Tag Archives: house

Tiny House Option- Part One: The Problem With The American Mindset

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One day recently I had the TV on as background noise while I got things done around the house and online. A certain real estate show featured a couple who were considering moving due to different issues with their #house. One of the issues was cramped space. Of course the space around us is an important consideration in a home. A kitchen in which you can manuver around each other easily is preferrable to a one-person-only space wherein if the oven is open there’s a danger of both parties getting burned. Issues like the commute to work, distance from schools, Church, friends and family are very important factors when considering a home purchase or selling one’s home in order to move to another house.

As I continued listening to the program I heard a phrase that bothered me. The husband of the couple stated that their bedroom was small by “today’s standard”. Immediately I thought, “Man I was with ya’ until that phrase”.

Here’s the Problem:
Buying a new home should not be influenced by “today’s standards”. That phrase tells me the house hunter is concerned with how his place will compare to his friends, family and neighbors. Exodus 20:17 warns us not to want what our neighbors have. In other words our desire should not be fueled by seeing something our neighbor owns. It should be fuled by a desire to have what God wants to provide then use #His generous gifts to His glory. When we compare what we have to what others are blessed with we essentially tell God two things…

•”What You’ve given me isn’t enough. I want what You gave them”.
•”I know what you’ve given me is part of your plan, but it’s obviously a flawed plan”.

Could you imagine flying into God’s throne room and making those statements directly to Him? Of course not! That would be rude and disrespectful. Yet, when it comes to money and material posessions we think to ourselves that God is supposed update our blessings according to the human standard of the day. Thankfully, that’s not how God operates. God is more concerned with supplying our needs than granting our petty materialistic desires.

When we hold onto the desire to have the shiny toys, big house, fancy cars and coolest electronics we do two things:

First we deprive ourselves of the ability to experience the joy of having less. Most Americans are convinced they “could never live in a Tiny House”. The idea of less space means having less stuff and God forbid they sell the PS4 and the Xbox1. Surely they can’t be expected to survive with only five pair of shoes instead of the twenty five they currently enjoy.

(Don’t get me started on the fact that they haven’t worn eighty percent of those shoes in over three years.)

Sadly we, the human race, have allowed money and stuff to be the source of our joy and happiness in our lives. We feel that if we have to down size we are somehow downgrading or moving backward financially. That mentality is so very off-base.

The second thing we do by holding onto the materialistic mentality is set ourselves up for unnecessary spending. We are daily witness to the fact that those in big houses feel the need to fill those houses with stuff like cars, paintings, clothes, game consoles and games, pool tables, big TVs, an upgraded kitchen, designer furniture, etc. Filling the space is just the beginning of the dominoe effect. Next is being sure all the stuff is maintained, that is followed by upgrading when a newer model is introduced. It’s not hard to see why even those earning tremendous salaries can still end up living paycheck-to-paycheck.

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The Tiny House phenomenon sweeping America has captured my attention partly because it helps us escape the materialistic mentality and therefore helps reduce spending and increase savings.

There are folks in this world with no clothes, food or house. If they had the opportunity to walk into my house right now they’d feel like they had entered a palace.
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A kitchen with a working stove, and fridge, next to a living room where most of us enjoy cable television would be unheard of to many poverty stricken families across the globe. Lying on my memory foam bed would be more than a dream come true. Air conditioning? That’s far beyond their most ambitious dreams! Who am I to tell God that what He’s allowed in my life isn’t enough? If anything we should be saying, “It’s too much for me to keep all to myself. Who can I bless?”

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So when you’re listening to your waterproof shower radio, using your scented body wash and drying off with a freshly washed, 100% cotton towel, you may want to ask yourself: What if I chose the Tiny House Option and lived with less so someone else could have more?

The “Tiny House” Option

Here at B.B.M. we believe strongly in exploring all avenues of income, investing, saving and creating assets. Through this exploration we insist on seeking God’s direction concerning the information we find.

 For the past couple years I have been very impressed with a relatively new movement sweeping across our country- Tiny and Small houses. The phrase Tiny House may cause you to think of a doll house, a cramped space that’s hard to move around in, or a shack in the woods only fit for housing an old hermit. However, the truth is far from such images.

