Focus on giving, not earning (or spending)
This is the last post in the series on financial stability.
It gives reasons why I fight for financial freedom. Why I work every day to get out of debt, why I built an 8-month emergency fund and why I contribute monthly to my retirement account.
Disclaimer: I do not work in finance. I do not have a degree in finance. I never even took a class in finance. My advice should not be considered a financial service or a substitute for that of a financial advisor. This is simply the method that has worked for me based on my own personal experience.
Today is part 4 of this 4 part series.
I truly hope this series has been helpful.
My intention was to give practical tips and action steps to get out of debt and take control over your finances.
I’m not offering a “12 steps to get out of debt” kind of program – there are others much more qualified than I am to provide that. I’m simply sharing the lessons I’ve learned in the hope they’ve made someone else’s life a little easier.
It’s my feeling that the hardest part about getting out of debt is learning to change your mindset from “this is a giant hole I’m in and there’s no way out short of bankruptcy.”
To break the giant weight into manageable pieces.
To slowly chip away at the mountain until you’re free.
Today’s post isn’t two action steps, but rather two goals. Two reasons why I personally fight for financial freedom.
Two mindset shifts to get you headed in the right direction.
How to avoid financial crisis and find stability:
Part 4 – Focus on giving rather than earning
Stop working for the weekend
When I was 15, I began working at my first job. It was great! I had no expenses, but was earning a decent paycheck every two weeks (plus tips).
Unfortunately, I didn’t ever put that money away – I was working for the weekend.
Every penny I earned, I immediately spent. Nothing made me happier than walking out the doors on a Friday night with over $50, because it meant Saturday would be one long shopping spree.
I’ve found I’m not alone in this mindset.
In fact, I’ve seen how the problem becomes much worse as we grow older and begin earning a legitimate income. We work so hard to earn and earn a high wage Monday through Friday, only so we can go out and enjoy life on Saturday and Sunday. Wake up Monday, and repeat the process until retirement.
It shouldn’t be like this.
Life isn’t about scrimping and saving during the week, only to blow through it all on the weekend.
By paying off my debt and building up my savings account, I’ve made a strong effort towards changing my mindset about work. I’m no longer working for the weekend. I’m now working towards a goal.
Rather than going out for $12 cocktails on Saturday night, I cook a cheap meal with my boyfriend and put the savings into the bank. I’m not working towards retirement; I’m working towards financial stability. Because I know how to live within a budget, I don’t have to earn an outrageous income just to make ends meet. I can earn a salary on the lower side of average because I know my expenses are covered, and then some.
Because my spending is under control, I don’t have to worry about how much I’m earning. And with that, comes freedom.
Give generously, no matter your income
In his book Enemies of the Heart, Andy Stanley tells us the cure for greed is generosity.
Greed is the mindset that we need to protect what we have and always seek more. Generosity is the mindset that what we have is a blessing, and never truly ours in the first place.
By giving little (or big) pieces of our wealth to those who truly need it, we maintain the mindset that money is just money. Things are just things. We’ll never have as much as we want, but as long as we have a roof over our head, clothes on our back and food in our stomach, we have all we need.
The bible tells us to give 10% of all we earn back to the Lord.
I’ve tithed for as long as I can remember, and the Lord has always blessed what I’ve given hundreds of times over. He’s blessed me not only in good jobs and stable finances, but also in a generous heart. He’s blessed me by breaking the tie between money and stability.
I know, this sounds like the exact opposite of everything I’ve said up until this point, but hear me out.
Yes, an 8-month emergency fund and living debt-free and having profitable investments are all important and create feeling of stability.
However, even this can go away in the blink of an eye.
One medical emergency could wipe your savings and send you back into debt. The stock market could shift again and take your investments with it.
God, on the other hand, is always stable.
He fills in the gaps.
He allowed me to hit my 8-month emergency fund right when I needed to walk away from my last job. He has kept my head above water and brought me a new job right when my savings was about to be depleted. It’s hard to explain, it’s something you have to experience for yourself.
Try it and you’ll see.
This session’s homework: Focus on what you can give, not what you earn.
Give 10% of what you earn to a worthy cause.
It doesn’t have to be your church, but it’s important to give generously. Whether it’s a charity, a fundraising event or a stranger on the street.
Give of yourself and He will bless your efforts.
Photo Credit: 401(k) 2012
Did you do your homework this week? What about last week? How did it feel to give away a chunk of your income? Did you feel the emotional ties between your heart and income loosen? Leave a comment letting me know how it went!
And don’t forget to subscribe!
Other posts in the series:
8 Reasons to Choose Financial Independence
8 Ways to Avoid Financial Crisis and Find Stability
Part 1 – Save Your Money and Spend Less
Part 2 – Get Out of Debt and Safely Spend
Part 3 – Independence in Any Circumstance
Part 4 – Focus on Giving, Not Earning