Tag Archives: Finances

Faith, Finances, & Freedom – Spring Publications!

Standard

 

I’m so pleased to share the following two publications with you—each of which include one of my articles!

 

Girlz 4 Christ

This beautiful faith-based magazine is read by girls around the world! Here’s an excerpt of my article, “Faith in Finances,” which appears in the Spring edition:

I couldn’t wait to start my first job! At just eight years old, I started pulling my little red wagon around the block collecting old bottles to recycle. I only made a few cents per pound, but I learned the importance of hard work and the value of money.
Years later, I found myself in a successful career in the business world. By the world’s standards, I was climbing the corporate ladder! Unfortunately, I was also becoming increasingly stressed, which was taking a toll on my health.

Yet when God called me away from that job so I could focus on my writing ministry, I freaked out! My identity had become so wrapped up in what I made, that I couldn’t see what God was calling me to be. It took a while, but God was able to break through my worries and redirect my heart toward Him.

My prayer for you is that you start out on a better foundation than I did. Whether you’re still pulling a red wagon, working a part-time job, or lining up summer internships, it’s never too early to put your paychecks into perspective.

Here are my top four lessons to help you live out your faith in your finances:

1. Love God, Not Money
Paul said, “the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1 Timothy 6:10 NAS).

If you think this only applies to wealthy people, think again. Those who have the least amount of money are often the most fixated on it.

Fortunately, Paul told us how to avoid the love of money: “But flee from these things, you man of God, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness” (1 Timothy 6:11 NAS).

Don’t love money. Love God instead, and pursue His attributes in your life.

Finish reading this article in the Girlz 4 Christ Magazine by subscribing here for FREE.

 

Faith and Freedom

Do you remember my article “A Godly Response to the Sins of Our Fathers,” which was published on One Christian Voice last year? I’m excited to share with you that Living Parables of Central Florida selected it for inclusion in their latest anthology, Faith and Freedom. This book includes beautiful, thought-provoking articles, poems, and other musings from authors across the US, as well as Ireland and Africa.

You can now purchase Faith and Freedom on Amazon. Proceeds go to Living Parables of Central Florida.

 

I’m so thankful to share this godly resources with you! I pray they bless and inspire you to draw closer to the Lord.

10 Tips to Save Big On Your Car Insurance

Standard

The following article was first published on OneChristianVoice.com. Check out their site for more news, entertainment, events, and inspiration.


There’s nothing like getting the keys to your first car! For most of us, it’s a huge sign of maturity as well as our ticket to freedom.

Unfortunately, schools don’t often teach teens about the cost of driving. Sure, we know that cars can be expensive to buy and maintain, which is why many of us drive beat-up jalopies until the wheels fall off—then we just put the wheels back on and keep on going. But there’s another expense: car insurance.

I have a degree in insurance and have worked in the industry for over 15 years, but even I’ve struggled to get good coverage at a good rate. Just this week, I re-quoted our policy and was surprised by the cost differences and the changes introduced by self-service online systems. I can only imagine how hard it is for teens (and even adults!) who haven’t been schooled in insurance. It’s enough to make you throw your hands up and say, “Forget it!”

But we can’t do that. Getting the car keys is only a sign of maturity because it carries responsibility. We have to take care of ourselves and others on the road, as well as the car we’re driving. Whether we like it or not, car insurance is the best way to protect our car and our cash.

So whether you’re new to the road or an experienced driver, here are my best tips to help you save money on your car insurance while getting the coverage you need.

 

Save Up Front

 

1 – Buy It

Car insurance is legally required if you own a vehicle. There are strict penalties for driving uninsured, so be sure to buy insurance!

If you’re looking to buy a car, then call around or go online for quotes first. Insurance prices are based on a lot of factors, including the value of the car, the security and safety features, and the type of car (whether it’s a sports car that you’re likely to drive fast or a station wagon to haul your drum set around). If you have a monthly budget, make sure you can afford the car payment, the insurance, and maintenance fees combined.

 

2 – Combine Forces

Companies usually offer multi-policy discounts, so if you need renters or homeowners insurance, have the company quote both policies.

Also, take advantage of discounts that are available to you through special memberships. For instance, AAA and credit unions often obtain discounted rates for certain insurance companies, but you have to be a member to qualify.

 

3 – Talk with an Agent

Agents are educated and licensed to sell insurance in your state, so they know the laws that affect you. While they actually represent the insurance companies—not you—they do have a “fiduciary responsibility” to sell you only the coverages you need, want, and can afford.

Today, you can buy insurance online by answering a few questions. However, you won’t know if you’re getting the best prices and options or if you’re missing important coverages. If you do shop around online and find a quote you like, call the company to speak with an agent. Your insurance policy is a legal contract, so be sure you understand it before you make a payment or sign on the dotted line. (If you have any questions or concerns, contact your state’s department of insurance.)

 

4 – Understand the Quote 

A quote is a cost estimate based on the details you provide. Oftentimes, companies will give you an initial quote based on a few basic facts. If you like the quote, they’ll perform a credit check and pull your claims history. After considering this information, the price (called the “premium”) can change drastically. That’s why it’s important to provide honest, accurate information up front (and another reason why you should avoid bad credit and aggressive driving).

 

5 – Careful with Payment Plans

Most companies offer a monthly payment plan, but it can be more expensive than paying it all upfront. (In one quote I received, the difference between the monthly and single-pay plans was $150!) If you can’t pay it all at once, look for a company that offers a better monthly rate.

