Tag Archives: assets

The #Frugal Life: Mute The #Commercials

I clearly remember Super Bowl Sunday 2013, not because of the game, the highlights, the commercials, or the advertised specials. I remember it well because all the commercials were muted!

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I know that many of you are pretty shocked right now.

You see, a couple from church opened their home to anyone who wanted to watch the game and just hang out. In order to make it more interesting, the couple created an environment where – during commercials – the TV was muted and someone would talk about something they were thankful for, how God blessed their life, or something they just wanted to share with their friends. What does this have to do with Living Frugally? Everything!

I love John 16:13
When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own but will tell you what he has heard. He will tell you about the future. (NLTse)
If we say we are Christians then we are to be guided by the third member of the Triune God- the Holy Spirit. Often The Spirit speaks to us like a small voice reminding us of our priorities, goals, mission, etc. Advertizing for the newest gadgets, upgrades, new features etc. become competitors for our attention. The Spirit will not force Himself on us so many times the big sales and allure of shiny new toys wins out- tragic!

There is a reason retailers pay millions per second to advertise during the Super Bowl. It is the same reason that Super Bowl commercials are so much more creative than any other time of year. The marketers realize that it is the most watched sporting event in the world and therefore, it serves as their best opportunity to get into your pockets. You’re glued to the tube and they know it!

At the party I attended there was zero opportunity for these retailers to influence our buying decisions. I was free to remain in a thankful mindset, enjoying time spent with other Christians and therefore open to The Spirit’s voive. I was not tempted to spend based on an emotional response to advertizing creativity. However, the neighbors next door, whose TVs were not muted, were subjected to creative attempts at infiltrating their wallets, bank accounts, and credit cards.

Resist the Temptation

The power in having the ability to ‘just say no’ cannot be overstated. Imagine the temptations you would avoid if you decided, before hand, that you are going to say no to all advertising during Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, New Year’s, and Super Bowl Sunday!

It brings to mind the fact that many folks who have a desire to save, live frugally, invest, etc. are sometimes thrown off track by a commercial designed to do just that…throw them off track!

How many dreams have been wrecked because of one unplanned purchase which leads to regular unplanned spending? I imagine the answer is in the millions.

A well planned budget doesn’t include reaction or emotion-based spending. It is the result of a disciplined mindset that recognizes the importance of saying no to creative marketing ploys. My advice to those determined to live the frugal life? Mute the Commercials!

What about you , BBM reader:

*Are you able to tune out the commercials or do you occasionally fallen victim to those wily advertisers?
*What’s your plan for resisting New Year’s and Super Bowl advertizing tactics?
*Got helpful tips for your fellow BBM audience?

I’d love to hear your ideas!

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The #Frugal Life: A Frugal Mentality

How Much is Enough

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Often, upon hearing the word frugal, inaccurate images float through the mind’s of many people.

Some imagine a penny-pinching Grinch that hoards every dollar as if clinging to life itself.

Others imagine a destitute fool who doesn’t recognize the so-called “finer things in life.”

My hope is that this blog post gives a better picture of the mind of the frugal individual. Set aside the inaccurate, and sometimes insulting images in your mind, and let’s discover the real reasons for developing the frugal mentality.

There is a scene in the movie The Great Gatsby where Gatsby is on the second floor of his bedroom, throwing pieces of clothing down to the woman he loves. His intention is to entice her with his riches, impress her with expensive clothing, and therefore hold her affections.

This is a far cry from the frugalist’s mindset and definitely far from the mind of God. I say this because of what is written in #Matthew 6:33

Seek the Kingdom of #God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NLTse)

God prompts us to seek His Will, His pleasure and His mission for our lives above all else. We are not to be trapped in the vicious cycle of working hard for material gain just to be foreced to work even harder to afford even more. If we concentrare on our relationship with God first, He will align our mind and goals with His and therefore free us from such dangerous materialism that inevitably lead to greed.

The Christian Frugalite (yes, I created a new word), following the Spirit’s direction, is free to see things as they really are. Free from the prison of materialism. The frugalist understands that the really important things are neither material nor monetary. Unlike the get-all-you-can attitude of most folks, the frugally minded actually see the ultra-lavish lifestyle as both sickening and greedy.

The movie scene I described earlier actually turned my stomach. Why? Because I think of all the desperate people in the world who could benefit from the generosity of the ultra-rich.

Can you imagine the problems that would be solved if every mega-rich celebrity or sports personality decided to sell their mansions and some of their many luxury vehicles, then donated the proceeds to feed the hungry or help rescue victims of human trafficking? What if all those millions were funneled into creating jobs for those in desperate situations instead of being used to buy expensive purses, over-priced shoes and jewelry?

That would be an amazing thing!

It is the Christ-centered, frugal mind that can do this world the most good because it is not trapped by the unproductive idea of gathering more and more stuff. The Frugalite is free to give to charities, churches, and the indigent on the street without feeling she has missed something.