While researching the Tiny House phenomenon I found that these fully-functioning, scaled-down houses are really spacious, equipped with amenities, and really well-designed. Honestly, there were many times I asked, “How’d they fit the outside around the inside?” The designers were able to take a small space and create a very roomy interior.

Another great thing about them is they are so much more affordable than the traditional houses we are used to in America. From a financial perspective Small and Tiny houses are a really great investment and a great money-saving tool for those seeking to buy their first home.

My wife and I know a couple who have recently purchased a large three bedroom house complete with formal dining room, large living room, game room and several extra rooms which are not necessary for a young couple who has yet to have their first child. They are only a few months into their home-ownership and the financial obligation is already causing significant strain on their wallets which then is causing strain on their marriage.

Now, imagine this same couple but with a shift in their mindset. Instead of the big, fancy house they invest in a Tiny House. The square footage is much less but so is the monthly mortgage payment. In fact, instead of stressing over money, they are able to put an extra 1,200 dollars a month into their savings. Also, the term of their mortgage is only fifteen years, not thirty.

Let’s do some math: Let’s say the mortgage on our friends’ traditional house is only $1,500 for thirty years. That’s a total of $540,000. The payments on the Tiny House are $300 per month for fifteen years. That’s a total of $54,000. This couple would have saved $486,000 by purchasing a Tiny or Small House instead of the traditional house that is now causing major problems in their life together. Can you imagine what they could have done with an additional $486,000?

Imagine that they got pregnant the same day they purchased the smaller house. Let’s say they took $600 (of the extra 1200) a month and placed it in a savings account for the child’s higher education. In eighteen years they’d have $129,600 dollars BEFORE INTEREST IS ADDED!!

Isn’t that a much better situation than being stressed over a mortgage, trying to find a second job, refinancing and maybe still losing their home after all their hard work?

If God gave me the choice in my son’s future I’d definitely choose the Tiny House option for him. In fact, my 14 year old son, my wife and I did have that conversation and I’m proud to say he is completely ok with the idea of us building a Tiny House for him to use during his college years so that he can save for his own financial future. Of course he’ll be getting a job to pay for a portion of it. I do believe in teaching our children they must work for what they desire. My wife and I also have no problem with eventually turning over the deed to this Tiny House to our son so that he can rent it for income if he chooses.

Are Tiny Houses for everyone? No, absolutely not. Neither is the stock market, business ownership or mutual funds. However, it is an option worth exploring. I strongly advise you take a couple minutes here and there to look into the cost of building or buying a Tiny or Small house. You may be in a position where downsizing is a smart financial decision. Maybe you’re able to invest in a few of these smaller dwellings as a means of creating Real estate asset. Either way, seek God’s direction in all financial matters!!

How To Shop Frugally

Proverbs 22:3 A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.In today’s world it seems that danger is always close. Financial woes are only one accident away. It makes sense to put aside money for those unexpected and inevitable events. Let’s dive into ways that will allow you to put aside as much as God’s money as possible.If you are determined to live a frugal lifestyle it is essential that you learn the art of purchasing items at the lowest possible prices. Doing so allows you to keep a higher percentage of your paycheck; therefore, allowing more for paying off debt, saving, and investing.

How do you accomplish frugal spending?

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First, pawn shops.  These stores are very underrated.  My wife and I frequently shop at a pawn shop next to our apartment. Since we both love buying movies we were thrilled that this shop sells DVDs & Blue-rays for less than $5. We can buy three movies for the price of one brand new movie at popular store chains. The movies haven’t been shortened, altered, or otherwise made any less great just because they are priced lower than their brand-new counterparts. Also, we love knowing we are getting the most bang for our hard-earned bucks.
Second, thrift stores. Along with pawn shops, these stores are a great resource for clothing, furniture, electronics, and power tools. There is a thrift store in my neighborhood where I can buy a jacket, tie, slacks, and dress shirt for less than $5. Yes, all those items for less than $5! You may be thinking these items are off brand, unimpressive rags that I would not wear in public. You would be wrong. I’m talking about brands like Perry Ellis, Liz Claiborne, and many others. Of course, off brands are also available. However, if you are dedicated to living frugally, the brand’s name should not matter at all.Thrift: noun \’thrift\ prudent use of money and goods: the sensible and cautious management of money and good in order to waste as little as possible and obtain maximum value.

