Brownie tithe…..

Yesterday while working from home I was given a treat by my daughter K. She had made a batch of brownies for her class for their Christmas party (note how I said Christmas party – you’re allowed to say that at a Christian homeschool school). And she knew I wanted one after she had made the plate for her fellow classmates. However, she called me into the kitchen and proceeded to slice out a very generous piece from the middle. You see, while some in our house fight over the brownie sides – the hard brownie crust that circumnavigates the baking dish, my favorite brownie section lies right in the middle where it is moist and soft. And my daughter knows this. And she wants to please her dad. So she proceeded to cut a triple size brownie section from exactly in the middle to give to me because she knew it would bring me joy. She did this before any of the other brownies had been cut for her or her classmates. She did this not out of obligation, but out of a generous heart. And she did this to please her dad who loves her so much.

Before she scooped out that prime brownie piece for me, I spotted a learning opportunity. I asked her to visualize replacing the brownies with her time, money, and talents. And then to visualize replacing me with God.

Because she voluntarily selected that prime brownie as the first one to serve to me, she did what we are all called to do with our time, money, and talents. We are called to give a tithe, literally translated to 10%, to God in the form of offerings to our church. And this tithe is to be off the top. The Israelites called it “first fruits”. We pay God before we do anything else. And we do it out of gratitude because God is what has given us everything – from our lives to our families to our jobs to our material possessions to everlasting life through accepting his son Jesus. And we do this because we know it pleases God. Just like K knows that I like the middle brownie, we know in Scripture (2 Corinthians 9:6-15) that God loves a cheerful giver.

The lesson sank in and really hit home, both for K and for me. It was a perfectly scripted way to look at God, our tithes, and how we should be returning to Him our time, money, and talents. And in this season of Christmas what better way to honor God’s gift of Jesus by giving back to Him and to others in need.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Wealthy habits…..

The 20 items below are not from me but parroted from Dave Ramsey who was quoting a book by Tom Corley at RichHabits.net . However, they are quite interesting and very insightful. Note how many of these habits are NOT linked to money. They actually drive towards behaviors and character, not money itself.

  1. 70% of wealthy eat less than 300 junk food calories per day. 97% of poor people eat more than 300 junk food calories per day. 23% of wealthy gamble. 52% of poor people gamble.
  2. 80% of wealthy are focused on accomplishing some single goal. Only 12% of the poor do this.
  3. 76% of wealthy exercise aerobically 4 days a week. 23% of poor do this.
  4. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during commute to work vs. 5% for poor people.
  5. 81% of wealthy maintain a to-do list vs. 19% for poor.
  6. 63% of wealthy parents make their children read 2 or more non-fiction books a month vs. 3% for poor.
  7. 70% of wealthy parents make their children volunteer 10 hours or more a month vs. 3% for poor.
  8. 80% of wealthy make hbd calls vs. 11% of poor
  9. 67% of wealthy write down their goals vs. 17% for poor
  10. 88% of wealthy read 30 minutes or more each day for education or career reasons vs 2% for poor.
  11. 6% of wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% for poor.
  12. 79% of wealthy network 5 hours or more each month vs. 16% for poor.
  13. 67% of wealthy watch 1 hour or less of TV. every day vs. 23% for poor
  14. 6% of wealthy watch reality TV vs. 78% for poor.
  15. 44% of wealthy wake up 3 hours before work starts vs.3% for poor.
  16. 74% of wealthy teach good daily success habits to their children vs. 1% for poor.
  17. 84% of wealthy believe good habits create opportunity luck vs. 4% for poor.
  18. 76% of wealthy believe bad habits create detrimental luck vs. 9% for poor.
  19. 86% of wealthy believe in life-long educational self-improvement vs. 5% for poor.
  20. 86% of wealthy love to read vs. 26% for poor.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Fiscal cliff disgust…..

I really don’t know where to start in relation to the financial state our country is facing right now. And our jerkoff politicians from BOTH sides disgust me. If our country was a household, we would have been bankrupt and shut down by now. In fact, the summary below puts it in those exact terms.

U.S. tax revenue – $2,170,000,000,000
Fed budget – $3,820,000,000,000
New debt – $1,650,000,000,000
National debt – $14,271,000,000,000
Recent budget cuts – $38,500,000,000

Let’s now remove 8 zeros and pretend it’s a household budget:

Annual family income – $21,700
Money the family spent – $38,200
New debt on the credit card – $16,500
Outstanding credit card balance – $142,710
Total budget cuts so far – $385

I am including the original picture because it was not my analogy. NOTE: I did correct the $38.50 to $385.

The bottom part of the image is just classic.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A Dave Ramsey funny…..

I was following my normal protocol and listening to Dave Ramsey’s podcast on the way home from work and he went into how to buy a used car for the best deal. He went into specifically how he bought a used truck a while ago and shared his experience. However, it was the verbiage and direction this talk took that cracked me up.

“Do you remember when gas shot up to 5 dollars a couple of years ago? I bought a killer Chevy Silverado used; it was an older truck about 5 years old and it had 90,000 miles on it. But it has the big engine in it; my goal is to personally mess up Al Gore’s life. And so I want a big carbon footprint; I want to burn big engines, lots of gas. I’m a gas hog, I like big engines. I’m a boy. And so I want a truck that I can put a Prius in the back of it. OK, that’s what I want. And so, you drive what you want to drive. You want to drive a Prius, that’s ok. I’m not mad at you. That’s just what I was after. And I got the biggest honkin’ engine that Chevy makes and puts in there. It’s awesome! And I was looking for a red truck. Yes, I’m a redneck. I’m a hillbilly. I wanted a red truck and I put so much chrome on it that it’s ridiculous.”

