I can guarantee that the last two months of your life have been a couple of the busiest months of the entire year. In the midst of all the Thanksgiving and Christmas festivities, I’m certain you have had days where your house looked like a disaster area, your mind has been cluttered with your list of things-to-do, and your money has been not as plentiful as you wish. You are not the only one experiencing these things. For instance, this post is my first in about two months (probably more) because my mind has been completely preoccupied with STUFF! And you know how it is when you are busy and FINALLY get a moment to breathe–you don’t want to do a thing! I hope you’re not too upset with me taking a short vacation from blogging. I will do better in 2014. 🙂
During the next few weeks you may hear people discussing their new year’s resolutions and goals. Many will focus on their health and eating habits, which is fantastic, however I want to encourage you to not only make better health decisions, but to consider organizing and evaluating other things of importance: 1. Home 2.Relationships 3. Money.
Organize Your Home
Do you have boxes full of random items sitting around the house collecting dust? Let me tell you a little secret: Whatever is in those boxes more than likely is NOT treasure and probably wants to move to a comfy basement/garage, or better yet, a dumpster. I personally believe that a cluttered living space creates a cluttered mind and is capable of adding unwanted and unnecessary stress. We all know that stress can literally kill, so think of the clutter in your house as lethal. Here are some solutions to keeping your home clutter free:
- Straighten and do surface cleaning daily so your workload does not accumulate into a massive amount. If you want to add some fun to it, turn on some music, dance and get a slight workout with it! 🙂 Experiment with homemade cleaning concoctions and see what items in your kitchen can help you get the house sparkly clean. Here are a few ideas to get you started. Homemade Cleaning Solutions
- Take a look at your closet (and your child’s) right before the start of a new season (i.e. Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall) and clear out the items you do not wear or have not worn in a year or more. Grab some trash bags and donate those clothes to someone who could really use them. If you do not know anyone, find your nearest Salvation Army or Volunteers of America location and drop off the items. Our local Volunteers of America has scheduled days where they come to our neighborhood and collect unwanted items from you, curbside. If you have some great fashions and want to make some cash, sell them to your local Plato’s Closet (Once Upon a Child for your little ones) or set up an online shop on Big Cartel.
Evaluate Your Relationships
God and Family
- Who and what gets most of your time? Hopefully God and family are your first responses. Please notice that I said “God” and not “Church”–there is a big difference. It is easy for us to mistake time at the church or being busy with church related events as time spent with God. Do not get me wrong, God can absolutely be glorified by some of our doings with and at the church, but we must be careful and seek to honor God, not just man, with what we are involved in. Seeking to honor God will also help you to honor your family by forever keeping them a priority; God created the family unit during the beginning of time, so He would want you to do so. Regardless of what needs to be done at work, church, or in the community, it should never take precedence over your family–whether your family be comprised of just your spouse, just your children, just your parents or all of the above, give them the greatest gift you could ever give them, your time.
Friendships and Business Associations
- Evaluate both your personal and business relationships. Are these relationships and associations beneficial? If positive experiences and productivity is never a result during conversations and meetings, what is its purpose? Ephesians 5:15-17 says this: Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Every person that comes in your life is not meant to stay there for eternity. We must be wise about who we call friend, “understanding what the Lord’s will is” for the relationships that we develop. Graciously sift out those who will not help you get to where you want and need to be, personally and in business. Be grateful for and nurture the great relationships that you do have. There is no need to prematurely burn bridges with the people who care about and respect you most. At the beginning of this year I asked God to help me develop meaningful friendships with other women who love Jesus. He has done just that, slowly connecting me with like-minded women with whom I can gain wisdom from and enjoy true friendship.
Organize and Evaluate Your Money
Guest Contributer: Josh Watters, My Hubby
Over the past two years, Teri and I have tried our best to curb our costly spending habits. I am grateful for God’s provision for our family, and this year my goal is to make bigger strides towards true wealth.
Below I share a couple of pointers that have blessed our family. Pointers that we now live by, and will continue through 2014:
Make a Money Plan
- Plan ahead to be a better steward of your finances. I’ve learned that instead of just “shooting from the hip” as paydays and bills come along, sitting down and writing out a true budget is the best plan. The key is to be very detailed and realistic – be sure to create a general monthly budget, as well as an appendix that includes external expenses including (but not limited to) birthdays/gifts, out-of-town visits, and other anticipated expenses. This helps by adding foresight to your year. Unexpected and untracked expenses can be detrimental to a family’s income.
Cut Your Expenses
- We took a look our budget and could no longer justify paying for cable, or our cell phones. After the decision to oust the cable, our ATT Uverse Broadband internet is only $31/mo. Leaving the major carriers and switching to Republic Wireless, our cellphone bill is literally between $18 – $23/mo for BOTH PHONES! (proof – see our bill here) And yes, our plan includes both unlimited talk and text on our phones.
After cutting the luxuries we previously indulged in, it has become easier to give generously to God, our church, and others. No iPhone or cable television could ever match the joy we are experiencing as a result of a lifestyle of financial responsibility.
Download our easy-to-use budget template – take control of your finances this year!
My prayer is that whatever you stand in need of, whatever you desire to do, wherever it is that you want to go in 2014, that you receive it, achieve it, and arrive there. You can do all things through Christ; He is indeed your strength! May you understand God’s will for your life and may you live out your purpose. Happy New Year, readers! Get ready, this will be a GREAT year!