“Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today”

Since I have created this blog to help you stretch your money, I have decided to do just that and have put new pricing on my book.

Check out Amazon and Smashwords for new pricing. There are reviews and a sample chapter on this site. Check out tabs above.

I would love to hear from you after you read it. 41NydAJhNoL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

Here is a preview of Money: How to Be Rich Without It and How to Stretch It Using Ten Hints from the Past and the Technology of Today

“Money is often on my mind. Chances are it is on your mind, too. Whether we have a lot of it, just enough of it, not much of it or none at all, money is on our minds.”

With frugality in her DNA, the author explains her lengthy title in the foreword: “Since your perception of riches has a great deal with how you approach your handling of money, the best starting place is Money, How to Rich Without It. In this book, I talk about millionaires who don’t fit the profile you would normally expect as well as some people I know who are rich beyond description although they don’t have any money. In these two extremes, I found a common denominator: the right attitude toward money.

… perhaps it’s time to rethink the wisdom of those who have gone before us. A miserly attitude is not the answer, but because they survived during some very rough times, maybe their advice is worth another look, thus the reason for a look at Money: How to Stretch It Using 10 Hints from the Past.

We do, however, live in the 21st century and have advantages that our ancestors could not have even dreamed of, thus the addition of and the Technology of Today. The appendix has an abundance of websites and resources that will help you stretch your dollars.”

Written from a Christian perspective, the book also includes an overview of what the Bible says about money.

Order paperback and Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/Money-Without-Stretch-Using-Technology/dp/1479389161/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391084095&sr=8-1&keywords=money%3A+how+to+be+rich+without+it

Download available in all formats, including PDF and Sony Reader: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/221060

Evaluating Yourself

thBenjamin Franklin said, “If you were a servant would you not be ashamed that a good master should catch you idle? Then if you are your own master be ashamed to catch yourself idle.” In other words (or in an expression more easily understood today), “if you are self-employed, do your own annual review.”

Would you be happy with yourself if you were your own employer? Would you receive a favorable review of your goals and accomplishments for the past year?

Many of us make New Year’s resolutions, but how many of us evaluate ourselves at the end of the year?

These questions can easily be applied in the realm of using your money wisely. If you have set new goals for getting out of debt or have something you have been saving for or are determined to have resources when you retire, you must stop at times and evaluate where you are.

Every financial advisor recommends writing down your goals toward financial independence. Not only is it good to write them down, but it is imperative to review them at given intervals. There is no time like the approaching end of the year to do a good evaluation – especially when the holidays are around the corner. It may be that you might have to reduce your spending on presents or entertainment in order to meet your goals. If you don’t evaluate at the end of the year, you will most certainly have to add new and harsher goals at the beginning of the new year.

th-1Do your own annual review. Check out your credit report (free at http://www.annualcreditreport. com and credit rating (free at http://www.creditkarma.com). Fix any errors and evaluate where you are.

While you are in the evaluation stage, look at other areas where you have set goals. Life is more than money. Had you determined to spend more time with family – read more books – spend less times in front of the television?

You might be surprised at how well you did or how much you need to improve. As Benjamin Franklin also said, “Well done is better than well said.”

Your Vote: Free But Extremely Valuable

This week’s post was first published on my other blog: http://onefocusministries.com/2014/11/07/a-government-you-can-trust/

If you are an American or belong to a country where you can vote, know that it may not cost you any money, but many in your country have paid the price for the privilege you have to vote. It is extremely valuable.

A Government You Can Trust 

511px-Schurz_Mein_Herz_ist_am_Rhein

Uncle Sam, cigar in hand, stands speaking to a sullen Carl Schurz sitting at a square piano though turned away from the keyboard. The sheet music on the piano is entitled “Mein Herz ist am Rhein.” Source Harper’s Weekly, August 24, 1872. Caption: CARL IS “DISGUSTED WITH AMERICAN POLITICS.” — Frankfort Gazette. Uncle Sam. Look here, Stranger, there is no Law in this Country to Compel you to Stay.

Americans would like to believe that democracy works –  our voice and votes count, our elected officials have our best interest in mind, listen to their constituents and work tirelessly for the good of the nation. And yet, it’s becoming hard to trust anyone in politics. Even those who start out wanting to make a difference may wind up more than just discouraged with the process. After being in office for a short time, they often take on the same attitude of the politicians they defeated in their election. They give up on the changes they said they were going to make. They will do anything just to get elected again.

I do know of politicians who are determined to keep their head about them and not let that happen. To those few, I say “thanks.”

Although there have been times when I have asked myself, “what is wrong with this picture?”, I still vote and am grateful for the privilege of doing so.

In November 2014, Pat Buchanan said:

In a democracy, people get the kind of government they deserve.

The American people are today a deeply divided people — on ideology, politics, faith, morality, race, culture. Americans today — and not for the first time — do not really like each other.

Americans have no one to blame but ourselves. Our problem is really a sin problem. We are divided in politics because we are divided on the basic trust issues of life. A democracy would only work if people cared for one another.

Thankfully, I am part of a government that is truly trustworthy. It is not a democracy. It is a kingdom and Jesus is in charge.

