yates-family-eleuthera-IMG_3350rt-400x225What a difference a day makes – or 1460 of them.  My family and I have spent a little over four years living outside of the United States as missionaries to the island of Eleuthera.

We’ve definitely been on an amazing adventure, and we’ve grown as a family and individually.  One area in which I was surprised to gain wisdom was with our finances.   Like so many others, I thought that I knew everything that I needed to know about budgets and smart spending.

Not so much…

As missionaries, we are responsible for raising all of our financial support – so each dollar needs to be used wisely.  Here are some things I’ve learned about family finances, and hopefully you can find them helpful as well.

Family Matters

Nothing is more important than family.  Moving away to an unfamiliar country has definitely brought us closer together, helped us to appreciate one another even more, and given us a better sense of family unity.

What I’ve learned in the past four years is that choosing family over money is always the best decision.  It’s not always possible, but try to avoid the pattern of money over family.

If you keep making excuses to work on weekends, or stay late, or travel most of each month, you might be left with lots of regrets.  Enjoy your job, but love your family.

Need Outweighs Want

Just about everyone in the history of spending money can do a better job of living within their means if you can figure out how to solve the Need vs. Want equation.

In the last four years, it’s been a little easier to distinguish need vs. want for me and my family.  Mainly because we live in a place where there isn’t as much “want” available for purchase.  Not to mention, we’re cut off from 95% of the advertising that we had become used to while living back in the states.

No matter what your circumstances, you can always spend less when you clearly identify wants as unnecessary purchases.  Let me encourage you to make wise choices when spending your money.    Accumulate more wisdom and less stuff.

Advertising Works Better Than You Realize

Lastly, I’d like to shine a little more light on the overwhelming, and seemingly hidden, effectiveness of advertising.  I say hidden effectiveness because, as vigilant as we were to avoid being controlled by marketing and advertising, we were still very susceptible.

I didn’t realize how susceptible we were to advertisements until we moved outside of the US and lived in a country almost devoid of marketing – our spending habits changed and we stopped thinking that we had to buy everything we were being told to buy in order to have a better life.

Even more shocking, when we returned to the States , we felt the full force of mass marketing psychology telling us the only way to be happy is to buy stuff that we really don’t need.

I could go on and on about the effectiveness of marketing, but I’ll just remind you to control your own spending, and don’t let the advertisers do it for you.

And that’s about it.  Don’t overlook the little things.  Be open and honest with your spouse about the condition of the household finances.  And remember to cherish and love every moment with your family.

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home moversThe movers are paid to do your dirty work for you. But it’s not enough to simply fling open your doors and expect them to do the rest. You have to prep your home to make sure that they do everything right. Today we’re going to show you what you need to do to get your home in order.

Sort Your Belongings

Movers are paid to put the boxes and the big ticket items in the back of the truck. They’re not paid to sort everything into boxes for you. This is a process you have to go through by yourself. To make it easier for movers, label each box with a colored sticker to show which room the item comes from. You should take time to label any boxes with fragile items in them also. Remember, movers won’t look through the box in an attempt to determine what is inside.

Non-Slip Floor Covering

Put down an old roll of carpet on the main hallway and on the porch in order to make it safer for the movers to work. This won’t be a problem if the weather conditions are fine. But if it rains, the last thing you want is for a mover to slip and possibly damage your belongings. You may suggest that some movers work inside and some work outside to reduce disruption and mess.

Remove Distractions

There’s nothing more irritating than a family pet or child getting in the way of the moving process. Do them a favor by keeping little distractions like this out of the way. Distractions not only mean more work for them, but it also means that they’re at greater risk of damaging your items. No professional can account for an errant cat or child getting in the way.

Take Photos and Videos

Always take photos and videos of your home and belongings before you pack it away. This will enable you to make a claim later on if the movers in question are responsible for any damages. No moving company or insurance organization will pay out unless you can prove that the item was fine before the movers arrived. It may seem paranoid, but it can save you a lot of financial headaches should something go wrong.

Move What You Can

Rather than leaving boxes hanging around the house, try to position them to make the process as fast and as efficient as possible. The less time it takes for movers to complete the job, the better it is for you because you’ll have to pay them less. Most movers work by the hour, so the quicker you get through the process the better.

Parting Advice

Preparing for professional movers is a time-consuming process and requires a lot of work. Nevertheless, by providing a safe work environment designed for efficiency, you’ll spend less and reduce the risk of something going wrong. The vast majority of accidents can be prevented by you. Just make sure you don’t leave your preparations to the last possible minute.

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