Women's Expo: Money Matters


Sharing Station Handouts
Money Matters
presented by Emily Wensel and Carrie Baclayon

Click here for these notes in a PDF book.
Scroll below pictures for handouts.
Pictures of sharing station:








Handouts:
Use It Up, Wear It Out, Make Do, or Do Without!
What a fun topic we were given to present! As our team brainstormed together we decided to break this topic into 3 parts: HOME, CLOTHING, and CHILDREN.

HOME:
Incentive: “Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing; and establish a house, even a house of prayer, a house of fasting, a house of faith, a house of learning, a house of glory, a house of order, a house of God.” D&C 88:119

Organize: If you are in control of the situation, you are organized. If the situation is in control of you, you are not organized…
  1. Organize so you spend less: There is nothing worse than buying an item and going home and finding you already had it. What a waste of money! For example, after Christmas many of us buy after Christmas items on sale to use the following year. Keep a list of those things and refresh your memory of what you from time to time. Put items in an obvious place so you remember you have it. Set things aside for occasions and holidays. Organize your closets and cupboards so you can actually see what you have. Label your organized baskets.
  2. Make your life simple: Go through your closets and cupboards at least once a year. Give away, Throw away, and Store away. Don’t be afraid to give away and throw away. It will feel like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. If you know you will use something in the future; store away. Remember to keep a list of what you have.

Conserve:
  1. Don’t buy stuff just because it’s a good deal: We’ve all been guilty of this. Something is on sale and we buy the whole shelf, we later go home and realize we still spent a lot of money and have no idea how we’ll use it all. Just because it’s a good deal doesn’t mean we need it. Remember you’re still spending money even if it’s a deal. Ask yourself: Do you really need it, can you afford it, and how will you use it?
  2. Remember your financial situation when you were first married. Don’t forget skills that can help you survive hard times.


Food:
  1. Create a menu: Go to the store with a plan. Plan your meals according to what is on sale that week. Eat things that are in season. After looking at your grocery store weekly ads, create a menu for the week. Write the items down you need to buy (remember to look in your fridge and cupboards to see what you have). When you go to the store stick to your list!
  2. Use your leftovers: It’s always shocking how much food is thrown away each week in a household. It’s literally throwing money in the garbage. Have a leftover night once a week. Clean out your fridge and put it all out on the table. It may feel like a buffet!
  3. Plant a spice garden: Planting a small spice garden will pay for itself in no time and you get to use fresh spices. It can also be fun to teach your children how to care for a garden and cook with fresh spices. Our family’s favorite is to plant basil. We use it on cream cheese bagels, mix it with fresh tomatoes, use it as a pizza topping, and make pasta sauce with it.
  4. Start preparing dinner right after breakfast: Get all your prep work done for dinner right after breakfast. This way you can clean up the mess all at once. You can walk into your kitchen at 4pm and not panic about dinner. You’re prepared and have most of the work completed already!

Clean your home:
  1. Sometimes we feel we need to buy something new because we don’t like the way our home looks. Give you house a good deep cleaning, you make like your home more than you know. Cleaning makes your home feel good and gives you a clear mind.
  • Dust baseboards
  • Dust all surfaces
  • Clean the walls
  • Clean any glass surface and windows
  • Move furniture to clean under it
  • Vacuum and mop
  • Open a window to air out the room
2. Clean as a family: Having someone clean with you makes the time go faster and is so much more fun! Clean together in the same room until that room is finished. This teaches your family how to clean and you’re spending quality time together. Every night before we put our kids to bed we play “Pick 10” everyone has to pick up and put away 10 items before climbing into bed. Everyone will sleep better with a clean room!
3. Make a goal: You don’t need to clean your house all in one day. That is overwhelming and can be discouraging! Make a goal to clean one or two rooms/closets/drawers a day. You’ll have your entire home cleaned in no time. Give yourself and family a reward if you complete your daily goals. Take time to clean each room of your house as if you are moving out every two to three years. This will help you to get rid of unnecessary items that cause clutter.

Rearrange and repurpose your furniture:
  1. Change the arrangement of the furniture: It will brighten your outlook! A good time to do this is when you are cleaning with your family and moving your furniture to clean under it anyway. Play around with where a couch and chairs can be placed. It may not be perfect at first, but give it time. If you’re having trouble imagining what can be done, ask you family for advice, or invite a neighbor over to give you ideas. You can swap furniture from another room. A chair you dislike in a room may be the perfect piece for your bedroom. Use your imagination!
  2. A fresh coat of paint: That old desk, old chair, table; whatever it is; it may just need a fresh coat of paint. Instead of spending a small fortune on new furniture, look at your current furniture and imagine what a fresh coat of paint could do.
  3. Simple “REUSE” Decorating Tips:
  • If your table is looking drab and your table cloth is in the wash then cover your table with some festive wrapping paper. It brightens up the room and it’s a fun “talking” subject with your guests.
  • Cover shoe box lids with fabric and hang them on the wall with your pictures. It’s a cheap way that makes a bold impact. The mini canvases look like a masterpiece.
  • Paint and old dresser or headboard and add new hardware. This will drastically change the look of your room for only the cost of paint.

CLOTHING:
Organize: The only way we can get the most use out of our clothing is if we are organized! We have all been guilty of finding an item in the back of the closet or in the bottom of a box that our kids have outgrown!
  1. Know what you have: Find a system of organization that works for you. Suggestion to those of you with a wondering closet of unfolded un-organized clothes is to categorize it. Different areas for this could be: maternity, summer, fall, winter and even a wishful stack of someday where again (because you know we all have those stacks). Sometimes when we go through these stacks and try on some of our old clothes we realize the potential still left in them! Organize your children’s clothes by size. Kids grow FAST and clothing is expensive. You need to know what you have so we don’t buy unnecessary items.
  2. Repair what you can: Each of us have clothes with missing buttons or small holes. Repairing clothing may seem a bid daunting but there are so many resources available to you! Most sewing shops have classes at a very affordable price, however, you may even make an announcement in your relief society, and chances are there is a woman in your ward that would love to share her skills. Repairing things is a great way to “make it do”. Fixing clothing that needs repaired will expand your wardrobe!
  3. Recycle: Recycling our clothing is a great way to save money and create less waste. There are so many fun things you can do with old clothing items.
  4. Simple “RECYCLE” Sewing Ideas:
  • Cut off pan legs and make them into shorts
  • Use a patch to cover a hole in any pair of pants
  • Use an old shirt and make it into a child’s skirt
  • Cut up an old wool sweater and turn it into mittens, hat gloves or even a cardigan
  • Make old socks into Sock Puppets with the kids
  • Cut of old shirts or jeans and sew them into a block quilt
*** Many more ideas and patterns at www.makeit-loveit.com
5. Make-Do: We can’t always go out and buy the things that we want. Organize a clothing swap with family and friends to liven up your wardrobe. Something you don’t want may be the perfect item for your friends wardrobe.

