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Weekly Bible Verse – Accepting Criticism

November 30, 2009 · Filed Under Random · 1 Comment 

If you ignore criticism, you will end in poverty and disgrace; if you accept criticism, you will be honored. Proverbs 13:18 (NLT)

Ignoring criticism leads you to poverty and disgrace.  In other translations of the Bible, the word translated here as “criticism” is translated “discipline,” “instruction,” and “correction.”  If you ignore those around you who are trying to help you through instruction and correction, simply put, you are being foolish.  As the remainder of the proverb states, those who do heed the instruction/criticism/correction will end up not in poverty and disgrace but will be honored instead.

We all know that criticism or discipline (yet another translation) is not fun to accept.  No one wants to be criticized.  It is usually uncomfortable and sometimes painful.  At the same time, as shown here, it is beneficial for your long term success (I’m all for avoiding poverty and disgrace).  So, when a friend offers you some advice or correction, listen and learn as you’ll be better off for it in the long run.

God bless and have a great week…

Weekly Bible Verse – Satisfaction through Hard Work

November 23, 2009 · Filed Under Weekly Bible Verse · 8 Comments 

Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.  Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)

If you remember last week’s verse, you can see that we’re hitting on a common theme – working hard steadily over time will lead to prosperity and satisfying your needs and desires.

In this verse we see that both people who are lazy and those who exert themselves have wants and needs, but only “those who word hard” will be satisfied.  Not only that, those who work had will, in fact, prosper.  Look, I know it’s not nearly as easy as being lazy, but if you want to prosper, if you want to be satisfied, it looks like you’re going to have to work hard for it.

Combine the last two verses together and you see that we should forget about being lazy and/or trying get-rich-schemes to reach our goals.  Instead, we should take a disciplined approach to our work to earn some money and work hard to be wise with that money and save and invest some of it.  Over time that will grow into some wealth that we can use to support our family and help others.

And don’t forget the significance of the final phrase in this verse – “be satisfied.”  Isn’t that what we’re all really looking for – to reach a level of satisfaction with our lives?  Some extremely wealthy people are miserable in their lives while others who seem dirt poor might be completely satisfied with theirs.  There’s more to life that how big your net worth is.

God bless, Happy Thanksgiving, and have a great week…

Are you Ready for Black Friday?

November 19, 2009 · Filed Under Spending Money · 1 Comment 

I’m not sure how this happened but next week is Thanksgiving already!  And that means that next Friday is Black Friday, that frenzied day of shopping craziness throughout the US.  Black Friday is usually a day that you can find some great prices on some items.  It is almost certainly a day that you can find a bunch of stress navigating the parking lots and stores along with a seemingly endless sea of people.  If you are planning on heading out for some pre-dawn shopping next Friday, here are some tips that will hopefully allow you to make it a successful morning.

  1. Define success – Black Friday is not a great day to go out browsing.  First, it will be a mess and there are better times to be strolling through the stores.  Secondly, if you don’t have a plan in mind and get caught up in the excitement of the sales (“Look how much money I saved!”), then you might end up spending way too much money.  So, what would a successful shopping trip look like for you?  I would guess that for most people, success would be buying certain items that you know you want to buy and getting a good price on them.  Blowing your budget by getting caught up “saving” money is typically not a success.
  2. Do the research – To help you define success and make a plan, start where all good planners start – by doing the research.  The ads will be coming out around Thanksgiving, so that doesn’t give you much time at that point.  You can get a head start by checking out various Black Friday preview sites such as GottaDeal’s Black Friday site (do a search for them, you’ll find a bunch).  Most of the ads are posted there already, so you can get started now and see if the items you want are going to be on sale somewhere.
  3. Make a list – Just to reiterate the importance of being prudent, the next step is to make a list.  Figure out what you want and write it down on a list.  It seems pretty simple (and it is) but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a powerful tool.  In fact, couple it with the next step and you’ll be in good shape…
  4. Stick to the List – Ahh, another simple step that will help lead you to a successful morning.  You’ve done your research, decided what you want to buy and how much it will cost, made a budget for how much you will spend, ensured that this much spending will not be detrimental to your financial well-being in the coming year, and you’re ready to head out.  If you get out there and start “saving” money by purchasing things not on your list, you will soon see the folly of spending money to save money (well, if you use a credit card, you won’t see that folly until later when  you get your bill, but it’s still bad).  Remember that it will be exciting with the crowds and all the hoopla that morning and you will probably see items that look like really good deals.  But are they good deals?  You don’t know because you didn’t research them and if they’re not on your list you did not budget for them, so STICK TO THE LIST!
  5. Check out on-line deals – It might not be necessary to wait until Black Friday and brave the crowds to find what you want at a good price.  More and more stores are offering similar deals on-line nowadays.  The preview sites (GottaDeal does, at least) will typically show you which items are available on-line.  When I purchased a new camera during BF one year, I did it on-line instead of in the store – sure you don’t get the “experience” of standing in line in the dark with a few hundred of your closest friends, but sometimes you just have to sacrifice.
  6. Consider that some items will be on-sale longer than just a few hours before dawn Friday morning – Of course most of the really good sales are the “early bird” specials found in-store at the crack of dawn (or earlier).  But a bunch of stores will have sales throughout Thursday and some even throughout the weekend.  If the item you desire is not a super coveted one, you may be able to sleep in, make your way to the store after the initial crush, and still score a great deal on it.  For instance, usually Costco’s sale prices are good throughout the entire weekend (not sure about this year…remember to do your research!).  Similarly, some items you want may be on sale right now  (we bought a vacuum cleaner on-sale last year the week before Thanksgiving).  There’s no rule that says you have to shop on Black Friday to get good deals – you don’t care about what day you shop, you just want a good price on the items on your list.  And speaking of your list…
  7. Stick to the List – Did I mention this one already?  Well, it’s just that important.  Black Friday is a good day to get some great deals, but it’s not an excuse to get caught up and completely overspend.    You’re not doing yourself any favors if you end up paying 18% interest on your purchases for months after Christmas has passed by.  So, be prepared and be diligent.

