Each Spring, a new Baseball season begins!

Check out this video to be encouraged to mark this time as a new season in your faith, finances, family and friendships!


What Does Productivity Mean to You?

Understanding Productivity vs Effectiveness

This is a guest post from Nick Snapp.  He’s a friend of mine who is a follower of Christ, husband to his wife, Nazach and a proud parent to his 2 (about to be 3) kiddos. Nick helps people use productivity as a tool for exploring purpose! You can follow Nick on Twitter, Facebook and Podcast.

Productivity is a funny thing.

I haven’t found a consistent definition of what it means to “be productive.” In fact, before a recent talk I gave at the University of South Florida, I surveyed 44 college students asking them what being productive meant to them. I received 44 different answers!

Here’s a few:

  • “Making the most of your time.”
  • “Working efficiently.”
  • “Having a list of items to complete, and completing them in a timely manner.”
  • “Getting a ton of stuff done in less time so you have more time to do stuff that’s important to you.”
  • “Utilizing every hour of the day to get something accomplished.”
  • “Doing things that I don’t want to do, but did anyway.”

I love the last one.

It’s no wonder we’re all talking about how to be more productive, yet still confused about what the concept even means!

How can we be or do more of something if we aren’t able to define what it is we’re trying to do?

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How to Live On-Purpose With Your Finances

Six Simple Steps to Controlling Your Money

Here are some eye-raising statistics on the web when it comes to how people in America relate to money.

Where are you and your family in these statistics?

  • 70% of Americans are living paycheck-to-paycheck in middle-class — 80% in high-income. (DaveRamsey.com)
  • A little less than 1/3 of American families prepare a monthly household budget each month (Gallup.com)
  • One out of every five people (20%) worries that they will never get out of their paycheck-to-paycheck rut. [source: NerdWallet.com]
  • After adjusting for inflation, household debt has grown 15% faster than household income since 2003. [source: NerdWallet.com]

  • 23% of people with a credit card say they have been surprised at least some of the time by their bill. [source: NerdWallet.com]

When I was younger I didn’t have a problem with ambition. My parents wondered if I’d ever graduate high school, but I did. Then four years later, I graduated from The Ohio State University. My problem was that I was foolish and I didn’t want to rely on others showing me what to do. I thought I had the better plan and my plan was always on my terms. In my earlier years, I lacked wisdom and my planning was a theory without any practical application. I didn’t really have a plan, I had an idea of a plan. When we don’t have a solid, practical financial plan we can get caught “skinny dipping in a low tide”. I used to live life in the low tide while forgetting that my clothes were on the shore. Maybe you know what I am talking about and your financial life is represented by the statistics above.

It isn’t necessary to live like the majority, especially not in the richest country in the world. We aren’t entitled to the riches of our land, we must take an active role in staking our claim. Making money is a noble effort because earning wealth is not really about the accumulation of dollars, it is about the building of our character!

Our character grows through experiences including the trials and the triumphs. Did you ever play a video game where the mission gets accomplished by tbe building of your character? In these games, you measure how far the character is growing through the acquiring of XP, or experience points. Such is our financial lives. We all have to start somewhere. To do this in video games, you have to turn the video game console on, pop in the disc and press the start button. Growing in our money management is no different.

So, let’s start winning with money — here’s how to build up those experience points (XP):

  1. Identify the Why you will be doing a written budget Create a vision statement.
    example “I will build and live on a budget so I can have margin in my life”
  2. Determine the time that you and your spouse will create and discuss a budget
    example “Sunday nights at 7pm after the kids go to bed”
  3. List out your monthly income sources (jobs, commissions, child support, bonuses)
  4. List out all your monthly expenses (give, save and spend Categories)
  5. Balance to Zero for the budget month (Spend it all into expense categories)
  6. Review the monthly budget with a mentor, trusted friend, accountability partner or your accountant

It is clear that to win with money we must tell it what to do. We earn it, we manage it and we must direct it. This is what the written monthly budget helps us to do. We must have a family budget for each month. The family battle cry needs to change from “I owe I owe so its off to work I go” to “I will live my life on purpose with a budget that works!”

I used to be in the “chasing my tail” mentality, like many Americans. To remember to not go back there, I review my saved notes from my times of financial struggles and in the times of victorious transition. I like to look back and reflect on where the change occurred in my life. It was when I enrolled in FPU. At that time, I was done saying, “enough is enough”. Once the first class began, it didn’t take long for me to get excited about having a plan for the first time in my financial life. Since 2007, I decided to plan my money in advance through the creation and execution of a monthly budget. The budget saved me from continued financial misery and ruin.

After just 3 months of budgeting, 84% of people say they feel more in control of their money (Dave Ramsey). I could not agree more! From teaching and leading people in their finances, I commonly hear “I feel like I got a raise” or “I am able to give and save more than ever before.” You, my friend, can start NOW with budgeting! You can live now, as Dave Ramsey says, like no one else, so later you can live like no one else. When I first started FPU in March 2007, I had 37,000 in debt. With the help of Jesus Christ in my life, the tools in Dave Ramsey’s FPU program and some sweat equity, I was able to pay those debts off, including my student loan, in 16 months. Fast forward to today, my wife and I create and live on a written budget every month. It has strengthened our marriage, assisted us in raising our little boy and helps us live the life of purpose that God intended!

Question: What is God intending you to do with the finances He provides you? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Money and Emotions

3 Ways to Master Their Connection

As a young boy my Mom would tell me, “Brian, you are never satisfied!”

There is truth to that statement as well as positive and negative experiences in life that accompany it. The positive is that I had (and still do today) ambition. It was difficult for me to be content with the status quo. The negative side is that I lacked contentment (and still do today). I dreamed of and desired things I didn’t have. I enjoy the fresh aroma of a newly opened package. Are you picking up what I a putting down (a quotable from the first “Airplane” movie)?

You and I are emotional beings. It is how God created us. God gave us emotions and in His original plan, they were meant for good. Emotions kept under control serve God’s purpose — love Him and love others (Matthew 22:37-40). Uncontrolled emotions are harmful when they become a rampant rudder of our life’s ship.

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How to Defeat the 3 Foes to Financial Success

When teaching about money, I address the audience in 3’s. For instance, money is Spiritual, Emotional and Practical.

In this post, I address the first and most important. Money is SPIRITUAL.

I was standing in line and waiting for the clerk to call me up to the desk. I had my paperwork all filled out. Being nervous, I had begun to perspire. As I think about it now, I might have been praying. I was at a Best Buy in the Easton Shopping Plaza in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio. As I saw it then, my future was in the hands of the credit issuing bank. I was in line to get another credit card because I wanted some stuff. I had a tough week at work and I was sure that acquiring things would solve my problems.

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