Grab Bag-11/26/13

An average NFL game: more than 100 commercials and just 11 minutes of play-As an avid football fan, this is a little scary…

As the first step heavenward is humility, the first step hellward is pride. —John Mason

A Blank Check

So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. (1 Corinthians 3:7)

Great site to grab some gear for that special person in your life, and by special I mean the lover of Calvin, Spurgeon, Luther and Latin.

Psalm 50:7-12
“Hear, O My people, and I will speak; O Israel, I will testify against you; I am God, your God. 8 “I do not reprove you for your sacrifices, And your burnt offerings are continually before Me. 9 I shall take no young bull out of your house Nor male goats out of your folds. 10 For every beast of the forest is Mine, The cattle on a thousand hills. 11 I know every bird of the mountains, And everything that moves in the field is Mine. 12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, For the world is Mine, and all it contains.”

“‘I want to make my mark,’ he says. But what target, I wonder, are you going to hit?” ― Cecil Castellucci

Grab Bag 11/20/13

4 Questions To Ask Your Money– I didn’t get a chance to post this yesterday, but it poses some good questions every steward should be asking themselves.

5 Things Mistaken for Evangelism By Mark Dever- This article helped me make clear distinctions between evangelism and other positive actions that sometimes may be confused as such.

Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent– Nice Daily devotional put out by John Piper for Advent.

Clean The Interior of Your Car with a Coffee Filter

Run Your Personal Finances Like A Business

Whether or not you have any formal education or experience in business, you can learn a lot of great tips mirroring some best practices most businesses implement and use in managing your personal finances.

Track every penny– Businesses are accountable for being able to show receipts, or documentation for every purchase and sale. In the personal finance world, by being responsible or accountable for every expenditure, you may begin to question whether you really want to explain certain purchases or not, leading you to really evaluate each decision you make, which hopefully in turn leads to less impulse buys and less overall spending.  You can create this transparence a number of ways. Create a blog and publish your expenses. Have a close friend check in on you and hold you accountable. Use budgeting tools like mint.com or quicken that will alert you of high spending, or overspending in certain budget categories.

Separate accounts– Most business will have many separate accounts for their different operations. They will have an Operating account, which houses funds for payroll and other expenses linked to the overhead of a business. They may have an Accounts Payable account, which tracks bills due, and an Accounts Receivable department to handle the inflow of funds. You can translate this into personal finances by having a separate savings account for all your income to go to, then a separate checking account for expenses. From there you can customize the account and their usage. I will be writing extensively on creating your own banking account system soon.

Annual budgeting- Take time at least once a year (quarterly seems to be ideal) to update your budget, expenses and to get a general overview of what is going out and coming in. from there you can make adjustments. If you have had the same budget in place for over a year, my guess is it is outdated. Taking an hour every few months can save you hundreds down the road.

Auditing- This is a time when you can call on your auto insurance policy, cell phone plan, refinance your mortgage, close credit cards and bank accounts or consolidate loans.  An audit is a time to really get into the nitty gritty and you will find that ways to save money will surface. This may also be a good time to check your credit report (free once a year),.

Rebalancing- as time goes by, our interests, hobbies and circumstances change. Take time each year to look for those magazine or gym memberships you no longer use. Or to cancel those club memberships you no longer are interested in. This could also be a chance to reallocate funds to new interests or hobbies. This can also be a time to adjust any automatic transfers for savings for expenses. Again, if you leverage tools like mint.com, it can make the experience much easier and precise.

Having a goal, or create one- There is a common train of thought that says to always have something to look forward to. Whether it is a trip, a purchase or an event, goals create incentive and keep the tank full while we live out our daily lives budgeting and staying on track. Have long term goals like saving for a trip or a large purchase, and small term goals like a movie or event around town.

Mission statement- Every business has one. This is a paragraph that sums up your purpose. Create one for yourself or your family. Include what is important to you, what you stand for and what your morals and values are. This helps give an overarching meaning to what you are trying to accomplish with the above tasks.

Becoming more efficient- As a business, there is always in interest in doing something better, faster or with less. Look for opportunities to do the same with your family or daily routine. Maybe you carpool to save on gas. Or you only go grocery shopping when you need milk so you go less often.

It is not hard to see that taking a little time a few times a year to perform some tasks generally never dealt with can go a long way in making sure you are getting the most out of your time, effort and money. It may seem like an unlikely comparison, but business can teach us a lot about living our personal lives and how we manage many of the aspects of our family.

The Businessman and the Fisherman

The Businessman and the Fisherman– fantastic article about why we work so hard, and what our culture deems the correct rat race to run is.

I Timothy 6:17: ‘Command those who are rich in this present world [That’s most of us in this country, by the way] not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.’”