As King of Kings, He does not need to listen to us, but He does. He not only has our best interest in mind; He left the comforts of heaven to work on our behalf. He speaks for us when we can’t speak for ourselves. He never gave in to the temptation to be popular. He followed through on His mission. What He accomplished resulted in a kingdom where everyone will care about one another because they are part of His family. I am truly grateful to be part of that government – now and for eternity.

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6).

Shark Tank Wisdom

Shark Tank is the one reality show I really like to watch. As hopeful entrepreneurs make their presentations to potential investors, the creativity of ordinary people is inspiring. Many of them have some great ideas. Even the ones whose ideas are rejected have the advantage of having thousands of people who have watched the show become aware of their idea or product. That could only be a good thing.

One of my favorite investors on Shark Tank is Lori Greiner and now I know why. As the  “Queen of QVC”, she can afford to buy anything she wants, but she is exceedingly frugal! She said, “In the beginning I was really, really lean,” she says. “For the longest time I did it all. I played every hat. I was in the factory, doing the graphic design, the photography, the selling — literally everything. I saved money doing what I could myself. It was hard but I learned. I learned that nobody’s better than you to get your business off the ground. The experience you get is priceless.”

You and I may not have a business or patent inventions or be able to invest in others’ business ideas, but following Lori’s pattern of frugalness can save you money every day. When you do things yourself, you learn how to do it better and you save the money you would have spent to have someone else do it. It may be hard, but if you need to stretch your money, it is worth it.

Here are just a few things you could pay someone else to do, but you can stretch your money when you dolossy-page1-800px-No_original_caption._(Woman_cooking_in_a_kitchen.)_-_NARA_-_513406.tif it yourself.

  • Do your own yard work. Hiring someone to do your yard work often requires you to allow them to do it on a weekly schedule. The large companies contract to do yard work and may do it more often than needed. If you really can’t do it yourself, hiring a reliable young person may be the way to go.
  • Do your own ironing. Recently I heard someone say, “I could have bought a new pair of pants this month for the cost of having mine cleaned and pressed every week.” The $3 or more that it costs for sending a pair of pants to the cleaners adds up if you do it often.
  • Create your own website. There are now so many resources available for you to develop your own website free that I wonder if web design companies are going to be able to stay in business much longer.
  • Wash your car yourself. You will save the trip to the car wash and time wasted sitting in their waiting room.657px-Scene_at_car_wash_in_Summit_NJ
  • Cook your own meals. It is not only cheaper to cook than to purchase meals at even the fast food restaurants, it is much healthier.
  • Color and cut your own hair. This is where some of my friends tell me I have gone to meddling, but you can buy many packages of hair color for the cost of having your hair colored just once. If you learn to cut your own hair, that savings multiplies.
  • Do your own repairs. My husband is a handyman and has saved us many thousands of dollars over the years because he can do repairs himself – on the house, on vehicles, on tools, etc.

You can think of many more because Lori Greiner is right. You can definitely save money doing what you can do yourself.

Holiday Fun

easter-eggclipart-tn-3 Practically everyone loves to have special decorations around holidays. If you look at the calendar and anticipate New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Father’s Day, Independence Day in America (July 4), Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, you can see just a few of the reasons why you could easily go broke purchasing special decorations for each holiday.

There is no reason to spend much extra money on decorations, however, as there are often deep, deep discounts right after the holiday on decorations. All you have to do is remember where you store those bargain decorations from year to year. The easier and cheaper thing to do, though, is to just add something extra to decorations you already have around the house.

For instance, in many countries they decorate just as much for Easter as they do for Christmas. Willow branches which a4th-of-july-clipart-tn-2re blooming at that time of year are placed in large vases or umbrella stands or any other tall container you have and colored ribbons are weaved throughout the branches. Or …decorated blown eggs are hung from branches of trees put in those same types of containers. You can spend tons of money on beautiful eggs or you can make them yourself. Or better still, include your children in the process.

I usfree-thanksgiving-pictures-6-tned to dress up my sons’ large Raggedy Andy dolls and place them on chairs outside the door at Halloween time. No expense – but it was an invitation to trick-or-treaters.

I have a friend who used to cover every one of her pictures hung throughout her house with Christmas wrap at Christmas time. She tied a ribbon around them and the entire house was decorated. Small expenditure – big impact.

I love to collect acorns, pinecones, etc. when I walk and place them in baskets I already have for use in the fall and through the Christmas season. No expense – just planning.

Magazines often have lots of hints in how to decorate for an upcoming holiday. You don’t need to subscribe to the magazine. Check out their website online and search for the holiday you’re interested in.

As usual, you can save lots of money by doing things yourself and have lots of fun in the process.

It’s Not Money That Makes Me Happy

DSC06583If I were to write a song about my favorite things, they would include spending time with my husband and my family, fresh vegetables cooked in sugar and bacon drippings, sunshine and roses, a walk in the woods, setting a table with pretty dishes, great Southern fried chicken and watching something like “Little House on the Prairie.”

If I were 19, my favorite things might include a smart phone, video games and food you eat on the run to the next appointment. I’m not 19.

