Category Archives: Family Finances

Episode 79: 100 Verses Resource, Expenses Parents Don’t Need, Surprising Parenting Statistics, and More! [Podcast]

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On our latest podcast, Adam and Leah spend some time sharing family updates, then discuss a great article about how parents can cut expenses by thinking about what is most important. Finally, they discuss some research from the Kaiser Family group that is a bit surprising (and sad). Find the links below.

Resources

100 Verses to Know from 1st and 2nd Corinthians [pdf from A Legacy of Faith]

8 Kid Expenses that Are Not Worth the Money, According to Real Parents [Healthy Way]

Sex on TV 4 [pdf from Kaiser Family Foundation]

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[Quote] Zig Ziglar on the Difference between Rich People and Poor People

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Want to start building a good library? Visit our store from A Legacy of Faith to find several volumes that we have written or to which we have contributed.

Episode 61 : 5 Foundational Financial Principles for Families (with Westley Hazel) [Podcast]

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Following up on our last podcast discussion about family finances, Adam is joined by Wes Hazel to discuss five foundational principles every family needs to keep constantly in mind in order to be pleasing to God and wise in this area of life.

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The Five Foundational Principles

  1. God is the One Who gave what we have to us.
  2. We need to honor God in our giving.
  3. We need to be generous to others, and willing to share.
  4. Avoid debt (like the plague!).
  5. Live on less than you make.

Resources and Links

Beyond the Tithe [Amazon]

Forrest Park Church of Christ (Valdosta, GA)

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Episode 60: Our Ups and Downs of Budgeting [Podcast]

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After a few weeks away, we are back with a new season of our podcast, which will be released every other Friday through the end of the year.

On this episode, Adam and Leah sit down to talk about budgeting in general. They share some of the things they do well with a family budget, but also some things they need to improve on.

We hope this episode encourages you to look at your family’s finances and take control of them, all for the glory of God.

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Resources

EveryDollar [Free online budgeting software]

Dave Ramsey [homepage]

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One Small Decision, A Family Tradition, and Saving Almost $500 Each Year

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A few years ago when our family moved to Nashville we made a very hard decision. You see, we were barely 30 years old. We had realized early on in our marriage that living in perpetual debt was not for us. We had paid off a relatively small student loan and we had paid off our car. Then we did this little thing called adoption and found ourselves in debt again, along with another car payment.

We were tired. We had two children under the age of 3, with their futures in our very hands and we were determined to put an end to paycheck-to-paycheck living. We wanted to start saving some money.

We finally began to understand that if we wanted our lives to look different, we had to start living differently. What a concept.

A Couple of Big Changes

We made some big changes. One was to refrain from car payments. This is no small thing, because we had one car at the time, in Nashville, and we lived 15 minutes from the church building where Adam worked. We knew we needed another car. It would have been easy to go buy a car and have a “small” $200 car payment. We were serious, though, and decided that one good car was enough. We bought an old car that Adam could use traveling back and forth from work. I love my husband for many reasons. One of which is that he was willing to drive a car without heat, air, and a radio during that time.

This was also about the time we decided to turn off our cable. That decision wasn’t only about money, but the $70 monthly bill sure wasn’t winning us over. That decision truly transformed our family. We were forced to think of other things to do. As our children grew older, they also were forced to think of other things to do. Television shows and movies became a treat and a decision; not a default. These were some big changes we made, but there was also a small decision that really made an impact on our family.

The Small Change with Big Impact

We found out that controlling our spending was a lot harder in Nashville where there were approximately 30 billion restaurants (and it seemed that about 10 billion of them were on our drive home from worship).

We noticed a pattern every Sunday morning. After worship, all of our friends would start making plans about where to eat lunch. Inevitably, our friends would invite us along. We would go along for a couple of reasons. First, we didn’t want to be impolite. Second, I didn’t have anything already prepared back at home.

We knew this would be a problem. After all, even as young as our kids were then, we were spending at least $80 each month for Sunday lunch. That may not seem like a lot to you, but to us at that time that was a lot of money.

