What does your dream trip cost? (World Cup)

The 2010 FIFA World Cup starts this Friday at 10 am MST. I plan to watch both of the first two matches . . . after that, we’ll see . . . I happened to be in Germany during the first weekend of games during the 2006 World Cup and although I was unable to attend any of the matches live, just being in the host country during the event was a great experience. I am a big soccer fan and I cannot wait for the tournament to start. Every single game fascinates me. My job has enough flexibility for me to watch most of the matches during the first two weeks. After that, I will be traveling quite a bit and will probably have to miss a few games.

Tips to avoid gambling problems

On Wednesday, we discussed the issue of gambling in relation to being a Christian. I am not much of a gambler, but I know that many people enjoy this form of entertainment. If gambling is something that you do in moderation, here are some tips to help you to know whether or not your habit is “moderate” and to keep it that way.

Frugal Philanthropy

I used to work in the fundraising department of a non-profit organization and we focused on developing two types of givers: the type who had the ability to give a large gift on one or two occasions and the people who gave smaller, but regular donations – $25 a month or $100 once a year. But what about those of us who cannot even afford to give any money at all? While I faithfully give to my church, there are other charitable efforts to which I would like to give, but I simply do not have the money.

Early Roth IRA distributions without penalty

On Monday, I answered five common questions about Roth IRA’s. Today I thought we could dwell on one aspect of Roth IRAs, namely, the rules governing Roth IRA withdrawals. In fact, there was one comment from a reader on that post asking for more clarification.

Spare Change 1st Edition

Sometimes I have random personal finance thoughts that are too short for a post. I type them into a document in my Blackberry and save them up until I have enough for an article. Maybe they will spark a thought or two in your mind –

A grocery store is almost always cheaper and healthier than a restaurant. The difference is simply laziness . . . at least for me. Pour your own water!

Expenses to cut when you are unemployed

No matter how you lose your job, whether your plant closed, your business relocated to another country, or you were laid off, forced to resign or if you were fired directly, being unemployed is a nerve-racking place to be. Hopefully you have an emergency fund in place that can support your budget for at least a few months. It is interesting how the conventional wisdom on emergency funds has changed just in the past few years. In 2005-’06-’07, personal finance advisors often recommended a three month emergency fund. Then it was six months and now, it is prudent to look at having nine or ten month’s budget saved up for the event of job loss. People are taking longer and longer to find work.

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.

New bank account checklist

Mrs. Stew and I recently opened new checking accounts in our area. As I shared in February, my wife and I have separate brick and mortar checking accounts for salary direct deposit and regular checking deposits. We then use online savings accounts for bill pay, emergency funds, long term savings, etc. Earlier in the month, we both acquired Chase bonus coupons for $125 and opened our new checking accounts.

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