Before I get into the money stuff, if you were one of the lucky mom’s that attended the National TLSM Single Mom Conference in June, I am not sharing anything that you didn’t get to experience first-hand. There was amazing worship, awesome speakers, and most of all, just wonderful fellowship where everyone was able to experience this great time together. If you were on the fence about it or just were not able to go, I would definitely make it a point to attend the conference next year! With that said, even though I am not a single mom, I was able to take so much away from the event. I was able to share my gifts and passions with other single mom’s but I promise, I was able to take just as much away from the event as I gave. A common theme throughout the event was how ordinary people were able to overcome not so ordinary situations and it reminded me that we each have stories, issues, hang-ups, etc., and that we all can be victorious no matter what is going on in our lives.
Speaking of hardships and obstacles, I heard my pastor once say that we are either heading towards troubled times, dealing with it, or coming out of it. One point that helps me keep things in perspective is that no matter how bad I think I might have it at the time, someone is going through something even worse.
What has helped me overcome many of my own problems is my accountability partner. I am very grateful that my accountability partner has a lot of patience with me! An accountability partner can be beneficial because they can help you with what you are dealing with. Also, remember that you can have more than one accountability partner for the different things you are working through.
As an example, I have found one of the best ways if you want to lose a few pounds is by writing down what you eat and going over your food log once a week with your accountability partner. An accountability partner can definitely be very valuable when dealing with money issues as long as you chose the right one. If you are trying to cut down on your spending but your accountability partner loves to shop at the mall, you will be setting yourself up for failure so make sure you can align yourself with someone who will help you with your financial goals.
Realize first though, the only way you will ever be better with your money is to be accountable for it. That means you need to know how much you make but more importantly you need to know how much you are spending. The cornerstone of personal finances is by learning how to live on less. If you want to spend less, you need to know where you are spending your money. Many of us just spend money without really thinking about it. If you were to write down every time you spent money, review that list at the end of each day, and then show that list once a week to your accountability partner, I have no doubt you would start spending less. Maybe you want to start saving more and have a few savings goals you would like to reach. This person could help by encouraging you to stick to your plan or maybe provide you with a little tough love when you get off track. Maybe you need some ideas of free things to do on the weekend with your children, or maybe someone who can help you put together a list for back to school shopping and will actually make you follow that list.
My point is that you are not alone out there and no matter what you are going through there is someone out there that can help you, but first you need to admit you need the help. You also need to believe that you will be victorious but that doesn’t mean it will happen overnight. What if you aren’t going through anything at the present time? Consider being an accountability for someone else. The people I know who are the most joyful and happy with their lives are not the people who make the most but they are the people who give the most! When you start helping others, you will start to find out that you might not have it as bad as you think you do!
Steve Repak, CFP®, is an Army veteran, transformational speaker and consultant. Steve was selected the 1995 Fort Bliss, Texas Non Commissioned Officer of the Year and graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Management Communications from Amridge University. He now works for himself as a successful Certified Financial Planner™ in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he lives with his wife and three children. For more information, visit www.steverepak.com.
The Life of a Single Mom (TLSM) is a 501c3 nonprofit that exists to serve single parents and those who work with single parents. We are fully accredited through a variety of organizations that include high levels of financial accountability and awards for our premiere financial stewardship, including GuideStar, Evangelical Council of Financial Accountability, Great Nonprofits, Chamber of Commerce, LANO, and others.