Back in 2011, my wife and I were living in a rental house in Midtown Atlanta and we were ready to move into something bigger. But a decade in youth ministry followed by six years of church planting didn’t really translate to a lot in the savings account.
Don’t get me wrong, we were blessed and we were fine financially, but if we wanted to move into the neighborhood we wanted, we needed to save some money. I knew we weren’t going to stop drinking coffee and cutting out cable wasn’t going to reach our goal. We’d need to earn more.
We made it our goal that year to save a specific amount of money.
This extra money wasn’t going to save itself. It was going to take a lot of intentionality and daily decisions. So, here’s what we did…
I opened a brand new online savings account ad I hung up a wall calendar on the back of our closet door.
Then we got to work.
My goal was to transfer any extra money we got from our mail checking account into this new savings account. And to do this every day.
Now most days, I didn’t earn anything extra from my side projects. So I would just transfer $1 from our general checking account to this new savings account.
But some days were good days and we were able to transfer more.
And at the end of the year (with 13 days to spare), we met the goal. We had enough money in this new savings account to do what we wanted to do. I don’t think I’m a financial genius, but I do believe there were some things at work that helped pave the way to success.
- We didn’t just have a generic goal; we had a specific vision. If “be a good steward” was the general mission, then “save this specific amount of money” was the specific vision. Maybe your organization has an important mission that you’re always shooting for. But you also need a specific and concrete vision for the next couple of years. Something you’re going to accomplish by a certain date and check it off the list. What matters NOW in order to get out o what matters MOST?
- We literally put the vision in front of us. It might sound silly, but this wall calendar helped us keep the project in front of us every single day. Find some way to put something tangible in front of you – an index card on a mirror, a desktop image on your computer, or a calendar on your wall.
- There was a plan to support the vision. We didn’t just hope for extra money; it became a major focus. I created a product and sold it online. I consulted with a few individuals and organizations. And all this was in addition to the day-job. If you’ve got a big vision, it deserves a big plan.
Whatever you’re trying to do, keep it in front of you every day.