I came upon Zig Ziglar's Wheel of Life while browsing the internet a few weeks ago, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about it. In order to achieve balance in life (and in my case, to achieve peace), one needs to make sure each of these 7 areas is getting balanced attention. I am finding that my anxieties are always rooted in the areas that are out of balance somehow. In the case of career, it's because that area is getting too much focus. And in the case of family, it's because that area isn't getting enough of my time.
So, I'd like to focus on ways to find balance and peace in each of these areas.
Since my word for 2013 was ABUNDANCE, and part of my goal last year was to figure out how to be a more wise steward of the money we are so blessed to have, I figured I'd start with financial peace. I definitely learned a lot, but like many things in life, if you don't keep working at it, it's super easy to fall behind. And that is exactly what started to happen around Christmas time and we are just now--at the end of February--starting to get things back into better control again.
Following are five ways that we are beginning to find financial peace. I say "beginning," because I don't think I can have total peace in this area until we are completely out of debt and have a substantial savings. But I do feel peace about the path we are currently on, and that's a very good thing.
1. BudgetYou knew this would be first, didn't you? Before you click away in disgust, may I tell you that I used to be completely against budgeting? I hated it, and mostly I didn't do it. Every time I actually tried it I failed spectacularly because stuff would always come up. I could never keep my spending under the limits in every single category, and it just made me feel like a failure.
Enter YNAB (You Need a Budget). I have several friends who swear by it, so I downloaded the free trial one day in desperation. I was so sick of living paycheck to paycheck, working my guts out, and barely keeping our heads above water in the finance department as we struggled to pay our every day bills, plus credit card and student loan debt.
YNAB is not just a budgeting software--it teaches you real skills along the way. The company offers a ton of free financial webinars and sends you emails full of wonderful tips to help you find financial peace. I was completely hooked after my 30-day free trial. In that 30 days we were able to really start to get a handle on things, and within another couple of months I had a new washer and dryer that we paid for with cash. In the 18 months we have used YNAB we have managed to pay off over 10,000 dollars in credit card debt and an end to it all is actually in sight. That has never happened before. We have built up our savings, are more aware of our expenses, and are just in a much better place financially overall.
As far as the budgeting goes? YNAB's philosophy is simple. You will go over every month. But the system accounts for that and helps you stay on track even if you have unexpected expenses. Because who doesn't have unexpected expenses?