Tag Archives: goals

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?

A Lot Can Happen in Thirty-Eight Days: A Lack of Priorities Can Be Costly

A LOT has happenned over the last few months. I won’t go into the details right now, they’ll unravell in the blog posts to come. One thing I can say is I’ve regained perspective and focus. As much as I hate to say it, I had lost focus and God saw fit to slap me around in order to show me my own foolishness. (OUCH!)

Ya know that “wake up call” moment when everything important to you starts slipping away and you hit your knees asking Him to please, please, please step in and allow you to keep that which is most precious? Yeah, I had that moment- for 38 days in a row. It was brutal, agonizing, painful and an emotional rollercoaster. But, it did cause me to run to Christ’s feet, reprioritize, rethink and come to certain realizations about myself. One question God kept asking me is, “Would you be this distraught if I were to threaten to leave you?” At this question I replied with the intelligent response of, “Aaaaahhhh…..well…..”

Needless to say I had to evaluate exactly where I was placing God in my list of priorities. You’d think this would be an automatic response for someone in the ministry, right? Shouldn’t a long-time Christian have this down to automatic pilot? Yes…..and no. See, I think I was relying on automatic pilot a bit too much. I made a conscious effort to please and love my wife. (I’m now divorced….more on that later) I text my son daily saying how much I loved him. Throughout my day I’d text or email folks asking how they were and if they needed prayer for anything in particular.

You may be asking, what’s wrong with that Taz? Nothing at all, except that I wasn’t speaking to #God as often as to these fellow-humans. My significant other, my son and other sinners got more of my time and attention than my Creator!

(Just thinking about that reality makes me hang my head in shame and annoyance)

Did I really mess up that badly? Did I really put my wife before my Savior? SHAMEFUL!

Don’t get me wrong, the idea of spending more and more time with Christ has been a goal of mine for quite some time. I always wanted to think of my entire day as a long conversation with God, interrupted by daily chores and interaction with others- I just wasn’t getting it done! So, God grabbed my by the ear, pulled me into a confined space, sat me down and had a good Almighty-to-sinner conversation. He didn’t pull any punches nor did He sugar coat anything. He ripped open this wretched heart, magnified my evils and brought me to tears. I trembled, shook, felt regret and remorse, apologized and begged forgiveness. I dove into The Word, read three Christian book, including “The Purpose-Driven Life” and “The Story” and got closer to Christ.

I felt “washed”, as if I had a #spiritual shower with extra highly-concentrated cleanser added.

Aaaaaahhhh, that felt good!

So, what does this have to do with #financial world?

Good question, the answer is simple: Do not put anything, including your financial goals, before your relationship to God, period!

Infact your financial goals, outlook, attitude, etc. should be a RESULT of that first-place relationship. Your devotion to Him should result in seeking His direction in finances. Following Him should result in seeing His financial goals for your life and His goals becoming your goals. You line up with #Him, not the other way around.

Need proof that this concept is a reality? Well let’s look at ancient Israel. Many times they have served as our Biblical examples of what happens when we follow God and also the tragic consequences of straying from His path. Joshua chapter 7 is where we find the account of Achan who disobeyed God by keeping precious plunder from a recent victory.

Pause for one second. Achan may have had really good reasons for keeping the treasure. Maybe he would have sold half and donated the profit to a local charity. Or maybe he planned to buy materials to help mend his neighbor’s tents. What about feeding the hungry? He could have had a grand feast planned form them, right? While all those intentions are not evil in and of themselves, the fact that he violated the Creator’s command is still sin!

The punishment for Achan’s sin is found in verses 22-24. He and his family, yes his family, were all stoned to death and their bodies burned. Seems a bit harsh? Not really. Remember sin is a violation of the most pure, perfect, Holy and magnificent being in the entire universe-God. The more we respect a person or that person’s position the more severe the punishment for an offense to that person. Assaulting your neighbor on the street is one thing, assaulting the President of The United States, i’m sure you’ll agree is something different all together.

We cannot allow our financial goals to be placed ahead of a close relationship with Christ. We must “keep the main thing, the main thing”.

A few of you may be tempted to make use of the old saying, “Experience is the best teacher”. While this is a true statement, most people are unaware of the rest of it. “….and it’s a fool who learns by his own”.

Don’t be a fool. Learn from the mistakes of others. Learn from those who have already- foolishly- tested the waters. Stay on the path that God has laid out for you, keep Him first, love Him more than precious stones, metal and American green. I speak from experience when I tell you that if He is not first in your life it could cost you A LOT.

I lost A LOT in just 38 days.

BBM Interviews Mrs. Autumn Lee: A Busy Wife/Mother’s Financial Perspective!

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When I think of busy, organized, energetic folks who never stop moving and shaking and who also accomplish A LOT, I honestly think of this long-time friend, Christian, dancer, mother, photographer and all around sweet heart, Autumn Lee!

She’s the owner of Dash Photography, currently serving the Colorado and Texas areas.

With such a productive life and successful business, I thought it would be essential to dig into her mind concerning financial matters. This is truly someone we can all learn from. Here are her words of wisdom.

