Tag Archives: financial management

“SMARTER Finances” Spring Seminar at Milton Keynes (Bletchley) SDA Church

The 2014 series of “SMARTER Finances” seminars continues with the one-day Stewardship Youth programme at Bletchley church.  Attended by over 40 youth and adults, the morning session covered the basics, drawing on the bible-based principles.

The afternoon was a fun interactive session looking at personal and church financial goals and the best ways to achieve them.

The results of the straw poll (sample 20 members) above has been added to the total responses so far.  To see the results as at March 2014 click here.

Get support for you and your church on your financial journey!

About the FREE  “SMARTER Finance” Seminars – These are  bible-based seminars and are delivered in your local church. As part of the Stewardship of our knowledge, member’s have supported other church groups by running these seminars annually since 2004.

Start-up a locla MONEYCLUB a training and learning  workshops and practical support sessions for members. From June to December run these as weekend, or one-day church based seminars.

A number of local church groups in England already use these sessions for basic financial literacy in a Stewardship Day programme whilst others use the weekend workshops or one-day seminar services for both the church and local community outreach.

If your church has never participated or held one of these sessions, ask your Treasurer and your Stewardship Co-ordinator to arrange a session this year.

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So, who’s ‘in the black’? 2014 1st Quarter results just in…

 Total “SMARTER Finances” Survey Responses – 1st Quarter (Mar ’14)

Juan Carlos Patrick, keynote speaker at the SEC Expo on 12 January 2014 challenged delegates to be fishermen rather than keepers of the aquarium.  

We also started to do the quarterly report on the views UK Seventh-day Adventist church members have about finances and money.  

Here is the quarterly update on responses received so far!

What do you think the result show? Please share your views and comment!

2014 1st Quarter Survey results

“SMARTER FINANCES” – WHO’s REPRESENTED?

The results now include the Stevenage SDA Church responses (5 April 2014)

A big ‘Thank You’ to all the churches that have taken part so far.  Results are still coming in so don’t stop commenting and responding!

 

1. Balham 11. London Ghana
2. Bracknell 12. Hanwell
3. Basingstoke* 13. Holloway
4. Central London 14. Ipswich
5. Cheltenham 15. Lewisham
6. Clacton 16. Norbury
7. Clapton 17. Northolt
8. Edmonton Central 18. Plaistow
9. Edmonton (Cuckoo Hall Lane) 19. Reading Central
10. Elephant & Castle 20. Stevenage

* –   also won the 2014 SEC Expo £5 Challenge!!

If you haven’t yet see our  ‘7 Days’ tips for starting off the New Year –  click on any of the  links below to recap on the day’s messages:

Day 1 – the one about developing your Spending Plan
Day 2 – the one about Reducing your Debts
Day 3 – the one about Increasing your Savings
Day 4 – the one about gaining more Financial Knowledge
Day 5 – the one about checking your Credit Report/ Rating
Day 6 – the one about having ‘the Talk’ about Finances
Day 7 – the one about making adjustments for life’s ‘big changes’

From April 2014 all UK Churches are invited to host a FREE  “SMARTER Finance” Seminars to get support for you on your financial journey – These are  bible-based seminars and are delivered in your local church. As part of the Stewardship of our knowledge, member’s have supported other church groups by running these seminars annually since 2004.

Get £1,000 in one year: Jan update now in!

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We’ve updated the blog about an easy way to save £1,000 in one year….

Remember, if you haven’t started this challenge yet, it’s never too late – start now!

Here’s how some of us got on in January:

HoneyBea – Decided to do this as a monthly amount to match the timing of income – thanks for updating the helpful chart  – it suggests how much you can put aside monthly now!  So I’ve done the January amount – it’s only £15 so that was easy.  Am a bit worried about how I will keep my hands of the larger amounts suggested to save over later months so I might put a bit more aside now… this is exciting!!!!

Copperz – £125  : I’m still going with the large lumps every month.  I’ll probably save  £100 each month until November – this money is going to be presents for the family and a holiday next year. I don’t think I need to do thisby standing order – I do mobile banking … and I never forget things like this.

Kate – £60 so far: I’m retired but I want to do this challenge and so I’m saving £20 each week

Anonymous Pete – I still think this savings method is fundamentally flawed and should be adjusted…. I haven’t saved anything yet – I’m looking at different options on savings that are out there

Anonymous 2 – I saved some money but the kids need shoes and I’ve bought a few things for the house and then I loaned some to a friend at work – hopefully I’ll get it back next month…

How would you do this challenge?  

