Focus on Finances

By | January 15, 2011

Going into 2011, our family is not in the healthiest of financial positions. We realize there are lots of reasons for that, and I plan to explore those in later posts.

But today I just want to address the basics for pursuing your financial goals:

10. Determine your net worth; set goals for increased net worth for January 2012.

Do you know how much you are worth? We really had not taken the time to look at these numbers until I went to a financial workshop a few months ago.

I created a blank template for you to download. Just put in your own numbers to determine your net worth:

Net Worth Worksheet

Next, look at the numbers and record goals for increased net worth for next year.

11. Map out a debt reduction plan.

List your debts from smallest to largest and assign each payment a month and a year. So, if you owe $2000 and you pay $200, it will take you 10 months to pay that off (by November 1, 2011). Seeing the dates makes it a more tangible goal for me (by Christmas, we won’t have this debt anymore!) and it motivates me to try for earlier payoffs (I don’t want to be paying on that until the kids go to middle school). Once the smaller debt is paid, apply that payment to the next largest debt. For more detailed information on this technique, read these books from Dave Ramsey:

Financial Peace Revisited

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

12. Put some money “in the jar” every day.

It’s amazing that the one thing that leads to financial wellness is so simple my kindergartener can understand it: You must keep more money than you spend.

The second principle is similarly elementary: a little bit adds up over time.

My ladies’ Bible study group has been collecting spare change to help buy books for a classroom. Just by pooling our change for a few weeks, we gathered enough money for an entire set.

Seeing that type of success, I reasoned that we should go back to the “piggy bank” idea for our family. So, it’s my goal to “find money” to put in our money jar every day. I’m becoming more mindful of “what’s in my house” but just out of place: namely, money that’s under the couch cushions or in the bottom of my purse. It becomes a fun challenge to look for “lost” money.

Also, look for places of wasted money.  Are you paying a fee for some service or membership that you are not using? I discovered I have several odd gift cards collected here and there from a variety of stores. Some I had forgotten I have, some I will never use. Now they are all in one place, so I’ll be more mindful to use the cards when I go shopping next. I’m also checking out the gift card buy-back sites so maybe I’ll get some cash for the cards’ partial values.

Look in your house and see what’s lying around that would do you more good being exchanged for money or some other item that you need. I have personally decided that garage sales and consignment sales are perhaps not the best use of my time when it comes to finding extra cash. I think it’s important to remember that time=money, too. But selling on eBay, at used bookstores, through individual ads, and so on may be less time-consuming routes, which means they will also be more lucrative.

What are some of your best ideas for “finding” money?


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Important Reminders

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Mary Bernard is a Nashville-based writer and mother of three. She's worked in a variety of corporate and creative environments, but none is more comfortable than the dining room table in her own home. Mary loves to help moms discover God's unique call to look in their own houses for their priorities, passions, and provision.

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  1. Pingback: Are Consignment Sales a Big Waste of Time? | Look In Your House

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