Go to college. Get a good job. Have a budget.
These are the tips everyone gives for securing ‘the good life.’
But what happens when that’s not enough? When you’re doing everything you know how and nothing seems to make your two pennies stretch any further?
The advice then becomes: fast, repent, pray, attend a Dave Ramsey class.
You do it. Wait. Nothing.
How to get a financial breakthrough might be on your mind. And it should. But do you want to know how to survive the waiting period before that happens? Here are some tips for coping with the desert season of your financial life while money is scarce.
1. Keep the Faith
God tested Job and took everything from him to prove to Satan that Job would continue to serve God even when he had nothing. At the end, Job confessed that even if God killed him, he would still worship God.
You might be praying, “Why, God, Why?”
Don’t spin your mental energy trying to figure out why you are suffering financially, just have faith that there is a reason even if you don’t see it yet.
Through the years I can see the wisdom of God in letting me go through this valley first-hand. I grew up very wealthy and would have been very judgmental of people in my situation. I am grateful that I can extend grace to people because I’ve walked a mile in their shoes.
2. Do try to see the positives
One time, I couldn’t afford a $12 bathing suit for my oldest daughter (who doesn’t get all the hand-me-downs). We needed groceries and I was already taking food off the conveyor belt to get under budget. I was upset, but my daughter told me, “It’s okay, mom.” Through our struggle she’s developed an understanding of what’s truly important in life. Her sweet spirit shows that God is working not only in me through our financial woes, but also my children.
Focusing on the positive things that your lack of funds has afforded you can be a great way to cope during this rough season.
Here are some quick ways to re-focus:
- Not enough money to go to the movies with your family? Play a board game and rejoice that you are making a memory.
- Child is upset because they can’t do something that costs money? Encourage them to figure out an inventive money-making scheme and know that you are teaching them the value of a dollar.
- Beans and rice…again? It’s not glamorous but beans and rice are totally trending in the diet world: complete protein, gluten-free, low fat. Seriously, everyone should be jealous.
3. Don’t feel guilty for needing help
Whether you accept a $20 bill from a friend, an offer to take you out to dinner from a co-worker who knows your situation or government assistance, don’t beat yourself up. We all need help. No one can navigate this life alone.
There are enough people in this world that will judge you for needing help, the voice inside your head doesn’t need to be one of them.
4. Don’t be a fool
Get rich quick schemes, (some) multi-level marketing businesses and outlandish promises of wealth by making gigantic leaps to a new career that doesn’t suit you can set you back even further financially than you already are. Be wise. Seek counsel. Pray over every decision you make. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let your money problems cause you to make poor choices.
5. Beware of developing a poverty mentality
It’s easy to become a miser when you are constantly worried about money. The words ‘we’re broke’ came out of my mouth WAAAYYY too often.
The lack of money can really do a number on a person’s soul.
Birthday parties were especially hard because the moment someone asked me to attend a birthday party, I would immediately start making excuses because of the extra expense of a birthday gift. Instead of finding joy in giving a present, I stressed. I frantically shopped the clearance bins to find something that looked expensive but only cost $5. I found myself saying ‘no’ to almost every outing because of money…even if we had a little to spare.
The flip side of this is when you get a lump sum (like your tax refund), you spend it wildly because you haven’t gone out to eat or bought anything in FOREVER. It’s okay to spend some on frivolous things, but it’s important to check your heart when making purchases.
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