I saw a post going around at the beginning of January that was encouraging people to set aside a certain amount of money each week with the goal of increasing that amount weekly so that you would have reached a savings amount by the end of the year. I didn’t comment on the post but the thing that stuck in my mind about this plan was that it did not deal with the core issue that many people who don’t save money have.
In order to achieve the financial success that many of us seek, we need to change our mindset about money. We can not have something that we have never had if we are not willing to do something that we have never done. Yes, it’s great to start setting money aside but the probability that you will be able to maintain that program is very slim if you have not changed your mindset about saving. The probability that you will not dip into that savings jar and spend some of the money is slim if you have not changed your mindset about spending.
The problem for most of us is not that we don’t have the desire to save more and spend less but the problem is that we have unhealthy financial habits. Most of us are consumer driven and will spend more quickly than we will save because we don’t have a long-term purpose for our money. We are not financial visionaries.
Read these financial affirmations and consider how they can help you to improve your financial situation.
1. My self-worth is not determined by my net worth.
Your net worth is calculated by subtracting everything that you owe from what you own. Unfortunately, many of us put our value in the things that we own while hiding what we owe. We want the world to perceive us as being rich while making no attempt to build wealth. Many years ago, I read “The Millionaire Next Door” which illustrates some of the habits of millionaires. It stuck with me that people who are truly wealthy do not go around showcasing their wealth. They live in modest homes, drive efficient cars and wear sensible clothing. Contrast that with many people who drive luxury cars while living in apartments, people spending thousands of dollars on rims with no retirement plan. Trying to create an outward appearance of wealth will not make people like you more, it will not garner you more respect. Rather than spending your money on things to impress others or in an attempt to fill some void in your life; stop and assess how much you are spending to create an external image that is not supported by your core values. Think about what you are sacrificing in your future to have stuff now. If your self-worth is tied to your car, the type of house that you live in or the kinds of clothes that you wear then you may never find happiness. There will always be a newer car, a bigger house and a new style of clothes.
2. I will invest in myself and commit to working hard.
There is a temptation among some people to assume that the world owes them something. There is a misconception that we don’t need to save and plan for retirement because it will take care of itself. Many people have goals that are within their reach but they are unwilling to invest in themselves to make it a reality and/or they expect someone else to do the work to make it a reality. Whatever you want in this life, you should first ask yourself what can you bring to the table. Then you need to assess what you need to do to make it happen. Along your journey, there will be people and resources to help you reach your goal but the primary driver should be you.
3. I will budget and stop wasteful spending.
In the My Money Matters workbook series, we focus on the Basic Money Management Principle – I will not spend more than I earn. Of course, this sounds like a simple statement. However, most of us are not doing it. We are spending more than we make and not budgeting. Each month, there may be a bill or two that doesn’t get paid or we are not able to save because we are breaking even each month. You may have the desire to change your financial situation but you also have to put the actions behind that desire. I love to see the liberation that people feel when they pay off a credit card or pay down their student loan debt. Yes, spending money on stuff you like will make you feel good but I promise that freeing yourself from the noose of debt will feel even greater!
4. I will find balance in my life.
If you are working all of the time trying to pay your bills or to get money for this or that, you may be doing too much. Please don’t misunderstand… I know that we all have bills and obligations but at some point, if you find yourself constantly stressed out or always tired of chasing the cheese; you need to do an evaluation of your priorities. It may be necessary for you to go back to school and get a degree so you can find a job making more money. It may be necessary to cut some of your expenses so that you don’t have as much going out. The purpose of life is not to be so consumed with working and getting stuff until we miss out on the living. I can’t honestly say what you need to do to improve your situation if you are that financially strapped but I will encourage you to seek a change. Talk to a financial professional to help you assess your situation and develop a strategy to find the light at the end of the tunnel. You may have been doing it your way for a while but if your way isn’t working, it may be time to get some help.
5. I will honor God with my giving.
To honor God with your giving is to give without expecting anything in return. There is a lyric in a song that I like that says, “One day I hope to live on my 10% and give the 90% away.” Most of us cannot imagine reaching that space in our lives because the more we have, the more we want. We are constantly praying for financial breakthroughs and looking to God for an abundance of blessings. We give with the expectancy that we are going to be blessed. What if God is not pleased with that attitude and that’s why you aren’t being blessed? What if God does not see the honor in your giving? Many Christians place so much focus on what God is going to do for us and what He is going to bless us with that we forget to honor Him with sharing our time, talents and tithes. We treat him like our personal investment plan, thinking that every deposit should yield a return with dividends. Imagine the change in mindset when you give of yourself without expecting anything in return…
6. I will be a blessing to others.
Our final affirmation is almost a culmination of the previous ones. We live very self-absorbed lives. We have a tendency to think that everything is about us. If someone says something, then they must be talking about me. If someone does something, then they must be hating on me. What if we took ourselves out of the equation and just focused on being the best person that we can be? What if we used our resources as tool to be a blessing to others? Of course you have financial obligations but what if you took care of those obligations and instead of spending $300 on a designer item, you bought something just as nice for $100 and sowed the $200 into something that could reap a harvest? What if we stopped asking for blessings and started focusing on being a blessing to others? This change in mindset may not make you more money, it probably won’t cause you to win the lottery but it will help you to see why saving is so important, it will take your focus off the accumulation of material things and it will bring honor to what you have to offer yourself, your family and God.