Posts Tagged ‘budget’

Car Trouble

January 6, 2010

I drive old vehicles.

I don’t mean classic, restored, or vintage…just old, with pretty high mileage.  Our van is a 1995 with 173,000 miles.  I hope to get at least another 50,000. 

This past weekend, I was returning from dropping off the deer at the processors when I lost power steering, and an assortment of lights came on, on the dash.  The van was still running so I pulled off to the shoulder and called a friend who is far more mechanically inclined than I, and he suspected that I had broken my serpentine belt.  It was very cold outside and I was not far from home so I prayed, and drove home and into the garage. 

I was supposed bring my son and his fiance back to Minnesota the next day.  A couple of men from my church offered to repair the van during the second service so that we could still leave on schedule.

It turned out that the water pump had also failed, but they were able to make the repairs and we were on our way on schedule.

About an hour into the journey we stopped for gas…and the van would not start.   This time, the starter was the problem.  We called AAA to get the van, and a friend to come get us, and we went back home.  A local shop replaced the starter and we were back on the road before noon.  This time the trip was without mishap.

I drive old cars.  I anticipate problems by having a AAA membership, and by having money set aside in the budget for repairs.  Even more important, I trust that God will watch over us.   Christian friends helped in time of need, and when problems occurred, we either made it home, or had a warm place to wait. 

Even in times of trouble, God is good.

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Merry Christmas Mr. President

December 23, 2009

It looks like the Senate is going to pass a bill on health care reform just in time for Christmas.  It has been referred to as a Christmas present for the president, since he has made it the centerpiece of his domestic agenda.  It will still have to be reconciled with the House bill which will not be easy since there are substantial differences, none-the-less, it looks like Merry Christmas Mr. President, here’s your health care bill.

Actually, the bill will be coming later.  It is like the person who spends too much at Christmas, and then regrets it when the charge card bills come due.  Will we regret this holiday purchase?  Can it be returned if we don’t like it?

This is not change that I believe in.  However, unlike Rush Limbaugh, I hope that I am wrong.  I hope that the president is right, and that this is a great thing for our country.  I hope that it provides coverage, while lowering the deficit, just like they say that it will. 

I am also glad that, ultimately,  I put my trust in Jesus, not in the U.S. government for my future.

2nd Stimulus Package

December 10, 2009

President Obama is pushing for a second stimulus package.  He seems to think that we can spend our way out of economic trouble. 

That would be fine, if we had the money to spend.  When we continuously borrow money to pay for our ever-increasing programs we are headed towards economic disaster instead of economic recovery.  Instead of adding to the deficit, in the hopes of recovery, we should be reducing our spending.  Our economy will recover on its own if we quit adding to the burden placed upon the business world.  When families overspend, they go bankrupt.  When businesses overspend, they go out of business.  What will happen if our government continues to overspend?

It won’t be good.

Adjust

October 26, 2009

As a pastor, I am paid after the last Sunday of the month.  We made this arrangement years ago, when I was working a full-time job outside of the church.  The church set my salary at what they would like to pay me, and then paid me at the end of the month, after the bills were paid.   If there was money available. 

 It was my idea.  I was, and am, willing to trust God to provide for us.

 Sometimes I got a full check, and many times I did not.  Over the years, the church has become financially more stable.  I went to working a part time job.  (My wife also works outside of the church.)  The months that I did not receive a full check became less and less.  Now it is a rarity, but it still occurs occasionally.  ( Twice this year, so far. )

I practice what I preach. 

When the income drops, I adjust the family budget for the month.  Need versus want,  is applied as the budget must be adjusted.  Hard decisions about where the money will be used must be made if our monthly budget is to balance.  I am thankful that God has blessed me with a wife who is willing to live within a budget, and who volunteers ways to reduce our spending, that affects her personally.

God provides enough for us, even as I blogged earlier in a post titled “Enough”.  Not only do I practice what I preach; I believe what I preach.  Our church income this month was significantly reduced.  We will adjust.  It will not be without sacrifice, but  it will be enough.

Need versus Want

October 20, 2009

Early in our married life, my wife and I often had conversations about the difference between “need” and “want”.  There are some things that we need, there are many things that we want.

