Car buying tips from the top car guys:

car-buying-tips

Do not buy new; rather seek out a reliable car that is three or four years old, after ½+ the value is deprecated.

Then you will save tens of thousands of dollars. Cars today last many times longer than decades past. Also why not? A brand new car is bad #stewardship, unless you need it for work and will have it for more than ten years. It is way better to buy a good used car (like a Honda, Toyota, Subaru or some Fords, not a Chrysler or Fiat because of bad reliability or European, too much in maintenance), than new. Never lease unless your company gets a tax credit and pays for it. The math on a lease is never better than purchase. Can’t afford a three-year-old car? Any 4 cl Honda or Toyota, especially the Corolla and Camry’s that is well maintained, 94-07 is a best reliable bet.

Best reliable cars ever made? Toyota 4Runnres 99-02, and any early 4 cl 5 speed, if you can find one…took me months to get one… Also, diesel Mercedes if you can afford the maintenance; although better than new cars. Also, the Ford Crown Vic, is a beast and can last a million miles, as do Toyota Tacoma’s and Tundras if maintained right…

The Best Financial Moves

Finance-RoundupWhat are the  best basic financial moves a Christian must make?  Here are the top six from Crown:

First, make giving to the Lord’s work your top financial priority. The Bible calls us to honor the Lord with the first fruits of our wealth.  I believe 10% of our gross annual income is the starting goal.

Next, have an Emergency Savings Account. Start with a $1,000.  Build it up to 3-6 months of your income to be prepared for unexpected expenses. It is more essential than a long-term retirement account.

Third, pay off debt. Consumer debt like credit cards, store accounts or loans from family and friends needs to go first. After that, pay off student loans and mortgage loans.

Fourth, have an up to date written will. If you don’t have a will, the government has one for you and you won’t like it. This is essential for married couples – especially those with children.

Fifth, be sure you have proper insurance coverage.  It is best to have some level of health, life and disability insurance.  Regarding your property, at a minimum protect against catastrophes.

Sixth, automate a long-term savings plan. If you company offers a matching plan, take advantage of the maximum benefit.

While investing and retirement planning are important, I find many people jump to that step and skip over some of these basics.  By covering this list first, you will be in a much better position to manage day-to-day financial challenges. Even more important is making giving your top priority. This step helps keep your financial priorities in order.

Chuck Bentley is the CEO of Crown, the largest Christian financial ministry in the world, founded by the late, Larry Burkett. visit Crown.org for more.

Good verses Bad Debt

Good-Bad-Debt1

Good debt is what is helping you build your future to take from today and build a better tomorrow. 

Such as a home mortgage that builds equity and is a place for you and your family to live and thrive.

It can also be a business loan, which allows you to build a way to provide you and your family’s future when providing jobs and a beneficial service to your community.

Student loans can be good too, but be very cautious, they can’t be forgiven or used in bankruptcy and may take 30 years to pay off. They will stifle you from owning a home or building a future. Only use them if you have too when all scholarship and other means is exhausted. Pay them off as soon as you can. If you will not have the income to pay them off early, do not get them and just prolong your education. Take online and community college courses to augment your college and grad school, then graduate when you can be debt free.

Bad debt is taking money away from your future that you need to live and build upon and stealing it away for pleasure or a perceived need today.

Such as credit cards and a store credit shopping spree that you will be paying on for years when those goods are useless and long gone proving no useful means for you.

Car loans, best not to get, only use cash and not have a loan. If you must and if you can afford it, get a reliable car that is three or four years old, after ½ the value is deprecated. Then you will save tens of thousands of dollars. Do not get a brand new car, it is bad stewardship, unless you need it for work and will have it for more than ten years. It is way better to buy a good used car (like a Honda, Toyota, Subaru or Ford, not a Chrysler or Fiat because of bad reliability or European, too much in maintenance), than new. Never lease unless your company gets a tax credit and pays for it. The math on a lease is never better than purchase. Can’t afford a three year old car? Any 4 cl Honda or Toyota that is well maintained, 94-07 is a best bet.

Big Tip Credit cards. Do not get them! 

Second Big tip on how to pay off credit cards by making the minimum on the larger balances and pay more to the smaller balances. Then you will pay off the smallest balance first and then take those funds to pay off the next lowest balance and so forth until you are all done. The math expiates the payoff in that way faster than just a little more on each one.

Handling Credit Cards

Handling Credit CardsThis is a very simple concept and will alleviate most of your money struggles and marriage arguments.

Credit cards are a tool when you are in a great need. It is always best to play them off each month.

What credit cards are not, is being your money! They are not your income or your entitlement, they are not what you need or what you deserve. When we get this, we will be on the right track of money management.

This is all about telling your money what to do, not allowing your desires to ‘defund’ you. If you can’t manage a credit card, do not have one. Stick to a debit card and have a good budget to guide you.

6 Apps That Can Simplify Your Money Life

From Forbs, here are some good leads to check out:

If you’re the C.F.O. of your household, then you’ve probably wondered if there isn’t a techie solution for managing your finances.

