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Brain snapshots. Do you have any moments in time that are frozen and etched indelibly in your mind? One of my more light-hearted brain snapshots occurred on a Saturday morning several years ago. It started out as a fairly normal Saturday. I left Joel at home cutting the grass while I went to the grocery store. After an extended trek up and down aisles for food acquisition (we had 4 kids at home then), I finally loaded up the car and headed home very sure that the yard would be neatly clipped and the dishes inside would be done (a girl can always dream, huh?).

As I turned the corner and pulled into our driveway, I was totally unprepared for what I saw: lawn mower in the middle of the half-cut yard; hedge trimmers dangling precariously over the edge of a half-clipped bush, a ladder next to our flood light and, finally, Joel on top of the roof! I could hardly imagine what caused this explosion of equipment and half completed jobs. I yelled up to him on the roof and asked, “What happened?” “I needed to take care of it while I was thinking about it,” came the rooftop reply. It seems that each time he started one task, he thought of another that needed doing and keep moving from task to task resulting in half-finished everything! We still laugh about that crazy scene.

Half-finished everything is actually a pretty accurate visual of how we often handle our financial lives. We buy household goods as we think about them. We decide whether to eat out in the moment. We move a few dollars over to the savings account but always seem to be pulling them right back out. We pay a little here and a little there on each credit card hoping that one day they’ll eventually be paid off. We give whatever small change is in our purse when the offering plate passes by. We start a lot of things without really finishing them. The cure for this disjointed process is found in the power of priorities.

Establishing priorities means that I plan ahead of time what I need to give, to save and to live. Financial teachers often call this the 10/10/80 rule. Give 10%, save 10% and live on 80%. Do you know what 10/10/80 means for your household’s income? Take the challenge today to see where your financial priorities fall by reviewing your spending, saving and giving in the last 30 days. What adjustments do you need to make?

[Image by Josephyli on, licensed under Creative Commons]

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