Hope for your financial life and beyond

Operation Christmas Child: Changing Lives One Shoebox at a Time

I believe the Bible when it says, He who has a generous eye will be blessed, for he gives of his bread to the poor” (Proverbs 22:9). Spiritual and emotional blessings come when we give to others, especially those in challenging life situations. And this time of year I can think of nothing better to give to than Operation Christmas Child. 

operation Christmas childCan you imagine living in a world with no Christmas? What does that look like?

There are no kids eager to wake you up at 7:00 am. No smiles when a gift is received. No feelings of being special. And no comforting thoughts that someone cares for you.

What an unattractive and dismal scenario that paints. Sadly, millions of children all over the world experience a Christmas just like this. Their Christmas is bitter, meaningless and without hope.

That’s where Operation Christmas Child steps in. But they are only able to do so with your help. Here is how.

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My A – Z List of Blog Related Things I’m Thankful For

Yes, I know. What a strange thing to write about during the week of Thanksgiving. There are so many more important things to be thankful for. Certainly family, friends, freedom and prosperity, health and faith all rank near the top of thankfulness for me.

thankfulBut over the past ten years of writing, I have managed to carve out this tiny space of the web for myself. My intent was never to become THE place for finance advice and make a living from this site. Others are doing that much better than I ever could.

Rather, I’ve used this site as a dumping place for my journey with finances and my faith. It’s helped me more than probably anyone else to clarify my worldview about finances and how that worldview works itself out in my life. I owe who I am today to the writing and research I’ve done over the past decade.

But along the way, I know I’ve also helped others. There is great encouragement in that. It’s one of the things that gives me purpose to keep the site active and updated as much as my busy life allows.

So, I’m taking a different route today with this Thanksgiving week post. I’m sharing my A-Z list of blogging related things I’ve come to be most thankful for over the past 10 years. Some have relevance in the past as things that got me through the early years. Others continue to drive me to this day to bring the best content I can to this platform.

Wherever you are today, you have so much to be thankful for. Here’s what I’m thankful for as I continue to bring hope for people’s financial life and beyond.

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5 Benefits You Can Enjoy With an Increased Credit Limit

For those who use credit, having a high limit is important. You want to have as much access to capital as possible so that you can purchase what you need to purchase. So paying off your debt with regularity will increase the odds that creditors will increase your credit limit to give you the margin you need. 

For some people, having a high credit limit is also a status symbol. It’s a sign that they are doing well financially and that credit card companies trust them to use their products responsibly. That may seem like a shallow reason but many people view their credit limits this way. But even if you don’t care about status symbols, there are plenty of good reasons experts say to increase your credit limit.

Whether you’re trying to improve your credit score or simply want more financial flexibility, an increased credit limit can be beneficial. Here are five benefits you can enjoy with an increased credit limit.

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The Top 5 Tips To Selling Your House Fast For Cash

Whenever a person decides to sell a house, there are two things they want the most. One, they want to clear a good amount of cash so that they can meet some financial goal, like paying off debt or putting a down payment on another property. And two, they want the property to sell quickly, the faster the better (as long as number one is also true).

There are some things that you can do to help facilitate the sale of your property. If the house can attract more buyers, you stand a better chance of selling it fast and at a better price. Buyer competition over a property is a good thing. So, if you ever said I need to sell my house fast, you are going to have to spruce it up to make it attractive. 

To do this, for starters you will need to source the right real estate agent to help manage the selling process. A good real estate agent is worth his or her weight in gold. They see things that you as the seller don’t see. They are also less emotional about the process because they have experience doing deals well. So that will help keep you from making a mistake in the selling process. 

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Tips to Hiring Payroll Services for Your Small Business

Small businesses are the heartbeat of an economy. Done well, they can meet a needed service in a community and create significant wealth for the entrepreneur who started it. Done poorly, the small business dream can turn into a nightmare.

There are many things that go into making a small business work. Good leadership, quality employees and proper systems all with help contribute to small business success. And one of those systems that must operate well is the payroll system.

One option for a small business with several employees is to secure a payroll service instead of doing it themselves. This could be really crucial in the early days of the business. It would allow the owners to spend more time focusing on the day to day operations. 

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Stay the Course: Success Happens One Step at a Time

Are you unable to stay the course? Many people have difficulty with this when it comes to completing a task. Somewhere along the way, for whatever reason, they give up, never to reach their goal.

stay the course

It happens for big things and small things. For things we would consider hard and even for things that might be easy. Whatever the goal, it’s challenging to push through and achieve the success you are looking for.

I remember years ago when I shared that we had finally paid off our mortgage early and the four big reasons why we did that. Many people on this blog and on my Facebook page were excited for us. Believe me, so were we. It had been a conviction of our to push through that final debt and knock it out in the span of four years.  

