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Financial Planning – A Fresh Start for the New Year

Finances and the New Year

With the New Year approaching, it is the perfect time to evaluate your current financial situation, set new financial goals, and establish budgeting strategies. Whether your credit is in great shape or you are struggling to maintain or improve your credit, it is important to pull your credit reports at least annually and review them for errors.

Click below for instructions on how to pull your credit for free from www.annualcreditreport.com

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In addition to reviewing your credit, review your assets and take the time to think about your short, mid, and long term financial goals. The only way to make those goals a reality is to setup a plan to save money every month.

Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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    Christian Credit Counselors

    Debt Free Living

    One of the most important steps in Christian Credit Counseling is developing a plan for getting and staying out of debt. Obviously, your current income isn’t enough to support your lifestyle. You’ve borrowed money to make up the difference, but paying it back has become a big problem. The first step to getting out of debt is cutting your current expenses and making paying creditors a priority. Once you’re used to living on a more restricted budget, you might be surprised by how many things you can live without.

    Step One: Look for Expensive “Extras”

    There are plenty of bills that many people take for granted that might not be absolutely necessary. For example, do you have an expensive cable bill each month? How often are you really using your cable package? If the bulk of your television watching is mindless, “I don’t really care what’s on, but I want to watch something,” you can get Netflix or Amazon Prime for a much lower monthly cost than paying for cable every month. What about your cell phone bill? Do you and your kids really need those expensive smart phones with all the bells and whistles? Consider reducing your data package to a minimum amount and only using your apps or browsing the internet when you’re connected to WiFi. You’ll be surprised by how many locations make it available to their customers! Then, there’s your gym membership. If you don’t go to the gym several times a week, you’re probably better off working out at home. Look to see when your contract is up or if you can reduce to a lower-cost membership.

    Step Two: Reduce Your Bills

    Look for ways to conserve water and electricity in your home. Try contacting your utility companies and asking them about ways to reduce your bill. Some places will be willing to offer you a better plan, especially if you have multiple providers in your area.

    Next, take a hard look at your food budget. Food is definitely a necessity, not a luxury, but you may be surprised by some ways that you’re spending far more than necessary on food. Eating out is the obvious example: if you eat out two or three times a week, you’re draining your food budget fast. The biggest food budget buster, however, might already be in your fridge: waste. Take a hard look at what is actually being consumed in your home. Are you throwing out more fruit than your kids actually eat? Do you have great plans for all those fresh vegetables, but find yourself tossing them out at the end of the month uneaten? Cutting back your food budget in this area is simple: don’t buy what your family won’t actually consume. Set your hopes for healthier eating aside and focus on a more realistic view of your family’s consumption.

    Step Three: “Need” vs “Want”

    Your daughter grew three inches over the summer. She needs new clothes for school. She wants all the name brand clothes that the kids at school are currently wearing. Your son needs a new pair of shoes because his are tattered. He wants the expensive ones with all the bells and whistles. It’s easy to identify the difference in your kids, but it might be harder to identify it in yourself. You need new work clothes, but that doesn’t mean that you have to shop at the most expensive store in town. Checking out sales and discount stores might take a little longer, but it will be a lot easier on your wallet in the long run. You need to take care of expensive car repairs in order to keep your vehicle running, but you might be able to wait on some cosmetic issues or some concerns that don’t actually affect the vehicle’s ability to get you from one place to another. Make it a habit to avoid giving in to wants until you have taken the time to save up for them and carefully consider what you really need out of your purchase. In the end, your choice might surprise you.

    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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      Budgeting, Christian Credit Counselors, Consumer, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Finance, Money Management, Personal Goals

      Budget Boss

      Budget Boss: Command Your Finances by Creating and Monitoring a Budget

      Looking for a way to improve your financial situation and set yourself up for financial success in the future? Christian Credit Counselors, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) with a mission to provide free financial education to individuals and families both locally and nationwide, is now offering a free, online webinar entitled Budget Boss: Command Your Finances by Creating and Monitoring a Budget. Christian Credit Counselors is committed not just to helping people get out of debt, but providing them with free resources and education to STAY out of debt and live a life of financial freedom.

