Girl, You Need a Plan, Not a Man
We all know her (we’ll call her Janet), a single gal who is on all the online dating sites: eHarmony, Match.com, Plenty of Fish, Christian Mingle. You name it, she’s on there.
Now, the thing about Janet is, from a financial standpoint she is an absolute train wreck. The only financial plan she has is to find Mr. Right, who is independently wealthy, and willing to pay off all her debt right before they ride off into the sunset. I mean, it could happen. It happens all the time (on the Hallmark channel, and right before her alarm goes off in the morning).
Please don’t think I have something against men. I just figure if the “Janets” out there are looking for someone financially responsible wouldn’t it make sense the men out there want the same thing in a partner?
I’m also not saying you have to have a man. My point is, before you can declare your independence, move forward, start a new relationship, dream, fly! You must address your finances, or the lack thereof.
I am so crazy passionate about giving hope to single women who are ready to change their bad money habits. There’s no “Get out of jail free” card. You can’t Pass Go and collect $200 until you get in the game.
Although I spent twenty years in the banking industry the best money advice I’ve ever received came from Karl Berg’s School of Finance for the Single Gal (that’s my dad, wink).
The Bible mentions money, and the handling of money 800 times. That tells me our Heavenly Father expects us to be good stewards of our finances as well.
“Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.” – Prov. 10:4
After my first marriage ended, I had to move back home with my two small cherubs. About three days into our stay, my dad pulled me aside and said, “Kathy, if you don’t have a plan you’re never going to get what you want out of life.” And that was the morning we created the Four Simple steps to forming a Financial Plan, without a Man.
FOUR SIMPLE STEPS TO FORMING A PLAN, WITHOUT A MAN
STEP ONE – Take Inventory
“I will help you, but I won’t do it for you.” -Karl Berg
What are YOU willing to do to help YOURSELF? This is the most important question to ask as it will determine the outcome and success of your plan.
You can’t expect God to wave a magic wand and make all your debt and financial woes disappear without any effort on your part. Are you willing to make changes? To delay some gratifications for a greater good? Then hike up your robe! Get out of the boat! Give God something to work with so He can bless your efforts.
The best gift my parents ever gave me was teaching me to manage my money and not just bailing me out when the going got tough.
STEP TWO – Make a Budget
“Even in the most-dire circumstances there’s always, ALWAYS, a way as long as you include God.” -Karl Berg
Spoiler alert! Remember, I said these are six simple steps not necessarily easy steps.
Don’t wait until you get that higher paying job, your credit cards paid off, or the planets are all aligned before starting your budget. If you are swimming in debt, you need a plan and you need it today!
When my dad sat me down to make my budget I didn’t have a job or own a car. I was $20,000 in debt and had $100 in my checking account. After paying eighty-dollars for the U-Haul I was left with one, not-so- crisp, twenty- dollar bill. TWENTY DOLLARS!! That was all I had to my name! It was humbling and scary to say the least.
Normally when you make a budget you show your income as well as expenses. But if you don’t have any income yet, go ahead and write your expenses down so you can see what your total monthly obligations are. I know this sounds elementary, but you would be surprised at how many people never sit down and do this one basic step. It’s like your initial weigh-in before going on a diet.
STEP THREE – Get Smart About Money
“Your financial decisions today should not be someone else’s problem tomorrow.” – Karl Berg
Follow your GPS.
Get to work! Once you have your budget, it’s time to get to work, literally. If it’s legal and moral, no job is beneath you. I know people who have stayed unemployed for months/years looking for the “job of their dreams.” If your financial house is upside down the “job of your dreams” is the one that is offered to you and pays your bills.
If you don’t make enough money to pay your bills, you either need to make more money or spend less. Period. You can look for a better paying job or supplement with some part-time income. If you can’t do either of these things it’s time to go back to your budget and find expenses to cut out. Assess your needs versus wants.
Pay off debt. Another way to become smarter with your money is to educate yourself on how things like interest rates really work. If you use your credit card to purchase those “cute little sandals” from the clearance rack, be careful, or you may just end up paying more than you bargained for if you can’t pay the total card balance when it comes due.
Save. Think how easy it would be to build your $1,000 emergency fund by saving just twenty-dollars a week. In one year you could have $1,040 in the bank.
Now, don’t get all itchy on me. I’m sensing you are thinking “Sweetie, if I had an extra twenty-dollars a week I wouldn’t be in this pickle” Here’s the dill, (see what I did there?) Why not make a game of it?
Think of one twenty-dollar item you could forego each week in order to build your savings:
- Skip Friday night pizza
- Get a mani not a mani AND pedi
- Pack your lunch
- Hit pause on your morning latte
- See how long you can stay away from the grocery store
****Warning! This can be addicting!!!****
Still not convinced? Check out this side-hustle app for saving: acorns
STEP FOUR – Stay Focused on Your Goal
“At the end of the day, the only person you have to answer for is yourself.” -Karl Berg
Oh, how I wish I could tell you creating these new habits will not be painful, but the flesh is weak.
During my financial reconstruction, every payday I asked God to help me be a good steward of the money He blessed me with.
I would then take out my debt timeline and mark off the bills as I paid them down each month. That way I had a constant reminder that I was making progress.
Yes, there were days when I felt like a turtle crossing a busy highway. I tried not to concentrate on what everyone else had or the fabulous places they were going. I focused on my own financial goals and where I wanted to be.
“Puff, puff, chug, chug, I think I can…I think I can…I think I can…”
-The Little Engine That Could
“If you will learn the lessons from yesterday’s mistakes in order to make wiser choices today, you can be confident of your future.” -Karl Berg
In case you are wondering, it took me eighteen months to dig out of my financial crisis. I could go on and on telling stories of how God worked in my life opening doors, closing doors, and showering me with sweet surprises along the way, but those will keep for another day.
And to think it all started with one “not-so-crisp” twenty-dollar bill.
What would it mean to you if your financial house was in order? Work a plan, give it to God and see what happens.
Please check out our Resource Page here at Hangar 6, to find some great links to budget templates, blogs on frugal living, and books that will help get you started on your financial journey. While you are there, go ahead and check out our other resources for your mind, body and soul.
The day you begin living within your means is the day you begin living your dreams!
Now, go finish your profile for that dating site. 😉
Question: What is your best money advice?