Archive for May, 2007

Website Profile: ReadtheScriptures.com

May 29th, 2007  |  Published in Goals, Mormonism, Scriptures, Website Profile

Welcome to Above Yourself, a blog about self-improvement and faith. If you're new here, you may want to subscribe in a reader or subscribe by email. Many of the topics here are related to my faith in Jesus Christ and Mormonism, but all are welcome to share their own beliefs. Thanks for visiting!

As a follow-up to a previous post entitled “Forming Habits: Daily Scripture Reading“, daily scripture reading for me has not yet become an automatic habit like it was in my high school days when the mornings were filled with early-morning seminary. As part of building a new goal, it’s important to set reminders for yourself so that you can train yourself to turn this goal into a habit. This daily email reminder is the most important feature of ReadtheScriptures.com and the main reason to use this website.

Reading Statistics

Right now the website keeps track of how much of a book of scripture you’ve read and displays the percentage as a small bar. As someone who grew up memorizing the backs of baseball cards, I’d love to have more detailed statistics than this, including some information about how many pages I read per day or how many days I’ve missed my reading schedule.

Read at your own pace

On Read the Scriptures you decide which book of scriptures you’d like to read and how fast you’d like to read it. A few schedules are all set up and ready to use, such as 30, 60, or 90 days to read the Book of Mormon. You can also set up your own reading schedule which will let you read at your own pace.

Work as a team

A newly-upgraded team feature lets you join teams with others and get basic statistics on their reading. Again, I’d love to have more stats here, but it’s enough to tell me that my wife is quite a ways ahead of me in her reading.

Keep notes as you go

I like to keep notes on scriptures, but I sometimes wish I could write more than what I can fit in the space of the margins. Read the Scriptures has a web-reader feature that lets you read and write at the same time, without limiting the length of the notes you can write.

Teaching your Family Members about Personal Finance

May 25th, 2007  |  Published in Finances, Mormonism

Talking to your family members about finances can be intimidating. Different family members have different backgrounds and preferences when it comes to finances, and we all worry about coming off a little opinionated, especially if their views are very different from ours. Here are a few tips to remember when discussing personal finances with others.

Share Personal Experiences

If you want to share something that you know, you can bear witness or testimony of that thing. Just like it can be difficult to share your testimony with others, it can also be difficult to share your experiences with personal finances. Don’t be afraid that your personal finances will make you look different from others. In a world where everyone tries to keep up with the Joneses, you can show them that we’re not all Joneses. Sharing personal experiences is something I’ve set a personal goal to do, and that’s a major motivation I have for writing here.

Act Your Wage

This is a phrase stolen from personal finance extraordinaire Dave Ramsey. If you don’t live up to the principles you learn about personal finance or even about being a good, upstanding person, you negate any influence your testimony may have. If you try to advocate staying out of debt but you buy things you just can’t afford, your testimony means nothing.

Be Sensitive to Others

Don’t offend others with strong words, but use them to stir others to action. If you wish to use strong words, follow the teachings of Doctrine and Covenants 121:43, “Reproving betimes with sharpness, when moved upon by the Holy Ghost; and then showing forth afterwards an increase of love toward him whom thou hast reproved, lest he esteem thee to be his enemy”.

Among all these ideas, you can also help them get started by giving them a copy of the pamphlet “One for the Money: Guide to Family Finance” from Provident Living.

This post is the final step in the series Family Finance Overview. Be sure to read the other posts in this series.

One Goal At a Time

May 24th, 2007  |  Published in Goals

As summer approaches, it means that we’re about as far away as we can get from the New Year, and about as far away as we can get from thinking about our New Year’s Resolutions. That’s okay, though, because it means that we can stop feeling guilty about goals that we haven’t accomplished yet and actually get them done. Zen Habits has a great post on taking goals one step at a time called “The Amazing Power of One“. It’s pretty simple, but it’s very similar to the goals-setting that I’ve been doing myself.

In a nutshell, you list all your goals and pick the most important one to work on and do it until it becomes automatic. As part of your reminder process, you set up a new reminder for the next time you need to do it. Give it a try!

Building a Reserve

May 24th, 2007  |  Published in Finances, Mormonism

After you’ve built a budget and a plan for sticking to it, you’re ready to build up a reserve of money to be used as an emergency fund. It’s alright to start out small, but be sure to add back what you take out, and only use it in emergencies (such as a medical need, temporary unemployment, etc.). This principle echoes overall preparedness, and is an important part of a financial plan. Without an emergency fund, it can be very hard to get out of debt when we’re trying to pay off all the money we owe instead of saving a bit. Start out small, such as one or two thousand dollars, and build it up to about three months expenses that you can keep in savings accounts where you can have quick access to the money should a need arise.

Speaking about building a reserve, President Gordon B. Hinckley said:

“Set your houses in order. If you have paid your debts, if you have a reserve, even though it be small, then should storms howl about your head, you will have shelter for your wives and children and peace in your hearts” (”To the Boys and to the Men,” Ensign, Nov. 1998, 54).

Building a Reserve is the fourth step in the Family Finances series on Above Yourself.

Choosing the Right Budgeting Tools

May 23rd, 2007  |  Published in Finances

When I discussed budgeting in a previous post, I mentioned that it’s important to use what works for you with budgeting. Zen Habits recently posted a list of alternatives to Quicken and MS Money, and the best part is that all of them are free. If you’re having a hard time finding something that works for you, give a few of these a try until you find something you like, but be sure that it’s something that you’ll use consistently.