After doing all these things sometimes it’s just a matter of asking ourselves if you can “do without” ask yourself if you need the item, and what you will wear it with. Remember, just because it is on sale doesn’t mean that you need it. Turning down sale items is a great way to be frugal if you’re not going to use that item. On another note shopping off season for example: by buying winter clothes at the beginning of summer when all the clothes are deeply discounted or shopping thrift stores can really save a bundle. By being frugal and making do, or doing without can keep our homes simplified.

CHILDREN:
  1. Organize your toys and books: Kids' toys and books seem to multiply! Keeping toys organized in bins helps kids to find what they are looking for and also makes it easier to clean up. Keep bins organized by toy type: cars, dolls, dress ups, games, dinosaurs, art supplies. If you are organized your kids won’t dump all the toys out looking for their favorite “something” only to find it at the bottom of the toy box.
  2. Rotate: Go through your toys and store half of them away. When your kids get tired of the toys they are playing with then rotate them with the boxes stored away. A used toy that has been boxed away for a few months seems new when it comes back out to be loved.
  3. Recycle: Don’t throw items away unless you’re certain you no longer want them. Put them in a toy rotation – if they don’t get played with again on round 2 then maybe it is time to purge the toys.
  4. Keep formula containers, baby food jars, wipes cases, soup cans etc. and make use of them to organize.

Fun Ideas for Reusing Things
  • Make your own play dough
  • Use squirt bottles for a water fight
  • Make a “Science Center” using rice, dry beans, water funnels, bowls, cups etc.
  • Melt down old crayons into new ones
  • Put old clothes into a dress up box and have the kids put on a play
  • While traveling give each child a wipes case full of treats – what they have is what they get for the car trip
  • Clean and fill baby food jars with treats – use them as party favors
  • Wrap formula containers in wrapping paper and fill with baked good for your neighbors
  • Use soup cans to store paint brushes, colored pencils and other art supplies

ADDITIONAL READING AND RESOURCES


SHOPPING TEMPTATIONS
Managing Our Needs and Wants
“Wherefore, do not spend money for that which is of no worth, nor your labor for that which cannot satisfy.” (2 Nephi 9:51)

Learning to handle the money we earn is one of the challenges of living in modern times. By following some practical advice we can beat those shopping temptations!
  • Needs Before Wants – Learn to live with less. Learn to shun envy. Appreciate what you have. Sometimes when we have less, we can appreciate what we do have more. 
  • Give – Pay tithing and fast offerings, and donate usable household items to charity or to a needy family. When we fill the needs of others, our own needs are often met. After seeing what others lack,
  • we realize that we no longer need certain things.
  • Make a list of your wants and needs – Set priorities for the items on each list. Decide what you need to make you comfortable. Learn to distinguish between your “wants” and your “needs”. Don’t be so strict that you take all the fun out of life. Everyone should have a few things that they just love, even if they are not practical. Try and develop less-expensive tastes!
  • Live on less than you earn – Many people think the key to having more money is making more money. But more often than not, the more money they make, the more they spend. You’ll save more by spending less, and that takes discipline. “We must not allow our yearnings to exceed our earnings.” (President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, Nov. 2002, p.54.) The amazing thing is that once you learn to live on less, it becomes a habit. The peace of mind that comes from relying less on materialism to define success usually leads to a greater and deeper happiness.
  • Thank the Lord – Acknowledge the Lord in all things. This can help you appreciate all the wonderful things God has given you and make your life more joyful!

Save for a Rainy Day
“It must needs be necessary that ye save all the money that ye can and that ye obtain all that ye can in righteousness....” (D&C 48:4)
Have a plan! Here are 9 money management laws that can help you assess your financial situation and plan for the future.
  • Law 1: Pay an honest tithing - Though counsel to increase your spending may seem unusual, there is no single action that will help you more than paying a full tithe. It opens the windows of Heaven.(Malachi 3:10) In addition to following the spiritual law of obedience, paying tithing has three practical benefits: 1) it makes us account for our money; 2) it teaches us to sacrifice, making us more discretionary consumers; and 3) it makes us better planners.
  • Law 2: Budget - Every family should have three budgets: monthly, yearly, and long-range. Long-range budgets are for planning major purchases such as those of homes, cars, and major appliances. Longrange budgets are also valuable for financing missions, education, and to pay for marriages of children, for example. Shorter-term budgets provide guidelines for everyday expenditures.
  • Law 3: Save some money every month and invest it wisely - The person that consumes all of his earnings without saving for the future is like a farmer who eats his seed corn. Without assets to plant, nothing will grow. A savings plan that is started early and added to consistently will accumulate to sizable amounts in the future. 
  • Law 4: Decrease expectations - With the availability of credit it becomes easy to think that you can and must have every convenience. Two common rationalizations used to justify excessive spending are “if I don’t buy it today, I won’t ever be able to afford it”, and “my neighbor has it, so I need it too”. Both of these untrue justifications, if heeded, can easily lead us into financial bondage.
  • Law 5: Stay free from debt - From the early days of the Church, leaders have counseled us to stay free from debt, except for homes, education, and other vital investment. To the extent possible, it is wise to purchase furniture, cars, and personal things with cash. Once you are in debt, interest is your constant and unwelcome companion; it never rests, not even on Sundays and holidays.
  • Law 6: Become knowledgeable consumers - We often spend our hard earned cash for things we don’t really need or we may pay too much for those things that we do need. After looking at where your money goes, work to improve your spending habits. You can save money by gaining expertise. Most families spend 50-60 percent of their income in three or four basic areas. If those four areas are food, taxes, insurance, and transportation, for example, learn more about each area and the things you can do to cut costs.
  • Law 7: Teach family members the importance of work and managing money – Children are often encouraged to take music lessons, swim lessons and to learn sports skills. Yet they are rarely taught money management. Children need to understand the financial pressures on a family. They need to know why they can’t have everything they want. Also they can be taught to turn off the lights, to earn at least part of the money they use for purchases, and to save for mission and school.
  • Law 8: Have a will - No matter what your financial situation, have a current will that specifies both how you want your assets distributed and who will be the guardian for your children. In many countries, the courts decide who should raise a couple’s children if both parents die without leaving a will. Also estate proceedings can take a long time and can be expensive without the guidance of a will.
  • Law 9: Keep money in perspective - While money management is important, it is not an end in itself. How we use our money must be based on the more important goal of seeking the Kingdom of God.
  • Satan uses money to twist our values. Through money he changes our perspective from serving God to accumulating wealth and serving self. Through money he warps our thinking so that we believe our wants are really needs.
(Adapted from Steve Albrecht, a certified public accountant and professor of accounting at BYU)