Imagine that you have $50 set aside for clothes. You can go to a famous chain store and purchase one, maybe two outfits. Conversely, you can go to a thrift store and spend $10 for similar items. That is the art of Frugal Shopping! And of course you cannot get any more frugal than free. I like to browse the free section of Craigslist every now and then. Over the years I have acquired things like glass shelves, vases, a mattress, indoor plants, clothes, shoes, couches, a TV, and many more. It would be difficult to add up the monetary savings I have achieved over the years. Also, the barter section of Craigslist is very helpful. Why not exchange something you are willing to get rid of for something you want or need? Bartering allows you to acquire items without taking away from your bank account.

If you want to keep more of your paycheck and become a frugal shopper, the first step is to search for thrift stores and pawn shops in your area; and pay them a visit.  Happy, frugal shopping!

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Living Frugally Through The Struggle- Part Two

After selling a lot of my possessions and reducing my expenses, I suddenly felt stuck. What else could I do in order to keep increasing my meager savings and get ahead financially? Then it hit me; I could use my talents. I had always been told I should be a teacher, so I decided to teach what I knew – martial arts and hip hop dance. I put a low-cost ad in the paper and before long, my phone was ringing, with future students on the other end on the line. While this didn’t bring home a ton of money, it was enough that I started paying off some of the debt caused by the identity thief. I got a secured Visa in order to start rebuilding my credit and I started a savings account with around $300…and at that point, $300 was a lot of money in my world! I finally felt like things were looking up.

One very important event helped me tremendously.  A friend told me about a monthly plan that would allow me access to attorneys who could advise me on my situation.  Only five minutes into the DVD presentation I hit pause, got online, and signed up.  As mentioned in part one of this blog, I was arrested multiple times for crimes I never committed, each time paying bail to be released.  The law firm was able to refund my bail on four of the six occasions.  I then repaid family and friends from whom the bail money had come. The attorneys also spoke to the IRS on my behalf and proved that I didn’t owe the taxes they were seeking. I was very impressed with everything the attorneys did for me. That fact led to my next frugal decision…network marketing. I asked my friend how to make money with the company. She explained, I signed up, and within three months I earned three promotions and three raises. Enter massive sigh of relief and a sense of accomplishment.

I continued shopping at thrift stores and clearance racks while marketing the legal plan. I still bought the lowest-priced fuel and went to free – or almost free – events with my son.  I only used my secured Visa after sending a payment in the amount I planned to spend and I saved as much as possible.  I still ran into setbacks but I pushed forward.  Eventually I reached an income level that allowed me to get an apartment and purchase a used vehicle, 100% cash. I’d like to say that was the end of the story but it was not. However, I had reached a point where I could relax and felt zero financial anxiety. There would be many more years of suffering the consequences of the thief’s actions. But through it all, Living Frugally played an important role in helping me bounce back and rise above!

Thinking back to this traumatic event, throughout which I spent less than I made, reminds me of Proverbs 21: 20— The wise have wealth and luxury, but fools spend whatever they get.

PS: When I started this ministry I intended to never mention where a person could get the legal plan I mentioned in this blog. I made this decision because it seemed very self-serving because I am now an associate of the company, selling the legal plan products. However, i know it helped me out of a serious financial bind. And, isn’t what this blog site and my ministry are a ll about? So, here is a link to my site. Look around, check out the videos and write to me if you have questions. let God- not me- be your guide when it comes to deciding if the membership is right for you and your loved ones.

http://www.ebright.legalshield.com

Biblical Money Smarts- Part Five: Ignore The Hype

So, you’ve reduced your spending, created assets and learned to manage debt while educating yourself about money….wonderful! What’s next on the road to financial freedom? The answer is more of a mindset than an actual action to take, however, it is ultimately integral to your financial goals.

IGNORE THE HYPE

What do I mean by that?

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Easy, ignore commercials, the next “must have” item, the easy payments and the advice of using “other people’s money”. It’s ALL hype. It’s designed to make you feel that you MUST buy into their sales pitch. But, guess what…..you don’t need the item, the sale, the update or the newest version. You need food, clothing, shelter and most importantly, God. Everything else is not neccessary.

This is the mindset associated with Matthew 6:20 & 21 which says, “Store your treasures in Heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and theives do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”

You know the cable package you’re paying for with tons of channels you dont watch? You know why you don’t watch them? Because you DON’T NEED THEM. Human civilization thrived without cable, internet, smart phones and smart cars.

