Battle Plan Series – Phase 1 (STEP) – T.rack Your Spending

Now that you have figured out how you got here, where you are and where you want to go, its time to start getting things lined up.

The next stage is to put your spending habits on paper, create a budget and squeeze the most you can out of it.

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Battle Plan Series

Welcome to the Battle Plan Series! We are going to go through both phases of CAM’s battle plan and what each step entails. The battle plan will consist of 2 phases to getting to financial freedom.

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Dreaming for Others

Reading Meg Meekers, Boys Should Be Boys, I started to reacquaint myself with my youth. I want more than anything to represent a man for my boys to resemble and replicate. In order for me to do that I must continuously grow through faith, family, education, and work.

grandparents-1969824_1280As my wife and I dream about our future, we regularly discuss our children’s future families and our future grandchildren. We also discuss our sacrifices for their education and continuous intentional money decisions that all of our children see everyday. We regularly discuss with our children our dreams and where we want to be as a family. We intentionally discuss our path and dreams for them and why our decisions affect and shape our family and all of our lives. We talk to our children about their dreams. This is important because we want to hear their intentions and goals. We want them to grow and develop their dreams.Depending on their age we have gone as far as making a plan to attain future dreams (such as starting their own business or what they want to do when they get older) or just helping them with ideas. Each child is different and graduation-907565_1280allowing them to talk about these dreams makes them smile which makes us smile and enables us to include their dreams in ours.

I want to press the need to dream for others and that was why I started with our children. We can all accept that we want more and better for our children. It is parental instinct, I believe, to only want to push them for their best and beat ourselves up for every little thing we forget to show or help them with. Dream for the possibilities that they may have and that we can provide them through our teachings.

Dream for your friends and family. Dream that they can reach the potential and get everything that they dream of. We can always dream for ourselves or friends or even family but I urge you to dream for the people around you. Maybe dream for that person that just bumped into you and didn’t say excuse me. Dream for that person that cut you off on your way to work as you were running late already.

When we find ourselves dreaming for others we somehow fall into our dreams. When we dream for others it does something to us and we become less concerned with just us and want more for everyone else. If we are able to allow ourselves to dream not just for ourselves but to dream for others, we allow ourselves to reprioritize what is important. It is not important to have the biggest dreams but it is important that our dreams are vivid and as we intentionally dream for others we will intentionally grow into ours.

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charlesheadshotCharles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.comwhere you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.

 

Start to Dream

moon-landing-60582_1920As a child we dream about the future, about becoming a a firefighter or an astronaut. As we get older into our teens, our dreams turn more superficial. Teens start to think about cars and making their own money and how they can buy the things they dream about.

Through the years and generations, dreams have become different as we get older. The monetary dreams have moved from more realistic dreams that are within our lifestyles to larger-than-life dreams that are extravagant and financed with debt and a new credit card.

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“Look Ma! No Hands!” How to Temporarily Let Go of the Handlebars

With all of the holidays, it is easy to focus on just the season and giving and to forget about all other plans. I want to give you permission to put things on autopilot while you deal with the holidays. Yes, that is right: you can have an autopilot schedule for your finances during hectic times.

Does this sounds too good to be true? Who would say to have an autopilot for finances? When we think about the absurdity of this, it is a little hard to grasp. However, for most of us, having our finances on autopilot is how we handled our finances before we started taking control and being in charge of our finances with a budget. BUT just like riding a bike, you can, momentarily, strategically take your hands off the handlebars without crashing.

bicycling-1160860_1280While controlling your finances there will be times where everything just takes over and you may forget something. This is when you take another look at your monthly budget and adjust. Or maybe some things came up that weren’t really planned for, but you still have a sinking fund for, so there is no need for concern.

During the holidays there are always surprises, whether that be gifts under the tree or family and friends showing up or inviting you over to share in holiday cheer. The holidays are for spending time with family and friends and not the time to be stressing over every penny in the budget.