Stick To Your List
The cashier hands you the receipt for your grocery purchases. As she wishes you a good day, all you hear is your mind screaming, “What did I buy? There aren’t nearly enough items in my cart to have paid as much as I just did.” Is it because you didn’t have a strategy? Here are some tips to help you make a shopping plan and stick to your list.
  • Plan ahead - Meals should be planned 1-2 weeks out, down to the specific ingredients. If you don’t do this, you are likely to shop more often and in doing so, more likely to pick up extra things not needed.
  • If you have kids, leave them at home - This isn’t always possible, but when you can, do it! Kids, as wonderful as they are, can be a huge distraction. Children are also good at getting you to add things to your bill that you weren’t planning on. If you end up having to take them with you, make sure that you explain to them before you go that you are only getting the things on the list. You can even tell them what those things are and put them to work. Children usually love to help and you can have them looking for specific items or putting items in the cart for you.
  • Eat first - Never go shopping when you are hungry! Your empty stomach will have you putting all sorts of extra things in your cart. If you need to, put a small snack like a granola bar in your purse in case you get the munchies.
  • Take what you need - It is awful to get to the checkout and realize you have forgotten your coupons. While you are in the car, make sure you have your list, coupons, store discount card, calculator and of course, your wallet.
  • Know your location - Pay attention when you are grocery shopping and memorize where things are. That way, you can go, get it, and be done. Avoid aisles that you don’t need anything from. Just don’t even go there!
  • Rain check please - Sometimes there are things you plan on buying on sale, but when you arrive they are all sold out. Since you made the trip, go to the customer service desk and ask for a rain check. Unless they’ve stipulated “while supplies last” you can take advantage of the sale the next time you come to shop.
  • Keep your eyes on the register - Make sure that all items come up at the correct prices and quantities. Some stores offer an item free of charge if it scans at the wrong price.
  • Don’t treat shopping as a past time - Get into the shop and out without being distracted by other unrelated retail outlets. Avoid the malls. Window-shopping will only tempt you to buy the latest item you don’t need. Stop looking and you will find more time to enjoy what you like. Take a hike or go on a picnic and enjoy nature. It’s priceless!
(Adapted from eHow article “Tax Time”)


Delay Gratification
“Don’t sacrifice what you want most for what you want at the moment.”

You can delay gratification by....
  • Mandatory holding pattern - Before you buy something, stop. Add it to a list and let it sit for three days. Then, revisit the list. It is amazing how some things you absolutely had to have can hold almost no interest to you after three days!
  • Multi-week buying freeze - This idea is to see how long you can go without spending any money beyond necessities. In a crazy way, this can be fun! See how few transactions you can have in a 30-day period.
  • Track your spending - Many get sick of hearing the same old thing, but the reality is that avoiding the same silly behavior is quite simple: you need to measure and track what you spend. Simple but not always easy. Things that get measured almost always improve! ! Put a price tag on your goals - Do you have any idea how much it will cost you to send your child to college? How important is that to you? Is it more important than the plasma television today? 
These ideas are nothing new, but they do take some hard-nosed discipline. Are you up to the challenge? (New York Times. Dec. 13, 2010. “Four ways to stop gorging on gratification.”)


Waste Not – Want Not
“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!”

This means saving rather than spending, repairing rather than replacing, using rather than wasting, recycling instead of throwing out, and borrowing rather than buying. Wouldn’t our lives be that much better if we followed this wise advice?
  • Use it up – eat your leftovers or make another meal using them. Use up the food in your pantry. Don’t open another bottle of lotion or shampoo until the half-empty bottles get used. Don’t throw away things that can get fixed or mended. Go “shopping” out of your craft stash the next time you feel inspired to start a project. Don’t buy anything you already have enough of.
  • Repurpose – Make what’s old new again. If for every piece of furniture that you threw out because it broke or you just got tired of its look, you could put it towards another purpose in your house, would you? Repurposing furniture and other decorative household items can save you money and save landfills from filling unnecessarily. Repurposing can mean you find the product a new use, or you take the same product and revamp it to beautify it and use it again.
  • Purchase used items – Often we can buy items from thrift stores, yard sales and local classified sites for a fraction of the original cost. Just remember to have a plan and keep an eye out for what you need in order to avoid wasting precious time.
  • Remember: It’s not a sale if you don’t need it!

Shopping Temptation Quotes
  • It’s Not a Sale If you Don’t Need It!
  • Always be grateful!
  • You don’t need to keep up with the Joneses.
  • Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!
  • Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like. – Will Smith
  • It’s not how much you make. It’s how much you save.
  • Put all good eggs in one basket and then watch that basket. –Andrew Carnegie
  • Put not your trust in money, but put your money in trust. – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • A penny saved is a penny earned. – Benjamin Franklin
  • Do you really need it?
  • If I don’t buy it I save 100%.
  • I have learnt to seek my happiness in limiting my desires, rather than attempting to satisfy them. – John Stuart Mill
  • Live on less than you earn.
  • The safest way to double your money is to fold it over once and put it in your pocket. –Kim Hubbard

* Set a good example:
If you have to have the latest fashions and expensive clothing, don’t be surprised when your children do as well. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland has said, “Our clothing and footwear need never be expensive, indeed should not be expensive. . .” (“To Young Women,” Oct. 2005 Conference)

* Prioritize:
If you spend the day doing the things that are most important (studying your scriptures, cleaning your house, making dinner, playing with the kids, serving your neighbors, volunteering at school) you will not have excess time to spend money. Sister Julie Beck reminds us, “Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children – more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying.” (October 2007 Conference)

* Befriend the library:
Buying books can be expensive and even renting can add up. If you like renting, try Redbox for only $1 a night.

