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Friday, December 24, 2010

Budgeting is a Team Sport!

When preparing your budget, it is important to remember that at least one other pair of eyes needs to look over your budget. There are several reasons for this. First, another point of view may notice something that needs budgeted for. You may have missed the need to budget for car repairs, or for the furniture needing replaced. This should be your spouse if you are married, or somone you know is good with finances as a single person.
Another reason, if you are married, to have your spouse look over your budget is to enhance the unity in your marriage. If you develop a budget and tell your spouse that the budget is done, you make your spouse feelcontrolled, rather than part of a team. Once you complete the first draft of your budget, your spouse then looks it over and gets to make changes to it! This keeps the budget from being the budget "I made" to the one "we came up with."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Paradox of Giving

As we are in the time of year when we celebrate he birth of Christ, I would like to speak about giving. When Jesus came to earth, He was the greatest gift ever bestowed on mankind. Today, we give gifts as a tradition.
What does giving have to do with managing money? More than you may think. There is a tremendous link between generosity and prosperity. No, I am not talking about sending a hundred dollars to a TV preacher expecting back $10,000. What I am saying is that we need to treat our money as it is. It is not our money. It is truly God's money, and He has entrusted us with a certain amount. The reason I am so passionate about saving and managing money correctly is because it's is not mine to use as I please. It is my Lord's money, and I must manage it in a way that pleases Him.
In his Financial Peace University course, Dave Ramsey explains how rather than grasping the money in our possession, we need to carry it with an open hand. The rationale behind this change in attitude is that while no money can leave your hand while it is clinched tightly in your fist, neither can any more enter. In Dickens' A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is introduced as " a squeezing, wrenching, grasping scraping, clutching covetous old sinner!" This is the attitude of someone who won't be generous with their resources.
When you hold money with an open hand, it's true some may leave, but it also the only way that money can come to you.
What are some practical ways to live generously? Here are just a few ideas. How about the next time you go out to a sit-down restaurant, like Cracker Barrel or Bob Evans, why not leave at least  a 100% tip? If you hear about a couple trying to adopt, either donate to help them, or organize a fundraiser to help with adoption costs. Just last week, someone dropped five checks wrapped up in a one-dollar bill. The five checks were written out for $20,000...each.
These are just a couple of ideas. If you can think of grander ideas than these, go for it! You just need to make generosity a way of life.