So, we made a plan. We decided to start making our own Sunday lunch. I knew myself well enough to know that in order for this plan to work, Sunday lunch needed to be “in the oven” before we headed to worship. It was during this time that I learned how to roast a chicken, which, by the way, is very easy. I also got pretty good at cooking a roast. We figured that all told, we could eat for around $10 at home, when you consider the leftover meat and broth. In addition, we almost always had Sunday night sandwiches taken care of from the leftovers.

We began inviting other families over to eat with us because we knew that Sunday dinner is a great time to visit with other young families who would otherwise be too busy during the week.

I know that others say that the expense of eating out is worth it because they are visiting with other families. Well, we were visiting with other families too, and in addition, we were building a wonderful tradition of a nice Sunday dinner every week.

Plus…we had around $40 dollars extra a month!

What $40 Each Month Could Mean

Now, I know that saving $40 a month might not seem worth it to some people, but I want to encourage you to look at what $40 dollars could do for your family.

For that same $40, you could order a subscription to “Discovery” magazine for your child and order every Apologetics Press “Learn to Read” or “Advanced Reader” series of books and still have at least $12 left over.

Or you could order a one-year subscription to Gospel Advocate and Christian Woman magazines with a couple of dollars still in your pocket.

If you are not in the buying mood, you could give $40 more dollars to the work of the Lord or you could pay off S40 of your debt that month. Do the math and that little change adds up to almost $500 in one year’s time.

Conclusion

You see, a small change in your life can have big effects. The obvious is financial, but as you can see, we got much more than a financial benefit from this small change in our life.


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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

A Master Grocery List for Busy Moms {Free Printable}

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On A Legacy of Faith, we want to help families, and one of our goals is to help families “survive the day.” Today, I have something to help with that.

As a wife and mother, I have a lot of responsibility on my shoulders, and one of those responsibilities is making sure supper gets on the table every night. It is something that I am trying to take more seriously. 

You know as well as I do that getting supper on the table every night actually begins with a menu plan and a good grocery list. Maybe it’s just me, but more often than not, I have the kids with me at the store. Usually, I have tried to jot down a few things that I know that we are out of. We walk down the aisles and put things into the buggy.

Then we walk back down the aisles to get all of the things that I suddenly remembered are not on my list.

After we finally get home, of course, I remember one or two or three things that I need (possibly even for supper that night). 

The problem is that I never want to take the time to make a grocery list. There, I admitted it. I am so impatient that when it is time to go the store, I just don’t want to wait and take the time to make a list, so I decide to just go on to the store and “wing” it.

Then, it never fails, I have forgotten something. I know I could make a list ahead of time–the night before perhaps–but (I’ll make another admission here) I am a procrastinator so, of course, I don’t make a list until the last possible moment.

To help remedy this recurring problem, I decided that having a “master grocery list” would help me survive the day. I just thought of everything that I ever buy at the grocery store. I tried to group the items by categories that made sense to the layout of the store in which I buy most of my groceries. Every family’s master grocery list would look different, but I made mine tailored to my family and the way we eat. I am sure that it will change over time as we discover new favorite foods and meals, and I may notice that I forgot to add things to mine.

I understand that some people may not think that things like this are a big deal, but I am one of those women who take this role seriously, and I am always looking for ways to help me be more efficient. I really think this will help me manage my home, and I hope that it helps bring more order into our home.

I hope this simple thing will help your family. You can click on the image below to view/download my list, or just use it as inspiration to create your own. Enjoy…and happy (organized) shopping!

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(Keep in mind, we do not purchase everything on this list every week. This is meant to give us a guide to the things we try to always have on hand in our home.)

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AUTHOR: Leah Faughn

“We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us!”

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Satan is our enemy. There is just no question about it. He is a deceiver and liar from the beginning. He is the father of all lies (John 8:44). Sin came into the world and death through sin because of the works of the devil. But let’s not be mistaken. We are ultimately guilty of every sin we commit. We are the ones who are enticed, who are tempted, and who give in (James 1:13-15). Pogo was right. “We have met the enemy, and he is us” (see cartoon above).

We are our own worst enemy because we are so self-absorbed. We are so inwardly driven. We are not in tune with what is going on in the lives of others. We worship our own personal experiences. These days especially I see people who have kids for the first time and it is as if they are the only people who have ever had a baby before. It’s called children worship and it is real. If we accomplish something we have to tell the world about it. If we are doing any particular thing, it is as if everybody else is inferior because they are not doing it, too.

