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6 Ways to Prepare for Summer Vacation

Are you planning a summer vacation?

Allianz Travel Insurance reported that while fewer Americans planned to take a summer vacation in 2016, they would still spend $1,800 on average, making the total cost of summer vacation totaling nearly $90 billion.

Although vacations can be a wonderful time for family bonding and a break from the routine of work and school, the cost can be devastating if not well planned. Decide what you can spend without going into debt and ignore how the world tells you to vacation.

Here are some practical ways to have a wonderful summer vacation and save money:

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Preparing for Easter

We recognize good Friday tomorrow and Easter this Sunday. Regardless of how you choose to observe this holiday, may Christ be the center of your celebration.

The estimated spending on all Easter-related goods for 2016 was $14.6 billion. Of that, the amount spent on candy alone was estimated to be $2.1 billion. That’s a lot of chocolate bunnies, jelly beans, and peeps! Add in clothes, food, flowers, gifts, decorations, cards, and miscellaneous items, and you can see how this Christian holiday has warped into big business.

Over 300 years ago, Isaac Watts wrote the hymn,When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”. It’s one of my favorite hymns because it’s filled with the wonder of Christ’s sacrifice and the recognition of our need for Him.

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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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What Should Valentine’s Day Cost You?

Originally posted on the Christian Post on February 10.

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,

With Valentine’s Day approaching, I wonder if it’s really necessary to spend a lot of money on a holiday that feels a bit made up. I’m feeling manipulated but I don’t want to disappoint my wife. Is Valentine’s Day worth celebrating, and how much is too much?

Husband Needs Help

Dear Husband,

As a husband myself, I understand that Valentine’s Day can be an expensive day! Last year an estimated $19 billion was spent on this holiday. As people who desire to be good stewards and still 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.

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Did you happen to notice any financial lessons in Christmas carols this year?

Duke Wenceslas ruled Bohemia in the year 923. He was known for his kind treatment of the poor. John Mason Neale penned Good King Wenceslas in 1853. Please listen to the great financial lesson in these lyrics:

“Good King Wenceslas looked out, on the Feast of Stephen,

When the snow lay round about, deep and crisp and even;

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This New Year, make Christ-honoring financial choices.

We are inundated with financial advice. The list of sources for the latest and greatest on how to make and manage money is all around us.  The vast majority of what I read can be condensed to this formula – do this or that to increase your earnings and to have more money. It is stated or packaged or even disguised in thousands of ways, but the common denominator is usually the same.  

However, The Bible does not offer this advice. The Scripture tells us primarily what we are to believe about money. This is a profound difference than telling us what to do.   

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The New Year is right around the corner. Have you decided on your New Year Resolution?

New Year’s Day is traditionally when people set new goals for themselves. But, did you ever think about the fact that the first day of a new year could be one where new habits are formed or bad ones finally broken in order to bless others?

Adopting that mindset may keep you motivated. Some people want to lose weight, exercise more, read through the Bible, memorize Scripture, stop smoking, pay off debt or save money. These are admirable, but the reason behind them is something to consider.

What we resolve to do should first line up with Scripture. Does it bring glory to God? Will it benefit the body of Christ? Will it bless my wife or family? Can I achieve it without putting undue stress on the loved ones in my life?

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Tis the Season for Charitable Giving

Originially posted on the Christian Post on December 23.

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,

My mail and email are full of requests for end-of-year donations, and there are so many good causes. But it’s hard to balance how to give at a time of year when I’m shopping for so many. How important is it to close out the year with charitable giving? What kind of choices need to be made? It’s hard to get the money together for Christmas, but I feel guilty when I see those financial needs piling up. How should I balance these things?

Charitably Challenged.

 

Dear Challenged,

Since there are so many great and worthy causes, I can understand your challenge. I will speak to the question of balance and priorities, but the importance of giving is the focus of my response.

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Thinking about selling your home? It may sound crazy, but there are good reasons to list during the holidays!

Recently I shared some good reasons to buy a home at year end. Today, I want to share why it is good to list your home for sale during November and December.

Three years ago, we sold our home in November after listing it with Nikki Bonds. She is a successful realtor with some good reasons to list your home during the holidays. See if you’re convinced!

First, people who look for a home during the holidays are more serious buyers. Since there are fewer houses to choose from now and less competition, that means more money for you.

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6 Christmas Budget Busters - The most common traps to overspending at the holidays and tips on how you can avoid them

Christmas shopping can be the most expensive and stressful shopping experience of the entire year year. Many stores count on last minute, frantic shoppers to overspend out of desperation. Crown Financial Ministries has compiled a list of these Christmas Budget Busters for you to lookout for and tips on how to avoid them.

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