* Eat out less often:
Eating out is fun, but MUCH more expensive than eating at home. Save restaurants for special occasions. This means lunches too! Pack something healthy from home to save time and money.

* Beware the internet:
Shipping fees and late-night bidding can add up!

* Accept hand-me-downs:
Let people in your ward and neighborhood know you are happy (not embarrassed) to take their kids used clothing. “Story clothes” are clothes that have had adventures from other owners and can end up being favorites.


FRUGALITY IN THE 21ST CENTURY
“Use it up, wear it out; make it do, or do without.”
  • Memorable family vacations don’t have to be to an exotic destination: Spending a few days in a neighboring city with fully-engaged parents is equally fulfilling and can bring lasting memories. It really isn’t WHERE you go as much as HOW you spend the time.
  • Learn to do it yourself:
-Minor household repairs (check local Home Depot or the internet for “how-to” solutions)
-Cutting hair (Choose hair styles that are easy to maintain. Learning to do bang trims and boys cuts can save hundreds over several years.)
  • If you have a large family, go to the dollar movies rather than seeing the New Releases. Why not? The movies might be 2 months old, but they are still new to you!
  • Set your water heater at 110 to 115 degrees: You will save $$, no child will be burned by water from the tap, and your clothes and dishes will still be sanitized and cleaned.
  • Control impulse buying: For anything you simply want and don’t need, make yourself wait
  • three days to buy it. It is amazing what you don't need after three days.
  • Maintain a garden: Nothing beats the freshness of vegetables and herbs from your own
  • garden.
  • Home-make bread for pennies rather than buy a loaf for $4.00. See bread recipe below for fool-proof french bread even the pickiest eaters will devour
  • Buy only what is on your list: Discipline, discipline, discipline
  • Don’t go to the store unless you need to: Popping in for 1 item usually ends up costing you $50 as you fill your cart with things you hadn’t planned to buy. 
  • Watch for case-lot sales or other bargains and stock up! Buy decorations at the end of the season; buy winter clothing at the end of winter, and summer clothing at summer’s end. But remember, it’s only a bargain if you need it!
  • Shop quality: Quality items can be more expensive, but they often last longer and usually pay off in the long run.
  • Finally, these last two tips may very well be the most important: Beware the power of advertising, and learn to be content with what you have.
*Super-Duper French Bread*
Combine:
¼ cup sugar
2 t. salt
2 T. oil
2 cups hot water
Dissolve 1 T. yeast in ¼ c. warm water with 1 t. sugar and let sit 10 minutes. Add yeast mixture to above mixture. Then add 6+ cups flour and mix very well. Let dough rise about an hour.
Roll out into two loaves of bread and place side-by-side on a greased cookie sheet. Let rise another hour. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until lightly brown.


ma·te·ri·al·ism [muh-teer-ee-uh-liz-uhm]
noun: 1. preoccupation with or emphasis on material objects, comforts, and considerations, with a disinterest in or rejection of spiritual, intellectual, or cultural values. (www.dictionary.reference.com)

“. . . Affluence, prosperity, and ease can be tests in our day equal to or greater in intensity than the persecution and physical hardships endured by the Saints who volunteered to march in Zion’s Camp.... Now is the time to show that we are watching and preparing to withstand the latter day
trials of prosperity and pride, of affluence and ease, and of hard hearts and forgetting the Lord our God. Now is the time to show that we will be true at all times in whatsoever things we are entrusted by our Heavenly Father and His Beloved Son― and that we will keep the commandments of God and walk uprightly before Him.” - Elder David A. Bednar (BYU-Idaho Education Week Devotional, July 30, 2010)

This year as we study the Book of Mormon, we’ll be reminded again and again of the “pride” cycle in which righteousness leads to prosperity, which leads to love of money (pride), which leads to wars and trials, which eventually lead to humility and righteousness. In our efforts to apply the Book of Mormon to our lives, I believe we have a lot to learn from Nephites about stewardship and how to deal with prosperity.


AM I A MATERIAL GIRL?
Obedience Leads to an Abundance of Blessings
Dean L. Larsen said, “The Lord has demonstrated throughout the generations that when the inhabitants of the earth remember him and are obedient. . . he will bless them not only with spiritual blessings, but with material abundance as well. The scriptures contain many evidences of the Lord’s willingness to prosper his people with the riches of the earth when they demonstrate that they will use this abundance prudently, with humility and charity, always acknowledging the source of their blessings.” (“The Lord will Prosper the Righteous,” October 1992 Conference)

Nephi’s account shortly after his family split from the Lamanites shows the direct link between obedience and abundance:
“And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in all things . . . And the Lord was with us; and we did prosper exceedingly; for we did sow seed, and we did reap again in abundance. And we began to raise flocks, and herds, and animals of every
kind. And it came to pass that we began to prosper exceedingly, and to multiply in the land.” (2 Nephi 5:10-11,13)

The Savior said, “I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)

How do we create abundance? By obedience, by laboring diligently, by keeping the commandments, by not spending all we earn, by storing for future use, by understanding the differences between needs and wants, by not wasting anything, by multiplying and replenishing the earth, by developing our talents and testimonies, by staying out of debt, by teaching the gospel . . . and by sharing what we have. When we see the abundance in our own lives, the Spirit plants in us a desire to share it with others. We have made covenants in this regard if we’ve attended the temple. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “A man filled with the love of God is not content with blessing his family alone, but ranges through the whole world anxious to bless the whole human race.” (History of the Church, 4:227)

Stewardship and Temptation
Too often those most blessed with the earth’s resources aren’t aware of the important stewardship they have over those earthly goods and perhaps feel that spending money carefully doesn’t apply
to them. On occasion, they feel that their blessings have been “earned” and that their resources are theirs to spend without accountability.

There are few people who preach “buy less than you can afford.” It’s quite the opposite in the worldly view. We never hear of movie stars buying modest-sized homes or SAVING their money – all too often we get reports of the basketball superstar who squandered his millions on gambling or the famous singer who had to sell one of her several mansions to make ends meet.

