going deeper

How to stop money stress this year

By: Becky

We all know what it’s like to stress out about money. It’s especially easy to do when you’re in the middle of the holidays. You’re buying more food than usual, you may be traveling a lot, and you’re probably spending a lot of your paycheck on Christmas presents.

Those costs add up, and it can feel overwhelming . . . especially if you fall back on credit cards to cover all those extra holiday expenses.

You don’t want to sweep your money stress under the rug. Instead, you want to address it so you can change your life and kick that nasty stress to the curb!

The good news is: you can stop money stress. To get started, check out these four things you can do to move toward financial peace.

1. Know what the Bible says about debt.

A surprising number of people pay for Christmas with credit cards. One study even found that Americans who finance their holiday shopping charged close to $1,000 on average. The interest on those charges adds up quick, especially since the average credit card interest rate is 15%. When you spend with plastic instead of cash, you end up paying way more for those gifts than you think.

While using debt to shop might be normal for our culture, the Bible reminds us we shouldn’t see it that way. In fact, Romans 13:8 (NIV) says, “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another.”

Maybe you used a credit card to buy presents for your family and friends this year. If so, don’t beat yourself up. But now that you know God’s view on debt, it’s a good time to cut up those cards and start saving to pay for Christmas 2017. Imagine how good it would feel to buy all your gifts with cash!

2. Make giving a priority.

Giving is something God wants for us. It isn’t something He wants from us. Notice how 2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV) says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” He doesn’t need our money, but we are most like Him when we’re generous . That’s why giving should be the first thing you do with your paycheck.

It may sound a little weird to say you should give money away when you’re probably worried about how many bills you need to pay. But generosity comes with a lot of perks. Studies have found that generosity gives you a sense of peace and joy, makes you happier, helps you live longer, and even counters depression.

If you’re skeptical, make giving a priority for a few months and see how God works in your life—and in your finances—to help you feel less stressed and more generous.

3. Practice contentment.

It’s easy to feel good about what you have until you see what someone else has—and then you want what they have more. And social media has made it easier than ever to compare ourselves to others. But, like Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy .”

Think about it. It’s hard to be happy with what you’ve got when you’re always pining after what someone else has. That can become an unpleasant spiritual issue, but it will also drain your bank account faster than you can blink.

Practice contentment by focusing on the things you’re grateful for. You may even want to make a list. There are probably more things to be thankful for than you realize. Once you find contentment with what you already have, you quit trying to keep up with the Joneses—and spend way less money!

4. Make a plan for your money.

Luke 14:28 (NIV) says, “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” God doesn’t want you to live in fear, stress or worry about your finances. He wants you to have a plan—not because He wants to control your life, but because He wants the best for you!

Financial Peace University classes will give you the tools you need to get out of debt—and win with money. And when you buy a membership, it’s good for life. You can attend FPU classes any time you want, as many times as you want. According to a survey of our FPU graduates, the average family who signs up saves $2,700 and pays off $5,300 in the first 90 days. It’s life-changing stuff!

Once you’re on a plan, you’ll be the one telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. And you can bet your stress level will go down a lot.

Money stress doesn’t have to control your life. Sign up for Financial Peace University and learn how to take control of your finances and say farewell to stress!

*Reprinted with permission from www.Stewardship.com

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