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God and money--taking action
Doing something is better than doing nothing
There comes a time when you have to do something about your situation. After all the praying and believing, action must come. The Bible says faith without works is dead. So while I have written the previous articles to encourage people and give them hope, this is written to give ideas and tips. If you have a job and you just need to get a better handle on your money, work on that and good for you. But if you are getting despondent and desperate, maybe something here will help you. Jobs are still scarce in many areas. People have lost homes and this is a bitter pill to swallow, especially if you tried to do things correctly. If you have your health, you can get another house, when things improve economically, which they will. Eventually, you can get another job. But you have to live until then. These ideas may not all be the most pleasant, but doing something is often better than doing nothing. And sometimes unexpected benefits arise where you didn't think they would.
1. Sell stuff
You can sell things on eBay, Craigslist, Amazon, Etsy, and there are other sites as well. Offline, you can have a garage or yard sale. Even when you think you don't have anything to sell, you can find something you may have overlooked. Sometimes you have things to sell but you don't want to sell them, because you are attached to them in some way. If you are not acctually using it, and you need money, it needs to go. You will find that you can live with a lot less stuff than you think you can. Many things you just had to have...you don't have to have them after all.
2. Grow stuff
It is summer but it is not too late to plant fall crops in pots or in the yard. Unless you plan to eat the lawn, you can sacrifice part of the yard space for a garden. The food you grow is not only the cheapest food you will eat, it often tastes better than what you get in the store. And if you have excess, which you often do, you can sell it or trade it with others for other types of food or whatever else you need. Some crops, like tomatoes, are really easy to grow and if you have no gardening skills whatsoever, this might be a good place to start. Plants are not complicated. They all need sunshine, water and soil --they just vary in the amounts they need. Gardening is a skill that can be acquired quickly and brings tremendous rewards.
3. Learn skills
There are free classes in home repair. You can learn how to fix things. If you already know how to fix things, many people will pay you to fix their things because they don't know how and don't want to learn. If you can build things, you can make items to sell. If you understand computers, you are almost guaranteed work, because most people don't know doodly squat about how to fix these things. Take a little time to let people know you have these skills and you will have a way to earn some money. Right now I have a broken shelf in my closet. I have called people about fixing it but they are too busy doing bigger jobs. What does this mean? It means there is work out there, people. You say there is competition? Maybe, but if you do a little more than the basic minimum requirement you will get more work than you can handle, because that's all most people are doing.
Bartering used to be really popular back when people didn't have a lot of money. Well, guess what? Everything old is new again. Money is tight and if you have something to trade, you can trade it for something you need. The "it" could be an item or a skill or a service. If you can fix someone's water faucet and they can fix your air conditioner both of you save money. In times like these, whether you save money or make money you get ahead.
5. Band together
During the Depression era, families banded together to weather the economic storm. I know we have become a very independent society with families living long distances from one another. But when times are hard, pooling resources is a way of holding out until things improve. If moving a long distance to be with other family members is not an option, maybe friends can join households and pool what they have. Group housing and cooperative living takes a healthy dose of getting along with others. Space may be limited and it can be a test of patience to live with people who have different attitudes and behaviors. But it can be done. In fact, it IS done. College students, seniors in group houses, special needs children, and people with certain socio-political beliefs have all proven that multiple people or families can share a dwelling and resources for everyone's benefit.
6. Let go of stuff
Let go of the cable television. Let go of either the cellphone or the landline. Let go of the memberships. Use the internet in libraries and cafes. Walk in the neighborhood or around a track at a school or in a park. Lift cans, or bags of cans, instead of weights at the gym. Let go of premium brands of stuff and buy the cheaper or even the store brand. If you can't stand it you can always go back but you might find you actually can't tell the difference in some cases.
7. Track your money
Poor people spend money without thinking and then they wonder where it went. I know, I have been one of them for years. The majority of wealthy people track their money and they know every penny that comes in or out of their hands. They know where it came from and they know where it went or where it is going. I know, I am trying to be one of them. When money is tight, you can't afford to be mindless about it. You have to know what you have and what it's doing. When you know what is coming in and what is going out, you can work it around over time until you have more coming in that going out. This is the way out of disaster and into well-being. This is the way to wealth if that is what you want. Spending less than you make, eliminating debt and saving as much as you can will enable you to rest easy once again.
Some people believe in frugality, saving money by cutting back wherever possible. Others believe in making money, with job ideas and investment ideas. I believe in both. The best weigh loss programs involve both cutting calories through diet and doing more through exercise. The best financial plans involve cutting expenses through being more frugal and increasing income through work and debt elimination. And for the Christian, prayer is a crucial part of each of these steps. Pray for guidance in selling stuff. Pray for wisdom in learning skills and bartering. Pray for patience in banding together. Pray for peace as you let go of things. Pray for understanding as you track your finances. We are taught to pray without ceasing. This situation gives you plenty of opportunity to do just that.
Do something besides waiting for light to shine
Sometimes when a situation is bad, we are paralyzed. Fear causes us to freeze and do nothing. Depression makes us want to curl up in the corner. But there is always something that you can do. And doing something can start a sequence that takes you into better circumstances. When you are down a hole in debt, the only thing to do is dig out a little at a time. But it still requires doing something.
Even when God sent manna to the Israelites in the desert, they had to go out and pick the stuff up. Effort is required. But if you do your part, God will more than do HIs.