      The Budget Boss webinar will teach you the importance and benefits of a budget. It will walk you through the steps of the budgeting process including setting goals, evaluating assets and expenses, creating a budget, and monitoring a budget. In addition, it will show you how to use a budget to create wealth by decreasing spending and increasing income. Finally, it will give you suggestions on how to avoid common roadblocks as well as helpful budgeting resources. Whether you feel like you are drowning in debt and don’t know where to start in finding a solution or you simply want to set up a budget to save for your first car out of college, this webinar will serve as a great tool in creating and monitoring a budget so you have the knowledge and skills to make the best financial decisions for your future.

      Click on the video below to view the webinar.

      Click here to download the free handout:

      When you are done with the webinar video you can also take a quick survey by clicking the button below:

      If you have questions or would like more information, email education@christiancreditcounselors.org or call 1-800-557-1985 ext. 131.

      Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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        Financial Responsibilities of Fathers

        What role do you play in your household? What are your responsibilities? For more than seventy million fathers in the United States countless responsibilities are assumed, especially when it comes to the well-being of their family. Even though many households today consist of two-income families, a lot of the financial, physical, and spiritual stress can fall on the man of the house. After all, who taught you how to ride your first bike? Who was there to make it all better when you fell and scraped your knee? Who took you to the daddy-daughter dance at your school or church? Who taught you how to throw a baseball? Who tucks the kids in bed and kisses you good night? Not only can fathers and husbands be looked to for being strong role models that provide the significant mental and emotional pillars of love, guidance, security, support, and wisdom but they also take on vast financial responsibilities as well.

        Today, it’s estimated that Americans spend over one billion dollars each year on gifts for Father’s day to show their appreciation for taking on these responsibilities and providing for their family… but what does a FATHER spend on HIS family for the other 364.5 days of the year? According to the newly released estimates from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it will cost a middle-income couple $245,340 to raise one child born in 2013 to the age of eighteen and this doesn’t even include the cost of college! Of course, this amount can vary widely depending on location, income, and number of children in the household. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at JUST A FEW things that a father may be financially responsible for providing to his family:

        • Basic Needs- food, water, clothing, housing
        • Health care- insurance for family/dependents
        • Child care and Education- day care, tuition, educational materials, transportation
        • Future Security- college tuition, retirement, will or testament to family, life insurance
        • Miscellaneous- transportation, lessons, leagues/teams, concerts, vacations, trips, toys, candy, ice cream, gifts, video games, technology, etc.

        You must admit, these are FAIRLY important aspects in life (food, housing, AND CANDY) and this list only scratches the surface of responsibilities that a father may undertake as an important contributor or head of the household! Father’s Day is a time to say thank you to fathers who accept all of these duties and more. So how can we repay them? Remember, saying “thank you” is free of charge but is a simple phrase that can be worth more than you know! How will you celebrate Father’s Day?

        Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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          Resources: www.history.com, www.money.cnn.com

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          Debt Consolidation
          Debt Consolidation

          Debt Consolidation – Understanding how it Works

          A number of people have been able to get their lives back on track thanks to debt consolidation. You may have seen commercials or have read articles about the amazing benefits of debt consolidation, but you do not know exactly how it is possible to provide that much relief. It is possible, and if you are struggling with a large burden of debt, you should look into debt consolidation for yourself. It really does work! Let’s take a look at what exactly occurs during the debt consolidation process.

          A Debt Analysis Meeting

          Meet with a skilled credit counselor. But beware! You should not have to pay for a consultation or offer any personal information before you go in for a consultation. If you come across something like this, go elsewhere you are about to walk into a scam.

          A real, considerate credit counselor will meet with you for free with no obligations for future services or payments, and they will discuss with you in-depth your specific debt situation and the viable solutions that are available to you.