She understands the importance of paying a homeless person to wash her car instead of going to the car wash. In fact, giving to those less fortunate gives the frugal person a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

So the next time you’re tempted to think of a Frugalite as stingy or cheap, you may want to consider that she is not hoarding her pennies, she is proactively funneling them to where they do the most good.

I’d really love to hear:
*What frugal practices have you adopted?
*What frugal habits do you plan to employ in 2015?

BBM Interviews Audrey Ostoyic

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Today’s interviewee is a wonderful lady I met through a Google+ group, Christians In Business. Mrs. Audrey Ostoyic is an upbeat, positive, social media strategist, mother, wife and Christian business owner. Through following Audrey’s posts, blog and YouTube videos, I’ve come to greatly respect and admire her. Due to this respect and admiration I asked to interview her concerning her perspective on personal finance.

I hope you find her answers as inspiring and encouraging as I did.

BBM: Is the Bible one of your financial education sources? Why or why not?

Audrey: The Bible is my ONLY financial education source. I have listened to Dave Ramsey before and he gives amazing tips on the ins and outs of debt and debt collection agencies that are relevant for today and that you don’t find in the Bible, however the Bible is it for me. If you think about it, if you read your Bible and follow it then you don’t need to worry about your credit score, debt or debt collection agencies calling you. I’ve never owned a credit card in my life and never will. My husband on the other hand has 2 but pays them off every month. The only debt my husband and I have together is our home and we are working on getting that debt erased. My motto has always been, “If I don’t have the cash to buy it then I don’t need it and if I need it then God will supply it according to His Word.”

BBM: Do you believe that small businesses contribute positively to the economy? If yes, how so?

Audrey: Absolutely! I believe that Small Businesses, for the most part, really care about, not only their customers, but also their employees. Every Small Business that I have had the pleasure of training in Social Media is more like a family than the larger corporations I’ve worked with. I’ve also noticed that small businesses take care of their employees by paying them more and giving more/better benefits. In this way small businesses are keeping employees longer, they (employees) are more loyal and they become invested in the business as much as the owners.

BBM: How do you manage your finances? (Examples: Financial adviser, spreadsheets, envelope system, checkbook register, a combination of tools, or something else)

Audrey: Well, I’m very blessed (or some might say not very smart) to have my husband take care of the finances. I am not a spender at all and have always thought about each purchase as to whether it is a need or a want. If there is something I do want I simply ask my husband if there is enough money and if he says yes, I go buy it, if he says no then I just don’t get it. 😉

BBM: At what age did you begin to form a “financial freedom mindset”?

Audrey: About two years ago when I turned 39 yrs. old (I guess I just gave my age away lol) Took a long time but it’s not only the “financial freedom mindset” as much as it is the “God’s got this” mindset. No matter what financially may be going on if I abide in Him and He abides in me then there is nothing that can touch my finances.

BBM: Why do you believe financial wisdom is important?

Audrey: I believe Financial Wisdom is so important because it allows us to be in a position for The Lord to use us whenever he needs to. For me every single penny that comes into my home is The Lord’s. When the Holy Spirit speaks to me to give, no matter how much it is I will do it in obedience. My husband and I have gone through some of the worst financial storms since we got married in 2001 and through it all we HAD to rely 100% on the Lord and he never failed us.

Amen Audrey! Thanks so much for agreeing to be interviewed and I really appreciate your openess and honesty.

I highly encourage BBM readers to follow Audrey Ostoyic on Google+ as well as her blog page, http://www.livinlyfemarketing.com

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Biblical Money Smarts – Part Two: Creating Assets

So, you’ve got some money saved or you have curbed your bad spending habits in order to start saving some cash. What Biblical advice is there concerning being a good steward of this excess moolah? Very good question! Robert Kiyosaki is one of my favorite authors in the world of financing. As a young man he learned about money from a man he calls his “rich dad”. This rich dad taught Robert not only how to- but, more importantly why– creating assets is so important to financial freedom. Before we go any further let’s be sure we know what an asset is:

·         An Asset is anything that generates income. Many people feel their house is their greatest asset. However, for most of us this is not the case. If you are paying a mortgage or rent on a home it can only be an asset if your expenses for that home are outweighed by money created by it. For example, your total monthly house expenses (including taxes, maintenance, etc.) are $1,500/mo and you rent out part of the home & also charge a local farmer for using some of your land to grow some of her crops. The money generated is $1,700/mo. In this case your house is an asset because all your expenses are covered & you have excess cash. In this case the excess is $200 a month of profit- this house is an asset because it generated $200 in income.