 

6 – Watch out for Bells and Whistles

Many companies now offer special programs like accident forgiveness or new car replacement. These can be extra coverages or special tiers (or programs) that can cost you more in the long run. If you see these bells and whistles, ask for a quote without them for comparison.

 

Save Going Forward

 

7 – Watch for Your Renewal

The standard length of car insurance contracts is only six months. At the end of the policy term, the company can decide not to renew your contract or can increase your premium. That’s why it’s important that you look out for your renewal—or non-renewal—about a month prior to your policy’s expiration date. Even if your policy renews at the same rate, you may want to shop around to see if other companies can give you a better offer.

 

8 – Ask for Better Rate

Companies change their rate structures frequently, but they may not apply a reduction automatically. That’s why it’s important to call your agent (or the company directly) before each renewal and ask if there are ways to cut the cost. Be sure to report any changes that could lower your premium, such as reducing your annual mileage by working from home instead of 30 miles away. (I just saved over $400 by having my company re-quote me in a different tier with a lower annual mileage!)

 

9 – Take Care

Your car insurance policy won’t cover regular maintenance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not necessary. In fact, the company assumes that you’ll take proper care of your vehicle. If you drive with a known maintenance issue and have an accident, it won’t be your car’s fault, it’ll be yours, and that can lead to an increase in your premium. Besides, you really don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road because you failed to change the fluids!

 

10 – Be Diligent

Accidents are expensive! Not only can there be big upfront costs, but the company can increase your premium for years by removing discounts and applying additional charges.

But accidents impact more than just wallets. According to the National Safety Council, about 100 people die every day in car crashes. When considering all crashes, up to 94% are caused by driver error. One of the biggest distractions is talking on the phone while driving. In fact, the NSC states that drivers using phones (handheld or hands-free) are four times as likely to be involved in an accident. Bottom line: if you want to save money and be safe, then keep your focus on the road.

 

It’s true that buying car insurance can be a pain, but it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With these 10 tips, you can use insurance to protect your cash and your car without breaking the bank.

 

[Click to Tweet: Insurance insider shares 10 Tips to Save On Your Car Insurance. #bigsisterknows #savemoney #frugal]

The Most Lavish Gift of All

Standard

mostlavishgift_bsk

 

The following blog was published on Lift Up Your Day. I have included it in its entirety below. I hope it blesses and encourages you!


The Extravagant Gift

I was in a store recently when a homeless man came in and began chatting up the sales clerk. Apparently, John (as the clerk called him), had been in the store earlier and had picked out a reproduction of a painting.

“I told you I’d be back,” John told the clerk. “My sister Susan is going to love this! She’s done so much for me over the past few years, and I just want to give her something to show my appreciation. You said you can ship it to her, right?”

I watched as John produced $45 in wrinkled bills and an old envelope with Susan’s name and address on the return label. (I was reminded that homeless people don’t carry credit cards or use smart phones to manage their contacts.)

Although the painting was one of the most expensive items in the store, John didn’t haggle over the price. In fact, he seemed overjoyed to spend the money. Still, I wondered if he had any left to buy dinner. Where would he stay the night? Would his sister be pleased with the gift or upset over the cost?

As I tried to figure out how I felt about the situation, I watched John float out of the store on a bubble of joy and excitement. I realized he wasn’t just sending his sister something—he was sending her a grand gesture, an extravagant gift, and the joy he felt in giving it was its own reward.

 

The Idol of Frugality

I thought back to when I was 16 years old. It took me weeks to save up $110 to buy a birthstone ring for my mother. It was a lot of money to spend on a single present, which was exactly the point. I wanted to show Mom how much I loved her by giving her a lavish gift.

My mind shifted again, this time to our current Christmas preparations. My husband Robby and I live on a budget, so we agreed to keep the presents to a minimum, focusing on those around us with immediate needs. Still standing in the store, I mentally patted myself on the back for planning a frugal Christmas. That’s when the Lord convicted me: “You already know that money can be an idol. So can frugality.”

It felt like I had been kicked in the gut! I thought I was being smart, but in those two sentences, the Lord showed me that I was beginning to live in fear—fear that the money would dry up, that the needs would exceed the funds, that God would leave us high and dry. It wasn’t conscious—I know God will take care of us—but I’ve been holding a firm grasp on the purse strings, afraid of giving God full reign.

 

The Most Lavish Gift of All

As these thoughts were pouring through my mind, the Lord told me something very important about Himself: “I am not a frugal God. I give lavishly out of my abundance.”

How profound! Our God is the most lavish spender of all time—and He spent everything on us! God gave His Son Jesus to mankind on Christmas, and then Jesus gave His life for us on Easter. God didn’t hold back with us. He didn’t budget or skimp. God gave us 100% of His net worth in the person of Jesus Christ—and we didn’t even deserve it.

 

Let Us Freely Give

Now, I don’t propose that we max out the credit card bills in a misguided attempt to “bless” everyone around us. However, we should be more like John—focused not on what we lack but on our access to God’s abundance.

This Christmas, let’s allow God to guide all of our decisions—including how we spend our money—resting in the surety that He will not lead us astray. And let us freely dispense the priceless gifts of compassion, mercy, grace, forgiveness, and love, this season and throughout the new year.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32 NAS)