By Emily G. Stroud
Everywhere you look right now, there are promotions and advertisements for new diets that are guaranteed to work and change your life. It’s impossible to escape the barrage of magazine covers, social media campaigns, and release of new diet books. In January, it seems like these new diets are everywhere.
Unfortunately, fad diets don’t work. If they do work, the results are often only temporary. As soon as you go back to a somewhat normal eating plan, the weight returns immediately. It’s a real bummer if you ask me. I’d love to swallow a magic pill, or guzzle a detox drink, and miraculously look the same as I did the day I graduated from high school.
Since turning the Big 4-0, I’ve learned that the only way to achieve my health and fitness goals is to adopt a long-term plan. True commitment and hard work are what it actually takes to maintain a healthy weight. There is no shortcut.
As I’ve embraced this long-term view of being healthy, I now know that it’s a numbers game. Numbers are my wheelhouse so this makes sense to me. You have to burn more calories than you take in. You have to exercise to increase your metabolism enough to burn extra calories to create a “deficit” in order to lose weight.
The same reality exists for starting a savings plan. There is no quick fix financial diet. It takes commitment and having a plan in place that you can follow and maintain. If you want financial freedom, you have to spend less money than you make each month. The Bible also reminds us that it’s prudent to save money for both our future goals as well as any unforeseen emergencies that may arise.
Proverbs 21:20 (NIV) states, “The wise store up choice food and olive oil, but fools gulp theirs down.” Proverbs 21:5 (NIV) also reminds us, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”
The first step in starting a savings plan is to create realistic budget. If you don’t know how much you’re spending each month, then you have no idea how much money you could contribute to a regular, systematic savings plan. One of the biggest objections I hear from clients and readers is that they don’t know where to start when it comes to creating a budget.
I want to empower you to take control of your personal finances so you can live a much more fruitful and peaceful life. I have created a detailed budget worksheet for your convenience. All you have to do is fill in the blanks and add and subtract. No more excuses! Please visit my website and enter your email address when prompted. I will personally send you a complimentary budget planner.
People often procrastinate when starting a new savings plan. It falls into the same category as starting a new diet. DIET and SAVE are both considered ugly four letter words. We fear we’re going to be restricted and miss out on the fun stuff. Don’t think of saving money as a punishment. Think of saving money as a lifestyle change and a means to freedom. It’s a disciplined choice you can make today to benefit yourself and your family tomorrow. Nobody is making you save money or spend irresponsibly. By saving regularly, you are choosing a better life for yourself.
A disciplined lifestyle in regards to achieving financial freedom may require supernatural strength to take a positive step forward. There are several ways to gather the strength you will need. Spend time in God’s Word. Pray for wisdom, energy, and focus. Meet with someone you trust who can provide wise counsel and a rational sounding board. I hope you will check back in with me regularly and often. I will be providing advice, tips, and encouragement for you to learn how to live your best life possible from a financial standpoint. You can visit me at www.emilygstroud.com.
If you want to dig deeper and have a much better understanding of how to achieve true financial freedom from a biblical worldview, then I encourage you to order a copy of my new book Faithful Finance: 10 Secrets to Move from Fearful Insecurity to Confident Control.
Original content by Emily G. Stroud, the author of Faithful Finance: 10 Secrets to Move from Fearful Insecurity to Confident Control. Click here to learn more about this title.
Perhaps you feel overwhelmed and ill-equipped to deal with our personal finances. You’re not alone. Many wonder if they’ll ever experience financial freedom. They want to make wise decisions and spend money on what matters, but they just don’t know how.
Financial advisor Emily G. Stroud is a mom, businesswoman, and entrepreneur. She has two decades of experience with helping people make smart choices about money. She knows that money can be one of the great causes of stress in life—but that it doesn’t have to be that way. Finances, in fact, can be a great source of joy, security, and hope.
In Faithful Finance, Emily comes alongside you to:
- Develop a savings plan based on your unique goals
- Make a monthly budget that actually works for you
- Reduce your overall debt burden
- Plan for your children’s college years
- Insure your life without fear
- Leave a legacy through estate planning
- Encourage you to give generously
- And most importantly, discover the source of true wealth
Presented in a conversational style, this practical guide offers ten life-changing secrets that work in every financial situation, for every income level, at every stage of life. With engaging stories and practical examples, Emily empowers you to make choices that will allow you and your loved ones to enjoy financial freedom for years to come.
Emily G. Stroud owns and manages a boutique investment firm called Stroud Financial Management. She has been a Financial Advisor for nearly two decades. As both an MBA and a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Stroud counsels people on how to handle their money, manage risk, and ensure a nice tidy retirement. She lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband and two children.