Hope for your financial life and beyond

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.

That 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 you may want to look out for when you’re worried you’re not living within your means.

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How to Cut Your Energy Bills

When уоu save energy, уоu’rе nоt just saving money. At the ѕаmе tіmе, you are reducing the demand fоr petroleum-derived fuels ѕuсh аѕ gаѕ and оіl. So in the end, by burning lеѕѕ fuеl, уоu are also helping your environment.

You might think that trying to save energy might make your life more complicated. With the advances in technology, there аrе mаnу еffесtіvе alternatives available fоr аlmоѕt еvеrу type appliance. It іѕ uр tо уоu tо change your energy consumption hаbіtѕ tо balance your monthly budget. But manufacturers have made it easier to give еvеrуоnе rеаl choices. Evеrуоnе hаѕ the ability tо change their energy practices for more efficient usage.

By applying аt lеаѕt оnе оf the following energy saving methods, уоu саn mаkе уour іmрасt оn this world and your pocketbook.

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What I’d Tell My 20-Year Old Self about Financial Freedom

the futureEnjoy this guest post today from blogger and website owner Joseph Hogue as he shares his ideas about financial freedom.

The best lessons come from our experiences even if sometimes it’s our biggest mistakes. I’ve made more than a few mistakes in life. Fortunately, I’ve learned from at least some of them.

I think most of us can relate to Brian’s story of getting financially real from a mistake even if it took a while to figure it out. I have a drastically different interpretation of financial freedom now versus what I thought it meant earlier in my life.

It would be great to go back and clue my 20-year old self in. Maybe a quick slap on the head is what would be needed for this stubborn former Marine. I can however be happy that I learned from my misguided idea of financial independence and that it set me on a path to fulfillment in the future.

Before reading how financial freedom has changed for me, ask yourself, what does it mean to you? Then see if it changes after you read my story.

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6 Tips To Help You Sell Your Home Fast

Deciding to sell your house is an exciting time. Even though there is a lot of preparation that needs to be done, most people hope they are able to sell their house in between three and 10 days. However, there are numerous factors from location to price that affect how long you will have to wait to hear an offer.

You certainly do not want to wait months or even years to sell your home. Fortunately, there are a few tricks you can employ to increase the likelihood of a quicker sale. We implemented some of these just last year when we sold our home. I firmly believe it helped us sell it as fast as we did.

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8 Bible Verses About Worry for All Life Situations

Do you worry? I’ll admit that I have been a worrier at certain times of my life. There are so many circumstances that we can worry about that it’s easy to worry all day long. Thankfully there are many Bible verses about worry and anxiety that can give us a different perspective on the issue.

Bible verses about worryPerspective is really what is needed when it comes to worry. That is because a lot of our worry is illogical and over-dramatized. We worry about things we cannot control, that do not really relate to us and that will probably never happen.

Worse yet, worries are the gateway to fears. And fears, when they are released to their full force, will impact our actions. Actions fueled by worry and fear are often detrimental.

That is why it’s so important to get our worry in check. And the Bible offers great perspective on this topic. So here is one whole passage and 7 other Bible verses about worry that give me the reality check I need.

The best part is that we can apply them to any life situation we are going through.

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The Sam’s Club Scan N Go App Is a Shopping Game Changer

Have you ever missed out on something for so long and when you finally heard about it, felt stupid for not knowing sooner? That’s how I feel right now about the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app. I’ve been shopping at Sam’s for about a year now and just learned about this app several months ago. It’s actually been out since 2016.

Sam's Club Scan and GoThe only thing helping me shed my feelings of stupidity is the shopping experience this app provides. It’s that amazing!

One of the challenging things about shopping at warehouse clubs like Sam’s or Costco is the checkout line. First of all, there is the line itself. It’s usually long, especially during peak hours. I’ve easily stood in line for over 20 minutes before on the weekends.

Secondly, it’s just a bear to check out with all your massive, bulky items. You have to unload at the checkout line and then reload carts after the items are scanned. Even the most skilled checkout attendant can take 5-plus minutes if you have a cartload or two. But we put up with this because we are saving money by buying in bulk.

That’s where the Sam’s Club Scan and Go app comes into play. By using it you can bypass the whole checkout line process! Here is how simply it works.

