I really want to be debt free! I hate the extra stress that living paycheck to paycheck brings to my family, but I just can’t seem to stick with any budgeting plan long enough to see major results. Worse yet, I’m actually making more money now than I was a few years ago, but I don’t seem to be any further ahead financially. Our church did Financial Peace University and my wife and I have tried to stick with it, but we just seem to be going in circles. What’s the deal? Why can’t we kick our bad habits and make real progress?
First of all, you’re not alone. Many people are in your shoes. But there’s good news! We live in an incredible country with so many opportunities to change our circumstances. The bad news is that so much opportunity can distract us from what’s really important. The Bible says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Prov. 29:18). And it’s true. Without clear vision, lots of people are struggling.
So what can you do? First, re-establish your goals. What are you striving to do? What’s really important to you? What does success look like for you in one, three and 10 years? Establish your goals before you make your budget, then align your budget with your goals. Make sure your goals are just that—yours and no one else’s. They should also be measurable, specific, time-sensitive, and written down. Place those goals where you’ll see them often, like on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
Next, create benchmarks that will help you track your progress. And ask God to help keep you disciplined. You have to learn to say no to what you want so you can say yes to what you really want later. You can do this! The tension you’re feeling is healthy. Now it’s time to act!