Spending: It’s Not in the Budget

When you think about it, a budget is only as good as what you recognize you’re going to be buying. Unfortunately, a lot of people leave these items out of their budget.

  • Pets. There are regular vet visits, food, treats, and kennel stays. Americans spent over $100 billion on their pets in 2021.
  • Travel. Trips by auto or plane to see family, go to class reunions, go on vacations, or go see friends.
  • Home Maintenance. There are all kinds of “sneaky expenses”—leaky gutters, painting, replacing the water heater and repairing a leaky roof. The list goes on and on.
  • Non-monthly bills. Such as property taxes, homeowner’s and auto insurance.
  • Gifts. Gifts for birthdays, holidays, office parties, graduations, weddings . . . well, you get the idea. Budget what you can afford for gifts and stick to it.
  • Fun Money. My mom used to call it Mad Money. It’s a good idea for husbands and wives to have a monthly allowance that can be spent any way they want until the allowance is used up.

Remember, that a budget—I prefer to call it a spending plan—can be your friend. It’s the financial tool that will help you get out of debt, become more generous, and save and invest for the future. To learn more, log on to www.compass1.org.

Warmly in Christ,

Howard Dayton

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4 Simple Rules to Stay Out of Credit Card Debt

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Surveys found that half of American households report having trouble making even the minimum payments on their credit cards. What’s going on?

A lot of people are using credit cards for credit and not just for convenience, and they find themselves living beyond their means. So, here are 4 simple rules for using credit cards; and if you can’t follow all of them, you need to perform some plastic surgery as soon as possible and stop using them.

  1. Use a credit card only for budgeted purchases. Oh yeah… that means you have to be living on a budget (spending plan). If you’re not, it’s going to be tough to stay out of credit card debt. If you need help with starting a budget, visit www.moneywise.org, click on “Community,” scroll down and click on “Connect with a MoneyWise Coach.” One of the volunteer MoneyWise Coaches will contact you online to assist you.
  1. Pay credit cards off on time and in full every month. This way, there’s no interest charges, no late payment fees and no debt.
  1. The very first month you can’t pay a credit card bill in full, take out the scissors, and destroy the card.
  1. Just because you can afford to buy something doesn’t mean you should. Force yourself to wait a couple of days and pray about the decision. More often than not, if it’s an impulsive decision, the impulse will go away, and you will save money.

If you are in serious credit card debt, remember what Proverbs 22:7 says, “The borrower is slave to the lender.” The Lord wants us free to serve Him and not our creditors.

So, begin to “snowball” your plastic by making the minimum payments on all the cards, and focus on paying off the one with the smallest balance. If you need help from a debt repayment company, we recommend checking out www.repaydebt.org (ClearPoint). They used to be named Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Atlanta and for decades, have worked with consumers helping them pay off their cards.

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The Divine No

Dear Friends,

I have many articles and recommended readings that come across my desk on almost a daily basis. Some of them are incredible, some of them are ok and some of them, to put it nicely, don’t fit the previous two categories.

Today, I am sharing with you an article that was given to me 25 years ago by a dear friend when I was struggling with having boundaries in busyness. Many of us struggle with having too much on our plates. This article helped shape the way I felt and responded when a “God” opportunity presented itself. I hope it will be a blessing to you, as well.

God Bless,

Kyle

THE DIVINE NO 

by Alice Fryling

If I were a prophet, in the Old Testament tradition, I would put on my long robes, gather a crowd, and call out, “God says, ‘No!’”  I would lean over and point my finger at the distraught pastor who cannot bear the burdens of her congregation, and I would say, “Let go.”  I would look at the harried mother hurrying from the office to the day care center to a PTA meeting, and I would say, “Don’t go!”  And I would grab the tired executive who was all week on a trip, came home to kiss the children, and is now on his way to the church baseball league, and I would put my face close to his and say, “Slow down!”

Indeed, there are prophets in our day who are saying just that.  Richard Foster in Freedom of Simplicity calls Christians to a life of simply doing what God wants, rather than being pushed and pulled by inward and outward demands.  He quotes Thomas Kelly, “We have seen and known some people who seem to have found (a) deep center of Living, where the fretful calls of life are integrated, where no, as well as yes, can be said with confidence.”  Foster describes that confidence as simplicity.  It could also be a more difficult act of obedience than saying yes.

When I say no to a good idea for the sake of a better idea or activity, I am acknowledging that I am a creature rather than a creator.  I cannot do everything that comes before me.  Even good ideas, if they are not the will of God for me, can become the vehicles of pride, sin, fatigue, and depression.

Rather than take responsibility for these symptoms of imbalance, we often blame God for our busy lives.  How many times have we heard, “Oh, I am just so busy (doing good deeds, Christian services, and fulfilling spiritual obligations).”  I suspect that our busyness stems from complications we have brought into our lives (our homes, social and political clubs, gardens, even some employment).  But even if we could prove our busyness is only doing “God’s work,” it is blasphemous to imply that our loving Father wants us to do more than He has equipped us to do.

