Tag Archives: SMARTER Finances

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


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!


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!


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.


Get up and start!

Get up and start!

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great…” Zig Ziglar

“Footprints on the sands of time can’t be made by sitting down… ” Unknown

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.” – Henry Ford


Adventist minister uses ‘that swear word’…

(Video of an informal dialogue with Seventh-day Adventist pastor and British Union Conference President, Pastor Ian Sweeney, who kindly shared views of money management)

But he uses what we call ‘that swear word’…!

Here is our transcript of the “SMARTER Finances” panel session for the Pi Tau Omicron (ΠΤΟ) Sorority Year End Celebration.

Hosted in London (December 2013), the Panel explains why we think of it as ‘that swear word’ -the word  “BUDGET”….

Panel Chair: What a practical video!  Pastor Sweeney’s comments were made last year in 2012,  but his views are just as valid today. Panel, what do you think?

Delegate 1: You know, in the presentations I have done with community groups or church members during Stewardship Days, I always find it fascinating the negative emotions that go along with the word ‘budget’.

Delegate 3: That is so interesting, I find the same thing with the sessions we provide back home in the States!

Delegate 2: It’s not a surprise when you look at its earliest definitions, (I’ve just looked it up on Dictonary.com)… This shows that word originally derived between 1400–1450; from the late Middle English word ‘bowgett’  or the Middle French word ‘bougette’  (bouge = bag), or  the Latin word ‘bulga’ + -ette.

Delegate 1: Oh yes, it describes the small pouch or bag of money, often worn at the waist or hidden in your garments to protect against pickpockets and other theives.

Delegate 4: ….and this bag was usually under the sole control and decision-making of the man of the house….

Panel Chair: …and that’s a topic I’m sure could be used to start a whole other panel discussion!

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 3: Well, I’m happy to stay on this subject – I want to hear all about this ancient bag of money, we don’t have this kind of old stuff in the States with all your 1066 history…!

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 2: It had a tightly secured, small opening – so you could put your coins in – but was quite difficult to dip into and get money out of.

Panel Chair: So that’s why ideas of a calorie-controlled diet comes to mind when people use the word “budget”…?

Delegate 2: Yep! So, the definitions in Dictonary.com are no surprise – the noun ‘budget’ is defined as:

  1. an estimate, often itemized, of expected income and expense for a given period in the future.
  2. a plan of operations based on such an estimate.
  3. an itemized allotment of funds, time, etc., for a given period.
  4. the total sum of money set aside or needed for a purpose
  5. a limited stock or supply of something

and the words ‘budgeted’, and ‘budgeting’ often relate to subsistence living; when you ‘live within a budget’.

Delegate 5: … Urgh! No wonder the very word makes me shudder!  A ‘budget’ is often synonymous with feelings of being on a diet, a restriction  – the feeling you have  little or no control … I don’t like owing money but it feels like you are always racing to pay off your bills, of feeling chased down by creditors, burdened by down if like me you have student loans still to sort out.  It just feels like ‘calorie-controlled’ spending with very little room for the fun stuff.  And, like being a diet, it is so easy to lose heart and fail …So you often hear about people ‘blowing their budget’!

Delegate 4: Exactly.  So I actually avoid the word “budget”. Treat it like a swear word, not used in good company and avoid it.  I prefer to think about having a ‘Spending Plan’ instead.

Delegate 2: Give me a Spending Plan anyday… it’s a flexible way to decide how to use your income in that month/ week to meet all of your expenses, contribute to your savings goals and allocate money for the fun things.  And its such a flexible approach … more feeling that you have a coffer or chest of money that you manage rather than a tight-mouthed, tiny purse you force money into or try to prise money out of….

Panel Chair: So now we should pretend we have a treasure chest full of cash?

Delegate 2: OK, yes, in these times it may often feel like we’re all working with a very small sweetie tin rather than a massive chest full of notes and coins, but work with me here!

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 3: I prefer to use the phrase ‘Spending Plan’ when I talk about my regular income and outgoings management.   First I do the ‘audit’ so I know for sure what is coming in this month down to the dollar.  And only then do I decide how my money is used to ‘handle my business’ like the list of expenses you show here (points to the presentation on screen).  So, yeah, I can choose this month not to pay my utilities or my cell phone costs … as long as I am prepared to live with the consequences…

(Laughter from conference delegates and Panel members)

Delegate 1: I agree. With the Spending Plan mentality, I decide the how and when for my money, making sure I make informed choices, taken on a timely basis and based on the information and opportunities that I have in that period.

Panel Chair: So, whether it’s dollars like my friend here, or Euros or Pounds for us in Europe, sometimes the Plan stays the say as circumstances remain steady, other times it may need to change? And a Spending Plan means you can be flexible to take account of these changes when they occur?

Delegate 2: Absolutely!.  You know, it may seem like this approach is more of a state of mind rather than a different activity but that’s just it.  Both are spending.

Delegate 4: You know panel, it all about how you think and behave with your money that makes the difference to whether you’re a success or failure in meeting your financial goals – in the short or long term!

Panel Chair: Panel, thank you for such a lively start to this discussion.  Let’s go to the Q&A and take some questions from our other Sorority delegates.  Over to you ladies!

What’s your view?

Add your comment to the discussion!