Archive - Series RSS Feed

Budgeting Tip #4: Be REALISTIC

Welcome to the “Budgeting Tips” series! These tips have proven extremely helpful in getting my own budget in order, and I’m confident they can help you too.

Budgeting Tip #4: Be REALISTIC

Perhaps nothing will destroy a budget from working effectively like being untruthful with oneself. If you have three children involved in three different sports, and yet you include nothing for restaurants (including drive-thru fast food) – you are lying to yourself! If you do not include enough money for groceries, hunger will drive you to the grocery store – even if it requires the use of a credit card.

If you want your budget to truly work for you, then you must be realistic. Employ the other budgeting tips of this series by giving every dollar a name, before the month begins, and force your Income minus Outgo to equal Exactly Zero all with reality in mind. This is, after all, your money to manage! Don’t do yourself a disservice by lying to yourself. Ensure there is some “fun” in the budget – restaurants, entertainment, and spending money. This is what will make your budget work for you – month after month – year after year. As the saying goes, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”

Here are a few ways I have been realistic in my budget:

  1. I include “Spending Money” for both myself and my bride – we get to use this money for whatever we want. Mine is usually spent on hunting, fishing, running, gardening, or food/snacks.
  2. We include “Dining Out” in our budget each month. We have agreed that this money is to be used ONLY when the family is dining out together. If I want to grab lunch by myself during a work day, I must fund that with my “spending money” because it is not with family.
  3. We save each month for Known, Upcoming Non-Monthly Expenses (KUEs) – these are expenses we know are coming, but they aren’t monthly. Since they are not regular bills, people can tend to forget about them. We’ve fixed this issue by saving for these expenses every single month. That way, when vacation time rolls around, the money is ready and available for use.

ClickFreeToolsAre you ready to get your budget working for you? Click the above link to download a free budget tool and get started toward living a fully funded life!

NOTE: This post is part of the “Budgeting Tips” series. Click HERE to read other posts in the series.

Budgeting Tip #3: Plan BEFORE The Month Begins

Welcome to the “Budgeting Tips” series! These tips have proven extremely helpful in getting my own budget in order, and I’m confident they can help you too.

Budgeting Tip #3: Plan BEFORE The Month Begins

If you want to gain control of your money and your financial future, nothing is as powerful as planning your spending BEFORE the month begins. Most of us have had occasions where we did not plan before an important event, and everything went poorly. This was a routine feeling I experienced before nearly every test I took while studying mechanical engineering at Purdue University! Instead of studying (planning) for the test, I usually raced off to the Co-Rec where I could play basketball for hours on end. Then I would watch hours of ESPN followed by wasting hours away on other non-study-related items. Then the moment would arrive: test time. The dreadful, but familiar, feeling of being unprepared would take over. You know how it turned out, don’t you? My 2.64 GPA was a direct result of my lack of planning!

Those same poor test preparation habits also affected my personal finances. I did graduate from college with a degree in mechanical engineering, and I embarked upon a career in engineering. This came with a very exciting development – INCOME! However, without a budget, I managed to spend all of it plus some more, which I financed with debt.

The day that I started planning my money BEFORE the month began was the very same month that I began to prosper. By planning my spending BEFORE the month began, it allowed me to be INTENTIONAL with every dollar I expected to receive. In turn, I was able to anticipate financial challenges and make better choices. Instead of encountering the financial challenge in the middle of the month when my choices would be greatly limited, I was able to see them an entire month ahead of time. This gave me a lot of choices like working overtime, reducing an expense, or completely eliminating a planned event. This gave me CONTROL. Control equals AWARENESS. Awareness equals ADJUSTMENTS. Adjustments led to financial success.

ClickFreeToolsUse one of our free budget tools to plan your spending before next month. You will gain control of your money and ensure that your plans, hopes, and dreams are being funded! That’s what we call a fully funded life. You can do this!

NOTE: This post is part of the “Budgeting Tips” series. Click HERE to read other posts in the series.

Budgeting Tip #2: Income – Outgo = Exactly Zero

Welcome to the “Budgeting Tips” series! These tips have proven extremely helpful in getting my own budget in order, and I’m confident they can help you too.

Budgeting Tip #2: Income – Outgo = Exactly Zero

There is one fundamental rule of money we all must live by: “To have OUTGO, you must have INCOME.” This rule is understood very quickly when one begins to prepare a budget! In fact, there are few things that will make a person value a dollar as much as preparing a monthly budget. When you realize that money is limited, it causes one to focus on becoming a better financial manager. While preparing my first budget, I quickly realized I was documenting insanity! It became abundantly clear that I was spending far more than my income. “No wonder I’m feeling so much stress!” I thought to myself.

