Baby Step 1: It's More Than Money

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Setting aside money for emergencies is just plain smart. We’re all going to experience an emergency at some point, so it’s wise to be ready. But the bad news is that many of us aren’t.

According to a Federal Reserve report, almost half of Americans can’t even afford to cover a $400 emergency without borrowing money or selling something. Yikes. That’s no way to live. And as stewards of God’s gifts, it’s our spiritual duty to take dominion over money. If we don’t, we surrender His resources to the enemy.

That’s where Financial Peace University can help. In Baby Step 1, you learn to save $1,000 for a starter emergency fund—and fast. This step serves two purposes: It keeps a cushion between you and those nasty curve balls life is going to throw, and it keeps you from digging yourself deeper into debt when the curve balls appear.

Related: Learn more about Baby Step 1—Read The Real Secret to Saving Money

But Baby Step 1 can teach you some bigger lessons, too.

1. You learn to make—and hit—big goals.

Baby Step 1 might be the first time you ever see $1,000 in your bank account, but it shouldn’t be the last. You may have never thought you could be that guy (or girl). You know, the one with the emergency fund. But you absolutely can be!

Reaching goals that once seemed impossible can open your eyes to other possibilities, like paying for a car with cash, buying your first home, or funding your retirement. Sure, they are big goals—but so was saving $1,000! And if you can do that, you can reach those other goals, too.

2. You learn the power of contentment.

We live in a world that makes it all too easy to buy what you want when you want it—and without putting too much thought into your purchase. Sometimes the convenience is nice, but impulse purchases often blow our budgets over something we’ll forget about two days later. That’s never a good thing, especially if we use debt to fund our impulses.

Baby Step 1 teaches you the power of contentment. Focusing on a single goal and not getting distracted by the empty purchases, like that blouse or that steakhouse dinner, will help you understand true happiness doesn’t come from material objects.

3. You learn the difference between needs and wants.

Everywhere you turn, advertisements tell you what you need and when you need it. And by the way, according to them, you probably need it right now. But this lesson goes hand in hand with learning contentment.

Baby Step 1 helps you understand the difference between what you truly need and what you simply want. You might be surprised by just how littleyou actually need—or by how much you already have! This step is about sacrificing some of your wants now and reaping the benefits later.

It’s time to start dreaming a little bigger. It’s time to quit living paycheck to paycheck. Imagine yourself debt free with an emergency fund in place, fully funding retirement and college savings, and writing the check to pay off the mortgage. What would life look like if you had the financial peace to live the life God has in store for you?

It may not be easy, but it will be worth it. Financial Peace University gives you the plan. Follow the steps and your life will change. You’ll be free from debt and able to live—and give—like no one else. And once you see what you can do when you put your mind to it, you’ll be unstoppable.

money | @ChrisBrownOnAir