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JENNIFER'S GEMS
by Jennifer Brown Banks

Prosperity Principles for Today's Singles

(12 Rules for Reaping)

Let’s face it. Unless you’re Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey, one of your New Year’s resolutions was financial fitness In fact, other than losing weight or finding a love connection, it’s one of the most common personal goals established each year.

For singles, the need becomes even more urgent due to reliance on one income, and other contributing factors like the increased bankruptcy rate, and the state of the economy.

 

Most of us are overwhelmed, overextended and living from paycheck to paycheck; maxing out credit cards to buy basic essentials like groceries and gas.

Statistics show that over 100 million Americans purchase on plastic. Only about 25 percent of cardholders pay their balances when due and avoid interest.

Whether you’re living from paycheck to paycheck, trying to purchase a home, or simply seeking to live more comfortably, here are 12 key strategies to achieve financial fitness:

1) Exercise a Good Game Plan
Where do you want to be in 5 months? In 5 years? What major purchases are you considering? Do you have a cushion if you should lose your job? These are things to consider in arriving at your short and long term financial goals. Keep in mind that the more realistic you are in assessing where you want to be and how you’ll get there, the greater the chances for continued fiscal health!

2) Watch Your "Waste" Line
Monitor your spending habits and cut out the excess fat. Things like a $5.00 cup of coffee each morning at Starbucks, eating take-out four times a week, and cigarette habits can add up over time! As the expression goes, “if you keep up with your pennies, your dollars will take care of themselves.”

3) Be a Good Steward
Take care of the assets you’ve already been blessed with, and be grateful.

4) Know What Prosperity Is
Prosperity is more about "how you live" than how much you make for a living.

5) Think Thrift!
Have you ever discovered the hidden treasures found at local thrift stores? Contrary to opinion, thrift stores are not for the poor. There are many upscale shops that sell new items, vintage clothing, and unique antiques at a fraction of the cost, to savvy, successful customers of all races and socioeconomic backgrounds. In fact, a few years ago I purchased a VCR for 10 bucks that still works great Not to mention, these stores often have a great musical selection and best-selling books at rates lower than online clubs.

6) Compare Banks
Does your financial institution offer free checking? Interest on deposits? Overdraft protection? Free ATM withdrawals? Mine does. With the competition to get your business, make sure that you shop around for what best suits your needs and objectives.

7) Embrace Sowing Principles
Whether it’s in love, life, or business, you truly reap what you sow. Don’t be tit for tat in your dealings: your kindness will be multiplied.

8) Don't be "House Poor"
To own one’s own home is a beautiful blessing, as well as a major investment. But like other purchases, it needs to be entered into with prudence and proper regard. I have a friend who has a beautiful home out in the suburbs. Truthfully speaking, it looks like one you would see featured on lifestyles of the rich and famous. It’s really lavish! But what outsiders don’t realize, is that to afford it she and her husband both have to work 2 jobs because the mortgage is way over their heads. In my opinion, that’s a great sacrifice of a lot of freedom and quality of life.

9) Hone Your Job Skills and Add to Your Professional Credentials
By learning a new skill, taking a class, or obtaining a degree, you add to your “personal assets”, become more marketable, and ultimately increase your earning potential.

10) Consider Bartering to Obtain Needed Goods and Services
This also reduces out of pocket expenses. I’ve traded music, dance lessons, and other things in exchange for writing services.

11) Be an Educated Consumer
Research companies through the Better Business Bureau before signing on the dotted line and finalizing contracts. Also consult publications like Consumer Report for unbiased reviews of products you’re seeking to buy.

12) Petition Your Requests in Prayer
Ask God for divine discernment and discipline in your spending habits.



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Jennifer's Gems is a weekly column written by award-winning poet and writer, Jennifer Brown Banks. It is published every Wednesday. Click here to read her welcome letter.


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