Autumn's photography talents :)

Autumn’s photography talents 🙂

BBM: Is the Bible one of your Financial Education sources? Why or why not?

Autumn: The Bible has not been one of my financial resources, other than when it talks about greed. I am trying to change that though because I know there is some good advice and some truth in there that will guide our family in the right direction.

BBM: Do you believe that small business contributes positively to the economy?

Autumn: I am a HUGE believer in small business, we need to quit putting money into big CEO pockets and support our local community. I think you feel better when you can see where your money is going and who it’s impacting and you can also see where your products etc are coming from.

BBM: How do you manage your finances? (Example: Financial Adviser, checkbook register, a combination of tools or a favorite tool you’d like to mention)

Autumn: We sit down once a month and plan our budget for the month and then every 2 weeks before payday we go over it again and make any changes. We try to use cash as much as possible and stick to the budget we have made. This has not only worked great for us getting out of debt, but it’s brought us closer in our marriage as well because we are communicating and we are finally on the same page.

BBM:At what age did you begin to form a “Financial Freedom” mindset?

Autumn: At some point in my 20s I started trying to be more wise with my money but it wasn’t until my 30s that I actually buckled down to do it.

BBM: Why do you believe Financial Wisdom is important?

Autumn: Being tied down to debt makes it hard to truly live the life God planned for you. There is always stress and unhappiness and depression. When you are debt free or working towards it, you see the light at the end of the tunnel, you feel okay splurging from time to time and you actually have the means to do things in life like travel or donate etc. It’s a good feeling.

Autumn is 100% correct. Being tied down by debt seriously cripples one’s ability to contrbute financially to great things God may have planned for your life. How many times have we heard others say (or have said ourselves) “I wish I could help…” or “One day I’ll be able to contribute…” or maybe “If I had a million dollars I’d donate it to…” My friend Mrs. Autumn Lee has an amazing future ahead of her because she has chosed to follow GOd’s prescribed path of financial stewardship.

Thanks a million for allowing us into your mind Autumn!!

If you’re searching for a great photographer you really should check ojt Autum’s web page:
dash-photography.net

You’ll be impressed, I assure you!

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#Biblical Money Smarts- Part Six: Setting Goals

Writing this 6-part Biblical Money Smarts series has been challenging, not because of a lack of content-it’s abundant- but deciding the order in which the topics should be placed. Goal Setting would seem to be the first thing we’d need to discuss but I decided to leave it for last so that I could emphasize exactly how important it is.

Young newlyweds especially, need to begin their unified journey with set, definite, agreed-upon goals. It’s important to discuss what you both want to save for; things like having babies, retirement, a new home and its maintainance, travel, vehicle repair, etc. The goals of both man & wife must be discussed and worked into the family budget from the very beginning.

These goals may include remaining debt free or getting out of debt, paying off family vehicles by a certain date, buying a vehicle without financing or building your dream home.

Once these goals have been clearly defined there MUST be a date attached to each one. A dream is something you “wish to have” at some arbitrary point in the future. A goal is something you “plan to achieve” by a certain date. Plan is the operative word here. Attending a birthday party or a graduation requires that you plan ahead. You set the day and time aside in you calender. You may set an alarm on your smart phone to remind you of the event a few weeks in advance. A “graduate debt-free” goal for your children, for example, obviously requires very in-depth planning. This is why such goals should be discussed asap! There is no time to waste!

Goals are the foundation of your financial success!! Everything else rests on them.

Consider the goal of Christ. He desired to reconcile us to Himself. His plan included a virgin birth, living a perfect life for 33 years, teaching others to live a Godly life and then taking the burden of the Father’s wrath on the cross. If God Himself had a goal and also a plan to acheive it, then it seems a good idea to follow His lead.

1 Corinthians 14:33 states God is “…not a God of disorder”. Looking at the world around us confirms this.  Trees pull water from the ground, up thier trunks, into thier leaves in an orderly way. Days pass by as we circle the globe without colliding with other planets. There is order to the universe because that is His nature.

We must be just as orderly in our financial planning if we are to achieve financial success and this orderly harmony must begin with goals in mind.

Goals serve as a jumping off point. The second you identify a goal, you have also pin-pointed two things: where you are and where you desire to be. As of that point your brain can start construct a road map of sorts. Think of where your job or favorite hang-out is located. Picture it in your mind. How do I get there from where you are right now? See what happened? Your brain immediately went to work constructing a path from your present location to that location.
This is precisely why setting a goal is important. You need to develope that road map towards financial success. If this isn’t accomplished you’ll remain stationary, inactive, unproductive and therefore unsuccessful.

Pray about what your five most important goals should be. Once God has made them clear, write them down, pray about them, asking God’s guidance. Ask Him when these goals should be accomplished.

With His guidence youll be able to Reduce your spending, create Assets and Stay Out of Debt while Educating yourself on finances and Ignoring the Hype created by materialistic advertizing.

Your goals, and God’s loving guidance, will serve as guard rails, keeping you on the straight and narrow path of Biblical Money Smarts!