Financial Resources for your New Year’s Goals

The beginning of a new year seems to be the ideal time to work to get one's budget and finances in order. Along with the myriad other resolutions we women tend to make (I will lose 10 lbs, I will exercise more, I will have consistent quiet times, I will be a more joyful mom, etc.), determining to establish a balanced budget, get out of debt or increase savings is often high among the priorities!

I think that, in light of the current recession, there is no better time than now to revisit how you manage your money! For those who are in that place of desiring to make some financial changes, set some goals or just learn to be better stewards of your money, here are a few wonderful resources that I just need to mention.

Good Reads to Get You Started:

@ Simple Mom
Zero-Based Budgets for the Home: A Primer
How Do You Budget Wtih an Irregular Income?
Keep Your Spending Tidy With an Envelope System

@ Money Saving Mom
Budgeting 101- Part 1 and Part 2

@ Keeper of the Home
Setting up your cash system- Part 1 and Part 2 (answers to some Q&A about how our family uses a cash system)

The Best Class You'll Ever Take:

@ DaveRamsey.com
Financial Peace University

This course would be one of my top recommendations for anyone- single, young marrieds, families with children, those in debt or struggling to make ends meet- seriously, anyone! It will completely challenge many of the ways that you have thought about money or handled money. It will give you the tools to get your finances under control, no matter where you are at. It will enable you to start planning and working towards big financial goals (paying off debt, owning or paying off a home, creating significant savings and investments, preparing for unexpected circumstances, etc.).


We first read Dave Ramsey back in our first year of marriage. We were greatly in debt (close to $30,000 which was mostly my university student debt), and working hard to pay it off as quickly as possible. Through the management principles we learned, we payed off our debt in less than 3 years of marriage, despite having a baby and having me at home for two of those years! We are now working through the rest of the "baby steps" outlined in his books and course, including substantial emergency savings, long-term savings, education savings, and down payment savings. Can I just say how incredibly good it feels, to know that we run our budget and not the other way around?

To find a class near you, click here. If you live in my area (the Fraser Valley, BC, Canada), my church is putting one on starting in March, though registration is happening now (email me if you're interested- keeperofthehome (at) canada (dot) com). We are encouraging everyone we know to attend!

If you're not ready to attend a class, then check out Dave's book, The Total Money Makeover. You won't regret it!

Find a System You Love:


Here's my husband's review of the one that we've been using for over a year now, and love to recommend to anyone who will listen. :)

You Need A Budget.

Though there are many great systems out there, and it's important to find the one that works for you, we happen to think this is an excellent software for anyone desiring to do zero-based budgeting!

Care to share some of your New Year's financial goals? What resources have had the biggest impact on the way that you view and manage your finances? Any others out there using a zero-based budgeting or cash system?

These are all resources that work-for-us!

About Stephanie Langford

Stephanie Langford has a passion for sharing ideas and information for homemakers who want to make healthy changes in their homes, and carefully steward all that they've been given. She has written three books geared to helping families live more naturally and eat real, whole foods, without being overwhelmed, without going broke and with simple meal planning. She is the creator of Keeper of the Home.

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Comments

  1. I think Dave’s approach to debt is really biblically founded, but his ‘next step’ plan is somewhat dubious. Once you pay off debt I don’t think the Bible is silent on what God’s heart is for how we deal with His resources. I think that ‘living like no-one else’ as he says makes it sound like once you’ve gotten out of debt you’re free to live a luxurious life.

    I think we’re called to more than that. There is much more joy awaiting us if we act as good stewards of God’s resources, taking only what we need and investing the rest in causes He cares about. That’s why I too like crown. I think they hit debt hard but they are also more holistic about how God desires we spend our resources.

  2. YNAB has completely revolutionized the way my husband and I budget. I recommend it to everyone I talk to about finances.

  3. Tarena and Mary Ellen, yay for paying off debt! Way to go! :)

  4. We are doing Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover as well. In fact we just finished up Baby Step 2, paying off a little over $16,000 in debt in 11 months! We’re now working on building up our emergency fund!

  5. Yup, yup, yup – love Dave Ramsey! I’ve wanted to learn more about his stuff for about a year; ever since I starting reading BiblicalWomanhood.com, and heard Crystal rave about him. In Jan., our church announced that they were hosting a class, and the first one starts next Saturday! I can’t wait. Our family has already received our membership packet, and we’ve spent hours listening to all the lessons on CD.

    Mom and Dad are good with money already, and they’ve taught us (their six children) well, but this takes it the next step; gives us the motivation, exact plans, etc. Us three older ones find it especially interesting, but even our 8 year old sister wants to hear the CDs and watch the DVDs. :)

    I find it funny that you’re talking about Dave Ramsey, right when we have his voice playing in our house all time. But I’m glad you are, ’cause it gives me a chance to say how excited I am about next Saturday!

  6. I’d recommend Crown Financial Ministries also. The concepts are very similar to Dave Ramsey (though I think predates him) and really focus on using your money as a tool to glorify God. Their ultimate scenario is that you could live off your investments and work full time in ministry. I really appreciate the heart they have for the Lord. “The mission of Crown is to reach those in need with the message that their hope and future is found in God alone.” Find them at crown.org

  7. Thanks for the budgeting software link. We’re big FPU fans too and I’ve been looking at another option, but I really like the tools and bonuses that come with this one!

  8. I second the FPU recommendation! I grew up with parents who taught biblical financial stewardship classes, yet I still found the class immensely helpful. If nothing else, it really helped my husband and me get on *exactly* the same page financially, and it fostered a lot of thought provoking conversations. I think that sometimes people talk about FPU as a get-out-of-debt program, but that’s really only one part of the course and the philosophy. My husband and I were debt-free except for our (conservative) mortgage when we took the class, but we still gained so much. The accountability helped us kick-start rigorous budgeting (one of those cases where we knew we needed to but kept letting it slip), and the lessons on insurance, finding good deals, and buying a home were invaluable. Like Tarena said above, budgets are freeing. I feel so much more secure now knowing exactly where we stand at all times. What a relief!

  9. I just read Total Money Makeover and we implemented our budget for the first time ever this month! I definitely want to attend a FPU class sometime in the near future. Thanks for sharing all of the helpful links.

  10. We are big Dave Ramsey fans here as well! I only wish we had heard of him sooner.

  11. love Dave Ramsey! read one of his books over 4 years ago and we are still working hard at our goal (it takes awhile when you don’t make much and your family keeps growing!)
    Can’t wait to yell, “I’M DEBT FREE!!!!!”
    Budgets totally rock…they are so deceptive though! You think they would give you less freedom, but really that is when you feel more free!