Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tithing and Charitable Donations

How many times have you said, "I would donate to that, if I had the money?" the tithing account allows you to have the money for donations. It is not an optional account. If we wait until we have "extra money" to donate it never happens. We have found (as many others have) that when we give at least 10% of your income as a donation to your church, community, or organization, God or the universe, whatever your belief system, will provide what you need. Don't think you can afford 10%. In reality you can't afford not to.

Tithing should come out of your account first. If we don't take it out right away, we can forget it, or think we need it in other areas. Then it is spent before we can give a little of our increase back. If we look at many of the wealthy people and businesses, they all give a portion to charity. One person, most of us have heard of, Bill Gates established a charitable foundation to help give back. Another person that I, personally, would like to emulate at some point is Dave Anderson (founder of Famous Dave's). He has chosen to keep 10% and give 90%. He does this because he has seen the blessings received.

- Person experience - Even during a job loss, we continued to pay tithing. It was difficult because we weren't sure we could pay for all the other things we needed. Some how we managed to cover all our bills. Eventually we found a job to help us not only take care of our needs, but wants as well. We know this is because we paid tithing and the universe/God (whatever your belief system) helped us.

 - Susan and Buck

Saturday, May 22, 2010

First Things First

Hey all,

Susan and old Buck here, what are some ways to handle your money? In a previous post, Buck mentioned a couple of books to pick up and read. If you haven't done this yet, we would encourage you to at least check them out from your nearest library.

One of the first lessons that we are taught from "The Richest Man in Babylon," is no matter how little you think you earn always give the first 10% (tithing) as a donation. Then the rest is for purchasing your necessities. We will talk more about tithing in our next post.

The necessity or main account handles the majority of all your expenses. You will pay for food, utilities, rent, fuel, car payment, what ever expenses that you have will come out of this account.

We first need to learn how to handle our basic finances before we can expand what we do with them. What we have done is make a list of our basic expenses and try to average the costs for those ideas over a month time frame. This has helped us create a budget. We know. For most people that is like a four letter word. But if you are in financial trouble, you need to first learn where it is the money is going before you can redirect it to where it should be going. A budget will help you in doing this, it doesn't have to become the only way to handle your money but mostly to help you know what you are doing with it.

Once you have created a budget, you can then look at the different items that you purchase on a frequent basis. The author David Bach in his book, "The Automatic Millionaire," talks about, "The Latte Factor." If you have a latte each morning at your local coffee shop, they cost about $3-$5 depending on the brand. That adds up to about $15-$25 over a 5 day work week or $60-$100 a month just for one latte each morning on the way to work. If you were able to cut out that latte, see how much money you could save each month. What could you do with that savings? This is just an idea that he gives to help you get your mind working on different ways that you can cut costs in your everyday life. What different ways can you find to save money? We would love to hear about them and with permission share these ideas.

This is the first step to get your finances in order. We hope that these little ideas can help you find the money you need with the income that you currently have. Good night!

- Susan and Buck

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Out of the best books.

Hi all,
Buck is back. Today, I have decided to talk about some things Susan and I found helpful during times of our greatest financial struggles.

We bought and read a couple of books that helped us learn ways to overcome our finances. We have since taken this information and modified it to fit our personal needs and goals.

The first book is named, "The Richest Man in Babylon," by George Samuel Clason. This book has been around for years teaching people how to handle their current finances to get where they want to be.

It teaches these principles by telling several stories or parables. These stories cover a variety of financial situations such as single low income to rich with a business.

The other book is called, "Secrets of the Millionaire Mind," by T. Harv Eker. This book teaches about how to treat money. It, also, gives a method that Harv uses with his own finances.

It is the combination of these principles and methods that has helped Susan and I the most. Of course, we are not exactly where we want to be yet but we are on the road there.

Feel free to submit comments or suggestions of topics or information that you would like to learn. We would be happy to let you know what we have learned or research anything we haven't.

If you would like to purchase these books, we have included links on our side panel.

- Buck

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Buck's version of our Financial Start

Susan and I have been married for over 8 years now. Over those years, we have lived in relative bliss. We hardly ever have disagreements or fights. We have learned to overcome the little things that once annoyed us and see the person we fell in love with. Even with this growth, we did, and in some ways still do, have struggles with our finances.

When we first got married, we each had good jobs, made good money, and could afford anything that we wanted. So we made the decision to purchase a new vehicle, one that would give us room to grow as our family would grow. We had two cars and chose to trade in my car and purchase a four door pick-up. This way we had room to grow and we could haul camping equipment and/or a small trailer. This was a perfect plan. As an Accountant, I ran the numbers in my head (utilities, loans, rent, etc.) and everything worked. We could handle it without any trouble. So we got it, and it was nice.

After a couple of months, Susan became frustrated with her work and co-workers. She thought about it and made the decision to change employment to a field closer to her dream. With this decision, we started our times of struggle related to finances.

I am not saying that this was all Susan's fault. This decision was made as a couple in the end. We, also, made other choices and decisions that helped expound these effects. As Susan has mentioned before, I grew up with my mom handling the home finances so I followed suit and asked Susan to take over the home finances. I had a spreadsheet built to record expenses and compare against the bank.

I made a mistake with a couple things. I expected Susan to just start handling the finances without me being involved, too. And that, everything would be just fine because they had been in the past. We did struggle during this time but we had not learned yet what real financial struggle/hardship is really like.

We eventually decided to quit both our jobs and move up with my folks in an attempt to start graduate school.

Now to skip through time and highlight a few things. Living at my parents house Susan got pregnant. A couple weeks later, we totaled the truck that we had purchased previously. Shortly after our child was born, we purchased a condo. In the meantime, I was working part-time. Susan full-time but neither at great salaries. We had, also, started a business and took out a line-of-credit. After six months in our condo, I was offered a full-time position with my company that would require us to move and would more than allow Susan to become a stay home mom. So we purchased another home, and rented our condo. Eventually our renter stopped paying, we invested in additional programs that were to teach us how to make money outside a job. During all this, our business failed and the lines-of-credit came due. Our condo had financing with an A.R.M. and it's mortgage went up. Then I lost my job, shortly after finding out Susan was pregnant again. Thankfully, I found another job but lost that position a few months later.

Shortly after this, our second child was born. I received a call for employment back in Utah, which would require us to move with no available funds to do so. After packing and traveling out to find a place to live, we found that the job fell through and that we now needed to look for work.

As Susan and I talk with you more, we will build upon some of these events more. We really want you to know that you can build or rebuild your finances at any point. If you slack, you will falter again. We, also, want you to know that there are multiple methods for you to use to overcome your finances for life. If you use our methods or someone else's doesn't matter to me as long as your finances are sound. Our purpose is to show some of the mistakes that we have made, some of the things we have done to correct those mistakes, and what has worked for us so far.