Did you know that the average household debt in the United States is $150,000? Almost 40% of Americans would not be able to cover an unexpected expense of $500, and 26% of adults have no savings. These stats are staggering, but they are all too common. We now have a generation of college-educated adults entering the workforce with student loans that will take a large portion of their careers to pay off. No wonder millennials are anxious!
The rise and marketing of credit cards have normalized impulsive spending. We can buy now, pay later—and more often than not, it leads us to spend what we don’t have, hoping we will be able to cover it in the future. This results in a cycle of me-first spending, seeking the short-term satisfaction of buying without the long-term vision for building financial stability.
Throughout More than Money, we’ve explored how we can worship money or use it for worship. We can’t serve both God and money, so how do we break free from the cycle of spending and debt?
First: Define the relationship
Before you start making changes to your financial habits, take a moment to assess your relationship with money. Are you in denial of your debt? Do you ignore your financial circumstances, hoping it will work itself out? Do you let money rule your thoughts? Are you financially stable and spend more than you need? Be willing to be honest about your thoughts and attitude toward money.
Second: Assess your standing
Do you have an accurate view of your spending and saving? When was the last time you took a comprehensive look at your finances? Auto-pay and credit cards make it easy to go month to month without a real plan in place. Utilize sites like Mint—or even your banking site—to see how much you earn and where you’re spending. Use this as a starting point to make a plan.
Third: Plan for progress
Play the long game: Give first, save second, live on the rest. Make a plan for your money by budgeting and setting your priorities accordingly. Apps like Every Dollar or Mint can help! Take time to learn how interest can impact your debts or savings—small changes in where you save can have significant, long-term implications. Shift from me-first to God-first spending and set small, achievable goals for yourself, trusting that those incremental changes will lead to lasting financial freedom.
In the end, know and trust that your financial situation is not your identity. Jesus knew that money would constantly compete for our attention. His peace, freedom, and plans are available as we take next steps in surrender.
Looking for practical resources to manage your finances? Check out this resource page!