We are our own worst enemy because we are accumulating stuff! We fight and war and work for stuff! (James 4:1-3). Materialism is at an all-time high in our culture. It seems there are only two classes of people in America: Those who are trying to accumulate possessions and those who are trying to get rid of all of the junk they can’t do anything with. Either way it is a lot of work with little momentary satisfaction. This was the rich young ruler’s problem. This was the problem for the rich fool of Luke 12. They were too enamored with material things. When we are rich toward ourselves and not rich toward God we are simply spiritually bankrupt altogether.

We are our own worst enemy because we will not tell ourselves, “No!” If I want it, I am going to have it and I am going to have it right now. That is, of course, until the next thing I want right now – I’ll have it, too. A new tech device – give it to me now! A relationship that is forbidden – well I won’t be happy unless I can have it. There are too many adults on the floor kicking and screaming because they can’t have it their way in life. When I was a child I was told, “No!” If I didn’t like it, too bad. I needed to hear it. “No” is universally practical and necessary. It provides the proper boundaries that will lead us in the everlasting way.

We are our own worst enemy because we are stubborn. It is not that we don’t know to do right, we simply won’t do it (James 4:17). It is not that we don’t know we are doing wrong, we simply won’t stop. The man in the mirror is just killing us. He knows who he is for a moment but then he leaves and immediately forgets what kind of man he was (James 1:23-24). Most of the injuries we experience happen not because we didn’t know of existing dangers, but rather, we just plow headlong into the fire. We need to realize that we are not strong individually, we are strong with God and in Him alone.

So stop being your own worst enemy. Stop being a spoiled rotten brat. It is time to grow up! It is time to stop thinking about what you want. It is time to start thinking about what God wants and what others need. Then you will stop be the enemy and start being a friend.

“If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself…” – Luke 9:23

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Moving is Hard Work!

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Jim and I have just moved, and it was hard work. We moved from a 5-bedroom house with 3 bathrooms to a 3-bedroom house with 2 bathrooms all within the same city. The old house had a huge walk-in attic and it was full. It also had a large shed and a two car garage with a storage room off of it. We now have a small attic, no shed and no storage room off of our garage. 

Downsizing seemed like a very logical thing to do at our age (and it was), but little did we know that it would be so difficult. Deciding what furniture to move and what to sell was the least of our worries. My biggest worry was trying to figure out how we ended up with so much stuff! I guess after 45 years of marriage most people have accumulated quite a bit, but what we were sorting through seemed excessive.

I learned some lessons during this process:

We all have too many possessions. I remembered a story Jim told me after he returned from doing mission work in India several years ago. He told of a family who had a tarp over their meager space out in the open – and that was their home. They didn’t complain, but seemed happy to have a covering over their heads. As I sorted and unpacked boxes of items I hadn’t used in years to determine if I needed to keep them, I felt ashamed that we had accumulated so many things. Those things had become a burden to me. They were unnecessary.

I remember Jesus talking about a young man we refer to as “the rich young ruler.” He was interested in obtaining eternal life. He knew the Law and had kept the commandments from his youth. However, he had accumulated many things and when Jesus told him to go and sell what he had and give to the poor, he “went away sorrowful because he had great possessions” (Matt. 19:16-22).

Happiness and contentment in life have nothing to do with the possessions you have. If I thought that the happiness and contentment Jim and I have in our marriage was based solely upon the “things” we possessed, I would be most miserable. Houses, cars, furniture, clothes, jewelry, and anything else you may have are worthless when it comes to happiness and contentment. Relationships are what really matter – with God, with your spouse, with your children, with your church family, and with others with whom you may come in contact.

Success in life is not measured by what you have accumulated. The world measures success by how much money you make and by how many things you are able to accumulate. Sometimes it takes years for us to learn that we are measuring our success in this life by those around whom we live. Hopefully, at some point we learn that God measures success by our faithful service to Him. When we live our lives being faithful Christians and remembering that our citizenship is in heaven and not on this earth, we are successful.

Houses and possessions are temporary. Thousands and sometimes millions of dollars are spent to build dwelling places and to fill those dwelling places with finery. Storms, fires, and floods can wipe all of that away in an instant. When we become so attached to earthly possessions, any disaster will devastate us. But when we realize that this world is not our home, we are just passing through and our treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue, life here on earth becomes our temporary home.

