Archive for April, 2010

What should a single guy do with a budget surplus?

I am not a financial or investment advisor. The extent of my training is “seat of the pants” or through reading on my own. However, over the past five years, I have probably quadrupled my financial knowledge. Yet there are still many times when people who know about my hobby (blogging about personal finance) ask me finance questions for which I do not really have an answer.

Thoughts on college finances: loans, grants, community college

I have worked in college education, pretty much since I graduated from college. At times I have been a full-time college employee, at other times I have been a part time employee. I have also been able to work a number of “real world” jobs along the way – construction, roofing, wood finishing, painting, teaching – so I am not a complete academic. Today, I thought I would share just a few thoughts about college, specifically about paying for college.

Uh-oh, I found a collections letter in the mail!

Near the beginning of this month, I found a collections letter in the mail box. I opened it up to find a notice that we were 30 days overdue on a payment to a bank of which I had never heard.

I called the number provided as quickly as possible and discovered that this notice was in regards to our home equity line of credit, or second mortgage from the home that we sold last summer. You can read about some of the travails regarding our house that took 16 months to sell in these posts:

Bible passages about church finance

On Monday and Wednesday, we discussed several characteristics of a church that is worthy of your money. Today, I thought I would share several passages of Scripture that deal with these issues. I am not going to spend a lot of time interpreting each passage because I think that most of them stand on their own. My comments may only serve to cloud the issue.

Here are some passages that mention aspects of church finance. I encourage you to read them and consider them in light of your congregation. If you think that one needs further clarification, feel free to drop me a note and I will make the subject of a future post.

Can I trust my church with my money? (Cont.)

In the comment section of the first post in this series,  a reader named Randy Peterson, requested more Scripture passages in support of my list of ideas. I did not include Bible references in the first post (and this one), mainly to conserve space. The original article was well over 1500 words before I decided to divide it into two posts. Also, some of the ideas are implications of biblical principles that I have learned or experienced, but not necessarily dogmatic truth. My goal is to get you thinking and talking about this topic. Sometimes we find the subject of money to be uncomfortable and so we avoid it. As a result of avoiding the subject, we do not provide the accountability necessary for good church finance. On Friday, I plan to list a large number of biblical references on this topic without a great deal of commentary. I hope that you will take it from there!

Can I trust my church with my money?

Last fall, our family removed ourselves from membership in a church near our home and began to visit various churches in our area. Since December, we have been attending a church that we are very excited about and we plan to become members of that church in the near future. In the last week, we have also chosen to financially support that ministry.

What to do after your tax return is in the mail

Last night was the Internal Revenue Service filing deadline – in case you missed it. If you are reading this and have not filed – you are late and need to contact the IRS immediately to file an extension.  If you owe money, you are probably better off waiting as long as possible to file, although it might be nice to have the paperwork finished in advance. Some of us filed our taxes back in February or March, but I know at least one person who waited until April 15th to finish his taxes . . .

FamZoo: a great tool to teach your children how to handle money

Last week, I had the privilege of being given a personal tour of FamZoo by the creator of the site, Bill Dwight. Bill has been developing the software and concepts behind FamZoo for most of the decade, however the site just went live in January of 2010.

One year of Stew at GLBL

We passed a fairly significant (at least for me) anniversary last week. April 7th marked the date of the first post that I wrote for Gather Little by Little, entitled, How to stand out at the workplace and hold on to your job in a recession. A few days later, I posted an Introduction to Stew (by Stew). For the rest of the spring and most of the summer, I wrote two articles a week until glblguy, the original author and site owner sold the blog in order to pursue other ventures. At that time, I began writing three posts a week and continued that until the present.

Do you go to pawn shops?

A year and a half ago, someone gave me a 50cc scooter. It was of uncertain foreign brand and I could not figure out how to even change the oil. None of the shops in my area would even work on it because they did not know where to get parts for it. People mocked me for driving that scooter, but it sure was convenient since we only have one family vehicle and in our state, scooters under 51cc do not have to be licensed, registered or insured. Between adding a little oil now and then and buying gas, I drove it for about $3 a week. Anyway, I drove it to work most days of the week all until it was stolen about six months ago. I think someone just picked it up and threw it in the back of a pickup truck and that was the end of it.