          Debt and Budget Planning

          Poor planning is what got you into a heap of debt to begin with. A credit counselor will work with you to hash out an acceptable financial plan moving forward. You’ll be able to determine exactly what benefits you will be getting out of a debt consolidation program and be able to ask all of the questions you want before you join the program.

          Time to Get Out of Debt!

          Once in the program, skilled credit counselors will work tirelessly to lower your interest rates and consolidate your payments into one monthly payment. You’ll no longer have to deal with those pesky creditors again!

          Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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            Budget Ideas for Mother’s Day

            Mother’s day is just around the corner, have you thought about what you will do for your Mom? If you are married and have kids; what are you and the kids going to do for your wife? It’s easy for most to spend money on gifts, lunches, or a night out. It’s important that you make and stick to a budget, and it’s especially important when you are trying to save money and get out of debt. That means you need to get a little creative and put some extra thought into things. We have scoured the web and racked our brains to come up with our top three favorite Mother’s Day categories with tons of ideas to show Mom you care!

            Pampering, rest, and relaxation

            1. Breakfast in bed, nothing says I love you more than a few flowers from the garden and a yummy breakfast made by you and the kids. Check out this post on Hallmark.com with 32 Mother’s Day recipe ideas.
            2. Buy something to delight her senses and enable some relaxation. Ideas include her favorite lotion, a beautiful smelling candle, bath salts, a yummy smelling body scrub, or even perfume. It does not have to be expensive just something thoughtful then make sure you facilitate some “her” time so she can use whatever you chose to buy for her. Many of these items can be found at inexpensive places like Marshalls, TJ Max or Ross.
            3. If you are the adventurous type and feel comfortable giving your wife a manicure, pedicure, or massage go for it! Bonus points!

            Show her you care

            1. Take some time to think about some of your favorite memories with Mom. On Mother’s Day, spend some time with her remembering and talking about those special memories. Let her know how important those memories are to your life today.
            2. Just think about all the times your mom and/or wife has cleaned up after you and /or the kids over the years. What a wonderful surprise if you hired a cleaning crew or just you and the kids cleaned your house and/or your mother’s house. If you do it yourself this will cost you nothing but the time to make it happen.
            3. Create your own custom fortune cookie with a special message for mom, no cooking necessary! Just watch this short video from Datevitation a great website on how to have fun together. Click here for the step-by-step video.
            4. Have kids? Create this special craft from our friends at Hallmark it will be sure to melt your wife’s heart!

            The traditional stuff

            1. Flowers, interestingly enough studies show that flowers give women a mood boost that lasts up to several days. They don’t need to be roses. Most grocery stores and roadside stands have beautiful alternatives to roses at a much smaller price tag. If you have a Costco near by they always have a gorgeous selection for less.
            2. Chocolates and a small jewelry item, it does not need to be expensive. Most women prefer costume jewelry over fine jewelry these days because they are stylish and vibrant in color.
            3. Date night, dinner, movies, miniature golf, bowling or something else you don’t normally do on a regular basis.
            4. Plan a special outdoor picnic in her favorite nature spot, park, lake, or the ocean if you live near it. It’s a great family activity and a way to create new memories. If you have kids you can get them involved in the planning and execution of the special meal.

            These are just a few budget saving ideas … to get you started! Mother’s day is a special time of year. It’s a time to honor, say thanks by loving and cherishing those that raised us and/or are in the midst of raising your kids. Have a cool idea, or maybe you tried one of these ideas? Let us know … be sure to share your experience with us! You never know, we may feature your story in our next client newsletter!!

            Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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              Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Settlement, Finance, Goals, Investing, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

              Making Money Matters Manageable in Your Marriage

              Mutual Money Management moneymarriage

              Is it love or money that makes the world go round? It’s both…Make money work for your marriage, not against it.  You need tips on strengthening your marriage through mutual management of your money.  This can be done and can even be fun!  Keep reading to find out how.

