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Spend Less, Owe Less, Live More

If you spend less than you take in, inexorably your debt will decrease

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Society conditions us to consume more than we need and to spend more than we make. However, this kind of lifestyle is a recipe for disaster. Taking back control of your finances can help you free up time and make you feel more in control of your life more of the time.

Think back to your high school and college history classes: can you recall a nation in the history of the earth that accumulated huge deficits over a prolonged period of time, lacked a concerted effort towards reducing these deficits, yet was able to sustain economic prosperity for its citizens?

Can a nation, in debt for trillions annually, or a person – namely you – consistently run up huge deficits and expect no consequences?  For decades, tens of millions of Americans have accumulated personal debt via credit cards, loans, and other forms of financing. It’s likely that you have some financial debts.

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Subtle Servitude

Sustained deficit spending eventually erodes your ability to prepare for the future, and worse, to capitalize on current opportunities. The more you owe, the more enslaved you are! In Consumerism, Dr. Judith Schor notes that you’ve likely been taught to consume more than you need.

Right now, how would it feel if all your credit cards were paid off? How would it feel if you paid your monthly rent or mortgage several months in advance? How would it feel if your car loan was paid off? How would it feel if you were actually able to pay some of your utility bills for months in advance? For most people it would feel great. You’d feel in control of your time.

We all know the arguments about losing the (minuscule) amount of interest you could have earned if you let your money sit in the bank instead of paying the electric bill three months in advance. Ah, but wait. A month after you’ve paid your electric bill three months in advance, you receive the next month’s bill. Guess what? It shows that you have a huge credit and that nothing is due – you’ll smile when you see these kinds of bills!

A Moratorium on Spending

To reduce your personal debts, place a moratorium on optional spending, regardless of what items entice you, until your credit cards have zero balances.

Paying for material things which you don’t need, and certainly don’t save your time, might be satisfying, but ultimately can be draining.

Here are some strategies and tactics for controlling your checkbook, and hence reclaiming your life:

1. Write out checks to pay bills in advance of their due dates. Then, keep an advance file with a folder for each day of the month. Place the check in a sealed, addressed, and stamped envelope. Then put the envelope in the folder of the day it’s to be mailed. This way the money is allocated in advance in your checkbook, and your bills are paid on time. If your checking account pays interest, you don’t lose interest.

2. Occasionally, overpay the balance on your continuing accounts, or pay early. This gives you the aforementioned psychological boost when you see a credit on your next statement, and gives you a good reputation with your creditors, which is handy!

3. Keep a stick-on note in your checkbook for an immediate reference that lists what’s coming in this month and what needs to be paid. This provides you with a running mini-cash flow list to which you can refer at will. Update it weekly, or daily, if needed.

4. Review old checkbooks and see what you paid to whom for what. Do the same thing with your monthly credit card statements. Put a red mark next to all those expenditures that you didn’t need to make, or that you could have done without after further consideration.

5. Now, considering expenditures on the horizon, which ones can you do without?

Spend Less, Save More

As author Roger Dawson says, “It doesn’t matter how much money you’re making; if you’re spending more than you take in each month, you’re headed for trouble.” If you spend less than you take in, your debt will decrease, even if only a little at a time, and one day perhaps  disappear.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



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Faith

Life is Short: Married October 1st, Dead on December 5th

You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

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When I first moved to Chattanooga a year ago, I knew nobody, yet friends came quickly. One of the first people I met who was so welcoming was Andy, a 38 year old financial advisor. He was a gift. We went to lunch and became friends. We didn’t do a lot together but we spoke regularly. He was engaged and getting ready to be married on top of running a growing financial advisory business. He loved to fly his airplane and he loved boating. He and his fiancé’s life looked like it would be amazing. Young, affluent and in love.

On October 1st, my wife and I attended their wedding. It was beautiful. 250 guests celebrated with them and enjoyed a beautiful reception. When the reception was over it was off for their honeymoon.

Then, early in the week after they got back from their honeymoon, less than two weeks after getting married, Andy was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. Everyone was shocked, but hopeful. Andy was in great shape and active and a positive man.

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Yesterday, December 5th, Andy passed away at 39. 65 days after getting married, Andy’s wife became a widow.

It has made me think so much about life. Life is short. There are no guarantees in life. No promise of tomorrow. It truly is one day at a time.

But what does Andy’s death mean to you, even though you didn’t know him? It can be a reminder. You may not be here tomorrow. Christmas may never come for you, even this year.

As the Bible says in James 4:13-15, “Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business, and make a profit.’ You do not even know what will happen tomorrow! What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord is willing, we will live and do this or that.’”

What does that mean for you today?

It means you should love.
It means you should forgive.
It means you should take that risk.
It means you should reconcile that broken relationship.
It means you should laugh.
It means you should encourage someone.
It means you should take that trip.
It means you should enjoy that meal.
It means you should read that book.
It means you should sit in front of that fire with friends and a great bottle of wine.
It means you should really live.

Ultimately, it means that you should prepare for your future. I don’t mean your future here. I mean your future in the afterlife. Andy was a man of faith. Andy is in a better place today even though his friends and family are at a loss. Andy knew God and knew that God loved him.

We all have a short life here – even if you live to eighty, it still feels short and you wonder where all the time went. So live your best life. Make an impact and a difference. Leave the world a better place because you were in it. But more importantly, make sure that you are right with God because eventually we all draw our last breath and in the twinkling of an eye, we are face to face with our Maker.

Don’t be afraid of dying, be afraid of never really living…

We will miss you Andy, but we will see you soon.

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Faith

Is This The Best Marriage Book Ever Written?

One little word from the marriage vows makes all the difference.

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In this short video, Chris Widener, Founder of PolitiCrossing, shares the only marriage book that he and his wife read together over and over. It is based on one little word that we say in our marriage vows. And, as a bonus, he gives you two other book recommendations. Check out Chris’ brief overview of what he considers to be the best marriage book ever written. Links to buy the books are below the video (these are not affiliate links and we make no money off of your purchase.

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Buy the books by clicking below:

Cherish
Four Seasons
Better the Second Time

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