Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Build Your House On A Strong Foundation

Any project's goals need to be defined. This is one of the building blocks that provide a strong foundation. I'm a big one for strong foundations. I discovered the importance of strong foundations when I read about them in the bible, when I was a young mother. I'm not one to remember all of the logistics. I couldn't say where to find the information other than to say it is in the New Testament.

The verse talks about building houses on sand. Something that is not advised. It continues to say a strong house is built on rock. This is what the basement and concrete slab represent in modern home building.

The verse went on to say that in all things we do need to have a strong foundation. It takes time to develop the strength of a foundation, but once the development is complete it is there forever.

As stated in the verse, we can translate this principle to all things. For instance, If I had 10.00 and need milk, eggs, flour - but want cookies and ice cream, the choice I make on how I spend the money will create a foundation for healthy eating or not. The previous items will provide the basis for healthy meals, while the former items will make me sick if it is all I purchase.

The same principles are applied with the income we have. It doesn't matter if the income is from working a job or two, social security, a trust fund or welfare. It doesn't even matter if it's a small income or large. There are plenty of people making lots of money, but have nothing because they spend more than they bring in. It only matters how we use it.

Use of income first on necessities rather than wants creates a strong foundation. It provides shelter and human comfort. Wants only provide temporary satisfaction.

Somehow the current generation has been led to believe that things are exciting. Things are what bring you success in your circle of friends and family. Not many people can afford to purchase all of the things available without using credit cards. Cards, I might add, that carry hefty interest rates and penalties.

This behavior provides an economic foundation built on sand. No one can save on these habits. If you think of credit as a type of slavery, perhaps you can change the foundation of your thought process.

Changing habits is difficult. Humans have a difficult time with change, especially if we have to work at it. It's just our nature. But it can be done. With perseverance, anything can be done.

1) The first thing to do is realize money is nothing more than a tool. There is no worth to it other than that. It doesn't make you better or worse, there should be no emotional tie to money. This is the most difficult hurdle to jump. Once you get this(it will take a while), the rest becomes easier.

2) Next is to create a plan. The most difficult thing about this is not creating the plan, but chastising yourself when you don't follow it. If you find you deviate from the plan, pick yourself up and move on. Keep in mind whatever goal is set, will be met at some time in the future. It doesn't matter if the goal is positive or negative, it will always come to fruition. Remember if you stay on track 3 months and fall off track the next, you are 3 months ahead. If you did nothing to conquer debt, those 3 months would not have happened.

3) Re evaluate your spending habits. There are things we buy because of an emotional trigger. Even though I am a grandmother, I realized just yesterday that I had a difficult time dressing nicely until the past few years because an old woman said something mean to me when I was 6. That is an emotional trigger. Think about things and one by one alter your buying impulses. Most pain in this area finds it's roots in the high school environment. Keep in mind, you are no longer there. There's no popular girl to impress. (Not that they were ever impressed. They were too busy thinking about themselves.)

4) Re evaluate what you use for entertainment. Changes here are easiest to make and can provide more cash for debt payment. Use free activities in your area. Concerts in the park, the library, things like this.

5) Re evaluate your grocery and health and beauty budget. Can you find ways of feeding your family in a healthier manner? Perhaps using popcorn from a bag that cooks on the stove rather than the microwave kind. Taking a few minutes to plan a list to take advantage of sales. Using coupons and checking out RA rebate offers. Stocking up on items you use frequently when they are on sale. Every store has a cycle for putting items on sale. Learn your store's and save cash.

6) Concentrate on the highest interest debt first. Pay minimum on the other cards (most people have many) and keep moving forward. Use every available cent to pay off the debt. Fifty cents may not seem to matter, but that's less interest paid on a balance.

The credit card companies know how important that fifty cents is because they make money on it in interest rates charged.

This information is not meant to be the end all. It is intended to be the foundation of a strong debt reduction plan. If you are serious about leaving the enslaved masses, there is a ton of information on the Internet.

Read the Grocery Challenge thread on msn money. These ladies are willing to take newbies under their wing and teach anyone who is interested.

I hope you will consider this information for your future. Remember it takes years to get in debt, it may take just as long getting out of it. The reward is well worth it. Good luck.

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