{Week 1, Journey to Financial Freedom, Part 3: The Money Map}

I am so glad you’re back…

We’ve been talking for a couple of weeks now about our pursuit of financial freedom…. hmmmmm. Just writing those words down brings delight to my soul!!! Quite honestly, this has been an area in my life that I’ve struggled with greatly, mostly because of my lack of education regarding God’s way of handling finances. As I’ve mentioned to you before… I’m not blogging about this because I got it all together and everything is fine and dandy.

Instead, I’m blogging about my pursuit of financial freedom because I strongly believe that knowledge attained should be knowledge distributed. And so, as I work on getting my financial house in order, I will pass on the nuggets that I find and learn. I will share what works for me and what doesn’t and most of all, I will encourage and pray that these principles would be real and practical in your own life!

You don’t have to continue living life the same way… You can attain knowledge that will help you make wise decisions. So are you ready? Let’s get with it…

We’ve talked about the “B” word: BUDGET… make sure you get one!

We’ve talked about the amazing bible study offered by Crown Financial on this topic: The Crown Biblical Financial Study, it is awesome!!

And we’ve talked about God being the owner of it all. I hope you took some time to work on your “Quit Claim Deed”.


So- you’ve taken some great leaps… Congratulations!! It’s not easy to face your mess and say, “That’s it! Enough is enough!” It takes a lot of courage to choose something contrary than what you’re used to. So let me just say- I am very proud of you!

Your steps towards change are the very steps that God will use to empower and strengthen you on this journey.


Well, if you’re anything like me, my mess was so big that just thinking about it was overwhelming! That’s when the Money Map came into play. This awesome tool gave me direction and guidance, kind of like a path to walk on… a map. By simply looking at the MONEY MAP the first time, you can assess where you are and you can clearly look at where you’re going. I love it! I love that kind of simplicity!

This MONEY MAP is a tool created by the Crown Financial team. No I am not getting paid for this endorsement… but who cares?!… it’s life changing, and as such, I want to share it with you.

Check out the MONEY MAP at http://www.crownmoneymap.org.


  1. Start using a spending plan and save $1000 for emergencies that may come up (and they always do!!!).
  2. Pay off all credit cards and increase savings to one month’s living expenses (add up all your monthly expenses, all your bills, this would be one month’s worth of living expenses).
  3. Pay off all consumer debt and increase savings to 3 months living expenses (same as above except multiply your one month’s living expenses by 3).
  4. Begin savings for major purchases like a new home or auto. Begin saving for retirement. Begin saving for children’s education (you can never start too early). If you want to start your won business, now (on this destination) is the time to begin saving for it.
  5. Buy affordable home. Begin prepaying home mortgage. Begin investing wisely.
  6. Home mortgage paid off (This is soooo my desire! Mortgage Freedom!! oh yeah!). Children’s education is funded. Confirm estate plan is in order.
  7. My retirement is funded. I am free to to be more generous with my time and money (doesn’t that sound lovely?)

And this my friend is how you reach financial freedom… “D DAY”, that’s what I call it! “Debtfree Day”, the day when I can breathe more easily!

Don’t think it’s possible? Well, then maybe you’ll never reach that day of freedom… simple as that! But if you’re like me and you think that maybe, just maybe, life can be different than what society and culture tell us… if you think that maybe, just maybe there is another way to do things than hanging a ball and chain of debt to your neck and legs each month… then go ahead, I dare you… check out the MONEY MAP (at http://www.crownmoneymap.org.).

On the Money Map page, you will find the snapshot below (taken directly from the CROWN FINANCIAL site, please make sure to click the link above titled MONEY MAP to actually go through these steps as clicking below will not work):


Complete “My Life Purpose”, “My Financial Goals”, and “Foundational Principles.”
Click on the signs below to access each section.

Start giving to the work of the Lord – giving should be a regular part of our
Christian lifestyle.

Things to do sooner than later:

There are a number of items you will want to do as soon as is practical.