Our government could learn from this simple life lesson.  There are many things that our government is spending money on that are not needs.  When our deficit for a single year tops a trillion dollars, as it has this year, we need to make changes. Change is going to be painful for some, but our governmental leaders should really take a hard look at where our money is going, and they should greatly reduce or completely eliminate things in the budget that are not needed. 

It’s painful, but necessary.  Whether it is personal finance, corporate finance or government finance, the basic principle is still the same.  You need to have more money coming in, than you have going out, or you are in trouble.

As a country, we are in trouble.

Serious Side Effects

September 21, 2009

Congress is considering a bill which will require everyone to obtain health care.  It will also require all companies to provide health care to their employees.  What it doesn’t say is how the individuals, or the companies, are going to pay the cost. 

Most people, and most companies do not have the same opportunity as the government to spend money that they do not have, at least not for very long, and not without serious consequences.

I am very concerned that the cure that congress is offering for our health care issues is going to have serious side effects.  I see a disruption of our economy and our health care system that will be detrimental to the well being of our country.

Just Say No!

October 22, 2008

Enough already!!  I like free money as much as anyone, but I really don’t think that the government giving away yet more money in the form of stimulus checks is a good idea.  There comes a time when it is necessary to tighten the belt and start being fiscally responsible, and we are way past the time.

Is the national debt simply going to go away?  Do we simply close our eyes and pretend it isn’t there?  If we thought it was bad when financial institutions fell apart because of loan practices, how bad will it be when the U.S. government falls apart financially?  Will we start to make better choices or will we run full speed into the wall?

Will somebody please do something about overspending?  Our government is like the person who has maxed out their credit cards, so they get a new one so they can charge more.  Sooner or later you are going to have to pay the bill.  Congress reminds me of a person who, while driving,  begins to slip on an icy road, and in a panic over steers, and loses control.  They are making a bad situation worse.

We keep adding to the debt.  When and how are we going to pay it back?

Financial Responsibility

September 29, 2008

As an individual, I have long sought to make appropriate financial decisions for myself and for my family.  There are many things that we have gone without, but we have always had our needs met and have always kept up with our bills.

As the pastor of a church, we have made it a priority to stay within our budget.  We do not spend what we do not have in the bank.  We have paid off our debts, maintained our property, and even made some improvements. 

At this time in our country there is a financial crisis because individuals took out loans that they could not afford.  Companies made those loans knowing that they were risky.  Neither side was being financially responsible in their decisions.  Whatever our government decides to do, it is going to be fraught with risk.  I am praying earnestly that they will make the right decision.

I hope that we will learn from this situation.  That in the same way that many of us are trying to go “green'” in our lifestyles, that we will, as a society, begin to make better financial decisions, that we will become financially responsible.

Economic Security

September 18, 2008

This past week has not been a good week for the stock market in the USA.  There have been two days of major drops and there are still two days of trading left in the week.  I suspect that some people are truly being devastated by this economic upheaval. 

I am not worried at all.

I have a four part plan for economic security. 

First,  I understand the difference between needs and wants.   We need the basics of food, clothing and shelter.  Beyond that, it is what we want to have that gets us into trouble.  One of the biggest problems that people have today is that they want to live beyond their income.  Credit is available, and people overextend themselves to have something today that they will pay for dearly tomorrow.  Often these are things that people want, but don’t need.  We don’t need steak, designer clothing or large homes.  I understand the diffence between needs and wants, and am willing to live within my income.

Secondly, I create and stay on a budget.  I believe in planning ahead.  I believe in saving for large ticket items, rather than paying the interest on a loan.  I am thankful that my wife agrees with me about this issue, because it takes both of us being willing to work together to make a budget work. 

Third, I have told my sons since they were toddlers, that I will take care of you for the first eighteen years of your life, if necessary, you will take care of me, for the last years of my life.  I hope that it will never come to that, but it is an option that has been used for generations, long before social security or pensions. 

Fourth, and most importantly, since I was sixteen, I have been faithful in giving back to God a tithe, plus offerings, of my income.  I believe that God blesses my finances, at least partially, because I have always trusted that God is my ultimate provider.  He is my true source of economic security.