The best comment each month gets a free gift*!

*Free gift is only available to persons over age 18. Must be living in the UK. Must be a member of a Seventh-Day Adventist church within the British Union Conference. Gift is not transferable. New competition opens each month and closes at midnight on the last day of the month British Standard Time

You couldn’t make this up…!

“Give a man a fish, and you have fed him once. Teach him how to fish and HE IS FED for a lifetime.”

Guest blogger takes a look back at the 2014 SEC Expo SMARTER Finances session

“I need £600….”

Delegate: I need £600…
Presenter: OK…  What’s the money for?
Delegate: It’s for my to use for my church department. I want to go to a conference in Geneva this year and need this amount..
Presenter: Have you asked for a grant from your church or from the SEC Department that helps local church activities? 
Delegate: No, not at all.  I know all that but I’ve not done it, it’s such work!
 Presenter: Do you want me to help you find ways of raising the money?
Delegate: No,   I was in your session and just thought that since you know about money you must have some going spare  – so you should give me  – so I’m asking can you give me the £600…

…Banks may have branches… but money doesn’t grow on trees!

What would YOU do?

We’ll each save £1,000 in one year: updates!

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You may have seen the blog about an easy way to save £1,000 in one year….

So, here’s how some of us are getting on:

HoneyBea – Only £6 so far – but it has been weekly: I’m using an account to do the deposits using an app on my mobile phone each Friday… but I forgot this week! I’m going to start a Standing Order, that way it will just happen and I don’t have to think about it from now on…

Copperz – £125  : I decided to do it in large lumps every month.  I’ll probably save  £100 each month until November – this money is going to be presents for the family and a holiday next year.

Kate – £40 so far: I’m retired but I want to do this challenge and so I’m saving £20 each week

Anonymous Pete – I think this savings method is fundamentally flawed and should be adjusted….

Anonymous 1 – Save?? I need some money! Is there any way you could give me £600??

Who’s response do you think is the best/ the worst? Why?  Please share your comments.  

The best comment gets a free gift*!

*Free gift is only available to persons over age 18. Must be living in the UK. Must be a member of an SDA church within the British Union Conference. Gift is not transferable.

Your Seven Day Plan to Achieve that New Year’s Resolution (Day 7)

Yay! It’s Day 7 !

Welcome to the last of the blogs in this series! Yes, you made it! –  well done for going through this week of tips  – you kept in mind: I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Phil 3:14 (NKJV)

(We will resume our regular weekly posts this week)

By completing this seven day series of activities, one day at a time, you are already that many steps closer towards your financial goals for 2014. And as you continue to progress you become one of the group of 8% in the population that achieve New Year’s Resolutions and go on to master their goals!

Before we look at the tip today, can you honestly answer ‘YES’ to these questions?

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Question 1: Have you read the tips from the past six days?  If not take a moment to read those you have skipped – just click the link for the Day:

Day 1 – the one about developing your Spending Plan
Day 2 – the one about Reducing your Debts
Day 3 – the one about Increasing your Savings
Day 4 – the one about gaining more Financial Knowledge
Day 5 – the one about checking your Credit Report/ Rating
Day 6 – the one about having the talk about Finances

Question 2: Did you set the date for the meeting, or better still, have the meeting and go through the main areas you agreed to cover?  You still have a few hours today to make this happen if you haven’t yet done so…but make sure you take action in the next 24 hours!

Question 3: As part of your morning devotional study and reflections today, did you thank God for the opportunities being brought your way, and commit  to  achieving the activities planned for this day to move closer toward your goals? Remember: But let him ask in faith, never wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. James 1:6 (NKJV)

So, if you’ve not yet done so, just pause for a moment now to do this… and then read through your list of activities you prepared at the start of the week.  Tick off all the actions you completed so far and congratulate yourself for making good on those activites.

Then, refresh your mind about the rest of the activities you will need to do this week to make your goals become a reality and commit to making them happen.

OK, now let’s move on to the last tip!

Tip No 7: ADJUST FOR 2014’s planned ‘BIG CHANGES’

You may have made some non-financial goals for 2014.  Goals that will result in major life changes.