Matthew 25:14- 30 is one of my favorite verses concerning money and being responsible with the gifts God gives us. It tells of a man who was about to leave for a long trip. He called his three servants to him and entrusted each with a portion of his funds. When this man returned, both the first and second servants had doubled the money untrusted to them. However, the third- out of fear of monetary loss- buried the cash so that he would be sure to still have all his master had entrusted to him. Upon returning the master was not pleased! He rewarded his first two servants for their shrewdness saying, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ However, to the third he said, “‘You wicked and lazy servant,… you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.” When I read this story I think to myself, “What did those first two servants do to multiply their money? Did they start businesses, buy some sort of primitive stocks or did they invest in some sort of agricultural venture?” One thing is for sure, whatever the venture was, they created an asset- something that helped yield added funds. They didn’t squander it, spend money on a lottery ticket or just put it in a safe place. They made a wise decision on how to multiply what they were entrusted with and were able to look their master in the eye with confidence that they had done the right thing. Can you say that about your money habits? Would the Lord look down on you with pleasure and say, “Well done!?” (which should be a Christians ultimate goal) Or will you be punished like the third servant who was stripped of his blessings?

So, Taz, how do I create assets?

Actually there are many avenues. Recently I have been investigating Common Stocks, (aka Penny Stocks). I have to say I am not upset at the results. The stock market is full of opportunity for those with limited funds or those blessed with excess cash. I know, I know, ”Investing in stocks too risky!”, right? Keep in mind the third servant- who was stripped of all he was given- thought that risk was not worth the possible gains and his master was not pleased when he returned. Out of “fear” he did nothing and as a result he did not please his Master.

 However, those first two servants did not cower to the spirit of fear; instead they looked for smart, wise, profitable, Godly opportunities and moved forward with their investing. We have the same opportunity. Dive into the Word, pray to God for help in making the right investment decision in order to create assets which lead to financial freedom. The internet is full of opportunities to learn about the stock market and a lot of them are FREE! Yes, you can learn the basics and even the more technical/complex lessons needed to make wise investments and you pay zero, zip, zilch, nada, nothin’ for this education! So your excuses for not knowing have just run out.

Owning a small, part time business is another smart way to build an asset. Consider what you love to do. As the great Mary Kay Ashe said, “Find something you love to do and someone will pay you a lot of money to do it.” God has blessed you with talents and passion. I believe these can be great indicators as to what type of business you should start. If you are a natural born teacher and talker, motivational speaking may be your avenue. If you love to paint, see if the local small businesses need an artist to paint logos or scenes in their business windows. If you happen to be a whiz at personal finance, look into teaching others to be better with money.

Phillipians 4:13 says, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” God didn’t say

“I have power to help you with everything, except creating assets, when it comes to that… you’re on your own, sorry”.

In fact when I read the passage about the three servants it seems to me that the master expected a return on His investment. It would stand to reason that God expects the same of us. (Note: I am not saying God commands us to be rich, only smart with the funds He has entrusted us with.)

To all those who insist that it just “seems too risky”; keep in mind there is risk in your current traditional job also. You take a risk each day that you won’t get fired tomorrow. You take a risk by trusting your car or public transportation to get you to your job on time each day. You are taking a risk that your boss doesn’t go bankrupt and have no money to pay you. Also, you may want to google “layoffs in 2012” The results may surprise you. It comes down to this: Would you rather be taking a risk while building your boss’ dream or while building your own?

Assets can be created while you are working your nine-to-five. I started with a certain network marketing company a while back. A lot of folks have said to me, “I just don’t have the time to do that”. I ask them, “If your boss offered over time right now, would you take it?” Of course, they say “Yes”. I reply, “If you have time to work extra hours for your boss, you have time to work a few hours for yourself, do you not?”

I am not a millionaire by any means but I can honestly say that my part time business gives me the opportunity to be on in the near future. Can you say that about your traditional job?

Here’s something to consider: If you were the Michael Jordon at your job would it lead you to a prosperous lifestyle? Would your current job lead to the ability to give money to the poor, tithe a massive amount to your Church, or take yearly family vacations in order to build lasting memories with those you love?

 

Savings accounts, bonds, bank CDs, Money Market Accounts, etc. Your options are varied and many when it comes to creating assets. The only real question is: Are you going to choose to be disciplined enough to start creating these assets or will you settle for your current lack of financial freedom?

The Choice is yours!

Educational Resources

Stock market:

1.     Stocks for Dummies: A really good book you can get on amazon.com or audible.com

2.     The four of the following sites allow you to

·        Sign up for a free accounts 

·         Watch free educational webinars & videos or read free articles (I suggest you start with the first one listed)

www.tradeking.com

www.tdameritrade.com

www.scottrade.com

 

Starting a business:

1.     Small Business For Dummies

2.     The Business of the 21st Century by Robert Kiyosaki

3.     Network Marketing for Dummies by Zig Ziglar

So far, in this 6-part series- we have discussed the dangers of Over-Spending and tackled the idea of Creating Assets with the money you’ve saved. Next topic- Getting out and Staying out Of Debt. Not overspending and Creating assets are ways to deal with debt but we will dive a bit deeper into the debt problem in Part 3. Pray, take a deep breath and prepare to be totally honest with yourself. It’s gonna be….interesting.