The older I get, the more I know how blessed I am. Recently, I was asked, “On a scale from 1 to 10, how blessed do you feel?” My answer, “15.”

My favorite things don’t have to involve money. It costs me to visit my sons’ families because we don’t live close, but I would rather live down the street. The walk to their house would cost me nothing. I wish I had a garden, but I don’t (yet); however, sometimes someone with a garden gives me some surplus and those are usually the best tasting vegetables I eat all year. It doesn’t cost me anything to go out and enjoy the sunshine and my rose bushes were Kuykenhof and Delft, Holland May 2004 028already here when we moved into our house. I love a walk in the woods or the local park. Again, that costs me nothing. Setting a table with pretty dishes is such fun to me. Of course I have purchased dishes, but I have several sets that were either given to me or inherited. It may not be good for me but I love to eat fried chicken. Sometimes I fix it myself. Sometimes I pick it up, but it is not expensive either way. The episodes of “Little House on the Prairie” I have watched lately have been on the internet. I pay for internet service, of course, but nothing extra to watch my favorite show.

I do think a lot about money. Everyone does, but I am usually trying to come up with new ways to stretch it. I figure it is only good stewardship for the resources God has given me. When I find a quarter in the bottom of my purse, realize I can save $25 on a needed item because that store just sent me a coupon, or find I have just the right ingredients for a meal, I know God has given me another way to stretch my money. I am more excited about a bargain God has arranged for me than I am about having the money to buy the item at bargain prices.

It’s that God cares about the little things that means so much to me. If it matters to me, it matters to Him. I am His daughter.

…whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he (Proverbs 16:20b).

Those That Have Gone Before Us

This post was first published on my other blog: http://onefocusministries.com/2014/09/19/those-that-have-gone-before-us/

I am reposting it here as a reminder that it is not what we do with our money, but how we live our lives that ultimately really matters.

Those That Have Gone Before Us

I have members of my family and friends who have preceded me to heaven. I think of each of them often and the things they did and said.

When I clean up after a meal, I can hear my sister saying, “The kitchen is not clean until you have swept the floor.” When I think of my dad (which I do often), I remember him saying, “When God is through with me, He will take me home.” When I think of my close friend, I remember her life principle, “God is faithful.”

It does not need to be a single saying that brings back memories. The relationship I had with some of my loved ones continues to speak to me.

Frank Ballard, WWII photoMy dad and I were very close. He called me his “blessing in the Lord.” His mother, in days when divorces were rare, divorced her alcoholic husband and raised four children on her own teaching each one of them to love the Lord. His older brother took his position in the family seriously and looked after every member of the family. He taught his sons to do the same.

I often think of my father-in-law’s patience and love as he cared for my mother-in-law through her long bout with Alzheimer’s. I also remember how birthdays were so important to him. His calendar was filled with reminders to send cards to his family and friends. His mother was an amazing witness for the Lord and his wife’s mother was one of the sweetest Christians I have ever known. They both had a great influence on me.

I miss my sister by choice so much. She had an unconditional love for me. I never had to explain myself to her. She knew instinctively. There was no one else in my life like her.

Picture 458Although dead, they still speak to me.

God reminds us what we say and what we do in this life lives on. This reality is sobering. We all have done things and said things we would not like to be remembered for. While we are still here, though, there remains opportunities to be a positive influence and hopefully be remembered for our trust and faith in God.

By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts; and through it he being dead still speaks (Hebrews 11:4).

Patience Can Stretch Your Money

Everyone knows the dangers of impulse buying. You can easily acquire things you don’t really need at prices you really shouldn’t have spent.

The antidote to impulse buying is patience. If there is an item that you really do need, comparison shopping online and in stores can be a great help. There are so many tools and apps available now that can help you do just that.

One tUSCurrency_Federal_Reservehing that is very helpful is to know cycles of when things go on sale. For instance, Christmas cards and decorations are sold at deep discounts after Christmas. It is easy to find out when something else is scheduled for discounted prices as well.

If you shop specific stores, you can get very familiar with not only their sale cycles, but the fact that they send their loyal customers great coupons to use. It is wise to sign up for mail notifications from every place you frequently shop. My husband and I look forward to discount coupons from our favorite supply stores since we are doing a lot of construction work. I watch out for the $5 off $15, $4 off $20 coupons from the drug store and dollar store I frequent the most. That is when I go in to stock up on toiletries, etc. I recently purchased an expensive item for our medicine cabinet for next to nothing because I waited – I had several drug store coupons I could use at once. That $24 item and a can of tomato soup cost me $.48!

When shopping online, I have noticed that if I get as far as the checkout and decide against the purchase, that I get an email offering me an even deeper discount if I go back and complete the purchase. Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t complete the purchase, but it lets me know that it is a common practice for online shopping.

KINDLE_CAMERA_1378361776000

Plates I got for free at the close of an “antique alley” sale. I didn’t pass them up!

The only exception to impulse buying is when you see something you want or need at a yard sale or a thrift store. The one-of-a-kind thing you had been looking for may well disappear if you wait. At those prices, it is better to snap them up when you see them.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 39 other followers