              Financial Honesty

              Have open, honest and non-confrontational discussions about your finances.  Set aside a regular time to talk about where you are, where you want to be and how you will get there…together.

              Budgeting and Strategic Spending

              Make budgeting a positive and fun project, rather than a chore.  Don’t view a budget as a way to plan spending out of your life.  News Flash: While you are alive, you will never stop spending money.  And, the ultimate goal is not to spend less, but to spend strategically and find ways to increase your income to continue to meet your financial goals.  Plan in the things you want and enjoy and work together to achieve them.

              Money Habits

              Be aware of your spouses habits and tendencies when it comes to finances.  Don’t eye one another to find fault, but look for opportunities to step in and offer encouragement or a listening ear.  Fear can lead people to hold onto finances tightly, or spend impulsively.  Find ways to help build faith and trust into each other, and encouraging one another daily.

              Reward Sacrifice

              Regardless of the roles you’ve decided upon in the area of finance, you are both working towards your mutual goals.  Look for opportunities to reward your spouse for their hard work.  Have they been making personal sacrifices to stay within the budget?  Acknowledge that in a way that will tell him or her: Thank you. I love you. I’m proud of you. I’m glad we are on the same team.

              Learn from Financial Freedom

              Get around other couples who are walking in financial freedom and learn from them.  Look for couples who are seasoned and successful in the area of mutual finance, and allow them to mentor you as a couple. They have been where you are and have insight into your success.

              The Three L’s

              Love much. Live well. Laugh often.  Always remember the love you have for your spouse.  Keep that as a forethought, prizing it more highly than anything money can buy.

              Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                Christian Credit Counselors, Credit, Credit Cards, Credit Counseling, Debit & Your Credit Score, Debt, Debt Settlement, Finance, Money Management, Personal Goals, Saving

                Money, Love, and Marriage

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                Marriage and Money

                Roses are red; violets are blue. No matter the cost, I’ll stand by you…

                Have you had the talk yet?…You know, the one about money, spending habits, future goals, budgeting…?

                If you haven’t, it should be a top priority for your relationship.  If you have, have it again.  Discussing finances should be a regular and healthy part of your lifestyle together.  Being on the same page in this area will protect your marriage (or future marriage) against the most common relational enemy.  You’ve heard the statistics.  Money and finances are the number one reason couples argue and ultimately divorce. Don’t let your marriage become a number.

                Make Finances a Joint Venture

                Regardless of you or your spouses accounting or investment skill set, planning out your financial future and implementing those strategies should be a mutual effort.  Coming together to decide matters in the area of finance will allow you both to be on the same page number…of the same book.  Couples drift away from each other day by day when they are not planning their future together.

                Relationships and matters of finance should not be left to one person alone, even if he or she is “better at it.”  This disconnects one partner from a key area and anytime one of the partners is left out of a major area of the relationship, it will lead to the two of them planning and living, by default, two separate lives.  We, as humans, are meant to be in relationship with each other, and drifters will eventually wash up on someone else’s shore.  So, make it a priority to come together and stay together in the area of financial planning.

                Tip for Financial Success

                Use this time of planning as an opportunity to build closeness into your relationship.

                Respect and Love

                The two greatest relational needs. Anytime you are communicating with your spouse, you are communicating either respect and love or their opposites.  Since the topic of finance can stir one or both of you up, be especially careful to communicate this respect, love and trust through words, tone and body language.

                Listen and Speak Lovingly

                Listen for his or her dreams, desires, goals, reasons.  Your partner has spending habits, as we all do.  Find out the why behind the what.  This will help you to understand your partner better and offer support when needed.

                Be a voice of encouragement. Speak highly of and to your spouse.  Build him or her up with your words. Remind your better-half how capable, intelligent and valued he or she is.  You have the power to build up or to tear down, and it starts with a simple comment.

                Give Financial Grace

                If this is a new process for your relationship, a new way of doing things financially.  Give yourselves grace to get through the transition. Old habits may die hard, but building new and healthy patterns into your relationship is definitely worth the initial investment!

                Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                  Christian Credit Counselors, Credit Counseling, Finance

                  Christian Credit Counselors – Your Partner in Financial Advising

                  Kingdom Financial Advisors

                  As a Kingdom Advisor, you know the value of the individual and the financial potential each person has to live prosperous and free. You see the impact each client can have, not only on their own life and family, but widespread, from community to culture. Casting vision and capturing hearts, financial advising plays a unique role in one’s life. The relationship between you and your client is one built upon and secured by the foundation of trust.

                  Clients seek financial advice at varied stages of life. There are those with a strong financial footing, those just beginning to build and those struggling to keep the lights on. Each stage of the financial journey requires advice tailored to suit the individualized needs of the client. As a financial advisor by trade, your skill set and expertise allow you to quickly recognize the needs of your clients and offer them the best personal guidance, designed to position them to prosper and achieve their financial dreams, and beyond.

                  “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20

                  Financial Biblical Principals

                  Christian Credit Counselors (CCC), an accredited nonprofit agency, exists to serve individuals and families from Biblical principles of finance with the purpose of restoring financial peace, prosperity and freedom. Credit counseling and debt management are one aspect of financial advising, and Christian Credit Counselors serves as your powerful partner in releasing people from the burden and bondage of debt.

                  “The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” – Isaiah 61:1

                  Financial Counseling and Encouragement

                  At Christian Credit Counselors, clients receive counsel and encouragement to steward their finances well, pay back what is owed and use wisdom and good judgement in future borrowing. CCC offers a Debt Management Program designed to help clients systematically pay off unsecured debts in only three to five years and build a future of financial stewardship and generosity. Throughout the program, clients are provided free counsel and advice in the areas of credit and credit reports, budgeting, housing, collections and general financial education. Charitable giving and generosity is also an important aspect represented and modeled by Christian Credit Counseling through donations to local organizations like Catherine’s Children Home and Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and through the CCC Food Pantry.

                  Christian Credit Counselors is here to help and looks forward to partnering with you so that your clients can reach their God-given potential, experiencing life and finance as He intended!

                  Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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                    Budgeting, Christian Credit Counselors, Credit Counseling, Debt, Finance, Goals, Money Management, Personal Goals

                    Your Financial Future

                    Your Financial Future

                    Are you worried about where you stand financially or wonder about your financial future? Credit counseling can give you peace of mind.

                    We all know that debt is a slippery slope for consumers. Knowing where you stand is the first step to walking forward in financial success. While internet research can provide a wealth of information about finances, credit counseling services take an individualized approach and paint a picture of where you are and where you’re headed. More than that, they will lay out the steps to get you there!

                    Credit Counseling Service Benefits

                    Credit counseling services offer experienced credit counselors who work with you to evaluate where you stand, where you’re going, and what to expect along the way. By carefully examining your monthly money trail, you’ll be able to put together a practical budget catered to your lifestyle. Not only will consumer credit counseling benefit you now, you’ll learn tips to help you succeed financially throughout your life!

                    Your Debt Problems

                    If you’ve already slipped into debt, you may feel absolutely helpless. Not knowing where to turn only adds to the problem. Well, now you have a solution! Credit counselors are an excellent source of advice and will guide you to available resources for situations just like yours.

                    Debt management services help you get out of debt. And, being debt free will change your life! Watch your credit score increase and the collection calls cease. Save money on credit card interest and avoid the credit damaging option of bankruptcy.

                    Step One to Financial Freedom

                    This small first step leads to BIG changes – so start by enrolling in a debt management program! You’ll be learning and growing in a safe, accepting and helpful environment. Debt management counselors work hard to see you get back on the right financial track!

                    So whether you’re interested in better financial management or you’d like to end the collection calls once and for all, take the first step to a more secure financial future – contact a credit counseling service today!

                    Do you want to know more about debt and how you can make smart financial decisions now that will help you secure a more prosperous financial future? Sign up for our newsletter for monthly money tips.

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