And, yes, I know….many of you will have a heartattack at the idea of cancelling your cable or downgrading to a cell phone plan without internet access. But, consider this: In the not-too-distant past there were some very well-off upper middle class folks living in California. They were making over 200, 000 dollars a year. They had the fancy cars in the best neighborhoods, their kids had the expensive cell phones with a ton of bells and whistles. They had country club memberships and prestigue. Then, one day, it was all gone. Cars were repossessed, the houses was forclosed on and families were living in “tent villages”. Lavish lifestyles became a thing of the past in a short period of time.

I’m sure you’re wondering why this happenned to such affluent families.

Well, they bought into the hype. They believed they were “supposed” to have the bigger house once dad got his raise. And when mom’s business started bringing in significantly more money they strongly believed that they were entitled to a higher credit card limit which then, of course, meant they could spend more on those great sales at the mall and the Home Shopping Network.
What they didn’t know was that behind the hype was a sinister plot to get as much of their money as possible, not caring if they ended up in financial hell. The plot went like this…

First the banker down the street sold a house to the Jones family knowing they couldn’t afford it. This didn’t matter to the banker because her plan was to sell the loan to Big Time investments. This way the bank receives the entire amount of the loan right away instead of over the next 30 years. The Jones family continues paying their mortgage as usual, not to the bank but to Big Time. Again Big Time is not concerned about the Jones Family’s financial future because they have collected hundreds of loans just like the Jones’. They sell these large clumps of loans to an even larger investor, Prime Time.

Second, the Jones family runs into a problem, their transmission on the Audi goes out. This is not a massive problem in itself for such an affluent family because they put the entire charge on a credit card with a newly increased limit. After all, they’ll pay it off easily- they’re affluent! The problem is that their daughter broke an ankle playing softball a few weeks later, mom’s business is in a seasonal lull and the roof of their house starts leaking due to a recent storm.

In this situation the sellers of those must have items don’t run to the rescue. Prime Time wasn’t sympathetic, they didn’t arrive at Mr. Jones’ doorstep with a new contract reducing his monthly mortage payments. Nor, did the credit card company voluntarily deffer payments till after they are back on their feet.

No, the Jones family found themselves in a tent with many others from their upper-middle-class neighborhood. They were all in the same situation because they all believed the hype associated with collecting stuff, stuff and more stuff.

The words of the verse I mentioned earlier would have served them well and saved them a lot of heartache and loss. With this verse in mind they would have taken the extra money from dad’s raise and invested a portion, saved some for emergencies or donated some to charity. With savings and investments they would have been prepared to deal with a leaking roof, a broken ankle and a business going through a seasonal lull.

Another verse that helps keep us in the right mindset is Proverbs 31: 10-18. This passage speaks about the wife of Noble Character. It talks about how she wakes up early, makes breakfast, buys a field and plants a vineyard. Why is that important? Because of what it goes on to say in verse 18, ” She makes sure her dealings are profitable, her lamp burns late into the night”. This is the picture of a smart woman who is not captivated by materialism. She thinks far into the future and works hard to not only maintain but thrive in any economy.

So, now that you’re on the path to financial freedom you must develope a long-term, anti-hype mindset. Heed the words of the Bible and concentrate on Heavenly treasures more than the material stuff that can be lost in a moment. Don’t assist in stuffing the pockets of businessess that don’t give one iota about your financial future. Be like the shrewd woman of Proverbs, work hard, save and be sure that every financial decision helps get you and your family closer to financial independence!!

