Getting rid of debt this Christmas - Word&Way

Getting rid of debt this Christmas

Question: It’s almost Christmas and I don’t have much money to buy gifts for my two children. I’m a single mother of two teenagers. I have a full-time job. I manage to stay up with our bills until an emergency comes, like the car breaking down. I’ve had enough emergencies that I owe almost $10,000 on a credit card. All of my monthly payment goes to interest and none to the principal. What can I do to get out of debt?
money trap

Answer: There are few things more frustrating than long-term debt. I don’t have a magic wand, and it’s easy for me to tell you how to get out debt. But I know it will difficult for you to get that done.

First, ask yourself this question: If you didn’t have a credit card to use to pay for your emergencies, what would you do? If you can answer that question, you can find a way to keep your credit card debt from growing. I suggest that you not use a credit card again.

Second, do you have a budget? A budget is a plan to restrict the amount of money you spend. It’s an agreement you make with yourself that you will either spend less than you make, or you will find a way to earn more money. The best budget includes savings for emergencies.

Third, do your children know of your financial situation? Your debt is not their responsibility, but since their behavior affects your situation, they should know why you sometimes say, “No.” You do say, “No,” at times, don’t you?

Fourth, is there someone to whom you can turn to for help? When emergencies come, can you share your situation with a friend or leader at your church? It may be that someone in the church will repair your car. Or, do you have family members that might help? The Bible teaches that we should share our needs with others. Your friends and family may not be able to help, but it is important that you let others know.

Christmas is a time when people share. If you share your burden someone may help you carry it. They might help you provide gifts for your children. They might pay this month’s interest on your credit card debt so that you can apply your payment to the principal. I can’t predict what will happen, but I know that if you don’t share your situation with someone, you will bear it alone.

Finally, the best person to share this problem with is God. I know you worry about this debt. Have you prayed for the Lord’s help? God spent the riches of heaven to come to the earth and be born as a baby. He’s back on His throne today and He has enough for every problem.

You wrote to me. Now, take some time to talk over your debt problem with the Lord Jesus. That’s the best counsel I can give anyone!

Brad Dixon is the regional vice president, west of the Missouri Baptist Foundation. Contact him at The Finance column is a regular feature of Word&Way.