I have forewarned you guys before….my blog is a hodge podge. So today I’m chasing a different rabbit! 🙂 That rabbit’s name is survival mode. Most of us have faced hard financial times at some point or another. And I hate to be the bearer of bad news but if you haven’t…you will!
My husband and I faced a very trying time in 2011. God called us out of a mess we had created and planted us in a totally different location and to put it simply, He turned our whole world upside down. He blessed us richly, but we still faced struggles on the financial side of things. I realize now, He left that part of our journey “undone” because He wasn’t done growing us in that area. I’d love to tell you all that we are “finished growing” but we aren’t. However, God blessed me with a lot of knowledge on this path with how to survive when you are down to nothing.
So lets get started!!
1. Keep the faith! God promised that He would never leave you nor forsake you. (Hebrews 13:5) He also promised to provide your needs. (Philippians 4:19) Notice I said needs. That is often a hard pill for us to swallow.
2. Look at all of your bills. If you are paying for something that you don’t really need (there goes that word again) then now is the time to ditch it. You don’t have to have TV to survive. Besides you are going to be too busy making ends meet to be watching primetime anyway. Now is the time to be drastic and make cuts so survival mode will only be temporary.
3. Look at your house and car. You have to ask yourself, “Am I living beyond my means?” If the answer is, “Yes!” Then it is time for a change. Some are fortunate not to be upside down in their home or car. So downsizing and trading in for something less is a possibility. If so, then go for it! If not, then getting right side up is a priority.
4. After cutting bills….now is the time to budget. You write out all of your bills and include monthly estimates of the bills that vary. Compare it to your income and hopefully you will make enough to cover your bills. I am going to encourage you to include tithing 10% of your check regardless. My family is living proof that God will bless if you trust Him in this area! It is hard to give, I know, when you don’t know how the bills will be paid, but I encourage you to trust Him! This is a trial and every trial has a reason…usually to build your faith!
(Some of you may be like me and live on a varying income. I am going to write a follow up post on how to budget when you face this challenge.)
5. If you do not make enough to cover all of your bills then it is time to prioritize. You will need to pay for your shelter, utilities, etc. first. Then cars, loans, etc. Creditors will work with you usually so do be honest with them. If not, send them what you can.
6. Next, time to figure out how to make extra income to pay off those debts. You can get a second job if you have the time. If not, check out pennyhoarder.com or moneysavingmom.com for ways to make money from home. I have used them from time to time and have had good results. I also recommend getting rid of everything material around you that you do not need. It is instant cash and can pay off debts.
7. Food—you still have to eat though you are trying to survive. Do not eat out! Learn to cook! Grow as much of your food as you can, coupon, etc. (I see another blog post in the making here too!)
8. Don’t be afraid to work! It takes a lot of work to get out and stay out of debt. Convenience is what sucks us into debt to begin with. You have to change your way of thinking. Be willing to do things differently and outside of the box. Keep moving forward regardless. You will have set backs, but don’t give up hope! God is for you!! You can claim victory and win this battle! You do not have to stay in survival mode your whole life….it just takes change!
On a final note, you notice I didn’t mention saving as you go. A lot of people claim it’s the most important thing. I agree! I also know it is so hard to have money there staring you in the face when you are scraping by. I encourage you to save even if it is only $10 a month. Put it in an online bank account that is tough to get to. As you pay down your debts, add a little more. However, I think getting set up in your new way of thinking is the most vital step in surviving when you are barely making it.