In 2001 I started middle school! I was the proud owner of a Jan Sport backpack, wrangler jeans, the newest style shoes, those cool Hawaiian shirts, and life was all good. During my middle school years I went through many phases: bleaching my hair, glasses, weight gain (I love food), dating. Life was good!
In 2003 I started high school. I was once again the proud owner of another Jan Sport backpack, cargo shorts, sandles, shoes, Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts, band, girls, weight gain (again, I still loved food). I got my first car in high school, had to pay for it, pay the insurance, pay for gas, and even pay for all the repairs on my own. I got my first official job (Which I quit). I lost my father to Parkinson’s Disease my senior year of high school (which is why I quit my job). High school was rough, but I learned that money was important, people needed it to survive, and that the more you worked the more money you would have.
After graduating I went to college. I went to a Christian Liberal Arts College in Portland, OR for a year and a half, doing general education classes (math, English, science, etc).
DO NOT GO TO A COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY STRAIGHT FROM HIGH SCHOOL!!!!!!!! Figure out where you want to go, then go do your general education classes at a local community college (Be sure the school you want to go to will accept the credits from your community college).
I then left college, went to work for 3 months, then went and enrolled in Bible School at Multnomah University. This is where I learned the hard lessons about money (or so I thought). This is where I fell in love with the BIBLE. This is also where I met my core group of friends who I love and care sooo deeply about. It is also where I met my beautiful wife (at an all school retreat). I graduated Spring 2012 with a B.S. in Bible & Theology and with a B.S. in Educational Ministries with an emphasis in Ministry Leadership. This has been a great experience for me in my life. This is where I learned to make a budget, apply discipline for studying, what an “all nighter” would do if you did it for multiple days in a row. I learned how to sacrifice (for others, my family, myself).
Right after graduation I was planning a wedding, figuring out our honeymoon plans (we ended up at Disneyland-her favorite place in the world), looking for work (which I didn’t find until after we were married), looking for housing, and trying to figure out what I was going to do with the responsibility of a family.
When we got married we both knew that we weren’t going to be rich, and we both knew we would have to cut many corners to stop from sinking. The reality is, EVERYBODY goes through this at some point in their life! The problem with our culture is that we want what we want, and we want it NOW (which is probably why 4 out of 10 Americans are one emergency away from financial trouble).
I am the first to admit that I’m no genius when it comes to money. In fact I came from a single parent home, with a fair share of debt in it. However there are many different resources out there for you, to help eliminate debt and get in control of your spending (see here). Many churches across America have promoted one specific guy Dave Ramsey.
I have found that most of these people are saying the same thing, with different visuals and words. The secret is to find one you can connect with, and seems to be using their brain (believe me there are some total wacko’s out there trying to get your money). DON”T believe in those programs where you have to purchase stuff to learn what they do! (This is why my wife and I like Dave Ramsey so much). 90% if not more of his process, practices, and ideas can be found on his site at NO COST to you! We have found that following his Emergency Fund has covered our butts several time (we’ve only been married 4 months). His Debt Snowball idea (not only his, but that’s where I learned it) has helped us to keep a grip on our money and pay of some of our debt!.
I don’t know where you are. You may be single, in High School, and don’t have a care in the world about money. PLEASE be smart about your money! You may be living pay-check to pay-check (a program like Dave Ramsey’s can help). Or your sinking fast in your debt, and don’t see any light anywhere. Don’t be in a spot where you lose your house, lose your car, lose your job, lose your self respect, and lose EVERYTHING because you don’t have a clue how to handle money.
ONE LAST THOUGHT!
God talks about money! He doesn’t want us to be in debt to anyone. Paul makes it very clear that Christians should not be in debt! (SOME WILL PROBABLY DISAGREE WITH ME HERE THAT’S OK!) I believe that this encompasses credit cards, loans, etc.
I always try to live by Hebrews 13:5 “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” WOW what a promise!