Have you ever been in a financial crunch before? It’s not a very good feeling isn’t it? I remember a time when I was writing a check for some milk and bread at the grocery store and realized that I only had $15 left in my account. That was a long time ago, but the feeling that I had at the time stuck with me. For those who want to live a more self-reliant life, it is important to spend some time and effort to better your financial situation.
Like many things that are truly important in preparedness, financial preparedness isn’t sexy. We’re not talking about getting some cool gear or a new knife. We are talking about looking at what’s coming in and what is going out and making some tough and sometimes unpopular decisions.
A Lack of Financial Preparedness Can Create a Crisis
In my recent devotional series on the Prophet Elisha, I discussed a story where one of the sons of the prophets had died and now his family was in financial ruin. 2 Kings 4:1-7 tells the story of a woman whose husband belonged to one of the prophetic guilds. When he died, the woman had no means of income and one of the creditors was going to take away her two sons to be his slaves. Let’s pick up the story in verse 2.
So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your servant has nothing in the house except a jar of oil.” 3 Then he said, “Go, borrow containers elsewhere for yourself, empty containers from all your neighbors—do not get too few. 4 Then you shall come in and shut the door behind you and your sons, and pour into all these containers; and you shall set aside what is full.” 5 So she left him and shut the door behind her and her sons; they began bringing the containers to her, and she poured the oil. 6 When the containers were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another container.” But he said to her, “There are no more containers.” Then the oil stopped. 7 So she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons can live on the rest.”2 Kings 4:2-7 NASB
Luckily, Elisha intervened and God helped this woman by supernaturally multiplying the oil in her kitchen. And although I believe that God blesses and provides for His children, I also believe He wants us to be smart and make good decisions. If it is in your power to get financially prepared, or to better your situation, you should do so! To watch the devotional, check out the video at the end of this article.
There is Always Hope to Better Your Financial Situation
Feelings and emotions are powerful. When they are negative and you feel desperate, you can find yourself in a downward spiral that might be hard to get out of. But there is always hope! There is always a way to earn extra money, cut back on expenses and get on a better financial footing. Here are 5 ways to better you financial situation.
Put a Hold on Every Outgoing Expense
Ok. So you will have to pay your mortgage or rent and utilities. But purpose for 1 month to not spend anything extra. Forgo the lunch out, the $5 coffee, the “window shopping” trip to the store, etc… We often don’t realize how much we spend because we are spending little amounts of money. But it all adds up. If you go into your month determined to not spend anything extra than the necessities, you will get a better idea of what truly comes in and what truly comes out. Which leads us to the next way you to better your financial situation.
I said this stuff wasn’t sexy! It’s not sexy, but necessary! If you don’t have a plan for your money, it will do whatever it wants! Budgeting is something that everyone knows they should do, but they don’t do it. There is just other things that are “more important.” I’ve tried to make it easy for you. I created a monthly budget for you that will automatically tell you the totals you are dealing with. The budget is in either Google Sheets or Excel format. You can also download a PDF format if you would like.
- Google Sheets Version (will make a copy in your Google Drive)
- Excel Version (will download the file)
- PDF Version
Start a Microbiz
Now more than ever I believe everyone who wants to live a more self-reliant life should have multiple streams of income. For most, their main source of income is their 9 to 5 job. But those who are creating a side hustle or a microbiz to earn extra income will help to mitigate financial stresses in their lives. Extra income can help you pay down debt, build an emergency fund or help you get prepared by building up your food storage or purchasing the gear you feel you need. The key is to find something you love to do and then find a way to monetize it. I believe everyone should have a microbiz! Wouldn’t an extra $50-100 a week or a month better your financial situation?
Make Some Calls
In this current economic struggle, many companies are willing to negotiate contracts and fees with their customers. You might find that your cable company is willing to give you a discount for staying with them. Or, your cell phone provider might be willing to offer you a deal if you call them and simply ask what is available for those who are trying to cut costs. I recently saved a lot of money on auto insurance because I called my insurance agent to talk about my coverage. He was able to do an audit on my coverage and found that I was illegible for some deep discounts. Who doesn’t love that? Just know that if you are calling some companies, the first person you talk to might not be able to do anything for you. It might be the 2nd tier manager who can offer you a discount.
Sell Some Stuff
Like Dave Ramsey says, “Sell everything that is not nailed down. Make the kids think they’re next!” He says that to bring in extra money because it’s true. You have a lot of stuff in closets and in your garage that you are “saving for a rainy day.” But your rainy day might be now! You have 10 survival knives, how many do you really need? Put items on eBay. Have a garage sale. Place items on Craigslist or on the Nextdoor website. This might be a good way to declutter and make some money in the meantime.
When it boils down to it, to better your financial situation, you will have to put in the work. But the pay-off is less stress for you and your family. The pay-off is being in a position to have options and not be desperate because you are living paycheck to paycheck and you can afford a little hiccup. It’s not sexy, but it is as important as your food and water storage and defense. Make a decision today to better your financial situation.