In their righteous years, Mormon writes that the Nephite people “did not wear costly apparel, yet they were neat and comely” (Alma 1:27). As prosperity grew, things changed – dress being one of them: “the people of the church began to wax proud, because of their exceeding riches, and their fine silks, and their fine-twined linen. . . and they were lifted up in the pride of their eyes, for they began to wear very costly apparel” (Alma 4:6).

Their change in clothing reveals a change in attitude toward their riches. They grew attached to their money. They became “materialistic” – their material possessions came to matter more than their spiritual values. They compared themselves with each other; pride grew out of such comparisons. Surely the Lord is not against our possessing some nice things. Doctrine and Covenants 59:20 tells us that “it pleaseth God that he hath given all these things unto man; for unto this end were they made to be used, with judgment, not to excess, neither by extortion.”

I love to look at how exquisitely the temples are built as a good example. The church doesn’t shun elegance. We don’t always need to penny-pinch; we can buy beautiful, good quality items – even things that cost a lot of money. But the question is, will we know when to stop? Will our purchase of a new shirt require that we buy matching new shoes as well as a purse and possibly an entire new set of jewelry by the end?

There are few people who preach “buy less than you can afford.” Are we trying to get attention or feel superior because of our possessions? Are we focusing on what is most important or are we becoming “material girls”?

Doctrine and Covenants 104:12 reminds us: “For it is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings . . .” The parables of the unjust steward and the parable of the talents teach us the same thing. Some day we will have to give an accounting of what we did with the natural talents and riches we were given – were we good “stewards” or did we flaunt and waste our money? Do the ideas of temperance, moderation, and prudence live in our hearts?

Contentment
In a “run faster, work harder, buy more” type of world, we need to resist the temptation to always be looking for the next thing. We need to be cured of our addiction to consume. Persuasive advertising suggests that consumption will bring contentment. In stark contrast, Sister Julie Beck reminds us,“Mothers who know are willing to live on less and consume less of the world’s goods in order to spend more time with their children – more time eating together, more time working together, more time reading together, more time talking, laughing, singing, and exemplifying” (October 2007 Conference).

A “material girl” always looks for her next purchase. She doesn’t know that always wanting more is a trap that can destroy us in our search for happiness. The tenth and final commandment hopes to help us be content.

We learn “Thou shalt not covet” because coveting is such a gnawing disease. Lao-Tzu, the Chinese founder of Taoism from the 7th century, left us these words of wisdom, “There is no disaster greater than not being content; There is no misfortune greater than being covetous; Hence in being content, one will always have enough.”

Why be Frugal?
“Frugality” is a term sometimes believed to belong to those with low income, who live prudently only because they have to. Moreover, frugal living often We need to be cured of our addiction to consume. It isn’t considered popular in a society that sells a pair of jeans for $150 and cars that cost as much as an entire house.

LDS women know that it is righteous and wise to live within our means, and to focus on the eternal rather than chasing trends. We’ve been taught by our careful mothers and by our industrious grandmothers to “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!” We know that acquiring mere “stuff” isn’t what earth life is about. We know how to be content with what we have been given and not always crave more.

Frugal living really allows us to be faithful in our stewardship and allows us to bless others. President Marion G. Romney said, “Food for the hungry cannot come from empty shelves. Money to assist the needy cannot come from an empty purse. Teaching cannot come from the unlearned, spiritual guidance cannot come from the spiritually weak” (“The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance,” Ensign, June 1984).

President Hinckley loved the idea of thrift and frugal living. He often spoke about staying out of debt and warned us to carefully spend our money. President Hinckley’s words are very clear, “I deplore waste. I deplore extravagance. I value thrift. I believe in prudence and conservatism” (“Rise to a Larger Vision,” Ensign, May 1990).

Our Challenge
We’ve learned that the Lord will bless the righteous. The righteous, then, must understand the principle of stewardship. There are two VITAL attitudes we must have with regard to our money and earthly possessions. Firstly, we must NOT set our hearts upon our riches. We know from the “pride cycle” what will inevitably come next. Paul told us simply, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10)

Secondly, we must not forget the source of our good life. We cannot slip into feeling that our own power and cleverness has earned the wealth we enjoy. After a period of particular prosperity, the Nephites became seriously prideful within only 5 years. Helaman lamented, “And thus we can behold President Hinckley said, “I deplore waste. I deplore extravagance. I value thrift.”

"Yea, and we may see at the very time when he doth prosper his people . . . yea, then is the time that they do harden their hearts, and do forget the Lord their God. . . yea, and this because of their ease, and their exceedingly great prosperity" (Helaman 12: 1-2).

People who develop a sense of thankfulness are able to reduce the negative effects of the materialism that surrounds them. Modern prophets have also taught that gratitude can transform our lives.

President Thomas S. Monson said: “We can lift ourselves, and others as well, when we … cultivate within our hearts an attitude of gratitude. If ingratitude be numbered among the serious sins, then gratitude takes its place among the noblest of virtues.” (“An Attitude of Gratitude,” Ensign, Feb. 2000)

The Lord Himself has promised, “He who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more” (D&C 78:19).

Conclusion
In many respects, the real test of a man or woman is his or her attitude toward earthly possessions. We need to realize that we have been blessed abundantly with the resources of this world and that whatever we have is ultimately the Lord’s. It is humbling to think that the Lord has blessed us with abundance to see how we will use it. A test of sorts. We’ve all heard Brigham Young’s famous quote about riches, but it is worth reviewing again:

"The worst fear that I have about this people is that they will get rich in this country, forget God and his people, wax fat, and kick themselves out of the Church and go to hell. This people will stand mobbing, robbing, poverty, and all manner of persecution, and be true. But my greater fear for them is that they cannot stand wealth; and yet they have to be tried with riches, for they will become the richest people on this earth." (Brigham Young: The Man and His Work, 4th ed., p.128-129)

Let us not fail in the “test of gold” and not allow our prosperity to put us to sleep. Let us ask ourselves, how we are doing with our time, talents and material resources. Are we on track, or have we devoted too much time to the secular, given our talents only to our careers, and used our resources only for self-indulgent pleasures? Let us use our prosperity to bless the lives of other people and to build up the kingdom of God. Then we will be worthy to be called the Lord’s people and a true Zion community.