In order to get a budget to work, we must recognize this simple formula: “Income – Outgo = Exactly Zero” You can’t continually spend more you make and expect to prosper. This is where Budgeting Tip #1 comes into play – we must give every dollar a name. In fact, “outgo” should also include giving, saving, and investing. Preparing a budget where you give every dollar a name allows you prioritize the items which are most important to your financial success: Giving, Saving, and Investing! By ensuring the monthly budget balances to Exactly Zero, you are positioning yourself to prosper. It allows you to know that your financial obligations will be met. It gives you control of your financial future.

ClickFreeToolsI encourage you to download one of our free budget tools and begin the challenge of balancing your Income and Outgo so that it equals Exactly Zero. It might not be easy at first, but living without a budget is much more difficult!

NOTE: This post is part of the “Budgeting Tips” series. Click HERE to read other posts in the series.

Budgeting Tip #1: Give Every Dollar A NAME

Welcome to the “Budgeting Tips” series! These tips have proven extremely helpful in getting my own budget in order, and I’m confident they can help you too.

Budgeting Tip #1: Give Every Dollar a NAME

Have you ever started out the day with some money in your pocket (without any intention of spending it) only to return home with only a couple of crumpled dollar bills and a few coins remaining? It has happened to me more times that I would like to admit!

This situation occurs because of a combination of two things: (1) Impulsiveness and (2) Unplanned money

Impulsiveness just may be the biggest threat to your financial well-being and ability to build wealth.

CandyStoreCheckout

When impulse meets unplanned money, it is scientifically proven to cause your money to sprout wings and fly away. Marketers know this very well. It’s why grocery and convenience stores put candy at the checkout line. It’s why an item you have searched for on Google suddenly appears on your Facebook feed.

It is virtually impossible to prevent the impulse to buy from happening. The big challenge is to prevent the impulse from destroying your financial future. How does a person do that? Creating and following a budget each and every month – before the month begins. It allows you give every dollar a name before it actually arrives.

A budget allows you to move from managing money IMPULSIVELY to directing it INTENTIONALLY. Intentional money management always trumps impulsiveness.

Because I have made it my habit to prepare a budget each month, I have been able to prevent impulses from destroying my finances. I believe it will do the same for you!

ClickFreeToolsNOTE: This post is part of the “Budgeting Tips” series. Click HERE to read other posts in the series.

Put Your Oxen to Work – Part 4

Proverbs 14:4 – Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.

PART FOUR – Put your oxen to work!

This is the fun part!  As you put your oxen to work and provide adequate nourishment and attention, they will begin to work for you in ways you never thought possible.  Your 401(k) will grow without the need for any energy expenditure from you.  The rental house will produce income and increase in value even when you are on vacation.  The book that you’ve been wanting to write will be purchased by people from across the globe – even while you sleep.  The website will sell products without your direct involvement.  The team of people at your business will work to serve customers whether you are there or not.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking your oxen will work perfectly with zero involvement from you.  The last I checked, oxen will still wander off if you don’t provide them some direction and leadership.  Be sure to establish a system that allows you to always know the numbers and enables you to measure the health of your herd.

As your oxen work for you, they will truly provide an abundant harvest which will allow you to bless your family and those in need in ways you never thought possible.

TRUTH: Oxen acquisition can allow you to enjoy an abundant harvest.

ACTION:  Will you share with me one way you’re putting your oxen to work?

Put Your Oxen to Work – Part 3

Proverbs 14:4 – Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.

PART THREE – Acquire oxen.

The manger is empty when there are no oxen.  The manger is designed to hold food.  When faced with the decision of “empty manger/no food” versus “abundant harvest”, I am going to choose the abundant harvest every single time.  It is my belief that this would be your choice also.

Obviously, the critical step toward an abundant harvest is to have oxen.  These oxen, however, can be expensive.  Acquiring a McDonald’s franchise can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Starting a business can also cost an enormous amount of money.  So where does one start out?  We must start out just like everyone else – start where you are with what you have.

I challenge you to write down your plans, hopes, and dreams on paper.  Seriously, take five minutes to ponder your goals and write them down.  Now, next to each goal, write down how much each goal will cost.  This process will help you understand the necessity of acquiring an ox or two.

