I just watched a Saturday Night Live skit from 2006 with Steve Martin and Amy Pohler. It’s one of those fake advertisements for a book called “Don’t Buy Stuff You CANNOT Afford” (you can watch here). It shows this average couple talking about how overwhelmed they are by debt, and how taking out loans to pay their debt hasn’t helped… Then the spokesperson comes in to help this lost couple with his book. It’s comical how this average couple cannot grasp the concept of only buying things they can afford. But the sad truth is, many of us fall prey to this philosophy. We think if we can put money down and make the monthly payment we can “afford” it. But, if you add up the total amount of all these “affordable” monthly payments, you have a substantial amount of debt accumulated. According to a NerdWallet report (using Federal Reserve debt figures) average households have mortgage debt of $172,806, credit card debt of $16,061, auto loans $28,535, student loans of $49,042 and other types of debt for $132,529 Yikes! No wonder so many people feel hopeless, trapped, and enslaved like there is no way out! The bible tells us the “borrower is slave to the lender” ~Proverbs 22:7. So what do we do? Oddly enough the advice in the SNL skit was dead on – don’t buy things you cannot afford. But that’s just a starting point. You need a plan to take control of your money (this is known as a budget). You need an emergency fund to keep from going further into debt when something breaks – like your primary mode of transportation, a water heater, etc… You need a strategy to pay off the debt you’ve accumulated (start with your debt that has the smallest balance and work your way up using the “debt snowball”).
At Sunridge, our vision is to deepen faith, bring hope and live love. We offer Financial Peace University several times a year as a way to bring hope to those who are trapped by their financial situation. This 9-week class provides proven baby steps to put you on a path to get out of debt and move towards true financial peace. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” ~Matthew 6:24. If you are tired of feeling like a slave to your debt then change your financial future! It could be as simple as stop buying things you cannot afford!