Common to the lifestyles of busyness is a “bless-this mess” syndrome.  It goes like this.  I see a need.  Or I have an idea.  Or some one taps me for a project.  Without carefully evaluating the request for my time, I say yes because I like to help people, I like to be creative, and I don’t like to let people down.  Then when the Continue reading

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Second Chance

About 9 years ago, Danielle and I bought a new home. There were many things we were excited about with this new home. But one of the coolest things was the one-year home warranty. If anything broke, we didn’t have to pay a dime to fix it!

Well, today is one year later, and the final walkthrough with the home builder to fix anything that may be potentially wrong inside or outside the house. We came up with a list of even the smallest details for them to fix before our warranty expires. This ultimately is our last chance to have anything that needs to be fixed on the house for free- so we really want to get it right!

As I was writing out the list of things that may (or may not) need to be repaired it made me thankful that God doesn’t give us just one chance to get things right. We serve and love a God of second chances. This is especially true in how we handle what the Lord has entrusted us with financially. No mistake, no mishap and no sense of defeat is too big for the Lord. As Christ followers, we always have an opportunity to experience forgiveness and a second chance.

I pray that you experience the God of second chances in a remarkable way today!

God Bless,

Kyle

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Kyle Hasbrouck is the Vice President of Compass – finances God’s way. For more information about Kyle, please click HERE.

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Jealousy

“You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God…”

Exodus 20:5

I always love it when I come across scripture that describes God with emotions that I experience. It affirms in me that my relationship with the Lord is just that—a relationship. It’s a real relationship, with peaks and valleys … and with strengths and weaknesses … and with a variety of emotions.

As I came across this verse in Exodus it made me realize how often I probably make the Lord jealous. The biggest way I do this is through lack of contentment. When wants suddenly phase into needs.

I don’t think I ever thought of God being jealous before nine years ago today. But for some strange reason, I like it. I like that I have a relationship with a God who cares and loves me enough, that when other things become a priority over Him, it truly affects Him.

Jealousy is an emotion that I have never been too fond of experiencing personally. It stirs up suspicion, rivalry and resentment. If I don’t enjoy feeling this way, I’m pretty sure God doesn’t either. I have learned over the years that the antidote for jealousy in my life has always been gratitude. The more grateful I am for God’s provision in my life, the less jealous I become and the less jealous He becomes. I always love a win-win situation!

I pray that you experience the Lord in a great way this week and with a spirit of gratitude for all He has done for you and yours!

God Bless,

Kyle

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Kyle Hasbrouck is the Vice President of Compass – finances God’s way. For more information about Kyle, please click HERE.

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The Real Prosperity Gospel

Received this question one day: “I’m a new believer in Christ, and a friend told me that God wants us all to be financially wealthy. Is this what the Bible teaches?”

This view is known as prosperity theology, which says that all Christians who have enough faith will always be prosperous, but that’s just not true.

Just look at some of God’s people in the Bible. Joseph was born into a wealthy family—then was a slave and prisoner for 17 years before God elevated him to prime minister of Egypt. David was anointed king of Israel, and then had to flee for his life for 10 years from King Saul before he became king. The apostle Peter told a lame beggar, “Silver and gold have I not, but in the name of the Lord Jesus, walk.”

Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “I have learned the secret of being content whether I am in abundance or want.” And in his life, that is exactly what he experienced.

Our job is to be faithful to handle money God’s way. It’s the Lord’s responsibility to decide how much to entrust to us at any time, whether it is much or little.

To learn more about contentment and other principles of biblical financial stewardship, head over to our website at www.compass1.org.

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Every Area

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.”

– Galatians 5:16

My wife, Danielle, and I decided to read through the book Love and Respect about 10 years ago. We both read this book before but this time, we discussed a chapter a week to help us better understand each other’s needs. It was incredibly fruitful.

There were some great revelations I received from doing this, but three things really stuck out to me from reading this book:

  • A husband’s unconditional love for his wife reveals his love for Christ.
  • A wife’s unconditional respect for her husband reveals her reverence for Christ.
  • In the ultimate sense, your marriage has nothing to do with your spouse. It has everything to do with your relationship with Christ.

As someone who does well with simple concepts, these three thoughts really resonated with me. It made me think beyond my relationship with Danielle to other areas of my life as well. One of them being the area of stewardship:

  • How I handle what God has entrusted me with reveals my love for Christ.
  • How I handle what God has entrusted me with reveals my reverence for Christ.
  • In the ultimate sense, how I handle what God has entrusted me with has nothing to do with me. It has everything to do with my relationship with Christ.

