"Bad money habits are more difficult to steer out of than other automated behaviors like driving a car. Why? Financial peace of mind is a much more subtle reward than the satisfaction of navigating a half-ton piece of metal through city streets without death or injury. Still, every person who is good at money learned good habits, which means you can, too. 'What we know from lab studies is that it’s never too late to break a habit.Habits are malleable throughout your entire life,' says Charles Duhigg, author of “The Power of Habit.” –Kevin Voigt, "7 Bad Financial Habits You Need to Break Right Now" NerdWallet.
"Maybe you could buy that 'dream home' if you drained your savings account and squeezed every last penny out of your monthly budget. But if your finances change, that dream could turn into a nightmare. It makes more sense to leave a bit of breathing room in your budget. That way, if food or fuel prices go up, it won’t stretch your budget to the breaking point. If you run into a major expense, such as replacing your furnace, you’ll have the money to pay for it. And if you lose your job or part of your income, you won’t necessarily lose your home as well." —Amy Livingston, "How Much House Can I Afford? – Home Affordability Calculator" MoneyCrashers
"The Millionaire Next Door is a fascinating examination of the common characteristics of the millionaires living among us. Authors Thomas Stanley and William Danko debunk the myths and will give you a detailed view of what real millionaires look like." —Paul Minors, "The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley [Book Summary & pdf]"
For Reflection/Discussion: Do you tend to live within, beyond, or below your means? Why do so many people live beyond their means? In what ways are we encouraged to spend as much as or more than we earn? By whom? For what reason?
"Saving money isn’t a matter of math—it’s a matter of priorities. We often tell ourselves we’ll start saving once we reach a certain milestone, like when we get a raise, we pay off the car, or the kids move out. But without healthy money habits, you won’t save money when you get that salary bump, when you own your car, or even when the kids are grown. You’ll only start saving money when you develop healthy money habits and your future needs become more important than your current wants. It’s not as overwhelming as it sounds. Yes, it requires dedication. But with a few tweaks to your spending priorities, you’ll be on the fast track to saving money in no time." Dave Ramsey, "The Secret To Saving Money" Read more…
For Reflection/Discussion: Why is saving so difficult for many of us? Why is it important to have a systematic saving plan? Does your employer offer a match when you contribute to your retirement saving account? Are you taking full advantage of it? Why or why not?
"Where should you tithe? Do you tithe to United Way? Or do you tithe to your brother who’s been out of work for three years? No. That’s charity. Tithing is an act of worship. It goes to God." —Rick Warren, "The Promise, Purpose, Place, and Day for Tithing" Read more…
For Reflection/Discussion: What does the Bible teach about tithing? Why do some people get upset when the topic of tithing comes up? Malachi 3 teaches that we are to first to bring our whole tithe to our place of worship. Why do some people want to include giving to other causes as "tithing"? What does our tithing tell us about how much we do or don't trust God?
For Reflection/Discussion: Consumer debt has hit a record high in America. Why? What are some of the problems and consequences of carrying credit card and other kinds of consumer debt? Do you have a plan to eliminate your debt? Have you taken Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University? Is it time for a refresher?
For Reflection/Discussion: Why do we get discouraged about our finances? What does Jesus have to say about worry in his Sermon on the Mount? How does Galatians 6:9 speak to you about your financial situation?