Sources:
“Enough Stuff: Five Tips for Tackling Materialism”, David A. Edwards, December 2010 Ensign,“The Law of Abundance.”
Franklin D. Richards, April 1971 General Conference
“The Lord Will Prosper the Righteous”, Dean L. Larsen, October 1992 General Conference
“Mothers Who Know,” Julie B. Beck, October 2007 General Conference
“Overcoming the World,” Elder F. Burton Howard, September 1996 Ensign
“The Celestial Nature of Self-Reliance,” President Marion G. Romney, June 1984 Ensign



Avoiding Anxiety and Distress by Wise Money Management
May 2, 2013
Bryan Sudweeks
Website for Educational Materials: www.personalfinance.byu.edu
Abstract
Despite counsel to live below our means, most people live at or above their means, regardless of income level. How can we recognize the difference between wants and needs? What are some practical everyday tips in budgeting, shopping, and saving to help live providently? Instead of having an abundance of “things”, how can being financially responsible bring us happiness? What role does paying an honest tithing and fast offering play in financial security?

Introduction
Last week in the temple I was waiting for my wife Anne. I was browsing through the scriptures and came upon Ezra 7:10. Now Ezra was previously not one of my favorite prophets, but after reading this scripture, I now like Ezra a lot. It said: “For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it.

In my 30 years of working in finance, I have made two interesting observations about “wise money management.” The first observation is that wise money management is simply how we handle two areas: Education and Choice. Our success or failure in money management is largely dependent on how we handle these two areas.

The second observation, much less noticed, is that success in money management is related to both faith and work. Whether we believe money management is just a wise thing to do (which it is) or whether we believe it is a commandment from God makes a big difference. Those who believe money management is a commandment of God and seek the Lord’s help in obeying that commandment, will accomplish so much more, and do it in the Lord’s way.

(Slide 3)

I believe wise money management is as simple as your ABCs (although backward). They are: Decide (education), Commit (choice), Believe (faith), and Achieve (work). I pray that the Spirit of the Lord will be with each of us today as we come with “prepared hearts to seek the law of the Lord and to do it.”

Decide
Before we can decide about wise money management, we must understand and answer two critical questions. The first is: “Why does the Lord want us to learn and understand money management?”

(Slide 4)

Did you ever wonder about these “why” questions? Elder David A. Bednar said:
Understand and love the doctrine of Christ. Doctrine refers to the eternal, unchanging, and simple truths of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Doctrines are never altered. They never vary. They will always be the same. You can always count on them. Brothers and sisters, doctrine answers the why questions of our lives. . . In the times in which we live, only the restored gospel of Jesus Christ has the answers to the why questions that matter most.i

Let me share a few thoughts on doctrines of Christ that have come to my mind for why I believe God wants us to learn wise money management or personal finance.

(Slide 5)

1. Personal finance can help bring us to Christ.
The ultimate purpose of everything we do, and God does, is to bring us to Christ. Elder C. Max Caldwell said:
Whatever the problem may be in a person’s life—failure to pay tithing, breaking the Word of Wisdom, casual church attendance, [or I add - poor financial habits, the]—real issue is faith in Jesus Christ. If we can help people obtain the gift of faith in Christ, good works will follow. The end purpose of any law of God is to bring us to Christ. And how well will the law work? It depends on what we think of the Author of the law.ii

Sisters, please remember. We have been commanded by a living prophet to live within ones means, get out of debt, and prepare for the future. These are not nice possibilities, but are laws of God. Do we treat them as such?

(Slide 6)

2. Personal finance can help us accomplish our divine missions
We all have divine missions to perform here on earth, and personal finance can help us learn the lessons and acquire the resources we need to accomplish those missions. Elder Gene R. Cook said:
I bear testimony of the fact that if you keep the commandments, He nourishes you, strengthens you, and provides you means for accomplishing all things necessary to faithfully finish your divine mission here on earth. May the Lord bless you in your decisions at this important time in your lives.iii

We are all at an important time in our lives, regardless of our age. Ask yourself: Do I really believe that I have a mission here on earth to perform and am I performing it?

(Slide 7)

3. Personal finance can help us return with our families back to Heavenly Father’s presence
Personal finance helps us keep our priorities in order. We show our love for our Savior as we pay our tithing. We are examples to our children as we put the Lord first and sacrifice through service, hard work, church and temple attendance, tithing, fast offerings and other contributions.

President David O. McKay reminded us: “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.”iv

President Harold B. Lee encouraged us, “The most important work you will do will be within the walls of your own home.”v

We will be disappointed in life if we gain the world’s riches and lose our families. We must learn to better apply money management in the Lord’s way, using his Plan and obeying His commandments.

(Slide 8)

4. Finally, personal finance can help us become wiser stewards
Personal finance helps us learn to be wiser financial stewards over the things God has blessed us with. Elder Joe J. Christensen said:
Our resources are a stewardship, not our possessions. I am confident that we will literally be called upon to make an accounting before God concerning how we have used them to bless lives and build the kingdom.vi

For some, a critical question at judgment day from our Savior will be: “How well did you use the resources I blessed you with in the service of your fellowmen?”

So now we understand the first question, the “why” of wise money management. Our second critical question is: “Why are these “whys” important?” As I have pondered this question, I believe it is because it gives us perspective.

The historian, Will Durant, wrote of the human need “to seize the value and perspective of passing things. … We want to know that the little things are little, and the big things big, before it is too late; we want to see things now as they will seem forever—‘in the light of eternity.’ ”vii

Our challenge then is how do we see things as they will seem forever--“as they are, were, and are to come?”viii

The key is to have a correct perspective, an eternal perspective. Perspective is critical because it impacts choice.. Do we recognize our difference in perspective as we look at the world around us?

(Slide 9)

Our perspective is simple. It is this: Wise money management is simply living the gospel of Jesus Christ—it is putting Christ first in our lives, not our pocketbooks. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you”.ix

(Slide 10)

Elder Bednar talked of doctrines, and then related them to principles. He said:
Principles are doctrinally based guidelines for what we ought to do. Therefore if there is a doctrine of the Atonement, then the first principle of the gospel is faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Brothers and sisters, doctrine answers the why questions of our lives. Principles provide us with direction about the what and the how.x

So if money management is a doctrine of Christ, are there principles upon which wise money management is based? Let me propose a few “correct principles,” that are the foundation upon which this perspective is based. I call these my “Principles of Finance.”

