Hope for your financial life and beyond

How to Save Money Without Losing Track of What It’s For

One question I routinely get asked by friends and readers of this site is, “Can you teach me how to save money without losing track of what it’s for? How do you account for your money when you are saving for an emergency or for a future need?”

how to save moneyThe problem boils down to this issue: you have to keep track of what money is to be used for what purpose.

When you deposit money into your savings account, it gets mixed in with all the other money in the savings account. How do you keep the boys separated and make sure the money designated for the new dishwasher actually ends up going for the new dishwasher and not the car insurance or the baseball card fund?

Like many others, this frustrated me too. But then I remembered something my parents used to do that helped with this. So I took their system and enhanced it for the digital age. It completely fixed my issues and has been a lifesaver ever since.

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What Does the Bible Say About Debt? Wait Til You See

I turn to the Bible for a lot of questions in my life. After all, God has a lot more wisdom than I do. So why not tap into that knowledge? It seems that no matter what I’m dealing with, I can find some answers within the pages of the Bible.

what does the bible say about debtA few years ago, I’m reviewing our finances and this question randomly pops into my head, What does the Bible say about debt?  The truth is it wasn’t a random thought at all. My wife and I were trying to get out of debt so the topic was weighing on our minds. I knew what I thought about debt but didn’t really know what God said. So I decided to give it a look.

What I found was a little surprising and served as a wake-up call. Not only that, but at another level, it provided encouragement and hope. I realized there was a better path to take than the one I was on.

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How to Get Out of Debt and Win in Five Simple Steps

Are you up to your eyeballs in debt? Don’t see anyway out? If so, take heart. You are not alone. Millions of Americans live with this burden. They either never think about how to get out of debt or they think that it is impossible for them to get out of debt. So they never deal with it.how to get out of debt

It would be unwise for you to ignore the mountain of debt that is piling up. You need to wake up and pay attention because excessive debt will cripple your wealth building process. It will mess up your savings, helping the kids with paying for college, and even your retirement investing.

And sadly, in many cases, it also ruins relationships.

Debt is a chain of bondage around your life. It’s an anchor weighing you down. You can’t go where you really want to go because it’s holding you back.

In order to break free, you’ll need to change your perspective, your behavior and your systems for purchasing things. But it’s all possible. It will be a journey you will never regret.

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How to Develop a Purposeful Plan for Giving Away Money

If you have found your way to this article, you most likely have a generous heart and enjoy giving away money to a favorite cause. But have you ever thought about how you give away money? Do you give purposefully or haphazardly as opportunities pass in front of you?

giving away moneyDeveloping a purposeful plan for giving away money might seem silly. You may want to give wherever and to whomever you like without feeling held back by a plan. There is great freedom in that philosophy. However, as I’ve found out over the years, there are also great dangers.

Putting together a purposeful plan for giving away money is a fundamental exercise you should go through. In short, it will help you have success with your finances.

Everyone who gets serious about their finances tries hard to make a monthly budget work. We make a plan to pay for the kid’s college. And we work tirelessly in order to support ourselves in retirement.

So why do we ignore this area of our finances where a lot of money could also pass through our fingers?

The fact is we shouldn’t ignore it. Here’s how to get purposeful with your giving.

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It Is Not a Sin to Buy a New Car

Is it ever OK to buy a new car? You won’t find many people in the personal financial space advocating that practice. Why? Because a car is a depreciating asset, meaning that it goes down in value over time.

buy a new carHow fast do cars depreciate? Figures vary based on the make and model of the car and market conditions. But most estimates say that cars depreciate around 20% the first year, and 15% more each year in years two through five. So you can expect a new car to be worth around 40% of its purchase price after 5 years of ownership.

So looking at those numbers, this should be considered the cardinal personal financial sin. Anyone considering buying a new car instead of a used one runs the risk of being called a foolish, image-conscious over spender.

Used car purchases always outpace new car purchases. But still, data from 2020 shows 14 million new light trucks and automobiles were purchased in the United States.

So, is it really a big a deal to buy a new car? A large segment of society doesn’t seem to think so.

I’ll answer my own question by saying “It depends.”

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Our Nightmare on Rental Street: Lessons From Evicting a Tenant

My wife and I have long enjoyed the benefits that come with owning rental real estate. The extra income each month has given us freedom within our monthly budget to fund things like our personal mortgage payoff, vacations and other investments. Granted it hasn’t been the easiest side hustle and we have learned many lessons along the way. One of those was the process we had to go through while evicting a tenant.evicting a tenant

Evicting a tenant is one of rental real estate’s darker sides. No one ever thinks they will have to do this when a tenant signs the rental agreement. We trust our background research and intuition about the person we’ve selected to fill the property. And we expect the tenant to honor their part of the rental agreement.

