7 Ways to Reset Your Finances
Ever feel like you just hit a wall with your finances? The truth is, no matter how disciplined you are, sometimes we all need to hit reset with our finances.
Spring is a season of order, renewal. The longer days, more sunshine, and collective attitude to clean motivates us to make improvements in many areas of our life. So while you’re cleaning out your closet or hosting a yard sale, also commit to resetting your finances. These 7 things will help you feel energized and reinstate your purpose as a steward of God’s resources.
1. Surrender Your Finances
Even if you have a perfect credit score, an air-tight budget, and a maxed-out 401(k), you’ll never experience true financial freedom as long as you think of yourself as the owner of everything. Your finances are about more than just money, and the best way to reset your finances is to recognize yourself as a steward, a manager, of God’s resources.
Everything we have comes from God. He’s given it to us for a purpose, but when we don’t embrace our purpose as stewards, we get distracted and (over)spend His resources on other things.
2. Use All Cash
Using all cash, even just for a period of time, is a great way to hit reset. It makes it more difficult to part with the money you have and prevents you from overspending. Studies show it helps you to spend less overall and like what you buy more.
If you can’t convert your entire budget to all cash, start with one category. Food (eating out and groceries) is one of the most commonly over-spent categories, so start there.
If you don’t have a budget yet, make one! Crown has an easy-to-use guide that walks you through making a budget step-by-step and includes a number of resources to make it simple. You can download it here.
3. Save For Emergencies
Surprise or emergency expenses are a fact of life. No one can avoid them. Yet the majority of Americans don’t have $500 saved! Instead, we rely on credit cards to cover the emergency expenses, which spirals us into more stress and debt.
One of the best resets for your finances is to develop an emergency savings account. Start with a goal of $1,000 (here are 13 ideas on how to get there), and then build up to 9-12 months’ of living expenses. We recommend you have $1,000 in an emergency account before you even get out of debt.
4. Increase Your Income
If you want to have more financial margin or reach goals faster, you may need to increase your income (here are some ideas on how to do so). There are many ways to do this, all depending on your current circumstances.
Be cautious to not increase your spending as you increase your income. Set parameters on what your extra income will be used for (paying off debt, investing, retirement, Education Savings Account, giving, etc.) and work unto the Lord.
5. Give Generously
This is a powerful way to hit reset for your finances! Giving is a privilege, not an obligation, and we are in fact the ones that are blessed by it. Giving and meeting the needs of others is not only good for our hearts, it’s good for our health and our finances.
Proverbs 3:9 says, “Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops…”
A tithe is usually 10% of your gross income, which is a great place to start. But if you can’t give 10% right now, just give something. It may be $5 this week, but it will get you into the habit of giving.
6. Stop Comparing
Have you ever caught yourself buying something just to “keep up”? It’s a subtle decision, often undetected in our heart when we swipe up on Instagram or overspend to keep the status quo. So we have to guard our hearts and minds by filling up on the truth of God’s Word so there’s no room for the manipulation of the world.
To reset your finances, stop comparing. You don’t get to take any of what you have here on earth with you to heaven. You’ll spend a number of years here on earth, but an eternity in heaven, so spend for the long-term, not the short-term.
Delete social media from your phone for awhile, confess your struggles to a spouse or friend, and guard your heart and mind by serving others.
7. Set Goals
Goals are major financial motivators! Without goals, we don’t make plans and end up just drifting along, frustrated and without progress. You may have the best of intentions to save, get out of debt, and open a Roth IRA, but good intentions take you nowhere.
Write your plans down, set up accountability, and act upon them.
Most of us live an affluent life that we don’t have to set goals. We can drift along in the group with relative ease and comfort. But like the faithful stewards in the Parable of the Talents, God expects us to multiply the resources we have been given. Don’t be a stagnant money manager.
Your goals will vary depending on your current financial situation. Crown’s Money Map is a visual guide that lays out a path of financial goals for you to follow. You can download it for free and get access to the Get Started Guide here!