Now don’t jump out of one ditch and into another. This does not mean blow the budget! What it does mean is you are in control and have been doing great so allow the budget to work for you. Just like you do with the bike allow the momentum and wisdom you have learned over the past couple of weeks or months to give you the confidence you need to take your hands off and have a controlled moment of autopilot. And just like when you regrab the handle bars on your bike, there will most likely be a slight correction needed, so street-962796_1920prepare for that.

But don’t get too excited because, unfortunately, this cannot be for everyone. Just like with our children, I would not recommend to my two year old, who is new to a bike, to ride without hands. So, if you are new to a budget and still learning how to control your finances, don’t let go. You need to keep control of your finances through the holidays and maybe if your momentum slows just a bit, that is fine. The biggest thing is don’t lose momentum all together. And definitely don’t allow yourself to go backwards. All of those deals, stores handing out credit cards like candy, can be very tempting. Don’t fall for it. Keep your hands on the handle bars, keep your budget fresh on your mind, but know that a budget is a learning process.

 I really hope no matter where you are in your journey, that you realize that its not going to be easy. You will fall, you will scrape your knees, but the important thing is to get up, wipe it off, and keep pushing. Strategically place people around you that will keep you accountable, offering encouragement when you fall, and cheering you on when you make a win.

DW and I sat down with a family recently. We were helping them get ahold of their finances. Now, this couple was going through Financial Peace University and were sold into making a change.

The hardest decision to make is the decision to change.

We were just there to help them wrangle everything in, to offer support and accountability. We went through and put all of their information into a CAM Workbook for them. It was obvious through talking to them and presenting the information that change was needed and the question was just how much change were they going to commit to. We did a budget together. They did a budget multiple times before committing and signing to the change. Everything looked great. The first day on their budget one of them forget their lunch at home and some coworkers wanted to go to lunch. They fell off the bike and went to lunch. Later that evening they were going to buy groceries (and following the cash system they had pulled cash out so they could feel their spending) and the money was lost. This wasn’t just falling off, this felt like being pushed straight into a thorn bush and crashing off the bike.

Many people would have just quit here. They didn’t. They had fully and irrevocably bought into change. In fact, since our meeting they have made more progress than they had committed to on paper in our home that night. They didn’t let the nicks and scrapes or battle scars of a new decision keep them down.

And for those of you new to a budget I want you to use that story of perseverance to hold on through the holidays. For those readers not on a budget or wanting accountability partners please reach out to us. We are here to help and want to help everyone to be able to take your hands off the handle bars.

charlesheadshotCharles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.comwhere you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.

3 Steps to Tithing Faithfully

This week I wanted to spend some time on something that has been weighing heavy on my heart: tithing. Tithing is a biblical principal that many battle with. This struggle is not only knowing and understanding the concept of tithing, but also remaining steadfast in giving, no matter the circumstances. I know I have certainly struggled in this area of my faith!

How can you justify putting hundreds of dollars in the bucket at church when you have that credit card payment to make? How are you supposed to tithe when at the end of the month you don’t have enough left over?

Those are all questions that I’m sure every devout Christian has asked themselves at one point, probably when they were struggling to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck. But I’m here to tell you that you can tithe, you can do it correctly according to God’s word, and that putting your tithe first will not end your world. So I’ve put together 3 simple steps that you can take today that will get you on the right path to faithfully and consistently rendering unto God what is His.

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3 Steps to Tithing Faithfully

Tithe FIRST.

When you are creating your monthly budget, the very first thing on your budget should bemoney-652560_1280 your tithes. This means before gas, before groceries, before car notes. We are giving God 10% of our best, not of whats left over.This doesn’t mean 1/10 after taxes and all bills are paid because thats what you have left over. God wants your “first fruits”. So when you sit down to do November’s budget, the first place you will put your money is in that “Tithe” category.

