Next year is soon upon us! Every time I say it, I can’t help but think that a new year needs a new vision. So let’s look at the new year as the year to strategically and significantly improve our financial health by having excellent vision for becoming faithful stewards!

The smartest thing we can do financially is to make God’s kingdom and His righteousness our top priority. Since true financial freedom is based largely on the condition of our heart and attitude, we must consciously embrace truth not fear, contentment not greed, humility not pride, gratitude not resentment, righteousness not deceit, generosity not selfishness. The following suggestions are financial strategies that have helped many people. Look at the list, pray over it, and apply what will benefit you and your family with the goal of changing bad habits, reducing stress, and gaining financial freedom.

Make a Plan

Everything starts with a plan. After you do that, you’re ready to move forward with it.

  • Set specific goals, short-term and long-term. Write them down and refer to them regularly. This will give clarity.

  • Create a budget. This brings freedom.

  • Seek accountability. This will provide encouragement.

  • Give regularly. This will break the grip of selfishness.

  • Eliminate personal debt. This will set you free.

  • Fund an emergency account, save, invest. This will help you have margin.

  • Change your withholding if you get tax refunds. This will boost cash flow.

  • Celebrate milestones with gratitude. This will keep you motivated.

Reduce Expenses

You can take action now to reduce your expenses. Here are several actions.

  • Keep track of all expenses for at least 30 days to learn your spending habits.

  • Use extra money (tax refunds, raises, gifts) wisely.

  • Become frugal.

  • Live like you’re poor.

  • Buy only what you need.

  • Cancel cable and subscriptions.

  • Limit or drop TV and social media.

  • Find free entertainment.

  • Read more books — use the library.

  • Eat out only for special occasions.

  • Recruit a couple or family to join you on this journey.

  • Challenge yourself to eat the pantry.

The smartest thing we can do financially is to make God’s kingdom and His righteousness our top priority.

Chuck Bentley

  • Go on a “Spending Fast.”

  • Use cash when possible to limit credit card debt.

  • Change your lifestyle. Move, drive cheaper cars, and so on.

  • Reduce utility costs.

  • Avoid “window shopping.”

  • Assess your friendships.

  • Plan ahead for holidays.

  • Grocery shop with a list.

  • Cook large meals, freeze leftovers, and take meals from home to work

  • Say no to impulse purchases.

  • Use coupons or buy what is on sale.

  • Shop consignment or thrift shops.

  • Drop gym memberships.

  • Make coffee at home.

  • Skip soft drinks and bottled water.

  • Find a mobile discount plan.

  • Trade skills with a friend (cooking, yard care, haircuts, and so on).

  • Avoid financing cars and loans.

  • Don’t gamble.

Increase Income

By taking just a few deliberate actions, you can increase your income.

  • Work hard and ask for a raise.

  • Improve your job skills.

  • Obtain certifications and online training.

  • Take on a part-time job.

  • Sell what you don’t need.

  • Think outside the box. Find creative solutions to problems.

Improve Your Health

Your health impacts your finances in several ways, including the cost of insurance, your ability to work, your energy level, your ability to sleep, and your state of mind.

  • Sleep a minimum of seven hours. God designed you to function best when rested.

  • Drink more water, much more than you think you need.

  • Eat healthily. Grow food if you can.

  • Exercise daily and spend time in nature. Sunshine is an essential part of your health.

  • Eliminate stress and guard your mental health.

  • Limit prescription drug use.

  • Research natural remedies.

Plan for the Future

By taking just a few deliberate actions, you can increase your income.

  • Organize your finances and emergency information.

  • Gather documents to prepare taxes.

  • Make a will and plan burial options.

  • Carry adequate insurance: life, health, car, home, or rental.

  • Plan education costs for children.

  • Begin funding retirement accounts.

  • Diversify your investments.

Principles and best practices are of no value if we only know them intellectually. Knowing and doing is the key to experiencing God’s promises. Living accordingly will help you to thrive.

Here's to the New Year

I hope you start the new year with a strong vision for your stewardship of all God has provided. May we live it for His glory and be faithful to apply His principles every step of the way.

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is an author, host of the daily radio feature My MoneyLife, and a frequent speaker on the topic of biblical financial principles. You can receive practical financial help and daily encouragement from God’s Word at