Execute a current will
Evaluate your career and income potential
If you have children, begin teaching them God’s way of handling money
Acquire basic insurance, depending on your needs, age, and financial ability
(auto, health, life, disability, and long-term care)
If your employer matches your retirement fund contributions, begin saving for retirement now as long as you can continue making consistent progress on the journey.
Make a list of all your assets and liabilities to get a clear picture of your net worth. Use this personal financial statement.



Go ahead, keep on moving. You’ve already got momentum on your side. Seal your desires of financial freedom along with your plans with prayer and watch as God begins to bless the work of your hands.

Check out a success story from a family who’s been where maybe you are today…

Make sure to stop back here and let me know what you think about the MONEY MAP. Do you think this is something that could work for your family? Do you have anything stopping you from moving forward? I want to hear from you. Remember, we are in this together!


About Darlene Collazo

Daughter of the King. Wife. Mother. Writer. Encourager. Lover of words and all things creative. Fellow companion on this journey {In Pursuit} of the abundant life God has for us.

Posted on September 19, 2011, in BUDGETING, COST CUTTING, FINANCES, FINANCIAL FREEDOM, LIFE LESSONS and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Your “Money Map” link says no longer there. If I remove some of the URL to get to the link, it says, Destination Denied. Just thought I’d share so it could be fixed.

    Also, I wanted to share about myself and my financial goals:
    I’ve been married 24 years. Early on, like you, I wanted to learn about financial freedom. What is it we needed? What could we live without? How were we going to pay off all bills and still have money to put away? I knew one thing for sure, my husband and I wanted to do this without asking for any financial help. We documented everything as you explained. It helped, but believe me, you can get sidetracked often (or lazy about documenting LOL).
    We had a handful of goals. Buy a home (and hopefully pay it off). Have all the money saved for college so our kids would be debt free upon graduation. This one was hard because the percentage of college tuition kept going up. Have a retirement fund started and on it’s way to promising a decent financial lifestyle. Have a small business. And prepare to financially care for our aging parents. I don’t think we are rich by any means, heck my favorite shopping comes from yard sales and thrift shops LOL. (Hmmm, maybe that’s how we saved so much LOL) I started a budget plan at the beginning of the year, 18 years ago. Wrote our debts and income and realized right away, wow, not lots left. So seeing this in writing, we made some lifestyle changes. Be sure to always include some fun date money, as it’s not healthy to live so poor just to save some retirement money. You don’t want to lose sight of why you are budgeting for the future, just to find you are miserable in the now. Here is a glance at how we did it (and we never used any books to make this happen)

    Always include in your budget first: All required bills (mortgage, food, utilities, medical, cars) These are the monthly “we can’t live without”. We all need a roof over our heads, food in our bellies, heat in our homes, medicine to help cure our ailments and in this life, a vehicle to give us wheels to get back and forth to work to pay for all these needs LOL.

    Now add the “we love/enjoy and rely upon: (savings, education, clothes, phone, extra car, special soaps, special laundry detergents)
    Why is savings and education in this list? Well, you won’t die if you don’t have a savings, and there is always FASFA for your child’s education.

    Now add the “ehh, fun to have but can live without: (dog clothes LOL, too many shoes, extra clothing not really needed, fun electronic gadgets not really needed, the newest and latest of what is selling out there)

    Now you need a GOAL’S list, and this might be different for everyone. Having a goal’s list allows you to work backwards, for example. My son’s college tuition was broken down to about $30K a year. He would attend 2 years of community college, which was less than $5K a year. This meant, we needed $70 to allow him to graduate tuition free. Now remember, if this is not attainable, there is always FASFA, but your child will have debts upon graduation. If you take $70K, break it down to how many years until he/she begins school, then divide by how many months is that actually, you may be surprised how easily it can be for you to save that money. It took about $365 a month to make this goal. To make it easier on us, we just took our annual tax returns, and put away the $4380 annually from that. We decided when my son was 2 that this would be our goal. We would homeschool him till college and have all the monies saved for that time. Well, he surprised us, graduated at 14 1/2 only to shave off almost 4 years of savings still needed. It all worked out in the end though, as he is now 19 and in his senior year at UCSB. All debt free. He is so aware of our spending habits (and saving habits) that he has taken it upon himself to live the same way, and again, he’s only 19. (ok, I’m a proud mama LOL) Funny that his major is Economics LOL. I just love how it all comes around.

