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8 Tips for an Affordable Wedding

Weddings are expensive! With the average cost of a wedding at $26,645, I am very thankful to have 4 boys! My church recently
announced the upcoming wedding of a young couple. The event will take place after our morning service, followed by a potluck and wedding cake provided by the ladies in the church. How practical is that!

A simple, beautiful and memorable celebration is possible if you ignore what the world says you need. Here are is my advice for throwing an affordable wedding and tips from Trent Hamm at TheSimpleDollar.com:

1. Decide how much you can spend. A specific and intentional budget is a must for planning a wedding. There are a lot of helpful guides online that you can use as a reference to how much you need to budget. No matter how tempting, don't spend more than you have budgeted for! 

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3 Surprising Steps to Getting Out of Debt

Originally posted on the Christian Post on February 24.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

 

Dear Chuck,

Credit cards are killing me, and it feels like getting a handle on money is some kind of 12-step program. Where do I begin?

Feeling Overwhelmed.

Dear Overwhelmed,

Well, I have some good news and bad news. The good news is that it’s not the credit cards that are killing you. The bad news is that it’s the lack of savings!

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What are your plans for Valentine's Day?

Valentine’s Day can be an expensive day! Last year an estimated $19 billion was spent on this man-made holiday. As people who desire to steward well, yet show our love, we can find budget-friendly, creative alternatives to honor those we hold dear.

So here is my advice for not breaking the bank to honor your love:

  • Instead of going out, try cooking new recipes together.
  • Support a local coffee shop and try some new flavors.
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Being threatened by a debt collector is no joke. Do you know your rights?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently reported than 1 in 4 consumers felt threatened when contacted by debt collectors. They experience collectors calling too often, at odd hours, and warnings of jail time and other frightening threats. Some were being hounded for debts they did not even owe! Many complained that the collectors ignored requests to stop contacting them.

Sarah Skidmore Sell, of the Associated Press says that although the Bureau is working on stopping abuse, there are some things you need to know.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects those being pursued for personal debts on a credit card, auto loan or mortgage. Business debt is not covered.

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Help! I'm caught between church and credit cards

Originally posted on the Christian Post on February 3.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

 

Dear Chuck,

I need some help. I am a 50 year-old widow with a teenager at home, and I’m using credit cards to survive, drowning in late fees. I am over extended and miserable. My income cannot support my obligations so I decided to find a part-time job in the evenings and weekends. But now I am taken away from my weekly involvement and support system in church, leaving me very unhappy. Still, I don't have any other way of paying off these credit cards. What should I do? Please help.

Struggling Widow

 

Dear Widow,

My team and I will pray for you as you and your child go forward in life. Please know you can contact us for more personal help.

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We are two weeks into a new year. Are you discouraged by the state of your financial affairs?

ZeroHedge.com recently revealed the states where consumers accumulated the greatest revolving debt. Hopefully, you were not among those who woke up regretting the addition of thousands of dollars to your credit cards over the holidays (at a 30% interest rate nonetheless).

Minnesota and Wisconsin dominate the list of cities with the top 10 best credit scores, while cities in California, Texas, and Louisiana account for 8 out of 10 of the worst scores.

According to MarketWatch, the average family in the worst states would be required to apply 15% of their median income toward debt repayment and it will take them over a year and a half to pay off their credit card debt.

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Do you want to get out of debt in the New Year?!

Originially posted on the Christian Post on January 6.

To learn Biblical answers to your financial questions, you can #AskChuck @AskCrown your questions by clicking here. Questions used may be lightly edited for length or clarity.

 

Dear Chuck,

I read your column about making New Year’s resolutions, and I’ve made mine: Get out of debt. It’s not my first attempt, but I’m hopeful that this time I can do it. I wish I had a more creative tale of woe, but it’s basically the same old boy-goes-to-college, boy-gets-loans-and-credit-cards, boy-wants-out! How should I get started?

Looking for a New Beginning

 

Dear New Beginning,

Congratulations on deciding to take another run at getting out of debt. I will address the student loans and the credit cards alike. And yes, you can do this! The final chapter to your tale should be three steps to boy-pays-off-all-debt!

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Are you resolved to get out of debt in 2017?  I have some practical steps for you today.

For the average American, interest payments consume the largest chunks of their monthly paycheck. There is interest on credit card balances, student loans, store accounts, and mortgages.

Here are some ways to get started paying it off this year!

  1. Make a resolution that by December 31 of this year, you will have significantly reduced your high-interest debt. It takes a plan and perseverance to achieve your goal. 
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Are you looking for ways to earn a little extra money this month? How about emptying out your storage unit!

Joshua Becker who blogs at Becoming Minimalist says 1 in 10 Americans rent off-site storage. Twenty-five percent of Americans have two-car garages but don’t have room to park a vehicle inside,
while thirty-two percent can only park one.

We have too much stuff and pay to store more. This is a problem!

Natalie Campisi at Go Banking Rates.com compiled some interesting statistics. The average national storage unit costs are:

  • $40-$50 per month for a 5-by-5-foot unit
  • $75-$140 per month for a 10-by-15-foot unit

Those prices increase for climate controlled units and more square feet.

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Black Friday Survival Guide - 10 Ways to Avoid Overspending on the Biggest Shopping Day of the Year

According to the Balance, 133.7 million Americans went shopping on Black Friday weekend in 2014 and spent a total of $50.9 billion. Stores count on bringing in at least 30% of their annual sales just between Thanksgiving and Christmas, making you the apple of thousands of marketer’s eyes.

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