This is a principal I personally struggled with each month and had to learn to allow my faith to guide and trust in the Lords plan and guidance. Mark 12:17 tell us, “Then Jesus said to them, “Give back to Caesar what is income-tax-491626_1920Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him.” “Give back to Caesar” meant to pay your taxes, and “to God what is God’s” is referring to tithes. The Bible does not tell us to “render unto Ceaser what is Ceaser’s and then render unto God what is His”. You are commanded to tithe and pay your taxes. I wanted so bad to use after tax dollars to calculate what my tithes should be, but by making this argument I was telling myself that Uncle Sam was more important than my Lord and Saviour.

Give 1/10th and beyond.

The word “tithe” literally means a tenth. From well before the laws of Moses, to even when Jesus was walking on the earth, we are taught to “tithe” on what we have been blessed with. Some believe this goes beyond your money to include your time, etc. but for the purpose of this post we are focusing on the finances. So now we see that 1/10 of all of our income should be given unto the Lord as a tithe.

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It can be a really simple concept if you don’t try to excuse your way out of it. Any and all income should be tithed on (your paycheck, your VA income, your child support income, etc.). If you are ever in doubt whether you should tithe, why not just go ahead and do it? Giving more than necessary to the kingdom of God sounds like a way better way to go about finances than trying to be stingy with God’s blessings.

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Now in Acts 11:29 we are taught that in addition to tithing, everyone should give (whether offerings, missions, etc.) “according to his ability”. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, then giving generously for you might only be $25 and that’s okay (1 Corinthians 16:1-2). As you have more, you can and should give more.

Daily devotionals.

Malachi teaches a lot about tithing and giving in general, but perhaps the most important lesson is that tithing gives honor to God. How we tithe is just as important girl-872149_1920as what we tithe. When you tithe, and even when you give above that, “We should give generously as we purposed in our hearts, not grudgingly or of necessity, but cheerfully” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). God is not counting the dollar bills you just gave to your church’s missionaries, He is examining your heart to see what your attitude was about giving. Did you give to honor God and grow His kingdom? Did you give to praise Him and equip his missionaries with things they need to bring His word to those who have never heard it? Or are you giving because you want more?

Tithing is not about receiving. We don’t give to God just so we can receive. Giving iswoman-571715_1920 one way we draw closer to God. Matthew 6:21 says, “Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.” If your treasures are invested in God’s kingdom and your local place of worship, then, most likely, your hearts and thoughts are constantly focusing on praising God and increasing his kingdom.

The best way to start honoring God and growing closer to Him, is to consistently be reading God’s word. Find a good devotional on tithing, honoring God or even just book-1209805_1920growing your relationship with him. Set aside a time each day to spend in God’s word. Studying what the Bible says about finances, tithing, and your relationship with God and then spending time talking to God about what you’ve read, heard, or even what you have been doing will strengthen that relationship with God, allow you to hear Him when he speaks into your life, and will keep you under that covering of protection and blessing.

Take Aways

Learning to tithe and to give faithfully is a constant battle for many Christians, especially for those that are on a path to get their finances in order and working to become debt free. I had to do a check when we started our journey and put the money into perspective. Was I really going to allow a car payment come before the Lord?

This past Saturday at a mens breakfast hosted by by my church, The Rock, Pastor Rusty Nelson touched on the fact that once you get right in the things that the Lord blesses you with, then He will bless you with more. If we, as Christ followers, cannot take care of the responsibilities and the blessings that the Lord has already given us, why would he entrust us with more? This really stuck with me and not just for finances but my entire life.

When my wife and I got on the same page with our finances as well as the Biblical principals for giving, being devoted tithers just became easier. This, I believe, was an internal switch that was made in our hearts to just have faith and give unto the Lord;  He is our God who has and will continue to provide for us, and He deserves our praise and honor.

He is our God and He will provide.

Charles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.com where you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.

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3 Tips to Help You Budget Better

Budgeting, to families and people who have never done it, is a word that can cause anxiety, alarm, and even fights for couples.

But budgeting doesn’t have to be a dirty word.