(Slide 11)

Principle 1. Ownership: Everything we have is the Lord’s
The Psalmist wrote:
The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalms 24:1)
We know from scripture that the Lord is the creator of the earth (Mosiah 2:21), the supplier of our breath (2 Nephi 9:26), the giver of our knowledge (Moses 7:32) the provider of our life (Mosiah 2:22), and the giver of all we have and are (Mosiah 2:21). Nothing we have is our own—it is all God’s.

As we take this correct perspective, it makes a big difference in how we view money and our possessions. Can you have pride in something that is not yours?

(Slide 12)

Principle 2. Stewardship: We are stewards over all that the Lord has, is, or will share with us
The Lord through the Prophet Joseph Smith stated:
It is expedient that I, the Lord, should make every man accountable, as a steward over earthly blessings, which I have made and prepared for my creatures. (D&C 104:13)

Through the prophet Brigham Young He said:
Thou shalt be diligent in preserving what thou hast, that thou mayest be a wise steward; for it is the free gift of the Lord thy God, and thou art his steward (D&C 136:27).

We are stewards, not owners, of the things the Lord has blessed us with. Perhaps that is why the Lord requires the first 10% instead of the last 10%.

(Slide 13)

Principle 3. Agency: The gift of “choice” is man’s most precious inheritance
President Marion G. Romney said:
Agency means the freedom and power to choose and act. Next to life itself, it is man’s most precious inheritance. xi

President David O. McKay wrote: Next to the bestowal of life itself, the right to direct that life is God’s greatest gift to man.… Freedom of choice is more to be treasured than any possession earth can give.xii

Have we thought about and do we appreciate and show thanks for a principle so important that a war in heaven was fought over it?

(Slide 14)

Principle 4. Accountability: We are accountable for every choice we make
The Lord through the prophet Joseph stated:
Verily I say, men should be anxiously engaged in a good cause, and do many things of their own free will, and bring to pass much righteousness. For the power is in them, wherein they are agents unto themselves. (D&C 58: 27-28) For it is required of the Lord, at the hand of every steward, to render an account of his stewardship, both in time and in eternity. (D&C 72:3)

Can you see why these principles are so important? They give us a correct perspective, an eternal perspective, on how we should view money, possessions, and the blessings the Lord has shared with us.

I was teaching these principles to a group of BYU students when one raised her hand and commented. “Perhaps the reason the Lord has commanded us not to go into debt is because when we go into debt and all things are His, then we are putting the Lord in debt.” It was a very thoughtful comment.

Having the education of understanding the “whys”, the perspective, and the principles of finance are critical if we are to learn to apply wise money management in the manner our Heavenly Father would like.

(Slide 15)

Commit
How do you commit to what you should do after you have “decided” what was important?
We all know what we should do, and yet we many times fall short of our goals. Why?

In my work, it is generally due to three reasons:
1. Focus: We don’t really want the goal that we have set—it is really someone else’s goal and not ours’.
2. Habits: We have not learned the habits to discipline ourselves and our actions—we lack discipline in our financial habits and life, and
3. Motivation: We have convinced ourselves the future benefits of the goal are not worth the current costs—we are not willing to make the effort.
How do we get around the challenges of focus, habits, and motivation? Let me share four ideas to help you as you work to commit to righteous goals:

(Slide 16)

1. Set personal and family goals.
My wife Anne says that to say “no” to a current temptation to spend requires a bigger “yes” in the future. What is this bigger yes? These are your personal and family goals. Decide on what is important to you and why, and write it down. Work with your spouse and children to determine your individual and family goals. Set short, medium, and long-term goals to help you attain what is important. Review your goals often, and work toward them. Develop your own Personal Financial Plan. There are resources available to help you in this quest.

Let me share an important lesson I learned early in my life. It is that there is a difference between a goal and a “real” goal. A “real” goal is one where I can and do seek the Lord’s help in accomplishing it. When I am serious enough to set a “real” goal, life happens and goals are achieved.

(Slide 17)

2. Share Your Goals with Others
Want additional incentive to accomplish your goals? Share them with your children and friends. Let your children know what goals you are working on and enlist their help in accomplishing your goals.
I have a goal to not watch TV except with my children. My wife travels a bit, and sometimes I get lazy and bored, and will turn on the TV. However, all it takes is a child to come in and say “Dad, what about your goal?” and I will turn it off and grab a book.

As a teacher, I share my goals with my students.

One semester I shared our family goal to eat out less often. That next week when my wife and I were on our weekly date (please know that a date is a fixed cost and not a variable cost), the server just happened to be one of my students. He commented: “Hello Brother Sudweeks. Is this how you reduce the cost of eating out, by going out to dinner?” Needless to say, that didn’t happen as often after that.

Seek the help of your spouse, your children, and your friends as you strive to accomplish what you desire. Children and friends can give wonderful additional help to attain our personal and family goals.

(Slide 18)

3. Change Your Perspective
Choices become easier as you can take a long-term perspective. The Lord has commanded “Let the solemnities of eternity rest on your mind.”xiii If we will think long-term we will make better choices, and life is all about the choices we make. Make your choices with your eternal goals in mind. Say you want to buy a new car on payments, but you know it will put you into debt and keep you from saving for retirement and your children’s education. Don’t think of it as I am going into debt. Think of it as: “I am spending my children’s education money,” or “I am disobeying the prophet’s counsel to stay out of debt,” or “I am not following my Savior.” You will do better if you frame the questions correctly and put it in a correct perspective.

(Slide 19)

4. Understand doctrine and seek the Lord’s help
Elder David A. Bednar said:
In Relief Society, priesthood, Young Men's, and Young Women's we sometimes have lessons on topics such as self-esteem, self-worth, and goal setting. Such instruction indeed can be good and valuable. But you can get the same information at the Rotary Club. However, at the Rotary Club you cannot get the pure, simple doctrine of the Atonement of Christ. And self-esteem and the ability to effectively set and accomplish goals ultimately comes from understanding doctrine, not just the mechanics of application.xiv

Want the best possible help in the world to achieve your goals? Understand doctrine, seek the Lord’s help and be willing to do what He requires. Prayerfully seek his help as you decide and commit to your personal and family goals.