Dave Ramsey has done a lot of good, not only in my family, but in his financial ministry and community giving. But his stock just went up tenfold when he said that statement about Al Gore. I actually laughed out loud in my car.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Proud of my son…..

I have posted earlier about our family’s implementation of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace Jr. I purchased two kits for K and D when my wife and I started Financial Peace University and the 7 Baby Steps. However, the kits sat around for a few months until I was motivated enough to action (see Goal #10 on this post). At the beginning of the year, I sat down with K and D and we had a homeschool lesson on finances. We reviewed the material in the kits. We learned about paying God first (GIVING), paying yourself second (SAVING) and paying all others after (SPENDING). We then set up our weekly whiteboard chore charts and laid out the kids’ weekly tasks and commission (payment) schedule.

It has been a great improvement process and the kids have responded wonderfully. If I had know it would go this well I would have done it years ago. I came home from work on the first day after our lesson and it was like I lived in a museum. The kitchen was spotless, animals were cared for, and the family and living rooms were swept, vacuumed and all stuff put away. The kids had marked off all of their chores for the day and were excited to point out their accomplishments. Additionally, I had contributed to past failures by not being consistent in checking that chores were done and paying on time in full. With the kids on top of things, that also required that I step up my game. So I have been dutifully checking their progress daily, marking their charts, and hoarding singles like I was a bachelor at a strip club, not for that, but to be able to pay the kids in amounts that can then be split on the spot into their GIVE, SAVE, and SPEND envelopes.

NOTE: the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace systems provide envelopes for you to implement a cash based system of tracking and spending. However, I did not utilize these because I didn’t want to get hooked and have to pay for refills. So instead, I found a PDF online that prints out envelopes that you can then cut out and fold. This is what we and the kids have been using.

Download and print your own FREE printable cash envelopes here.


For the kids’ giving, they have been dropping money into our church’s offering. Additionally, they have identified causes and charities that are close to their hearts. As a father, it is so good to see the kids gladly give away some of what they have earned through their hard work. That act loosens the grip money has on us — because after all, it is not ours; we are merely stewards of it.

So when my son said he wanted to give a donation to Wayside Christian Mission (where he frequently joins me for Friday breakfast serving) I was thrilled. He forgot his envelope last week, but this week remembered to bring it with him. He brought it in and gave it to our dear friend who leads up the kitchen and dining room. He, in turn, took D to his boss so he could present it to her. She was very receptive and thankful. And while it was only thirty something dollars, it came from a child who was giving not only his money, but also his time. A homeless guy who was standing next to her even made a comment — “You don’t see that every day from an adult, much less a kid”.

It sure was a good way to start off our Friday.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

Killing the golden goose…..

The video link below was shared with me by my Dad. Because the numbers we are dealing with right now in regards to the national debt are so big — in the TRILLIONS — and our minds cannot conceive and comprehend numbers so large, the video tries to put a picture on it that we can wrap our minds around.

Click here for the video.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

A Dave Ramsey funny…..

My wife and I just finished Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University two weeks ago. It has been an amazing journey and has really propelled us to get our finances in even better order than they already were and to ensure we are always good stewards with the blessings God has given us. In fact, back in October I even blogged about my Florida beach vacation souvenir. That beach vacation was our family’s first all cash vacation and this Christmas will be our first all cash Christmas! The Dave Ramsey Financial Peace plan truly works and will positively change your family tree.

But here is the funny story.

BACKGROUND
I am a religious podcast listener of Dave Ramsey’s radio show. He is on every weekday for 3 hours and podcasts one of those hours free (I highly recommend subscribing). On his Friday shows, he will have people call in who have followed all 7 steps (which he gives out freely on his website) and who are now debt free. He will interview them a bit and then they will wrap up the call by having the person, couple or family yell at the top of their lungs — “We’re DEBT-freeeeeeee!!!!!!!”. It is inspiring and really good to know that others out there have done it — not through a secret program that costs hundreds or thousands, but through sheer planning, persistence, determination and sacrifice. I plan on driving down to Nashville with the family and doing my debt free scream at Dave’s Financial Peace Plaza lobby some time in 2018 (all debt including the house which is about all that’s left).

So because of our emphasis this Christmas on not spending money and focusing on the giving, my son has spent the last several weeks making crafts for our family presents. He just now came down to the basement and yelled in front of the family — “I’m CRAFT-free!!!!!!!”

I guess my listening to Dave’s Friday show podcasts in the car are rubbing off.

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net

My Dave Ramsey souvenir…..

I have mentioned a time or two that my wife and I have embarked on the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University class. It has had a positive, if challenging, impact on us which I will need to blog about at some point.

One impact it had on our vacation was the fact that every expenditure was budgeted and pre-planned. For the first time in our married lives, we returned from vacation with no credit card charges. Even better, we returned with excess cash due to some things coming in under budget. How cool is that?!?!?

One category we eliminated was souvenirs. Because, after all, how much trinket crap do you need in your life? And don’t they all ultimately end up in the garbage or garage sale anyway? However, I still wanted to have something other than memories and photos to remember our wonderful beach vacation together. So I relied upon something I have done in the past and I made a special beach souvenir momento. I bought a six pack of cream soda in decorative clear glass bottles (budgeted under “groceries”), enjoyed them on the beach with help from my son, cleaned them out, and put sand and shells in them as a keepsake. Even my wife got in on the fun and made one for my college bound daughter — it shipped to her today.

So I am officially calling this the “Dave Ramsey souvenir”.

1 cream soda – $1.39
Destin beach sand – free
Vacation momento – priceless

…..Dan at aslowerpace dot net