Tuesday Tips for Budgeting

It’s game time folks!  Get those August budgets done! 

- A great way to squeeze some more money out of the budget is to review your insurance policies periodically and have them shopped by an independent insurance broker.  These folks work with a wide range of companies, not just one.  If you saved $20/month on each of your policies, you’re moving the right direction!  In the Triangle, I recommend Clark Insurance.

- If you’re deeply in debt or in a financial crisis, nothing is off the table when trying to figure out how to make a budget work.  Every part of your life should be up for discussion.

- Did you get a big tax refund this year?  Adjust your withholdings, and use that extra money each month in […]

By |July 29th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Credit Cards ≠ Security

Often times people who have used credit cards as a part of their financial tools have a hard time parting with them.  They’ve become dependent on them, to a degree, as a perceived measure of “security.”  (Security in the sense of feeling safe, not the type of investment in securities.)

But credit cards do not mean security.

How do I know that?  Simple:

Debt  =  Risk, and
Credit Cards  =  Debt

Credit Cards  =  Risk

(and that’s not a non-sequitur)

Debt is not security, and it’s not an asset.  It’s risk – a liability.  Credit cards are debt, so using them increases the risk level in your life.

When you calculate someone’s personal net worth, you look at their assets – the things they own – and their liabilities – what they owe.  Debt of any kind (including credit […]

By |July 28th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Budgeting

We’re getting closer to the end of the month, so make sure that you start to gather those bills and be thinking about your budget for next month! 

- If you’re trying to pay off debt and are getting intense about it, you may find it advantageous to change your thinking.  You’ll want to change your approach from, “I have $xxxx.xx in expenses, so what can I cut from that?” to this: “I want to pay $xxxx.xx/month on my debt, so what can I afford to buy?”

- The fastest way to get more cash flow is to take a part-time job.  The longer-term, more effective way is to pay off all your debt.  No payments, more cash.

- It’s wise to “zoom out” and look at your spending […]

By |July 22nd, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Thoughts on Stewardship

Where did your money come from?  The answer, in most cases, is your work, if you don’t immediately say, “God.”

What about your ability to work?  Where did that come from?  Your healthy mind and body – the two things necessary to do most work.

Where did your mind and body come from?  Well, here we are.  Those definitely came from God.

So God gave us a working body and mind, so we have the ability to work, and make money.  Ultimately, that money has come from God.  The truth is that it’s all his anyway.   It’s a foundational financial principle to understand that we are not actually owners of the stuff we have, but managers - “stewards” would be the Biblical term.

So we arrive at a simple definition of stewardship: managing and using […]

By |July 21st, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

The Power of a Strong Visual Aid

I love to teach.  It’s who I am.  Before settling on Communication alone, I almost double-majored in English and Communication, to go be an English teacher.  I was a soccer coach for several years.  I am a teacher: I love to see people take hold of truth and apply it to their lives.

One of the best ways to help people to do that is through the use of visual aids.  I’ve flipped tables, twirled umbrellas, played tug-of-war, broken paving stones…

…wrapped students with caution tape, smashed through plywood with a hammer, carried a cross, nailed things to a cross, thrown things at people, and recently brought Winston on stage during a Sunday morning service, all to get the point across and help people understand and retain what […]

By |July 17th, 2014|Faith, Life, Money|2 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Budgeting

- Your budget isn’t a Ronco Showtime Rotisserie – you can’t “set it and forget it,” especially early on in the process.  In the first 90-120 days of budgeting, you might have to check in weekly or even twice a week to make sure you’re staying on track.  Then, at the end of the month, do a post-mortem to see how things shook out and to help you more effectively plan for next month.  As you get better at budgeting, you won’t have to check in as much.

- Hybridizing the system with debit and credit will work out poorly most of the time.  If you’re weaning yourself off a credit card, go ahead and make the move.  Leave the credit card at home so you […]

By |July 15th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Ways to Go to College [More] Cheaply

Despite being the first thing suggested to students, there are more options than bankrolling a 5-star college experience with student loans.  You have to be creative, you have to be unconventional, but it’s possible.  Here are a few ways to help do it:

- Choose your school wisely.  If someone didn’t save $100k for you to go to school, and no one is going to cash-flow the school of your choice, the long-distance small private school probably isn’t for you.  I had some money saved, but not enough for any private school I wanted, so I went to the local state university.  This can be a hard one to stomach, because we believe that “education is priceless” and you should “follow your dreams.”  I say follow your dreams, too; just don’t follow […]

By |July 14th, 2014|Life, Money|1 Comment|

A Common Man

One of the more inspiring gifts I’ve been given was a print of the following quote, printed and framed from Nancy, which will one day hang in my spacious, wood-paneled office.  I thought it appropriate to share following the Independence Day weekend.

(Click the image or the post title to see the entire quote!)

By |July 9th, 2014|Life, Money|0 Comments|

Tuesday Tips for Budgeting

- Budgeting is a team sport.  If you’re married, let me introduce you to your teammate – they happen to share a bed with you.  If you’re single, get a teammate.  A friend, mentor, or coach can help you stay on track.  Budgeting goes best with accountability!

- Don’t be mistaken, using the cash envelope system doesn’t mean you pay for things like utilities and your rent in cash.  It means that you use a cash system to control your spending in the discretionary categories that vary month-to-month!  We currently roll with six envelopes: Food, Date Night, Auto Care, Clothing, Household, and Gifts.  Our “Blow Money” is distributed in cash as well, and that goes in our wallets.

- If you find yourself in a crisis, go back […]

By |July 8th, 2014|Money|0 Comments|

Happy Independence Day! (aka 4th of July)

Remember to celebrate today.

Read the Declaration of Independence, pray, say something controversial, and blow something up!  Celebrate not just the conventional July 4th things like parades and hotdogs, but celebrate our independence, our God-given freedom.

It’s an incredible gift we’ve been given.  Use it well!

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.  Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. - Galatians 5:1

By |July 4th, 2014|Life|0 Comments|