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6 Ways to Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

Originally posted on the Christian Post on March 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,

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! In thinking about going green, I’m wondering if there are any principles to keep in mind and any ways to go green cheaply?

An Irish Wish

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The Biggest Financial Regrets of Americans...And How To Avoid Them

Catey Hill at Marketwatch.com recently reported, “Many Americans are filled with regrets – financial regrets.” In fact, 3 out of 4 harbor regrets, according to a recent survey by Bankrate.com.

Sadly, the biggest regret is not saving enough for retirement early enough. The other regrets in descending order are:

  1. Not saving enough for emergency expenses
  2. Taking on too much student loan debt
  3. Taking on too much credit card debt
  4. Not saving enough for children’s education
  5. Buying a bigger house than they could afford
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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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Satchel Paige once asked, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?”

That’s a good question. Age sneaks up on us, and retirement is a chapter in life that many are unprepared for.

People in the world believe retirement is the time in life to withdraw from the demands of work and labor to pursue enjoyment free of obligations, commitments or worries. Fulfilling their desires is a reward for how hard they’ve worked. But, Hugh Welchel, Executive Director of the Institute for Faith, Work and Economics strongly disagrees. Welchel explains that the only thing looking like retirement in the Bible is found in Numbers 8:23-26. Here, God told Moses, that the Levites were allowed to work from 25 until mandatory retirement at the age of 50.

After their temple service, they were expected to mentor the younger men by providing wisdom and leadership gained through their experience. They were available to advise and counsel the younger generation.

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Do you worry about outliving your retirement funds?

If you’re worried, you are not alone. Maurie Backman with the Motley Fool says retirement tops the list of Americans’ financial concerns.

In 2016, 64% of the population admitted fear in not having enough funds to cover living expenses in retirement. An estimated 33% have no retirement savings at all, and those who are relying on Social Security need to realize that it replaces just 40% of the average worker’s pre-retirement income. An Allianz study reveals that 60% of baby boomers fear running out of money in retirement more than dying.

Analyze your living situation. It may be worth downsizing to a smaller home. Less square footage and acreage may ease pressure on the budget and the stress of maintenance. By downsizing, you have the  opportunity to earn money by selling items you no longer need. You also may be able to get by with just one car to further cut your expenses.

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We are all fighting a spiritual battle. But perhaps yours is even fiercer.

The U.S. military makes sacrifices every day. According to NBCnews.com, military families carry more debt and have fewer assets than civilians.

If you are one of those, Winnie Sun at Forbes.com offers several tips.

First, use your education benefits wisely. The GI bill is a perk that covers in-state tuition for up to 36 months and a limited dollar amount for private colleges for veterans. Although the benefits can be transferred to other family members, you may have to serve an extra 4 years. Research and request it early in your career.

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Do you care more about how long your car will last or how fast it will go?

According to AAA, 35% of the drivers in America have skipped or delayed a recommended service or repair. And, yet, the most effective way to keep repair costs down is to avoid them in the first place.

I’ve got a few tips for you.

Follow your owner’s manual for tasks like oil changes and tire rotations. Thankfully, newer vehicles are programmed with maintenance reminders. Just don’t ignore them. 

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Have your or your family experienced an unexpected expense in the past 12 months?

Jill Cornfield at Bankrate.com says the most common surprise expenses are related to vehicles, appliances, home-repairs, injury or
 illness. Unfortunately, nearly 6 in 10 Americans don’t have enough savings to cover an unexpected bill of $500.


This is a problem across our nation. When people pay with a credit card, the original expense can grow monumentally if not paid off at the end of the month due to high interest rates. Some turn to friends or family for help with the hope of paying them back. Others cut expenses in order to pay the bill.

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Have you already blown your New Year budget? Don’t give up!

Allison Martin at MoneyTalksNews.com reports that it’s the small expenses that add up to blow a budget and ruin a spending plan. There are several main culprits.

Food is one of the biggest expenditures in America. If you spend $10 a day for lunch, that quickly adds up to $200 per month! Stop! Buy a cool lunch tote, pack your food, and start a new trend at your workplace.

Snacks and daily treats also drain the budget. Stock up on healthy items to carry with you and treat yourself to that special coffee only on special occasions. 

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