One final thought to remember is that Black Friday is not some magical time where everything you desire is 90% off. There may not be any items that you want on significant sales.  So, don’t worry about and certainly don’t buy something just because you feel like you need to buy something on BF.  There will be other sales and other opportunities to get the items you are looking to purchase.

If you’re venturing out on Black Friday be safe, be courteous, and good luck.

Guest Post: Five Frugal Multi Millionaires

November 18, 2009 · Filed Under Random · 2 Comments 
This guest post was written by Kris who writes about managing personal finances for a credit card comparison website which compares a range of balance transfer cards and cash back credit cards. When not writing, Kris enjoys spending quality time with his young family.

Not every millionaire was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, nor does every millionaire live the lavish lifestyle often associated with the title. In fact, many millionaires live very reasonable, unassuming lifestyles, often combining frugal spending habits with wise investment choices to build immense wealth. It’s important to remember that being frugal doesn’t necessarily mean you are cheap, it just means you make well-informed and smart choices regarding your money. For many millionaires, it isn’t necessarily their lofty incomes that create their fortunes so much as their frugality and ability to save and invest the money they do earn. Here are a just a few examples of prodigious savers who turned their frugal savings into fortunes.

1. Warren Buffett

It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t heard of Warren Buffett, either because of his extreme wealth or the amazing way he achieved that wealth. This Nebraska native turned successful investor and business owner, came from a working-class family in Omaha, and even joined a fraternity (Alpha Sigma Phi) during his college days at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. Along his path to millionaire and then billionaire status, he never lost sight of living frugally and making level headed business decisions. According to Forbes Magazine, after losing $25 billion (USD) in 2008-09 Buffett is still the second wealthiest man in the world at a net worth of $38 billion. On his Wikipedia.com profile his annual salary — $100,000 (USD). Talk about living frugally in the overall scheme of things — wow!

2. Marjorie Kennedy & Jack Lynch

You might not remember their names, but you might remember hearing their stories or ones similar to them. Both were unassuming librarians, (Marjorie in Scotland and Jack in North Carolina). Both of them lived unassuming lives, saving and investing well, and living within their means. At the end of their lives, both were able to leave vast fortunes (well over a million dollars), far larger than their librarian salaries would belie. These are the typical ‘millionaire next door’ type stories you never expect due to the relatively normal and unassuming lifestyles these people live. See, it doesn’t take a huge salary and fancy job title to becomes rich!

3. Ingvar Kamprad

What, this name doesn’t ring a bell? How about IKEA? Ah yes, now you’re making the connection. He is the Swedish billionaire, one of the richest men on the planet, who not only grew IKEA into a name recognizable worldwide, but also maintained the characteristics of a frugal millionaire in the process. In his Testament of a Furniture Dealer Ingvar states, ‘Expensive solutions to any kind of problem are usually the work of mediocrity. We have no respect for a solution until we know what it costs.

4. Jen Smith: ‘Millionaire Mommy Next Door’

On her website, Millionairemommynextdoor.com, Jan chronicles her path from minimum wage earner to self-made millionaire. It is a remarkable, yet for most of us, very attainable path that made her a success. Unlike Warren Buffet who, while starting small has built a nearly unimaginable fortune compared to the everyday investor, Jen Smith’s story gives us all hope that hard work, common sense, and learning to do things yourself rather than paying others to do them for you, can lead to financial independence and success. Here are two quotes from Jen’s website that I think sum up the lifestyles of many frugal millionaires:

“We tend to be do-ers, not have-ers. For instance, we don’t care much for ‘stuff’ (a McMansion home, fancy cars, clothes or jewelry), but we spend generously on recreational pursuits, organic foods and long trips to faraway places.”

“The morning I calculated our net worth to be over one million dollars, we were living in a rented apartment, driving a six-year-old car, and wearing used consignment store clothes. At age 40, we were ‘closet millionaires’.”

5. Dave Ramsey

Ramsey is the host of a nationally syndicated radio program and podcaster giving live, one-to-one personal finance advice to callers. Dave made a fortune from real estate in his 20’s but he went broke. With lessons learned and a resolve to do it the right way he started again and made his second million from real estate. Now, Dave is renowned for his Christian background and no nonsense approach to personal finance, especially when it comes to getting out of debt, staying out of debt, and living financially free. So, if you listen to Dave’s advice, you’ll be taking personal finance advice from a wealthy man, not your broke friends or family.

Weekly Bible Verse

November 16, 2009 · Filed Under Weekly Bible Verse · 1 Comment 

Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time.  Proverbs 13:11 (NLT)

According to the Bible, there is a right and a wrong way to grow wealth. The wrong way, of course, is to employ get rich schemes and other similar methods.  The preferred method is through gold old-fashioned hard work.  Maybe that’s not exciting and it I’m sure it won’t show up in late-night infomercials, but that seems to be the tried and true way to do it – hard work.

Interestingly, note that this verse does not say that get-rich-schemes are not effective; you might not be able to generate some income from them.  It does say, however, that wealth gained in that manner will disappear quickly.  So, even if you are successful in using a short-cut scheme to make some money, it’s not going to sustain you for very long.

By the way, the Bible also teaches that there is a right and a wrong motivation for attempting to grow wealth in the first place – but that’s a topic for another day.

God bless and have a great week…

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