Your Gifts Are Not Free | How to Start Using Your Gifts for Employment

Do you have a gift or talent you give away for free, but dream you could be making a living from it?  Have you talked yourself out of that dream and become scared to turn that dream to a reality? By the end of this post you’ll know why you should stop giving your gifts and talents for free. Plus I tell you how your gifts can be used for your employment.
Your Gifts Are Not FreeHey y’all! It’s been a minute since I’ve written a post primarily because I have been enjoying connecting with y’all more intimately in our group. The live chats, Bible studies, accountability and community seems to have been the key to helping you get over some of your biggest struggles. It’s been amazing seeing the growth and hearing the testimonies of the members.

Next month the new group kicks off, so if you haven’t registered make sure to do that here today.

This morning I taught a live class on how your gifts are connected to your income. A lot of people will try and get you to believe if you are a Christian and have a gift that it should be given away for free. That myth has some of you giving away for free, the very talent God gave you for your employment. People have you believing it is un-Christian to charge for something you are good at especially if it involves helping them grow in their walk with Christ.

In today’s video, I’m not only going to encourage you to stop doing that, I’m also going to show you in scripture where charging for your service is very much in line with what God has called us to do.

Questions?

Do you have a gift for decor that you freely give to people you know, but deep down inside you’d love to make a business out of it?

Are you great a baking and everyone loved your cakes until you started talking about creating a business and selling them?

Does everyone come to you for advice on something unique, but when you began talking about charging for one-on-one mentorship, the stopped needing your advice?

Today I’m going to tell you how to get past your doubts about using your gifts and talents to make a living.

Your Gifts Are Not Free | How to Start Using Your Gifts for Employment

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Raising Kids Who Give, Save and Spend Wisely

Every Saturday is payday for my kids. They earn a small commission for jobs they have around the house and divide their earnings between tithe, savings and spending.

Sow.com

My oldest son is turning 16 and will take over managing his bank account online soon. To help him get comfortable with online money management, I set him up with a Sow account via isow.com. What I love about Sow is that their mission is in line with what I teach my kids about managing money.

Sow refers to it’s youth as sowers, which I just love. As sowers, young people (or adults) are able to “save with meaning and spend with purpose”.

Sow provides three areas for sowers like my son to designate their money. They are savings, sharing, and spending.

After setting up an Sow account, my son created goals for his 3 Sow categories.

These digital categories mimic the categories he’s used to saving for already. The only difference is he can now manage them online.

Now, when he’s paid or gets birthday or holiday money, he can allocate it to his various Sow categories.

Having this account makes it easier for family and friends to get involved with helping him reach his goals. They can log into his profile using his special link, and give him money.

When they view his profile they can see exactly how he plans to allocate his money.

Current Sow goals:

1. Saving: First car

2. Sharing: Red Cross

3. Spending:

Well-meaning people love to give gifts, but may not be sure what to give. On the other hand, some parents prefer to curtail physical gifts in lieu of helping children reach monetary goals. I believe the goals they reach will have a far greater impact than a toy or digital device.

“Sow transforms birthdays and holidays to be about goals instead of goods, goods, and more goods”.

My son is saving for his first car which is a big deal to him. Our family can see that and help him get there.

While another pair of headphones would be great, he doesn’t need another pair. Almost everyone remembers their first car, but the 13th pair of headphones they got for Christmas, not so much.Saidah Washington Sow

I had the pleasure of speaking with Tanya Van Court, the brainchild behind Sow. She passionately shared her story with me, and the “why” behind creating Sow. You can read the article on Fast Company.com.

Right now you can set up your Free Sow account for yourself or your kids here.

Connect with Tanya on  Facebook or Twitter.

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Why We Make a Budget

Why We Make A Budget

If I could give anyone any bit of advice concerning their finances it would be to first tithe and second, to do a budget every month.

I absolutely believe, whole heartedly, 100%, that tithing rebukes the devourer.

Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.  

