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Ask Chuck: Advice for single moms hurt by inflation

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

I am a single mom with 3 children trying my best to manage my limited resources. It is becoming more and more challenging due to inflation, and at times, I get very overwhelmed. I want to be independent but have not been able to break free of government support programs. What should I do?

Overwhelmed Single Mom

Gas
Prices for gas at an Exxon gas station on Capitol Hill are seen March 14, 2022 in Washington, D.C. The cost of gasoline continues to rise across the globe due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and continued inflation associated with the global pandemic. |

Dear Overwhelmed Single Mom,  

I am so sorry for the pain you are in right now. Everything is getting more expensive, and you are likely feeling it more than most others. My respect for single mothers who work hard to free themselves from government assistance and provide for their children is very high. Because of that, I write a quarterly article for The Life of a Single Mom— an online organization that connects single moms and provides helpful resources.

Crown is currently working with a group of young single mothers who meet weekly in a Bible study. Our purpose is to help them identify and act upon four things about themselves: their true identity, their God-given purpose, an inventory of all the tangible and intangible assets they have, and a plan to overcome their challenging economic circumstances. 

It has been a rewarding experience for each of them and a great learning experience for us. Their honesty and transparency has expanded our understanding and empathy for these moms. We hope to develop a program that is transformative for those who live with overwhelming financial challenges. 

Many of the young ladies share common problems: limited resources, limited time, and limited community that they can trust. Some have been rejected by their own families because they chose to have the child without marrying the father. While I cannot stop the damage being done by inflation, I can suggest you connect in a community of people who can help in all the areas where you are feeling the pain. This small step can be priceless.

Economic value of being in community

A community can provide basic financial help, guidance, and a network of others with needed resources. Here are some practical helps that can come from being in a good church, Bible study, or volunteer organization of Christians:

  • Encouragement and wise counsel
  • Accountability for sticking to a budget.
  • Help moving, finding doctors, etc.
  • Advice on buying/selling a car or house.
  • Wills, taxes, and legal advice.
  • And more …

A community can also serve in areas like: 

  • Child care
  • Meals
  • Tutoring
  • Transportation
  • Sharing bulk products
  • Repair and maintenance needs
  • Crisis management

Plugging into the right community

Because there is true economic value living in community, I encourage you to take steps to improve this part of your life. It’s important to find a trusted group where you can be transparent and not worry about being judged. Online groups serve their purpose, but you need real people in your life. It must be a place where you can give and accept from others, knowing that you are all serving Christ. If you are with people you trust, you can forget your past and look forward with hope. This can be a small group, a Bible study, a Women’s Ministry, a charitable organization where you serve, or a local church. 

Serving one another in community moves us out of isolation. It builds confidence and courage and motivates us to work as unto the Lord. We learn how to have fun, be creative, accept correction, and be accountable. Financial healing and strength can be experienced when people help guide us. They help us learn to live with greater margin as we practice Biblical financial stewardship. This results in less fear, stress, doubt, burnout and debt. 

Do not let pride prevent you from moving forward and discovering what God has for you. Trust the Lord. Or, as one person told me, “Collapse yourself on the Lord,” and abide among His people. The Body of Christ is a place to serve and a place to be served — a place to experience love, acceptance, encouragement and hope. This is how you will grow in courage and faith.

At a very minimum, I suggest you seek out several wise mentors who can give you financial advice when needed. A friend calls this group of advisors her Ironing Board because they help her iron out her problems. She goes to her four volunteers for advice as needed. None of them has anything to gain by helping her — just a shared joy in watching the progress she makes. 

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:23-25, ESV).

A community of like-minded individuals can walk you through financial challenges and hold up your arms when you grow weary. Your needs may grant someone else the opportunity to fulfill God’s purpose in his/her life. Taking small steps will have a big impact towards your goal of financial independence! Thank you for your desire to overcome these challenges. Keep us posted on your progress.

In these inflationary times, I recommend you check out Squeeze — a trusted Crown partner. The company shops household bills to bring you the lowest rates and best deals. Savings are quick and can last a lifetime. Sign up for free, and squeeze your first bill in under five minutes.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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