On life’s journey, we have bumps in the road and sometimes come to dead ends. This can be financial, relational, personal or related to our careers. Having a road map of where we are heading is important in order to retrace our steps and find another way.
To start, having a road map in advance by setting clear financial goals can help us be intentional with our money and our time. If you find yourself straying off course, it is time to reassess your goals. Is something more important than your originally thought? Did the power of instant gratification overcome the reward of a slow and steady race? Or are you using spending to try to cover uncomfortable emotions?
Using words like always, never, and can’t are words of dead ends. Hope is extremely powerful and recalibrating your mindset to realize there are other paths to where you want to go is powered by bigger picture thinking. What personal financial goals do you have? Paying off debt, owning your home, saving for kids’ education, retirement, being able to help family and leaving a legacy are just a few to help make your map more clear.
If you feel like you are drowning, it is time to start from square one and prioritize your values. A zero based budget will help. Start with top line items being necessities ie. shelter, food, utilities and reasonable transportation in order to work. Charitable giving or tithing will typically follow. Then, line by line add next your prioritized spending until you have spent on paper your monthly income. This will be a practical assessment of what is most important to you from top to bottom. In addition, when times are tough, what to cut first will go from bottom to top.