Malachi 3:10-11  King James Version (KJV)

The devourer is anything that comes to siphon money out of your pocket. I call the devourer Satan. You might call it debt or emergencies. For me, anything that opposes what the Bible upholds as righteousness or right living I consider the devil.

Father God also promises to open up the windows of heaven and unleash a tsunami of blessing in our lives when we tithe. This principle is something you won’t or be able to comprehend until you have tasted and seen it for yourself. Father God even says to us “prove me now” which in other words means, try me and see.

Beyond tithing, I create a written budget every single month. Germaine and I sit down and make a list of everything that needs to be paid for the month, both expected and unexpected. We write down how much we anticipate to earn for the month and we compare the two numbers.

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4 Choices Women Are Afraid to Make

4 Choices Women Are Afraid to Make

What would you do differently if you stopped giving so much power to what people thought of you and your choices?

Take a moment to give it some serious thought.

I think it’s a good thing to give thought to how a bad choice may affect your character and witness to others, but I’m talking about good choices you know you need to make, but maybe are afraid to make.

You know those choices that scare you to even think about how good life could be if you’d just get up the courage to do them.

I’m going to tell you about a few choices I’ve made in my life that you may be contemplating, but are too afraid to act on. These choices are ones that have been the most difficult because they are not the norm in our society and they’ve made me feel like I don’t quite fit in with everyone else.

 

What I’ve learned from these choices is that I’m not called to fit in, I’m called to leadership. Being a leader often means doing what isn’t popular in order to encourage others to action. It means being to first of my peers to act on good choices despite my reservations or fears.

 

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FREE Printable Summer Vacation Planner

Free Printable Summer Vacation Planner APWPart of being a good steward over our finances began with getting out of debt and staying out of debt. We put of vacationing for years until we paid off all of our consumer debt.

Now that we are debt free except for our mortgage, we take a family vacation every other year. We save and pay for it 100% cash by following a few easy pre-planning methods.

1-Start saving early. At least six to twelve months in advance. Even before we decide where we are going, we begin saving for our vacation. Where you decide to stash your money can be as simple as a rinsed out pickle jar or an account set up specifically for your vacation fund.

2- Decide on a vacation destination and travel dates. We plan our vacation six months out or even more to ensure that we’ll have ample time to save the money needed. The earlier you choose your travel dates the more time you’ll have to plan and prepare.

3- Research the details of your trip. Free travel guides and internet research will help you figure out what your total cost will be for lodging, food, transportation, entertainment and any other expenses. Now divide your total by the number of months until your vacation. Your answer will be how much you’ll need to save each month for your trip at full price.

4- Feed the pig. Now that you have some concrete numbers to work with you’ll need to get focused on how much you throw in the piggy bank. If the total from step three is unreachable within the time frame you set, consider changing your vacation dates to allow more time to save.

5- Follow the destination discounts. This is the fun part because as you begin to find deals on dining, attractions and more, you’ll see your vacation balance begin to decrease.

6- Find extra money to fund your trip. Not all of us have a built in vacation budget so we’ll need to be a little more creative with our vacation funding. I believe that the sky is the limit in terms of how you can come up with cash for a vacation. I have used survey earnings to pay for vacations and money earned from blogging. You could also take a part-time job or consider creating a business that could fund your vacation.

7- Begin a coin spending freeze. A coin spending freeze takes place when you decide not to spend any coins, only dollar bills. If you use cash only this will be easy to do.

Every time you break a bill, the change from your transaction will be placed into the vacation savings account. This can be done at the end of each day or week.

If you use a bank card more than cash just use the roundup method. Every time you make a purchase instead of recording the exact amount down to the penny in your checkbook, simply round up to the nearest whole dollar.

At the end of the day or week you can transfer the overage amount into your vacation fund.

8- Couponing to a Vacation is when you begin designating your weekly grocery savings toward your vacation. Whatever amount her receipt says you’ve saved, can be deposited into a vacation fund.

You can use her technique to coupon your way to any destination. If you are already couponing you’re half way there.

For this to work you’ll need to set a weekly, biweekly or monthly grocery budget. The goal is to try and come in under budget each month.