We provide them with quality lodging. They pay us for that service. That’s how this business is supposed to work. So, what could possible go wrong with such a simple arrangement?

Actually, plenty can go wrong. Especially when the tenant sees an opening they feel like they can take advantage of.

This is our story of how we dealt with a tenant who refused to pay his rent, how we went about evicting him and the lessons we learned from it.

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The Best Option for the Extra Budget Money at the End of the Month

Perhaps you’ve had this experience with your monthly budget money: budget money

At the beginning of the month you allocated “X” amount for a particular budget category. Due to clipping coupons, noticing that sale item or exercising some intense discipline, you didn’t end up spending as much for that category as you had planned. You had extra money for that budget category that went unspent for the month.

Putting it into an example – you budgeted $600 for groceries but only spent $525. You thought that dress would be $100 but you lucked into a half-off sale. There was no car maintenance for the month and the $75 you earmarked for the car maintenance budget wasn’t used.

So there is extra money available to be used in that expense category. What do you do with the extra money? Where does it (or should it) go or should you spend it at all?

You may have never thought to ask those questions, but there are actually some issues here that need to be addressed. I can think of three different options for your extra budget money at the end of the month, with one of them being the clear cut winner in my book.

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4 Big Mistakes of My 20s That Affected My Net Worth

What if? We all ask that at some point, maybe even about your net worth. It’s a reflective question, focused on things that have happened in the past. What could have resulted if the events or actions in our rear view mirror had proceeded in a different fashion?

net worth

In the absence of a Back to the Future time machine, we can’t change what has happened or that we did things the wrong way. So it does little good to dwell on it. That really only leads to regret.

However, the past does serve a big purpose. The past is the best teacher for our future. The victories we achieved and the mistakes we endured should help us make thoughtful and wise decisions going forward.

We make mistakes all the time but more so in our youth. This happens for many reasons but mostly because we lack experience. In our youth, we also have a difficult time envisioning the future and have a limited sense of our own vulnerability. Arrogance, self-promotion and a live-for-the-moment mentality are all more characteristic of the young than they are of the old.

As I reflect on the decade of my 20s I see many mistakes in all facets of life. These are the four that set me back financially and contributed negatively to the growth of my net worth.

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Giving for the Wrong Reasons this Christmas (Or anytime)

Christmas giving

In December, everyone’s focus is Christmas. There are so many activities to attend, so many destinations to travel to, and so much delicious food to consume. And there will be so much Christmas giving that takes place.

December is the month specifically devoted to giving. We regularly give in many ways throughout the year, but it all becomes focused during the December holiday season. Schools have students bring in clothing items for distribution to children in low-income families. Pastors preach sermons and urge their congregation to fill local food pantries. The Salvation Army kettles show up outside department stores. And of course, families celebrate the season by gathering around the tree on Christmas morning.

These are all good things designed to meet needs and bless people at a special time of the year.

However, if we are not careful, we can get hooked into Christmas giving for inappropriate reasons. This can have a negative impact on our budget, not to mention our emotional and psychological health. That’s why it’s important to analyze why we are giving in the first place.

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5 Money Saving Questions to Ask Before Buying Christmas Gifts

My wife and I never go shopping for Christmas gifts on Black Friday. I don’t care how good the deals are the crowds are just too much for us. We are more Cyber Monday or wait until the last minute type of people.

christmas giftsBuying Christmas gifts is always fun for us though because we love to spend money on the people we care about. It’s become even better recently since we’ve learned how to save money throughout the year to spend at Christmas. Now all of our Christmas gifts are paid for in cash and we never see a credit card bill come January.

While we all get excited about spending money on the people we love, it can get seriously out of hand. What happens in December can have short and long-term financial consequences if you don’t keep your spending on Christmas gifts in check. So here are five simple questions you should ask yourself as you buy Christmas gifts for those special people in your life.

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Secret Advice For Teenagers Who Love to Spend Money

You know who you are – a teenager who loves to spend money like it’s going out of style. You spend money faster than it takes a Snapchat to disappear. Money comes into your hand one minute and flows out like water the next.

spend moneyAnd you like it that way!

If that’s you, I have some special advice today. It’s unusual, maybe even secret advice. I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard any adult say this to you before. In fact, your parents may hate me for saying this because it might go against how they have instructed you to handle money. So I’m actually running a big risk here.

But before I reveal this big secret about spending your money, you have to promise me something.

The promise I’m asking you to make is to read this entire post. You are going to love what I have to say about spending money,  but you can’t take it as stand alone advice without understanding the bigger picture. As they say, the devil is in the details. So I’m asking for five minutes of your time to help you avoid a huge potential failure when spending money.

Ready for the big, secret advice? OK, here goes…

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