    Looking at your budget list, you need to decide just how important retirement and savings are too. Our family thinks it vital to our survival. The first thing we did was started a 401K. We started that about 6 years into our relationship (wow, that took way to long to start). We have the money taken out monthly and we never look at it or rely on it because we don’t want to ever say, “wow, we can always use that if times get tough” We know how important it will be to have it available to us in our old age. (we see my parents struggling) Next, we decided that we would have an automatic deposit into savings, again so we don’t look at it. This one is hard though because I see it constantly when we receive statements. I do use it too to pay off the unexpected bills (car broke down, new car needed, husband had 10 month layoff). But this savings account was always set up to have 6 months living expenses. As you can imagine, we had to use it and stretch it for the 10 months my husband was laid off. We survived though and we have restarted our savings.
    Last, the ehh, do I really need that part of the budget. Well, first I have to say, having a business was very important to me. My kids we entering into college and I knew that after homeschooling for 12 years, that I needed something. I loved homeschooling and I loved my time with my kids, so why not continue what I love and get paid for it too. I had to borrow from our savings approximately $2000 to begin. It has been a success ever since the first 4 months and we are now in our 3rd year of PattyKakesKidz Preschool. The money made from this business has been a bonus for us and will require us to revamp our own Money Map. The money that has come from it allowed me to take my parents on a 70% off cruise to the Mediterranean, allowed us to buy a rundown home from the bank (which we fixed up and allow my parents to live in for free. Also, fulfilling our “take care of parents goal”), gave me enough to give my daughter a down payment for her first soon to be home and gave us some extra cash that we are considering paying down our current home. We only have it ½ paid off, but we really want a goal to pay it completely off in 6 years. Who knows, at this rate, it may just happen.

    I know I wrote way too much. I just feel passionate about budgeting within this crazy expensive world. I just found your blog and couldn’t stop reading. You are awesome to share so much with us all. Thanks for reigniting my passion.
    Happy New Year to you and yours. Patty

    • Patty. I didn’t think your email was long at at ;). Thank you so much for sharing your financial journey with me. When I began writing about finances here on the blog, I had no idea what was to come. My son was hospitalized twice this year and each time for 10-14 days. Our finances took a hit. My husband was told 2 weeks before Christmas, this year, that he’d be laid off by January 31st.

      So yeah, the whole ‘getting sidetracked’ thing definitely happened. What I love about the study is that whether or not we are where we want to be, God’s principles never change. And so, I find hope that He is our provider. If He called us to homeschool, then He will make a way. I am sure of this.

      Your email blessed my heart because this morning I was sharing with God about this financial journey we’ve been on. I was just telling Him, “it doesn’t seem like we can make it work. But nothing is too difficult for you!” And I actually believed it. I am so sure that God’s hands are all over this.

      Many of those dreams you had years ago are dreams I have today. I don’t take it lightly that you’ve taken from your last hours of this year to post your testimony. Thank you for the gift of your time!

      Lord willing, I too, will be able to walk in financial freedom. Thank you so much for sharing.

      If you don’t mind, Patty, I am currently organizing all my posts and once I finish, I am going to run the series again… I would love to share your testimony.

      Have an amazing New Year on Purpose and don’t forget to fill me on when you reach Debtfree day including your current mortgage. At this rate, I am sure you’ll accomplish it 😉

      P.S. Thanks for the heads up on that link. I’ll be working on that.

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