Hard work is good for you. Jim and I (along with our children and many wonderful members of our church family) packed, toted, sorted, lifted, and moved what seemed like enough possessions for several families. Jim said often that he was looking forward to the day when he could just go somewhere without a box in his hands. We have made it to the smaller house, with fewer possessions, and more peace of mind. The work was hard, but so educational. I’m so grateful to God for what we have. He has blessed us beyond measure. I love the “lightness” I feel of having less to keep up with and clean. I’m grateful for all of the helping hands we had during this process. But I am most grateful for a loving heavenly Father who moves with us wherever we go.

“…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.”  Philippians 4:11

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5 Steps to Family Financial Freedom

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Do you ever feel like your money controls you instead of the other way around? If you are like most Americans, you probably have felt that way (and many of you probably still do).

Handling money is not easy. Oh, it sounds easy, but actually doing it properly takes both focus and discipline. Trust me, I may be writing this post, but that does not mean I/we are perfect at any of this stuff! This is one of those “I need it as much as anyone else” type articles.

You are not going to read anything in this post that will turn a light bulb on in your head. Everything here you have heard before. However, actually doing these things will help you walk toward real financial freedom. It may take time, and there will certainly be roadblocks along the way, but these 5 steps are necessary if you want to take control of your money, and do so for God’s glory, over time.

1. Have a Detailed Monthly Budget. One of our most-viewed posts ever on this site deals with writing a budget (you can read it here), but those who think about each month and pay attention for that month–every month–are more likely to win over time. Some months will be tight, while others will be easier, but treat each month as a separate entity and you will see some progress over time.

2. Spend Less than You Make. We all know this, but how many of us just do not follow it? There are so many ways to overspend, and many of us figure we can out-earn our spending. Instead, just do what your grandmother said: Live within your means. Then, be wise with the extras!

3. Get Out of Debt. How much money would you have if you weren’t paying a car loan, student loan, home equity loan, and credit cards? Now, is debt sinful? No. But to load yourself down with debt is unwise. The best way to handle debt is to avoid it if at all possible, and to get out of it when you have it as quickly as possible. We recommend Dave Ramsey’s “Debt Snowball,” but the key is to have a plan that frees up those debt payments to do other things, and then to follow that plan relentlessly! (It worked for us!!!)

4. Be a Generous Giver. It seems counterproductive, but those who truly win with money know how to be generous in their giving. If you are generous, you may never be super rich, but you will truly be free with money because you will have the proper attitude toward money. Additionally, it is quite amazing how so many times, those who learn to give also become recipients of more. That should never be our motivation, but it does happen quite often.

5. Save before You Spend. Save for emergencies. Save for big purchases (cars, furniture, vacations, etc.). Save for retirement. Save for college. Before you do any spending with your money, set some aside for the future. This helps you plan for the future while also keeping your spending more in check.

As we said, none of these is all that deep. You know all of them. Doing them over time, though, is what will help you and your family know true financial freedom, whether you ever have a ton of money or not. You see, real financial freedom is not a dollar amount; it is an attitude toward the financial blessings God has given.

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Episode 17: Romantic Dates on a Budget {Podcast}

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It is February, the month that contains Valentine’s Day. With love in the air, we are dedicating each of our four episodes this month to areas of love and respect that are needed in marriage.

In this week’s program, Adam and Leah share some ideas of how husbands and wives can continue to “woo” one another, even when dollars are a bit short. We hope you enjoy this practical, whimsical program.

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Areas of Discussion

Babysitting

1. Swap with other families

2. Let an older lady/couple babysit

3. Offer babysitting at church

Eating

1. Cook together

2. Have a picnic

3. Go out, but just for dessert

Activities

1. Walk/jog together

2. Stream a movie

3. Use the bargain bin or borrow a movie

4. Search for free community nights/activities

Communication

1. Put the cell phones away!

Resources

Real Life Romance {Your Mom has a Blog}

10 Things You Can Do to Romance Your Partner on a Budget {Two of Us}

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Music Credit

Opening theme: “Josie Has the Upper Hand” by Josh Woodward

Closing theme: “Afterglow” by Josh Woodward