Many times, we tend to compartmentalize our relationship with the Lord … without realizing it. Our relationship with the Lord is key to every area of our lives; finances, marriages, family, work, etc. I would encourage you to evaluate these areas of your life and see where your relationship with Christ fits in with each. As you strive to put Christ in the forefront of every area, you will be able to love, serve and honor the Lord and those around you in a significant way!

God Bless,
Kyle

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Kyle Hasbrouck is the Vice President of Compass – finances God’s way. For more information about Kyle, please click HERE

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3 Reasons You Should Buy Rather Than Lease Your Next Car

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I’m often asked on the Compass MoneyWise call-in radio program, “Should I lease a car instead of buying? Because it seems like it’s the cheapest way to go.”

My answer is always the same: Don’t even think about it! But a lot more people these days are doing more than just thinking about it.

The car pricing website www.edmunds.com reports that, according to its surveys, 27% of all cars in our country are now leased instead of purchased. And millennials (anyone born between 1981 and 1996) lease more than any other age category, suggesting that, unlike older adults, they would rather sacrifice long-term financial benefits of owning an auto to get into a bigger or more luxurious vehicle.

Here are the three reasons I like to call it car fleecing instead of car leasing!

  1. In addition to the monthly lease payment, you’re wacked by mileage fees if you travel over a certain amount of miles. And most people who lease a car do. Guess what? The mileage fees are steep—normally about 12 cents a mile.
  2. When you turn the leased car back in, if there are any bumps, bruises or scratches, you pay to repair them—big time!
  3. When you turn the car back in, unlike buying a car, you have NOTHING to show for it.

Your best decision is to buy a car and pay if off. Then, continue making the car payments… but to yourself. That way, when you’re ready for a newer car, the trade-in plus the cash you saved should allow you to buy the car with cash and never use car debt again!

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Life Abundantly

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”

– John 10:10

Sometimes, it is hard for me to wrap my arms around the fact that God’s desire for me is to experience life to the fullest, regardless of my life situation. God’s desire for me to have life abundantly isn’t based on whether I have had a good or bad day, whether the economy is flourishing or declining, whether I perform well or not. It is not relative to the changes in the stock market, the amount of money I do or don’t make, or whether or not I have a job. God’s desire for us to experience life abundantly transcends all these scenarios.

I don’t always experience life to the fullest, and I often get distracted by the things of the world. I am a work in progress. But when I do experience this abundant life that God’s word talks about, it is usually in the context of the following:

  • Using the gifts God has given me to serve others. This could be talents, time or treasure. It is one of the greatest joys I experience.
  • Being surrounded by a community of people who love Jesus. People who are real, transparent, challenging and vulnerable; and those who allow me to be the same.
  • Being immersed in God’s word and prayer. Nothing else allows me to experience the Lord in such an intimate way.

I am grateful that whatever circumstance I may be in, both good and bad, the Lord is always offering me something better: life abundantly! I would encourage you to prayerfully examine how this looks in your life and walk with the Lord.

Wrapped in His grace,

Kyle

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Many Differences, One Purpose

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

–Romans 8:28

When Howard and I had an opportunity to meet with Dave Ramsey and his team in Nashville, I was just thrilled for the chance to meet Dave and his staff. Dave and Howard have had a mutual respect and admiration for each other for many years. Being in the financial ministry world, I have heard the great stories and ways that God was using Dave and his team in people’s lives.

Howard, Dave and Kyle in Dave’s Recording Studio in Nashville

The morning started out with Howard giving a devotional to Dave’s entire staff (about 300 people). We then had the opportunity to take a tour of their offices and meet many of the folks whom the Lord had been (and has been) using to serve people and churches across the country.

As we spent more time with the leadership team, it became apparent to me that there were many differences between our ministries—different strategies, culture, staffing, materials, etc. But what was incredibly clear was the love that Dave and his staff had for the Lord and the calling that the Lord had put on their hearts. The more I listened to Dave and his staff, the more excited I became about the differences between Compass and Dave Ramsey.

Differences are often looked at as challenges and obstacles to overcome, but I don’t think that is what God was revealing to us. I believe God was (and is) using people who love Him and their differences (even in the context of similar callings) to further fulfill His purposes. This became pretty clear not only to Howard and me, but to Dave and his team as well.

I have a sense that over the next several years the Lord will be connecting ministries with similar passions and callings to further fulfill His purposes rather than competing. Many like-minded organizations that we have been relationally connected to aren’t asking the question, “If we were to work together,” but rather “how we can work together.” I believe this type of attitude will allow ministries to focus more on their specific calling while utilizing the calling and gifts of other ministries as well.

We don’t totally know what all this will look like yet, but we are looking forward to God guiding and leading this movement. It will be exciting to see God use people who love Him, people who are called to his purpose and a multitude of differences to transform people’s lives throughout the world!

God Bless,

Kyle

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