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Give Money and It Shall Be Given Unto You? (Luke 6:38)

 Hidden Nuggets Series #77 – “ Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” – Luke 6:38

give and it shall be given unto youI’ve spent a lot of time cataloging all the Bible verses about money. I started this site so that I could share what I learned about money from my Bible reading. There are literally hundreds of verses that give us positive instruction about the use and abuse of our money.

Unfortunately, individuals and churches have misinterpreted many verses in the Bible about money. They use these verses to teach and promote a message that isn’t there. And perhaps no other verse is abused more than Luke 6:38. It reads:

“Give and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (KJV)

Why is this verse so abused? It’s done so in a way that makes people think they will profit financially from giving.

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6 Ways a Monthly Budget Brings Freedom, Not Bondage

Here is a little test for yourself. When I mention the word budget do you think of the word “freedom” or do you think of the words “constraint” or “bondage.” The word you choose probably identifies your basic attitude about having a monthly budget.

budgetI love budgeting! I know some people think that’s crazy. For them, budgets bring to mind images of people in straitjackets, unable to move. The household budget acts as a restrictive torture device, in most cases forced on them by someone who thinks they know how to manage money better. Budgets can make people feel confined and boxed in.

I’ve been there.

I love to spend money as much as the next person. At one point in my life, I felt like a budget wouldn’t help me accomplish any financial goal. I knew for sure it wouldn’t make me feel good because I couldn’t buy the things I wanted. Budgets seemed difficult to piece together and I frankly didn’t have the time (or want to take the time) to figure it out.

Fortunately, I came around by doing some soul searching and through the gentle prodding of someone close to me – my wife. Eventually, I agreed to give budgeting a three-month trial run.

That decision changed my life. Not only that, it changed our lives. And the best part was, we received something I never thought a budget could possibly produce: Freedom.

In just a few short months I realized budgets produce freedom, not bondage. Here are six ways they can bring the same freedom to you.

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5 Tips for Getting Started with Individual Stock Trading

Despite what you might think or have heard, not all investing is created equal. There is a big difference in investing in the stock market and investing by trading individual stocks. Both are classified as investing. But in reality individual stock trading is quite different from traditional investing.

The biggest difference relates to time frames. Individual stock trading is more focused on short-term movements in the market. Trades are done frequently based on the up and down movement of the individual stock. Stock traders try to gauge the momentum of the market and use things like technical analysis to give them an advantage in trading.

Traditional investing has a more long-term focus, spanning years and even decades. Instead of focusing on individual stocks, long-term investors traditionally rely on mutual funds as their investing vehicle of choice. Mutual funds provide more stability and spread your investing dollars around over many different stocks. In that way, they create instance diversity for your money.

There are times in the markets history when stocks have been red hot. In fact, in the last couple of years, the indexes have been climbing higher and higher, setting new records along the way. At times like this, individual stock trading becomes enticing. And with new options to invest in, like the few bitcoin stocks that are moving higher, people can be drawn into this time of investing.

It’s important to remember though that there are things to consider before trading in individual stocks. Even when things are going great, you must always be aware of the risks. Otherwise, you might get yourself into a lot of trouble. Keep these tips in mind if you are interested in individual stock trading.

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6 Financial and Emotional Considerations Before You Retire Early

reasons to retire earlyThink you have some good reasons to retire early? It is exciting…the thought of leaving your career and setting aside the accompanying stress that it produces. In fact, you may already have begun to plan how you might be able to do that 10 or 20 years before your retirement benefits are available.

It’s a lofty goal to retire early. But it’s a decision you must be sure about. You can’t just wave a magic wand to make it happen.  It takes planning and deep consideration of all the financial and emotional reasons to retire early before you pull the trigger.

To that end, it would be wise to consider the following issues as they relate to early retirement. You may find after working through them that you want to hold onto that career for a few more years.

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Five Basic Ways Families of Faith Should Spend Time Together

I love the summer! With the kids out of school it’s the perfect opportunity to spend more time with the family. And how you spend that time together is critically important. 

family timeFor Christians – or any family of faith – it’s crucial that the time spent as a family involve some faith-based activities. This is vital to building solid spiritual bonds in the family. And for those with kids, it allows you to instill the right morals into their life.

It’s not just the summer months though when this can happen. Instead, it’s better to keep kids focused on their faith throughout the year, on a weekly and daily basis. So engage in these five family activities routinely. They will help you grow spiritually and allow you to spend time together with the family. I’d argue they should be foundational activities for any family of faith.  [Read more…]