Having a grocery, hygiene and household items stockpile really comes in handy when trying to reduce your grocery budget. If your monthly grocery budget is $650 but you only spend $450, you now have $200 to add to your vacation savings.

9- Make a little extra money for your opinion. You can use your time to test on products, mystery shop and provide your feedback for compensation.

Getting started is easy and you can read more about that HERE on my other blog.

10- Don’t go into debt. The final tip is simple. If the vacation is going to encourage you to borrow or neglect other obligations, consider putting it off for a few months. The best part of vacationing debt free is coming home and knowing that you won’t receive any bills 30 days days after your vacation.

FREE PRINTABLE SUMMER VACATION PLANNER

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending on Home Decor

10 Ways to Avoid Overspending on Home Decor

When it comes to decorating my home, I don’t want to spend top dollar so I research ways to find the things I want at deep discounts.

Part of my role as a homemaker is to be a good steward over our finances so I use several avenues to save as much as I can when shopping for home decor.

Here are 10 strategies that have helped me avoid overspending on home decor.

1. Second Hand Stores

There are so many great deals to be found at second hand stores.

You can find many gently used items and even brand new stuff.

2. Yard Sales

Yard sales will offer close to the same price points as second hand stores, but you’ll have the option of haggling.

If your local thrift stores are not very neat, yard sales may be a better option.

3. Bartering

I know your friends and family have done home decor items they are tired, but just don’t know what to do with them.

Why not have a friends and family swap where everyone brings their things to one person’s home and swap items with others.

This is an inexpensive way to get new-to-you home decor and also purge your home decor.

4. Sales and Markdowns

Shopping by looking for sale tags will save you a good deal of money.

If you are patient you will be able to get more bang for your buck.

5. Clearance Section

This is a not different than shopping sales.

Clearance items are usually in a section all their own and offer deeper discounts than just sale priced items.

You’ll usually find clearance items marked down 75% off or more.

6. Coupons

This is especially true when shopping department and grocery stores.

Department stores often have flyers with coupons but also offer exclusive member only coupons.

7. Do it Yourself (DIY)

Many of the home decor items you see in stores can be recreated at home.

All you need is a little patience, Pinterest and ingenuity.

Once you figure what home decor item you want, try Googling it or searching for it on Pinterest.

You’d be surprised at the amount of fairly easy home decor DIY projects there are. We saved quite a bit of money by painting our laminate floors and gave them a fresh new look.

den flooring install before and after

We saved even more by installing our own flooring after watching a ton of Youtube videos.

8. Etsy

So many people are turning to Etsy for home decor items.

One of the more popular are custom prints and frames.

9. Craig’s List and Goodwill

This is one of my favorite resources for larger home decor items.

You can get larger pieces of furniture for way less than the market value.

Craig’s List and Goodwill have become popular for finding dressers, tables, armoires, buffets, credenzas and other large wood pieces.

Sometimes the pieces are in such great shape that you can use them as is. Others may need a little sanding and a cost of fresh paint like the $25 Campaign tables I bought and refinished last year.

$25 DIY Campaign Nightstand

10. Just do without.

Sometimes we can get in the mode where we think we need to buy things to make at home.

Homes are not created on things, they are built on the love between the people who live in the home.

I’d rather have a sparsely furnished home with love than to have an immaculate designer home with bickering and anger.

My goal as a homemaker is to create a place where my family feels loved, accepted and safe above all else.

What is one unique way you avoid overspending?

5 Ways to Avoid Conflict Over Money

5 Ways to Avoid Conflict Over Money

One of the greatest strains on a marriage can often stem from finances. Our relationship with money is very personal, how we spend, budget, save and earn can usually be connected to how we were raised.

For a long time, my relationship with money was based off fear and lack. For that reason I tried to control our finances.

Managing money from a place of fear will bring about strife in the relationship just as careless financial management will.

The place where Germaine and I are now is a good place. We work together to manage our fiscal resources and rarely, if ever disagree about the management of our money.

Our journey began in 2008 and since then I’ve written five specific posts that sum up the changes that took place.

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