Barely keeping up with partially paid bills and piling debts can sometimes invite bull-dog debt collectors—how overwhelming for the loving husband and father. In such situations, it is easy to feel powerless. Some men give up and lose hope while others pursue illegal activity to combat the financial strain, but neither result well. So what does a man do when he is drowning in lack with a family who depends on him to fix it?
Make a New Decision & Manage It Daily
Making decisions is not usually hard, the challenge comes with managing those decisions. Before anything else, (1) decide with your wife to start handling money with wisdom, (2) being accountable to one another for purchases, and (3) making everyday choices that pay into your financial future. Recognize too that changing spending habits you have developed over many years will not always reverse easily or quickly. Once you decide to handle your money differently, understand you will most likely have to endure times where it seems it is not working when it actually is.
Turn Off the Unhealthy Pride
Accept godly help and ward off feelings of shame. Proverbs 16:18 warns, “First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” Of course receiving help with strings attached is not wise; for example, from a father-in-law who will hang it over your head. Additionally, children should not work to contribute financially (2 Corinthians 12:14). However, when your wife is willing and able to help, let her (Genesis 2:18). Where you struggle financially she is probably stronger and vice versa. Also, if you have to get a part-time job at a place where you are overqualified, do so. When you are tempted to feel embarrassed about it, redirect your thoughts and think of the reward.
Stop Borrowing Money to Get Out of Debt
Proverbs 22:7 nails it perfectly advising, “The poor are always ruled over by the rich, so don’t borrow and put yourself under their power.” Using loans or credit cards to get out of debt only causes you to go deeper into it. An MIT study concluded customers spend more with the option to use credit cards versus cash, so it is scientifically proven that credit cards do not benefit you financially. Getting a credit card offer after being denied a loan is not a blessing in disguise either. Dave Ramsey, a leading financial expert, says, “Credit cards have never really brought blessings. They promise blessings that aren’t there. And so what we teach people to do is have plastic surgery, get rid of them.”
Say “No” More Often
Salesmen usually do not care about your financial future, so think before buying impulsively. Keep in mind that you save more money than any deal when you refuse to buy what is not an absolute need.
Concerning family, improvise. Saying no to a restaurant birthday dinner or a party at Chuck E. Cheese’s should not mean no celebration at all. Instead, you might make your wife a candlelight birthday dinner (have grandma cook if you cannot), and throw a sweet-treats party for the children with homemade desserts (get ingredients for less at a dollar store).
Tell Your Money What to Do
It says a lot when you do not know where your money went, so tell your money what to do by using a monthly budget. Proverbs 21:5 informs, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” Therefore, you get more out of your money by planning its use in advance and knowing what you can and cannot afford ahead of time.
Ramsey says your budget list should go in this order: (after giving and savings) food, utilities (lights, water and heat), shelter (mortgage or rent), basic transportation and basic clothing. Include other items with leftover money. Otherwise, get rid of excessive bills like cable or internet with tighter budgets. (See the resources below for help with making a budget.)
FocusOnTheFamily.org: Securing Financial Peace for Your Family (Part 1)
FocusOnTheFamily.org: Securing Financial Peace for Your Family (Part 2)
Always Leave Home Without It: A Further Investigation of the Credit Card Effect on Willingness to Pay by MIT