Guest Contributor Lisa Skordahl makes her home in Coon Rapids, Minnesota with her husband and two wonderful daughters. She works as an accountant and enjoys teaching and counseling in personal finance. She is driven by a desire to help others succeed when it comes to money, no matter their income.

When it comes to making financial decisions, we need to rely on more than a children’s counting rhyme to make right choices. Our lives can quickly degrade when making one poor choice after another. A series of seemingly non-essential decisions wrongly made can compound until we wake up one day, unsure of how we landed in such a monumental mess. In real life, we can’t rely on Mary Poppins to show up with a magical “spoonful of sugar” to help us swallow the bitter pill of our poor decisions.

Have you ever had the feeling that the life you are living and the financial circumstances surrounding you are not what you would have chosen for yourself? Sometimes we fool ourselves into believing that the lives we live aren’t really our choices at all. It is easy to fall into the trap of making decisions on autopilot, based on the demands of society, family members, or even the demands of our jobs. Instead of carefully considering what choices are best for us or our families at the time, we sometimes leave God out of the equation and continue down the easiest route. If you’ve recently used the words, “I had to because…” or “Of course, I needed…” you may have fallen into that trap yourself. How did we get here? And how do we unravel this mess?

If your finances are not where you want them to be, you can start today on the road to making better choices. Over and over the book of Proverbs urges us to seek the counsel and wisdom of others. Ask God to guide you and bring financial teachers into your life. When you prepare a written budget plan, you will have a tangible reminder when facing the daily decisions that come your way. Start with a list of your charitable giving, basic needs, and savings for emergencies. Then add in your wants, making sure that the total is less than your income. Don’t be afraid to take a different route than you have in the past. Share your goals with family members and close friends so that they can be supportive of your new choices. Sooner than you know it, you won’t need to be counting on your fingers anymore.