Reduce Financial Stress Ahead of the Holiday Season

Steve and Sue sat at their kitchen table looking dejected as they discussed the up-coming holiday season. “How are we going to afford all this on a tight budget?”

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Fifteen Ways to Save Money This Fall

Fall is upon us!

It really doesn’t start til Monday morning. However, ask any school aged person, and they’ll tell you, “Fall begins when vacation ends.” Continue reading “Fifteen Ways to Save Money This Fall”

Five Powerful Ways to Say, “I Love You!”

I’m sure that when you read the title, your mind went to the “Three Little Word,” and to chocolates, flowers, and the like. And of course, those are important! But there are other things that allow your actions to speak clearly to your loved ones! Continue reading “Five Powerful Ways to Say, “I Love You!””

Putting Last Things First: A Case for Priorities

Scott looked down at his cup of coffee, regret and sorrow etched lines deeper into his face. Looking up, he said, “I haven’t seen my brother in 15 years, not since my mother died.”

When I asked him why he said, “We used to be a very close family. On Sunday’s my mother would make dinner for the whole family, and then each of us would take out our instruments, and we’d play and sing for hours. My parents died without a will, and all hell broke loose. Fighting broke out among all the brothers and sisters, and now that the dust has settled, we don’t speak.” Continue reading “Putting Last Things First: A Case for Priorities”

Tired of Resolutions? Try Goals Instead!

Last January 1st, I made my last New Year’s resolution. It was to lose weight in the New Year. That was all…just lose weight.

When I told my wife, she smiled knowingly. She had heard it all before and wanted to see just how long this new resolution would last. And it lasted a mere month before I surrendered.

Why did that happen?

Simple, as Zig Ziglar, a noted author, salesman, and motivational speaker is famed for saying, “If you aim for nothing, you will hit it every time!”

And that, indeed was my problem, I aimed at nothing. What does “lose weight mean?”

It could mean that I pick up a dumbell and throw it off a bridge. I’ll never find it, it’s lost. But it could also mean dropping a few pounds.

What I lacked was a goal. It wasn’t until I read Dave’ Ramsey’s book,  Entreleadership, that I came to realize what a goal truly is and how it could help me move forward.

What he about goal setting in there I had seen before. In fact I had worked with the method of SMART goals for years in Catholic schools, but I had forgotten all about them. So, it was a great shot in the arm for me.

I can also tell you that by using the SMART goal method, I’ve hit some great targets this year personally and professionally.

What is a SMART Goal?

A SMART Goal is one that is:

  1. Specific: Using action verbs, describe what you are going to do? Are there specific steps along the way?
  2. Measurable: By what criteria will you know that you are doing what you set out to do?
  3. Achievable: Can you actually accomplish this goal? Is it realistic?
  4. Relevant: Is it truly important to you, your family, or your career? How will it improve some aspect of your life or work? There are seven different goal areas I learned about through entreleadership, and I’ll share those with you in a moment.
  5. Time-Bound: When will you have accomplished this? Without an end in sight, it is very easy to delay the start since there is “plenty of time.”

With larger goals, I have learned to set “benchmarks” or mini-goals along the way to help me make adequate progress. This might be a good strategy for you as well!


Seven Important Goal Areas

In many ways, the goals we set touch other areas of our lives. As we set goals we should be mindful that they have impacts on other areas of our lives. If we really work at these goals, small actions can have big results.

  1. Spiritual – How do you want your connection with God, as you understand God, to move?
  2. Financial – What is your money situation like? How can you envision it improving – even if it is good already?
  3. Social – Who are those people that you’ve lost contact with whom you need to reconnect? Are there relationships that you need to re-prioritize?
  4. Physical – How are you doing with weight, fitness, health or diet? Does something need a little adjusting?
  5. Intellectual – We start dying when we stop growing – that’s true for our brains as well as our bodies? What can you do to exercise the muscle in side your skull?
  6. Career – Are you satisfied with where you are right now, or would you like to see yourself advanced further? Are you happy with your current performance? Is it possible that you are ready for a change? What would it take to make changes here?
  7. Family – We do all of what we do either for God or for our families. How will our families be bettered by something we choose to do? Is it having a meal together once a week? Do we share common interests and need time to do that?

Finally I have a gift to share with you. One that Ramsey solutions sent out in its newsletter. It’s not mine, but it’s so good, I want to share it with you too! When you click this link, you will get a copy of the Ramsey-Goals-Worksheet.

My prayer for you this New Year’s Day is that your goals become reality and that your dreams for 2019 come true!

10 Ways We Spend Without Awareness

“It’s only $2.12. What’s the big deal?” Steve asked, blinking in disbelief that someone would suggest that if he wanted to change his financial picture, he should drop his morning stop at the coffee shop. Karen looked at him steadily and said, “But it really isn’t $2.12.”

Steve stared blankly.

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Seven Key Actions in Budgeting

bad tasteAs I watched, her face drew up into a scowl. You would have thought I had told her you need to eat brussel sprouts (not that there’s anything wrong with them when cooked properly. Continue reading “Seven Key Actions in Budgeting”

The Mysterious Case of the Disappearing Dollars!

Dave stared at his check register, perplexed. With dejected_0his hands in his thinning hair, he wondered, silently, “Where did it all go?” With a week-and-a-half left in the month, there were still bills to pay and precious few dollars to pay them with. “What happened?” He asked himself again and again, blinking repeatedly – as if the shutting and re-opening of his eyes would change the numbers his downcast eyes landed on. Meanwhile, Dan’s wife, Dorothy, hovers close by uncertain how to comfort or help him.

worried wife

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