Now my concern is "How we put up the shovel?" Have we truly learned to control our spending habits? Have we trained ourselves to spend less than we make? I would dare to answer no. Dealing with teen age students on a daily basis, I know that the greatest learning takes place when the kids apply the lesson I have taught them. I am learning my lesson about spending less than I make, give me an opportunity to apply it.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Finally some good news. First, my sixteen year old daughter was inducted into Honor Society last night! Only 3 percent are inducted in at my daughter's school. Second, automobile invoice came in for the new term. Bill went down $25 a month. In addition to gas prices going down $1 a gallon since I evaluated the budget last month, my monthly budget has been cut $145.00. I'm going to follow the Dave Ramsey and Crown Financial adage and build up 1000.00 emergency fund quicker. Any other ideas?
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sometimes a day off just gives you a new perspective on the life you have around you. Today I will go teach a young battling cancer at a hospice house. The lessons are just a distraction from the pain and illness from the radiation and chemotherapy. My struggles with my finances are small compared her battle for her life. A new perspective. My dated furniture looks nice compared the family that lost everything they own in a fire. A new perspective. As I downsize to make my budget work, I truly just need a A NEW PERSPECTIVE.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Why have that long story? I told you I live by faith. I obviously have made my mistakes so why not realize my weaknesses and failures and turn to my faith? Another thing that happened to Peale was that he didn't focus on what he didn't have (money), and focused on his gifts (public speaking) and what he had (wife).
Back in 1930, I was a young married minister in Syracuse, New York. My salary, which had been a handsome (in those days)$6,000 a year, was cut twice-first to $5,000, then to $4,000. We had no manse or home supplied by the church. Everyone was frightened and depressed. Businesses were failing. Nobody could borrow money; there was no money to be had. Men used to greet one another grimly by saying, "Have you had your pay cut yet?" Everyone had to take several cuts before that depression ended, and many people lost their jobs altogether.
With a salary of $4,000 a year, I just didn't see how we could get by. My salary was the only income we had. I was helping my younger brother with college expenses, and I knew he had to count on that. The pressure got worse and worse. I hated to burden Ruth (my wife) with my fears. One night I went out alone and walked through Walnut Park near our little apartment, and for the first time in my life I felt icy terror clutching at my mind and heart. I was terrified. When I finally went home, I said to Ruth, "We're in a desperate situation. We can't pay the bills. What are we going to do?"
And her answer really startled me. She said, "We're going to start tithing."
"Tithing?" I echoed. "We can't! It's impossible!"
"Not impossible," Ruth said. "Essential. You know what the Old Testament promises to those who give 10 percent of everything to the Lord." I can see her yet, standing in the kitchen and quoting, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse... and prove Me now herewith said the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it" (Malachai 3:10).
"We're going to do that," she said stoutly, "because tithing is an act of faith and the Bible says that if we have faith even as small as a grain of mustard seed, nothing will be impossible for us. We have to start imagining God's prosperity."
So we did it. And Ruth was right. Money didn't pour in, but there always was enough. Furthermore, the act of tithing calmed my fears and stimulated my mind so that I began thinking. I started imagining. I knew I had one small talent: public speaking. And so I offered myself as a public speaker wherever one was needed. I spoke at civic clubs and garden clubs and graduations and community gatherings Sometimes I was paid 5 or 10 dollars, sometimes nothing at all. But it helped. What a thrill I felt when I received the first $25 fee. Then someone who heard me speak offered me a chance to go on radio. Again, I received no money for this, but the number of speaking invitations increased. So one thing led to another and gradually we began to get our heads above water.
I am convinced that tithing did it. Ruth and I have been tithers ever since. Through the years in sermons and talks I have recommended tithing to thousands of people and hundreds have been persuaded to try it. Of those hundreds, not one has ever told me that the experiment failed, that he regretted it, or that it was a mistake. Not a single person.
It's almost as if there is an invisible reservoir of abundance in the universe that can be tapped if you will just obey certain spiritual laws. The word abundance, I'm told, come from a Latin phrase meaning to "rise up in waves." When you tithe, it does seem as if little waves of abundance start rising up all around you.
So if you have financial difficulties, face up to them not just with courage and intelligence, but also with warm-hearted generosity and concern for others.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Another thing by writing down how you spend your money or itemizing it, is you find out you spend your cash. So many times our financial boat takes on water because we allow ourselves to spend money in small amounts. "It will be okay if I get a drink out of the machine or stop and get a biscuit on the way to work." If you stop and write down every dime you spend, not just cash withdrawals from the ATM, you would be amazed at the amount of money you spend. You truly find out where your money is going.
As Robin Williams' students in Dead Poet Society called out "Captain, my captain", be bold, be brave, and keep the boat afloat!
My goals are:
1) How do I reduce my debt?
2) How do I build up my emergency savings account?
3) How do I fund three kids’ college education?
4) How do I save for retirement?
5) How do I help pay for the kids to drive/text/etc.?
You may notice that my goals are listed as questions. I don't know how I'm to accomplish the goals, but I must give it a shot in order to be able to live with myself. You will find links to sites I find helpful and quotes from books. Along the way you will meet my family because that is the reason I have these goals. I hope that each of you will join me on this journey to find the wizard and keep everyone happy. I know it will be near impossible, but we will give it a shot.