A budget should be the most important part of your battle plan. It will free you and allow you to spend money on the things you need and want without guilt or shame. It will keep you on track to getting financial freedom.

Whether you’ve never created a budget before or you’ve been doing one your whole life, there’s always room for improvement. Through our journey for financial freedom my wife and I have found these three techniques have helped our budgeting process and also our communication.

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I occasionally provide links to excellent financial products that I personally endorse. If you do decide to purchase the item, I may receive a small commission on the sale. Do not feel obligated to purchase anything I link to.

3 Techniques to Help You Budget Better

1. Admit You Are the Problem

This may seem like a no brainer or a very simple technique but this is by far the hardest one to conquer. You have to recognize that you are the only reason you are in this mess and then decide that from this moment on there will be a change. Decide that you are in control of your money, and then start being intentional with your income.

 

I know that before my wife and I started budgeting monthly there was communication on bills and money, but the communication normally was “Hey, we need to watch our spending until payday.” Fortunately we were able to pay our bills and had money left over, but it always felt like we we were just treading water.

 

The first month we did a budget and saw all of our income on paper we truly did not know where it was all going. Why don’t we have more money in our pocket each month? Why are we always waiting for the next paycheck to arrive? These were just a couple of the questions we asked ourselves.

 

We had to recognize that we were the problem and figure out how to address it in our budgeting process. No one else was eating out for us, no one else was making weekly trips to the grocery stores using our money because they forgot to meal plan, and certainly no one else was drinking our Starbucks coffees. Once we got through the admitted that we were the reason for our problems and then set a realistic budget, we really did feel more in control and like we had the money to not only reach our goals but also to fight for complete financial freedom.

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2. Communicate Through Dreams

Whether this is with your spouse, with an accountability partner, or even just with yourself, communicating your dreams will give you goals and the motivation to continually try to reach them. As Chris Hogan, NY Times #1 Best Seller, says, “Dream in HD”. This will amplify your dreams and build them up. Let that thought of a secure and even lucrative retirement build and put more than just an age next to it. Amplify that dream with what your plans are during retirement. Amplify that dream with your numbers needed so you can make a plan a reality.

Dreaming with your spouse can be one of the best opportunities for communication. When my wife and I talk about our dreams, so much more than just the goal is discussed. When we are dreaming, we are planning and those plans aren’t just for us but for our family. Those dreams become our why, and our why becomes the motivation we need to get to the next step.

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3. Sticktuitiveness

This is a word that I heard almost 15 years ago and has stuck with me ever since. When budgeting we must have an ability to stick to it! That means accountability and the ability to tell yourself NO. Sticking to anything takes a decision and having a why – that is why this is tip three.

 

This is a long term concept. Having the sticktuitiveness to apply your budget and maintain the numbers through the month is not always easy. However by using tips 1-2,  it will be easier.

 

Just like when you are trying to create any other habit (or stop one), it takes a daily decision to do what you need to. When trying to get fit, you have to make up your mind every morning to go work out even when you don’t feel like it, or eat that salad instead of those cupcakes. That’s all willpower is, a decision. You don’t “have” direction-1015716_1920willpower”, you create it. In order to win your fight for financial freedom, you have to wake up tomorrow morning and decide that you are going to stick to your spending plan, that you aren’t going to impulse buy that new TV, or go out to eat just because you don’t feel like cooking. You have to decide when to say no because its not in the plan. You have to decide everyday that you made the best decision of your life by deciding to get financially free, trust that decision, and stick to your battle plan!

 

So there you have it. Whether you are just starting out budgeting or you have been doing it for years, these 3 tips will take your budgeting and mindset to the next level.

Charles Moore is a veteran, rocket doctor, financial coach, and blogger. If you’ve decided its time for you to suit up and fight for your financial freedom, check out his website at www.CAMFinancialCoach.com where you can get information on the coaching process, package options, and an unbeatable library of knowledge on winning financial battles.