Several years ago, when my oldest daughter was four years old, I told her that we could not make a particular purchase because I did not have enough money. She was disappointed, but undeterred she sung out in her little voice, “well, just put it on the card . . .” After the conversation that ensued, I realized that she – at no fault of her own – had not made a connection between credit card purchases and cash purchases. To her, paying with cash was a completely different transaction than paying with plastic. It is obvious why it would seem this way to a young child. She has no awareness of the fact that my paycheck is directly deposited into my back account, that we spend that money via a credit or debit card and then pay it back with an electronic funds transfer or electronic bill. Cash transactions are pretty rare in our household.
What is a credit card fast?
Pretty much what it sounds like: refusing to use one’s credit card for a period of time – a week, a month, three months, etc. Another variation of the credit card fast is to continue using credit cards, but restrict usage only to certain essential purchases such as gas, groceries or airfare, but not using the card for eating out, entertainment, clothes, electronics or any other kind of shopping.
In recent years, I have begun to change great deal of my views on saving for retirement 401k’s, IRA’s and the like. The truth is that I am far less likely to spend a great deal of time and effort saving money for retirement than I used to be . . . but that is a topic for another day. Today, I am participating in the Roth IRA Movement which is an event where nearly 150 personal finance bloggers (who knew there were so many?) plan to write about and draw publicity to the Roth IRA this week.
Money blogs are usually a place for getting the most out of life for the least amount of money. They are place to seek ideas of how to gain financial security with the least amount of risk. But did you know that too much of this kind of thinking can be a bad thing? Did you know that Christians can be too tight with their money? Today, I am going to suggest that following Christ might actually require you to not give, not save, but spend more money!
First consider these verses, you will see principles from these verses throughout the statements that follow.
The Microsoft Office suite of programs is nearly universal when it comes to personal computers. Nearly everyone has a working knowledge of Word and is familiar with PowerPoint. Outlook, Microsoft’s email software, also has wide use and acceptance. However, my favorite MS program is Excel. When I worked as a soccer coach, I used Excel in almost every facet of my program, from budgets to planning practice to recruiting to filling out rosters. There was almost nothing that I did in the office without Excel.
At the Christian Prayer Center, we often get prayer requests asking for miracle financial blessings that include new homes, luxury automobiles, fancy motorcycles and the like. Instead of people praying for wisdom in effectively managing their finances, many modern day Christians pray that they will win large sums of money in a lottery, or receive another type of large windfall such as an inheritance from a lost uncle. Although miraculous financial events do occasionally happen to faithful devotees of Christ, we can look to the Bible for common, sensible advice in how we should behave when it comes to our pocket books and financial goals.
Earlier this summer, Mrs. Stew and I went on an overnight trip in honor of our 10 year anniversary. We were able to stay at one of the nicest vacation venues that either of us had ever experienced due to an offer through a website called LivingSocial. We got a fantastic price because everything came together at once: available when we needed it and when we could afford to take advantage. Last week, Ace Hardware held a “bucket” sale, meaning that you received 25% off everything that could be fit into a 10-gallon Ace buck. My timing was perfect as we needed a new bathroom fan . . . which fit in the bucket . . . I got a steal.
Last week, I decided to refinance the loan on our van. Interest rates have dropped so low, that I cannot put it off any longer. Furthermore, our credit score has recovered so well from our 0% APR balance transfer days, that loan companies are offering really incredible rates to customers like me.
I was a little late in getting our 2011 family budget put together for this year, but better late than never, right? Well, it is up and running, but what I discovered is that since we have kept a budget for so long and because our budget has stayed relatively static for so long, we can function for a few months without looking at it daily or even weekly. I am in the middle of entering our information from January and February and even though I have not completely filled in all the numbers, I have a rough idea of where we stand simply by having a general idea of our “intake” and “outflow”.
A budget is a visual representation of your financial priorities. It is a plan for dealing with the money that flows into one’s household and a plan for how that money will flow out of one’s household. It is a systematic plan for the expenditure of a fixed resource, such as money or time, during a given period.
What purpose does a budget serve?
A budget sets financial goals.
A budget shows the small steps needed for a long journey.
A budget represents potential.
A budget will help you to organize family financial discussions.