Help! I’m Broke!

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Now that Christmas is over, many of us are realizing the damage we did in spending … mainly over spending. 

The common thread going around is, “Help! I’m Broke!”

We love the gift-giving process, but in the end, we are left wondering how we will make it through the following year.

This inevitably leads many of us to make financial new year’s resolutions!

The list goes something like this …

1. Make a Budget

2. Stick to a Budget

3. Save, Save, Save!

Whether we have bills to pay or expenses coming up, we could all use a little more in savings – and this time of year reminds us of just how real that is!

Let me encourage you to take a few steps this week or next to eliminate stress and give you a great start to the New Year!

1. Breathe, Relax, & Pray About It

Do you have big expenses coming in the next year? Or maybe even a large debt to start paying off? Relax. We are called in scripture to give our requests to God and He will in turn give us peace. Let that be your mantra for heading into the new year. You won’t be able to do anything on your own – only through the grace and power of our Lord. So rely on Him for your worries, and remember to bring it to Him in prayer.

Philippians 4:6-7 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

2. Write Down Your Goals

Nothing is worse than having a goal in mind and never sticking to it. Make it a habit to write down your goals. It’s better to have one solid goal than many hard to attain goals – so if you must, simply write down one! Have it somewhere that you can easily see it. Post it on the fridge, on a bulletin board at work, write it in your calendar and set an alert. Seeing your goal on a consistent basis will make it more of a reality.

3. Start Small

All big goals can be realized in time if you start small. Maybe you have a goal to be financially independent, or to pay off your home. While these goals sound impossible right now, they are not impossible if you start today. Start small with a simple savings schedule. Before you know it your savings can grow and compound and you will be amazed with the amount that is contributed.

If you practice these 3 steps in the new year you will be on the right track, and before you know it, the stress of the Christmas spending will be behind you!

– Erika from Faithful with Finances

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10 Ways to Practice Generosity This Christmas

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1. Write a Hand-Written Letter to a Loved One

How long has it been since you’ve received a hand-written letter? Probably a LONG time! Nowadays, a hand-written note means much more to the recipient because you actually took the time amidst the busyness of life to sit down and think about what they mean to you. Think about someone in your life that could really use a hand-written note … I’m sure they will love it!

2. Volunteer at Church

Does your church do anything special for Christmas? At the very least they probably have a Christmas Eve service. Call or speak with the leadership and ask if there is any way you can help. They will be more than happy to find a place for you, and a helping hand is always needed at this time of year when more people are inclined to go to church and hear about the “reason for the season”!

3. Do a Family Toast About Blessings

Our family loves to do this around Thanksgiving, and I have to admit, I look forward to it more than the meal! I love to hear what people are especially thankful for – and what God is doing and has done in their lives. Take a moment to go around the table and talk about one thing you are thankful for … the answers just might surprise you!

4. Give Someone Your Undivided Attention

Ever been caught in the middle of a conversation only to realize the person on the other end is totally distracted and isn’t hearing a word you’re saying? Practice the art of listening this Christmas by going out of your way to meet that person’s needs and simply hear what they are saying. A lot of times you can pick up on subtle cues and emotional pain simply by looking into their eyes when they talk about something. Be that listening ear when everyone else is distracted.

5. Help Prepare a Meal

Maybe you don’t have the funds to create the spread and invite everyone over – but you can definitely lend a helping hand! Get in the kitchen and ask your hostess what you can do to “make her life easier”. That will be a  sigh of relief to her, and most hostesses are more than happy to give you an easy (or sometimes difficult!) job.

6. Go Caroling

As a family or with your church this can be a very fun, very joyful experience. So what if you’re not the best singer in the world? Have fun with it! You only get to celebrate your Savior’s birth this one time of year, so make sure the WORLD can hear that joy!

7. Invite a Lonely Friend to Dinner

Many people around this time of year start to feel uncomfortable. They have no spouse or kids to share this season with, and they often feel left-out and may even spend Christmas at a local restaurant. If you know someone in your life that could use a little cheering up, simply invite them to your Christmas celebrations. Who knows … maybe you are the only person that even thought to invite them to a get-together this year.

8. Read the Christmas Story out Loud

One way that my family and I always put things into perspective is by reading the Christmas story BEFORE we open our gifts in the morning. Trust me, when I was younger, this was a hard thing to do! But now that I’m older, I can’t help but appreciate the tradition. The Bible is this wonderful gift we’ve been given, and Jesus was the greatest gift to all humanity … so the reading of this present should definitely come first!

9. Do a Christmas Craft with Your Kids

As a kid, I can certainly remember some of the great gifts I received, but some of my favorite memories are when we did things together as a family … no matter what the activity! Pick out a simple Christmas craft or game to do with your kids and they will remember not just the presents, but the great memories that were created. Need ideas? You can always visit Pinterest!

10. Smile and Say “Merry Christmas!”

I was in Walmart the other day in the checkout line and I remember thinking to myself, “Should I say Merry Christmas?” I’m embarrassed to say that the thought even crossed my mind … but before I knew it … in a loud voice and with a smile the checker said, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!” Don’t ever be afraid to spread the message of Christmas. It is a wonderful story to tell. By the joy and smile on your face when you share that with someone, they can, in turn, share that joy with someone else. It’s a special time of the year, and we need to remember the joy that we should carry in our hearts as a thanks to our great and awesome Savior.
Have any heartfelt traditions you do with your family? Give us some ideas and leave a comment below!