Some may be positive changes (eg starting a new career, getting married, going to university, starting or expanding your family, buying your first home or investing in another business property) others not so much (eg getting a divorce, coping with funeral costs and the loss of income as a result of recent bereavement of main breadwinner, increased expenses due to loss of a primary caregiver).  Or you may be thinking about the changes you need to make for your retirement.

Whatever it is, these goals will all need you to take another look at your financial plans.

If this is your first time to look at things in total, you may want to categorise your goals into seven Stewardship Life Categories:

  1. Spiritual Development goals
  2. Health & Wellbeing/ Mindset goals
  3. Career /Business Goals
  4. Educational & Personal Development goals
  5. Wealth & Financial goals (this blog will help you with that one!)
  6. Relationships /Romance goals
  7. Community Service & Giving goals

First, write down the priority goals in each of the seven life categories :  Remember, just like your financial goals, these should also be SMARTER goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time bound, Ethical and Responsible) or it may be best to reassess if they fit in with the rest of your life mastery plans.

Next, identify what financial resources you will need to achieve each of these goals, and identify where you can reallocate funds in your Spending Plan to meet the needs of your short term goals.

A good example was shared by a friend recently:

“I had a short term goal to lose the weight I’ve gained from the festive season.  So I just decided I needed to reallocate the money for a couple of evening’s entertainment or eating out this month and bought a good pair of trainers. 

I also found a free app on my mobile phone that counts my steps and helps me track what I eat and my water intake. 

I’ve set it to a goal of 10,000 steps per day and I can track my progress. This may seem like such a small change to my Spending Plan but it makes a big difference – I have what I need to achieve my short term Health & Wellbeing Goal!”

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed by all this planning you need to do, don’t panic.

Take one short term goals from each of your life goal categories.

Write out everything you will need to do or resources you will need to make this goal a reality and then identify the items that may need you to spend.

You may find the cost is not as much as you estimate or you can get the resources for free – do some investigating to see what is available before you run out and spend money.

Death & Taxes…

Next, look at the insurance cover you have, how your retirement fund is doing, your contributions into your employer’s pension or your own private pension.

It is also a great time for you to think about the longer term and plans for your estate which includes property and any other assets, by making a Will.  The saying ‘Nothing is certain but death and taxes‘ is just as true today and it is wise to regularly assess how you plan for these.

So, there you have it.  The last tip to help you move closer towards your financial goals this year!

Attend one of the FREE Access the Power (ATP)  “SMARTER Finance” Seminars to continue to support you on your financial journey – These are all bible-based seminars and are delivered in your local church. As part of the Stewardship of our knowledge, member’s have supported other church groups by running these seminars annually since 2004.

The first quarter, from January to March, is used for workshops and practical support sessions for members new to the programmes. From April to December we then run the weekend, or one-day church based seminars.

A number of local church groups in England already this session for basic financial literacy as a Stewardship Day whilst others use the weekend workshops or one-day seminar services for both the church and local community outreach.  If your church has never participated or held one of these sessions, show this blog to your Stewardship Co-ordinator and they can arrange a session for your church group within your Stewardship Day programme this year.

“SMARTER Finance”  sessions are open to all participating church members in any Seventh-day Adventist church group in the UK.   For more information or to arrange a programme at your local church click here – (this will take you to the feedback form on this blog)

Hopefully the information covered so far has been is useful – but please suggest any other areas you would like to see more about and we’ll post a blog about it.

As always, share how you are getting on with these, any questions or comments you have.  Maybe you think there are some tips we’ve missed – please let us know.

Until then….onwards and upwards!

Want a really easy way to save at least £1,000 this year? The 52 week challenge

I’m taking the 52-Week Money Challenge, which gets a lot of interest online at this time of year.

This can be one of your New Year’s Resolutions!

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It’s very straightforward. You simply start by saving £5 in the first seven days in January (so, five days to go!) and you build up the savings by saving a larger or smaller amounts each seven days over the 52 weeks.  You can start with £52 the first week and then work down to £1 by December, when the festive season means money is a lot tighter.  I find the summer and autumn are best to do the bigger saving amounts.  The most you would have to put away in any week is £40, everything is less than that.

The variety in the saving pattern means that you can build up in a way that suits you!

