$1,000 in the bank. Yes, that is the first step to financial freedom. Why, you ask? Well, one of the most common mistakes that people make is using their credit cards for emergencies and such. This is how we got ourselves in debt in the first place. We would always pay off our credit card, and feel great about it, but then we would need to use it for something. It would always start out being something small, and we would think it would be no big deal. Next think we knew, however, was that we were back up to large totals!
In Financial Peace University, we were instructed to get $1,000 in the bank to start towards an emergency fund, AND cutting up our credit cards. Now, we were never people who relied on our cards heavily, but it felt painful cutting up those cards! I don’t exactly know why, but it did.
For us, getting the $1,000 in the bank proved not to be that hard. Once we put our minds to it, it came together rather quickly. We opened a special savings account that was strictly for our Emergency Fund, and we deposited the money there.
We experienced this over two years ago, and you know what? We have never had trouble keeping an emergency fund, and we DO NOT miss those credit cards. In fact, when I am out shopping (with cash, of course) I love declining the credit card offers. It feels great to use cash and shop without any stress hanging over my head.
One thing you have to remember is that changing your money habits is a lifestyle change. You have to realize that it takes a bit of time to get use to living this way. Our culture has become one in which we expect instant gratification. It takes time to change that mindset. Once you start saving up cash for the things you wish to have or do, you will experience that wonderful feeling of nothing hanging over your head. Starting with $1,000 in the bank and only using it for emergencies will allow this to happen.
Proverbs 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave of the lender”(NRSV).