Tag: budget

Master Your Money by Ron Blue Book Review

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Do you feel like your money is in charge of you, instead of you being in charge of your money? Do you ever wish that you knew how you could master your money?

Entrepreneur and accountant Ron Blue has a few ideas in his new book Master Your Money. This is a re-vamped version of a previous edition published in the late 80s. This time, he’s made some updates, adding personal reflections to the end of each chapter. He’s also added a special writing partner, his son Michael Blue, to add commentary at the end of each chapter.

Master Your Money offers a decidedly  Christian perspective with a heavy emphasis on the spiritual aspect of money management. Probably the biggest takeaway from this book is the idea of stewardship: that God “owns it all” and that people don’t truly own their money or possessions, but are simply caretakers of the things they have. The second takeaway is the huge emphasis placed on giving. Blue talks about giving and goes beyond emphasizing tithing as important, but states that is is the first purpose money should be used for in a budget  (even before taxes, and states that tithing should be done from gross instead of net income). He discusses estate planning for charity and making faith pledges beyond what you think you can give (to help your city, the world, orphans, the poor).

There are some changes that could have been made to this book to make it stronger. There are two big issues that people in this country are suffering from financially that aren’t addressed at all in this book, which could have been updated: student loan debt and health care costs. Blue talks about types of debt, but leaves student loan debt completely out of the picture, which is concerning given that student loan debt cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy. This is a critical issue given that so many students have defaulted on their student loans and are overextended. Another issue that needs further addressing is rising health care costs. The sample budget given for health care costs seems low given that families are experiencing increased costs in the areas of premiums, drug costs, etc. This is not a political issue but a financial one, and to not address it doesn’t give an accurate picture of what everyday families are up against in their personal finances.

Another strange part about this book is in the sample budget, there’s a line item for “margin” – a 2 percent category for a family to help them increase their cash flow. Yet, there is no line item on the sample budget for saving money for the future. When savings is not automated or made intentional in some way, it doesn’t happen. I don’t know if this “margin” category is the author’s way of saying “savings”, but it seems odd that a financial expert wouldn’t urge people to be intentional about creating an emergency fund of some kind, when so many people probably do not have one. Furthermore, I’m not sure why the author wouldn’t encourage people to save more than two percent of their budget when he is urging them to give 10 percent to others. The Biblical mandate is to provide for your own household or you are worse than an unbeliever… how can a wise person prepare for the hard times that will inevitably come in the future without making plans?

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Master Your Money from the publisher, Moody Publishers, in exchange for my honest review.

 

 

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Personal Finances Personal Freedom by Chanty Webb: Book Review

 

 

 

From the outside looking in, Chanty Webb and her husband should have had no problem paying their bills or making ends meet.

On the inside, however, their financial house was a disaster.

Webb’s book Personal Finances Personal Freedom uncovers how a nurse and her gainfully employed husband, also a college graduate, found themselves in a situation of excess debt and no emergency savings.

Webb uncovers the key causes of how their debts were acquired, not just saying “I bought a pair of shoes” or “The kids needed school fees”, but going beyond and exploring the ways that money shaped her childhood. She also spoke fondly of how her husband’s way of dealing with money had an influence on their relationship before marriage, and also how the way they dealt with money evolved as they went on a journey of conquering their debts.

What I really loved about this book was that, although it didn’t cover a lot of details about how Webb and her husband got out of debt, it put some humanity on debt. Instead of moralizing and saying “Spending is bad” or “Debt is bad” or “Saving is good”, Webb talked about her personal experiences. She made it very easy to see how large debts can accumulate fast, and her experiences serve as a cautionary warning for those willing to listen. I also loved how encouraging she was- so much so that while I was reading her book, I put it down and confronted some personal finance issues I had been dreading. Chanty Webb is that encouraging!

Overall, I recommend Personal Finances Personal Freedom for those who are starting the beginning steps of getting out of debt and want a coach to push them onto the first steps of the journey. Chanty will tell you: it can be done!

 I received this book from Olive Press Publishers in exchange for my honest review.

Why Can’t I Find Products Made in the USA?

If you’ve thought about why it’s important to buy items made in the USA, you may be wondering how you can start choosing American-made items over imported ones. What can you do when there’s no American-made version of the product you need? Consider these ideas.