The problem is that there are probably too many options out there. The onslaught of offerings that you’ll find when you visit the app store can be overwhelming—but we’re here to help!

We’ve scouted six free apps (including ours!) that are easy to use and work wonders to streamline your life and your wallet. Then we asked Jennifer Jolly, a tech expert and blogger behind Tech’s Appeal, to fill us in on what makes these apps so helpful—as well as some things to consider before you download.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2014/01/24/6-apps-that-can-simplify-your-money-life/

How to Work on a Budget

It is not hard to do, and it will make your life so much easier!

Instead of thinking of a budget as a negative thing, remember that a budget is simply a “game plan” or a financial plan. We need to have money to live in today’s society. Because money is a necessary aspect, a tool that we need to create, apply, and follow the plan. In doing so, we can be wise stewards with what God has blessed us, and we can competently handle money, time and things—all gifted to us for the glory of Our Lord. A well-designed budget considers necessities, generosity, and desires and benefits everyone—you, your spouse, your family, your friends, even strangers!

How do we do this? You need to have a plan. This starts with a biblical concept of how to deal with your money and debt.


First, know your total income (what comes in).

Then, count all of your expenses (what goes out).

The goal is to always make sure the income is greater than the expense. Kindly and honestly communicate with each other to make sure that you are both aware of the reality and work from there. Put the plan on paper and discuss it together. If you need a template for examples, go to crown.org or biblicalstewardship.net.

You are a money manager for God as it all belongs to Him, and we work for Him!

Here is how:
https://biblicalstewardship.net/how-to-make-a-family-budget/

Free and low cost Software and Resources

This is about good stewardship, not about being anti big business or anti Microsoft or Adobe. Those are good companies and products, but there is more out there that is just as good for a whole lot less. If you are a Christian in ministry, or lead a church, you must remember good stewardship with God’s resources.  

Office Software 

Open Office, http://www.openoffice.org/  You do not need to pay $200 to over $400 per computer for an office suite or $100 per year via cloud subscription. Unless you do compacted macros, this does it all and more that you would think and does pdf and dox files too.  

Libre Office http://www.libreoffice.org/is the best free power-packed open source personal productivity suite for Windows, Macintosh and Linux, that gives you six feature-rich applications for all … 

Email Reader 

Mozilla Thunderbird https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/thunderbird/ an excellent alternative to Outlook and does more and is more stable. The company is created by a global non-profit dedicated to putting individuals in control and shaping the future of the web for the public good. 

Graphics, why spend $700+ when you can get just a good to do it all for much less? 

GIPM http://www.gimp.org/ Just as good as Photoshop. The GNU Image Manipulation Program, for X Windows systems. Official site, including download area, documentation, FAQs, and a plugin registry.

Xara http://www.xara.com/us/ is renowned for making quality website and graphic design software for professionals and novices at a price which won’t break the bank.

Printing , save hundreds of $$ over the Office Stores or Kinko’s for the same quality!  

Next Day Flyers, Flyers, brochures, banners, http://www.nextdayflyers.com/Online printing company, Next Day Flyers, prints over 1 million pieces a day. 100% money back guarantee on printed business cards, brochures, flyers & more!

Visa Print, http://www.vistaprint.com , save a lot over the Office stores and Kinko’s.  

Labels, http://www.surething.com/, Easily create cd/dvd labels with easy to use cd label software, supervibrant cd/dvd labels, jewel case inserts, dvd case insert to make your projects pop. 

Sermons and audio podcast recording  

Audacity, http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ Audio editor for recording, slicing, and mixing audio. Site includes help, downloads, and developer information. (C++) [Cross-platform] 

Management Software, so many churches get duped in paying thousands for programs they will never use or be able to train its staff to use when there is better for much less! 

Power Church, http://www.powerchurch.com/ Church Management Software, has never been so affordable or easy to use! Plus makes it easy to manage your membership, non-profit …

Forms for serious websites, http://www.simfatic.com/ Illustrates how Simfatic Forms could be used to add form validations without you writing any code.

Used computers, you do not need new, http://www.geeks.com/  and http://www.internetauctionlist.com/

Operating System that works, http://www.opensuse.org/en/, tired of windows crashing….

More free and low cost best of the best comp software,  

http://www.pcworld.com/category/software/

 

Bible Study Tools and Aids

Free 

http://www.intothyword.org/pages.asp?pageid=53515 

www.BibleGateway.com

Christian Classics Ethereal Library www.ccel.org 

www.preceptaustin.org/ 

www.freebiblesoftware.com/ 

www.e-sword.net/ 

www.Bible.org 

Low cost 

www.olivetree.com 

www.logos.com/ 

BibleDatabase 

Bible Explorer 

BibleWorks 

BibleSoft 

Bible Software Review 

Bits & Bytes 

The Composite Bible 

CrossWire 

Discount Christian 

e-Sword 

GramCord 

ehemiah Bible Software 

Online BibleQuickVerse   

Rejoice Christian Software   

SwordSearcher 

YouVersion Bible Studies

Best places to have a website built, http://netministry.com/ and www.itwgroup.org