My oxen acquisition started by fully funding my 401(k).  I contributed the maximum amount allowed by law.  Notice that I did not contribute just enough to gain the company match.  This is a great start, but to truly get the 401(k) ox to work for me, I needed to maximize my contributions.  If you simply can’t contribute the maximum, start with a little and increase it on a consistent basis so that you will be maximizing it in just a few years.  These investments seemed so little at the start that it seemed pointless.  Just 15 years later, however, the 401(k) ox is healthy and doing a LOT of heavy lifting for me!  It will do the same for you.

I use to live paycheck-to-paycheck but by applying myself little by little every single day, God has continued to bless me.  I am convinced beyond a shadow of doubt that He can do the same for you.

TRUTH:  Oxen acquisition can allow you to enjoy an abundant harvest.

Put Your Oxen to Work – Part 2

Proverbs 14:4 – Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.

PART TWO Identify your oxen.

In Part 1, we investigated the meaning of this verse and discovered the truth that “To accomplish more financially, you’ll need oxen to help you.”  Now that this is known, it is important to identify the potential “oxen” that could work for you – in place of you – and produce additional income (abundant harvests).

A retirement investment account (such as a 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP, or Roth or Traditional IRA) are oxen.  Think about it.  When your retirement investments go up in value over time, does it require much effort from you?  Absolutely not.  Like an ox, you will need to occasionally provide direction and guidance to the investment account, but it will do the heavy lifting for you and take your finances places you can not get to on your own.

Another form of oxen is business ownership.  An owner of a McDonald’s franchise makes money even when they are at home asleep because the system is producing profits without their active and direct involvement every minute of the day.

All of my books are oxen.  People purchase the book during all hours of the day and night.  It helps them prosper with their finances, and it provides income so that our team can stay focused on developing new resources to help people and live out our call and passion.

Real estate such as rental houses, commercial properties, and land can increase in value regardless of your attention or effort.

It is time for you to acquire some oxen and put them to work for you!

TRUTH: Significant wealth is achieved when one identifies ways to produce income regardless of effort or time invested.

Put Your OXEN to Work – Part 1

Proverbs 14:4 – Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty, but from the strength of an ox comes an abundant harvest.

Perhaps no verse has had more of an impact on my financial management than this verse.  I believe that if you apply these principles, your finances will be forever changed.

PART ONE  Understand the verse.

I was reading this verse several years ago, and it literally changed my entire mindset about financial management.  Perhaps it is because I grew up on a farm and connected with the talk about farm animals and equipment.  Maybe it is because I am continually learning more about finances.  Whatever the reason I like this verse, I promise you that it can completely change your finances!

Think about your ability to work.  No matter how strong you are, how much energy you have, or how determined you may be, there is only so much work you can do.  There is only one you.  You can work more hours.  You can work 20 hours per day, but you will reach a limit.

As a farmer, there is only so much you can do.  Help is required to accomplish more.  With oxen, so much more can be accomplished.  They are STRONGER than you are.  They have MORE ENDURANCE than you do.  They even have SKILLS you don’t have (ever attempted to pull a barn by yourself?)

TRUTH: To accomplish more financially, you will need oxen to help you.

We’ll discuss how to identify your oxen in Part 2.

Monday Money Tip: No Means YES

In today’s Monday Money Tip, I’m sharing about the financial truth that saying “no” right now can allow you to say “yes” to more important things later.

Want to automatically receive a helpful and practical money tip every Monday? Just sign up HERE (It’s FREE)!

How to Make a Difference – Part 5

I am passionate about helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

I’ve committed my life to traveling and sharing this passion but I need your help to reach others with the simple message that:

  • God owns it all
  • We are managers
  • INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

So with this series, I am going to challenge you to teach one person this simple message during the next month.

PART ONE  Who are you going to teach this to?

PART TWO  What is the best setting for teaching?

PART THREE  Prepare for your meeting

PART FOUR  Set up the meeting

PART FIVE  Have the meeting

Remember, authenticity speaks volumes.  Teach them the tools you have actually used.  Offer to help them put together their first budget.  Point them to the free tools on our website (HERE).  Help them calculate their debt freedom date.

Encourage them!  Pray with them!  Offer to meet with them again.  Follow up with them.

I can not wait to hear how your teaching goes!

How to Make a Difference – Part 4

I am passionate about helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

I’ve committed my life to traveling and sharing this passion but I need your help to reach others with the simple message that:

  • God owns it all
  • We are managers
  • INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

So with this series, I am going to challenge you to teach one person this simple message during the next month.