To make it something everyone can take part in, why not make it a joint family goal.  Would be great to get comments on the tips for saving the amounts each week

… I’ve opened a ‘jam jar’ account with my local church Money Club…for my shoes and handbag fund … ssh, don’t tell hubby!

Here’s one way to do this weekly saving that makes it all a bit easier:

 

Week Number Dates         Weekly Amount Monthly Amount Saved So Far
1 1-7 Jan £5
2 8-14 Jan £4
3 15 – 21 Jan £3
4 22 – 28 Jan £2 £14
5 29Jan -4Feb £1 £15
6 5 – 11 Feb £10
7 12 – 18 Feb £9
8 19 – 25 Feb £8 £28
9 26Feb-4Mar £7 £49
10 5 – 11 Mar £6
11 12 – 18 Mar £20
12 19 – 25 Mar £19 £52
13 26Mar-1Apr £18 £112
14 2 – 8 Apr £17
15 9 – 15 Apr £16
16 16 – 22 Apr £15 £66
17 23 – 29 Apr £14 £174
18 30Apr-6May £13
19 7 – 13 May £12
20 14-20May £11 £50
21 21 – 27 May £30
22 28May-3Jun £29 £269
23 4 – 10 Jun £27
24 11 – 17 Jun £28 £114
25 18 – 24 Jun £26
26 25Jun – 1Jul £25 £375
27 2 – 8 Jul £24
28 9 – 15 Jul £23 £98
29 16 – 22 Jul £22
30 23 – 29 Jul £21
31 30Jul- 5Aug £35 £500
32 6 – 12 Aug £25 £103
33 13 – 19 Aug £25
34 20 – 26 Aug £25
35 27Aug-2Sep £25 £600
36 3 – 9 Sep £25 £100
37 10 – 16 Sep £25
38 17 – 23 Sep £25
39 24 – 30 Sep £25 £700
40 1 – 7 Oct £25 £100
41 8 – 14 Oct £40
42 15 – 21 Oct £39
43 22 – 28 Oct £38
44 29Oct-4Nov £37 £154 £879
45 5 – 11 Nov £36
46 12 – 18 Nov £35
47 19 – 25 Nov £20
48 26Nov-2Dec £10 £101 £980
49 3 – 9 Dec £10
50 10 – 16 Dec £5
51 17 – 23 Dec £5
52 24 – 31 Dec £5 £25 £1,005!

If you get your money once a month, the monthly saving target is also given to make it easier for you to keep a check on how you are progressing!

TOTAL: however frequently you save, it’s over £1,000 – simples!!

Try it out and let us know how you get on! Join me and let’s see how much we can all save in 2014…

Onwards and Upwards!

Want to know the five most powerful words….?

Well done if you’ve make the commitment to start on your journey of financial literacy journey towards financial freedom.

One of the first things you have to do is your self-audit – to check where you are now, financially.  This will help you plan where you want to get to and how you intend to get there.

If you recently attended one of the nationwide “Access the Power…for your Finances” sessions then you will have been told the five most powerful words you will need to use as you start to collate your spending habits….

‘Yes, I  want the receipt!’

As you hurry through the day, rushing to get that morning paper or mid-morning  snack, or quickly pop out to get the lunchtime sandwich or meal, or the take-away dinner as the faithful replacement for a home meal (it’s been one of those days!) money slips through our fingers almost without noticing.

If you aren’t keeping the Spending Plan Journal then keeping your receipts for each day is one of the ways you can quickly add up and categorise your incidental spending for that day.  Once that is done, unless the receipt is for a big ticket item or part of the warranty information its fine to discard it.

The successful and financial free have a good command of their spending and the sources for their regular income.  We usually have a handle on the latter, this is a quick and simple way to get to grips with the former!

Onwards and upwards, people… and remember ‘yes, I will have the receipt!’

Below are other articles you may find helpful…. and remember we don’t say ‘budget’ we say ‘My Spending Plan!’

The secrets in Proverbs 31 for women

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Ever wondered if there were some tips and hints for women on the four major areas of life?

Well, Proverbs 31 shares these secrets with anyone who wants to know!

In a simple straightforward way, it outlines how women can make their impact in their personal life, with relationships and family, in business and in giving back to the community.

The Access the Power…P31Women series helps women in local churches understand and then use this secret roadmap to gain mastery over all areas of their life.