But I also remember some of the comments shared with us were from people who were discouraged. They talked about how long it would take them to pay off their mortgage and that they couldn’t imagine ever reaching that goal. To them, our victory was a reminder that their end was nowhere in sight.

If you feel that way, like the end is never going to come, I’d like to encourage you by saying three things:

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5 Ways to Reduce Your Medical Expenses in a Car Accident

Getting involved in a car accident is something no one wants to experience. Yet most will at some point. A 2020 report by Esurance found that 77% of all drivers have had at least one accident and that the average person files a car insurance claim every 17.9 years. So if you start driving by age 16, you are estimated to have 3-4 accidents over the course of your lifetime.

To give it even more weight, here is the reality – many accidents are ones we have no control over. You may be a very cautious and try to drive as safe as possible. But you can only control your car.  You can’t control the other drivers or the deer running across the road.

According to another survey, in 43% of car accidents, at least one driver or passenger sustains injuries. And these injuries may entail expensive medical bills. That’s why it’s imperative car owners get car and accident insurance. Otherwise, those medical bills and potential lawsuits could bankrupt you. 

So if you are looking for ways to lessen a medical bill from an accident, let this article be your car accident injury guide to help you cut down on the cost as much as possible. 

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6 Signs You Are Living Above Your Means

Let’s face it. We live in a fast paced, consumer friendly, debt-driven society. Spending money has never been easier.

above your meansThat might be why more than 60% of Americans deal with credit card debt on a daily basis. Access to credit has never been more available to the general public. Unfortunately, it is a main reason why living paycheck-to-paycheck is an unfortunate reality for nearly half of Americans.

However, that reality doesn’t have to be inevitable. Your situation can improve with some quick refinements to your spending habits. I’ve done it before and so can you. You don’t have to live above your means.

It does come down to a simple choice. But first you must be able to recognize that you have a problem. With that in mind, here are a few warning signs that may indicate you are living above  your means.

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Top Tips for Freelancing Success

Have you ever thought about freelance work as a side hustle to earn extra income or as your main way of making a living? Many people do, for either of those reasons, including myself at one point in my life.

There are a number of benefits to being a freelancer. One of the most attractive draws is that it provides flexibility for your life and your career. Turns out many people love the ability to set their own schedule, be selective of the jobs they take (ones that bring them meaning and purpose) and in some cases, do freelancing from home. 

Nonetheless, freelancing can also be a lot of hard work. As a freelancer, you work alone and are responsible for every aspect of your work. This makes it harder in some respects than a conventional salaried job. 

To that end, this guide has been created to outline a few ways you will be able to achieve success in your freelancing career. 

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The Ultimate Guide on How to Make the Best Monthly Budget

I’ve written a lot over the years on how to make a monthly budget. It’s really been important to me because creating and successfully living on a budget turned our life around. My wife and I would not be where we are financially had we not admitted the problem and took the time to learn how to budget.

So I’ve decided to pull all my knowledge about doing a monthly budget into one post. And I’ll tell you right now, it’s going to be a long one. But it’s also going to be really helpful. If you are new to budgeting, struggling with budgeting or a veteran at budgeting, you’ll learn something from this post that you can apply right away.

To help with organization, I’ve divided the post into several segments. Here is what you can expect to find:

  • monthly budgetWhat are budgets?
  • The real reason you need a monthly budget
  • Why people resist budgets
  • The one tip that started our success
  • The basics expenses of a monthly budget
  • What percentage to spend in each budget category
  • How to make your monthly budget zero-based
  • What to do with the left over budget money
  • Why your monthly budget isn’t working
  • Three helpful strategies for spending
  • Budgeting resources that work

With that as our outline, let’s get started.

What is a Budget?

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I Have a Lot of Debt: Can Hard Credit Checks Impact My Credit Score?

Debt has become the standard way for people to manage their financial life. Instead of cash, families and individuals are turning to credit more and more. It seems an easier form of payment, granting access to things when we need or want them.

But, the amount of debt is a major problem many Americans face. According to a 2022 financial report by CNBC, the average US household with debt owes an average of $155,622. That is up 6.2% from over a year ago. The debt includes credit cards, mortgages, home equity, lines of credit, auto loans, student loans, and other household obligations. This makes one wonder whether using debt is a wise path in the first place.

Regardless of where you fall on that issue, existing debt makes it harder to pass credit checks and get any additional financial applications approved.  Banks are less willing to extend additional lines of credit to someone already swimming in debt. So, you need to understand what you are facing if you are wanting additional financing for something. 

In this article, we’ll be diving into credit checks and how they impact your credit score. We’ll also see if there are any work-arounds to help you get the financial assistance you need.

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