PART ONE  Who are you going to teach this to?

PART TWO  What is the best setting for teaching?

PART THREE  Prepare for your meeting

PART FOUR  Set up the meeting

Of course, this conversation could happen spontaneously which would be terrific.  But if it does not, take the time to set up the meeting.  In Part 2, you thought about the best setting for a meeting to occur.

It is important that you are clear about what you want to discuss.  It is also extremely important that you let them know that you are not wanting to tell them about all of the bad decisions they are/have been making when it comes to money.

The invitation needs to be born of your own authentic desire to help others learn these principles that have had such an impact on your own finances.

Here are some ways to phrase it …

  • “I have had my finances rocked lately – in a good way!  I would love the opportunity to show you what I been able to do to take my finances to the next level.  I am not going to sell you anything.  I am just so excited about what has happened!”
  • “Remember how broke I was?  Well, I am getting un-broke and I can’t believe how straight-forward and easy it really is.  I would love to have you over for dinner to show you the free tools I am using.”

How awesome is it when you can help someone and there is no sales-pitch at the end of it?  Just a genuine desire to help them learn a tool/tip or two that can help them too!

How to Make a Difference – Part 3

I am passionate about helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

I’ve committed my life to traveling and sharing this passion but I need your help to reach others with the simple message that:

  • God owns it all
  • We are managers
  • INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

So with this series, I am going to challenge you to teach one person this simple message during the next month.

PART ONE  Who are you going to teach this to?

PART TWO  What is the best setting for teaching?

PART THREE  Prepare for your meeting 

First, I want you to know that if you are taking this challenge, I have an assumption that you are applying these tools/principles. You can not fake authenticity. The best teachers I ever learned from are the ones who are actively thinking about and applying the knowledge they have.

Since you are indeed applying these principles and tools, then it is important that you provide some transparency to the individual you are teaching. Of course, it is not necessary for you to reveal all of your personal financial picture. Where it makes sense, show them a copy of your budget, debt freedom date calculation, before/after insurance quotes, and retirement calculations.

Have samples of these readily available before the meeting so that you will have them available should the opportunity present itself.

Maybe it would be worthwhile to take a few moments to brainstorm some key financial decisions you have made that have impacted your life – both good and bad.

 

How to Make A Difference – Part 2

I am passionate about helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

I’ve committed my life to traveling and sharing this passion but I need your help to reach others with the simple message that:

  • God owns it all
  • We are managers
  • INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

So with this series, I am going to challenge you to teach one person this simple message during the next month.

PART ONE  Who are you going to teach this to?

PART TWO  What is the best setting for teaching?

In part 1, you chose one person that you were going to teach these financial principles to.  Now, it is important to determine the best setting for teaching to ensure that they will be receptive to the information you are sharing.

If you attempt to teach this to your son while he is playing in a high school basketball game, the chances are pretty good that he will foul you.

Here are some ideas: coffee house, your house, their house, break room, church, or library.

Now I am a huge fan of moving to action points.  I am not a big fan of “talk-talk-talk”.  So I like to meet in places that have wireless internet so I can pull up the FREE TOOLS on our website and walk them the tools that can help them.

The key here is that you know this person.  Choose a spot that will be conducive to their learning style and will enable you to discuss this stuff distraction-free.

You have chosen the person and a spot you want to meet.  Next up, we will talk about preparing for the meeting.

How to Make a Difference – Part 1

I am passionate about helping others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

I’ve committed my life to traveling and sharing this passion but I need your help to reach others with the simple message that:

  • God owns it all
  • We are managers
  • INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

So with this series, I am going to challenge you to teach one person this simple message during the next month.

PART ONE  Who are you going to teach this to?

Take a few minutes to think about who are going to intentionally teach this information to. Who is it?

  • Child
  • Parent
  • Friend
  • Co-Worker
  • Employee
  • Employer
  • Family Member

It would be INCREDIBLE if you would share who are you going to intentionally teach this to during this month!

 

Monday Money Tip: 5 Swings of an Ax

In today’s Monday Money Tip, I’m sharing a great parable on the topic of persistence. This parable can be applied to far more than just your finances so be sure to check it out. I truly believe this tip could change your life.

Want to automatically receive a helpful and practical money tip every Monday? Just sign up HERE (It’s FREE)!

Page 1 of 3412345»102030...Last »