the minimal payment due because this certainly benefits you in the long run. If at all possible, stay away from department credit cards. I realized that my Macy’s card had an APR=24.9 PERCENT MONTHLY. I immediately paid that card off and it is now used for scraping frost of of m windshield. I have found that credit union cards are usually more reasonable and of-course a debit card attached to your account is ALWAYS good.
5. Use CASH most of the time if at all possible
I do understand that there will be times when you may be forced to use a credit card but if you have the cash hidden somewhere, go ahead and use it if possible. If you find yourself running into the mall and strolling down the halls, charging, that is no longer cute. It use to be fashionable to have a lot of credit cards but now it is NOT.
6. Pay your bills ALWAYS on-time and if possible, pay your bills online.
Be sure to always pay your bills before the due-date. If you have an unforeseen emergency, call the company and work-out a plan. Don’t just NOT pay your bills. Negative credit could causes your to be denied that opportunity to get better dwelling place or mode of transportation. Also, pay MOST bills online. When you schedule and pay bills online, that gives you a little more control of your finances. Sometimes, when we write checks it can be 2-3 weeks before the business actually cashes or deposits the checks. Actually reminder, when checking-out, choose credit over debit. My understanding is when you choose credit the company is charged for securing the funds, but when you choose debit, you may get those hidden fees.
Also, take a course and do some reading on “How to manage your budget/money.” Speak over your finance and pray for increase. However, when you pray for increase be prepared to receive increase and live in “God’s Overflow.” You are entitled to travel, a new outfit and other nice gifts occasionally. However, you have got to really get a plan.