Biblical #Money Smarts- Part Four: Education

If in Real Estate it’s Location, Location, Location…then in financial wisdom it must be Education, Education, Education!! Think about it. Can you name anyone extraordinarily skilled at their craft who didn’t educate themselves in that craft in some way? Mother Teresa and Ghandi learned the art of self sacrifice. Robert Kiyosaki, Donald Trump and Zig Ziglar learned about money, finances, creating wealth, public speaking and real estate. These individuals didn’t wake up one day with years of knowledge and wisdom downloaded into their brains. It was even said of Christ that He “grew in wisdom and stature”, (Luke 2:52) meaning He displayed more and more of His wisdom as He got older. Now, of course, Christ had all wisdom within Him because He was God wrapped in human flesh but if we are to follow in His footsteps by growing in wisdom then we need to start plugging our brains into wisdom-rich sources. Put down that extention cord…it was a metaphore. You may be tempted to tell me you can’t carve out twenty minutes each day to educate yourselves. To be totally honest, I’M NOT BUYING IT & here are a few reasons why. Drive Time University: In my network marketing business I’ve gotten to know the writings and teachings of a very successful businessman named Jeff Olson. One concept I learned from him is something he called Drive-Time University- listening to audio books, podcasts, etc. while driving from one destinatiin to another. Imagine being stuck in rush-hour traffic while listening to Zig Ziglar speak on patience, endurance, overcoming adversity or other empowering topics. Think of all the places you drive to: Church, work, school, children’s sporting events, visiting family and friends, the grocery store, etc. If you choose to forgo what’s offered on the car radio (which generally has little positives to offer) you’ll have plenty of time to listen to several books per month. I say this from experience!! You can also use your PS3, Xbox or DVD player to play your audio books while doing chores around the house. Yes, you can mop while learning stock options, do the dishes while gaining investment knowledge or learn what a Balance sheet is while folding laundry. So, your “I don’t have time ” excuse can no longer serve as your fall-back, sorry.

Free education? The temptation right now is to move onto popular excuse number two which is, “Financial Education costs too much”. My response to this false statement is: “Does your local library charge an entry fee? You see, most people forget all about the library down the street when they think about how to gain an education. But in today’s world of high-cost colleges and universities, doesn’t it make sense to learn-for free- from successful people like Bob Hopkins, Larry Burkett and Chuck Bentley? There are litterally thousands of books at your library and libraries in neighboring towns from which you can fill your brain with the exact same information you’d get at an Ivy Leauge institution. (I realize that may not be a popular or readily-accepted statement, but I’m here to speak the truth….not win a popularity contest)

The importance of financially educating ourselves cannot be emphasized enough. As stated in the book Where Did My Money Go? by Bob Hopkins: It is enough that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for if they did, I believe there would be revolution before tomorrow morning. – Henry Ford. When I first read that statement I was both annoyed and intrigued. I was annoyed because it was made clear to me that the few, mega-rich who control our economies are counting on us remaining ignorant of how the economy really works. Does that not bother you? It should!! Your continued ignorance helps line the pockets of the few while many of us struggle, barely get by and more of us join the ranks of those below the poverty line. Once I was done being annoyed, intrigue took over and I kept wondering 1. What is it they know and I don’t? 2. What am I missing from my financial knowledge? & 3. What am I doing to keep them in power over me? My eyes would never have been opened the truth that there are a few who want us to remain enslaved; without reading Where did My Money Go? by Bob Hopkins. I would have remained ignorant of what Balance Sheets and Income Statements were if I had not opened the pages of Money Came by The House The Other Day. Digging Out the Money Pit helped remind me of the Biblical truths concerning money management. Stock Investing for Dummies provided a clearer understanding of how the stock market works and of the terms used in the investing/trading world. The list could go on for quite a while. Thanks to my goodreads.com account I know I’ve read over 104 books in my life- not all were financial, but a lot of them were- and I’m sure you have better things to do than read a list of books I’ve read. Did you know stock brokers offer free online and in-person classes? Visit stock broker sites like scottrade.comtdameritrade.com and tradeking.com, search through their education sections and sign up for their free webinars and seminars. Most of the time they’ll ask you to create a profile but that is also free.

So we all agree that education is important. Your “I don’t have time” and “it costs too much” excuses have been laid to rest. (I hear tapps playing in the background) Now all you have to do is begin to educate yourselves. Visit your libraries and community centers, check out stock broker sites, search the internet for free and low-cost financial seminars and workshops, get a hold of audio books, browse amazon & Barnes and Noble for low cost books; whatever it takes to start populating your brain with money-based wisdom. Remember, there are a few at the top of the financial foodchain who are COUNTING ON US REMAINING IGNORANT AND THEREFORE ENSLAVED! Fight against the ignorance, rise above a corrupted system that has been set in place to feed on our lack of wisdom. Your excuses are moot, cost is no longer an issue. It’s all up to you- remain ignorant or get smarter, period!