After my wife and I were married, we went back to George Washington University to pursue a Ph.D. Every day we prayed for wisdom and guidance that we could accomplish this major goal, and every day we worked hard to achieve it. I was working mornings at the Capital Markets Department of the World Bank, and taking classes at George Washington in the afternoons and evenings. Then we got a call from Bishop Jan van Orman to teach early morning seminary from 6-7 every morning. We were concerned, but prayed to know if we should accept the call. We received the assurance that this was what the Lord wanted us to do at that time. We continued to pray and said: “Father, if this is what Thou would have us do, we will do it. Please help us to have the wisdom to write the dissertation only once.”

This was not an agreement, we were not telling God what to do, but it was a plea that our wills would be the same as the will of our Heavenly Father. It was a simple plea of two young people seeking a family goal—a goal stated in a patriarchal blessing. We served to the best of our abilities teaching the wonderful youth of the Arlington ward about our Savior and Redeemer. And the Lord richly poured out his blessings upon us, enabling us to accomplish a 5-7 year Ph.D. program in less than 3 years.
Seek the Lord’s help in setting and working toward your goals, and be willing to do what He requires. I promise you it will be the best thing that you can possibly do to help you become wise financial stewards.

(Slide 20)

Believe
We now must believe we can accomplish what we have set our goals to do.
  • Whatever the mind of man can conceive, and believe, it can achieve (anonymous)
  • Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right (anonymous)
  • For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7)

If you are serious about your goals, make your goals part of your daily personal and family prayers. Pray for God’s help in accomplishing them. Believe that God has commanded you to do these things, to:
  • Get out of debt
  •  Live below your means
  • Build an emergency fund
  • Save for long-term goals

(Slide 21)

Have the faith to go and do all things which God has commanded you. Have the faith to be as Nephi of old who said: “I will go and do the things which the Lord has commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandment unto the children of men save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the things which he commandeth them.xv

Achieve

(Slide 22)

If wise money management is simply living the gospel of Jesus Christ, then we must work to do what Christ would have us do. Elder Robert C. Gay counseled:
This is the exchange the Savior is asking of us: we are to give up all our sins, big or small, for the Father’s reward of eternal life. We are to forget self-justifying stories, excuses, rationalizations, defense mechanisms, procrastinations, appearances, personal pride, judgmental thoughts, and doing things our way. We are to separate ourselves from all worldliness and take upon us the image of God in our countenances.xvi xvii

Now go to work to accomplish your personal and family goals. Remember the three challenges that keep people from committing and accomplishing their goals:

(Slide 23)

Focus: Make sure your goals are the true goals you want to accomplish. Seek the Lord’s help as you set your goals, and then seek His help to attain them.

  • Be serious about your goals
  • Share them with your children and friends, and with the Lord in your prayers
  • Let nothing get in the way of your achieving your goals

(Slide 24)

Habits: Work on the habits that will help you achieve your goals. Habits can be either stepping stones or stumbling blocks, depending on how they are used. Be wise in your use of habits.


  • Plan your habits carefully and pray for the Lord’s help in establishing good habits so you can accomplish your goals
  • Take that lunch to work, eat out only once per month, develop that menu for your family that is healthy and cost-effective. Make it a game to save money
  • Know when you are weakest and likely to slip in accomplishing your goals—plan beforehand what you will do in those situations so you can accomplish your goals

(Slide 25)

Motivation: Visualize and truly believe that your future goal is worth the sacrifices you will be making now.

  • Visualize your interview with your Savior and your reporting on your stewardship on how you have helped your spouse and children, and how you used your financial resources
  • Realize that Heavenly Father wants you to be financially self-reliant and will help you if you will humbly seek His help. He is pleased with every step you make to be more financially self-reliant.
  • Visualize yourself on your mission with your spouse, and your children going on missions and graduating from college, and accomplishing your personal and family goals.

Summary

(Slide 26)

We stated earlier that wise money management is simply four areas: Education, choice, faith and work.

Education is simply the process of understanding our options. We need to learn about financial preparedness and the things we should do. Where can we get good, unbiased information to help us become educated financially?

(Slide 27)

Let me share two free sources. First is the Church website at www.lds.org. There is good general information that can help us do and be better.

(Slide 28)

Second is the BYU Marriott School of Management’s Personal Finance website at: www.personalfinance.byu.edu. This is much more detailed information put together by the Marriott School of Business and the Finance Department to help people become financially prepared.

(Slide 29)

It includes 8 personal finance manuals, PowerPoint presentations, Learning tools, and Videos from the advanced personal finance class to help you as you put your Personal Financial Plan together. Educational tools are available if we will but use them.

Next is where choice comes in. We need to understand and study our options, and then we must choose wisely. When our lives are all said and done, the reality is that we are the sum of what we know and the choices we have made.

(Slide 30)

Where can we get the motivation to make good choices? Elder Boyd K. Packer said:
True doctrine, understood, changes attitudes and behavior. The study of the doctrines of the gospel will improve behavior quicker than a study of behavior will improve behavior.xviii

To truly change, we need to increase our study of and faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

In all my work helping families these last 13 years, I have found that if I can get families doing the things they should, personal and family scripture study and prayer, tithing, church and temple attendance, FHE and dates each weekend, I increase my ability substantially to help them get out of their financial problems. The Lord truly does keep his promises that those who obey the commandments are “favored of the Lord” (Mosiah 10:13).

(Slide 31)

Regarding choices, we need to remember, as Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com wisely said to Princeton’s graduating class in 2010:
“Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life—the life you author from scratch on your own—begins. How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?

  • Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
  • Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
  • Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
  • Will you bluff it out when you're wrong, or will you apologize?
  • Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
  • When it's tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
  • Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
  • Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?

I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.xix

Finally, it takes faith and work. Are times tough, definitely yes. If things were easy, then these experiences we are going through now would not be sufficient stretch us and to teach us things we need to know and do to bring us to Christ, help us achieve our individual missions, help us to return with our families back to Heaven Father’s presence, and become wiser stewards. Although times may be tough, I believe a prophet who said:

(Slide 32)

I testify to you that our promised blessings are beyond measure. Though the storm clouds may gather, though the rains may pour down upon us, our knowledge of the gospel and our love of our Heavenly Father and of our Savior will comfort and sustain us and bring joy to our hearts as we walk uprightly and keep the commandments. There will be nothing in this world that can defeat us. My beloved brothers and sisters, fear not. Be of good cheer. The future is as bright as your faith.xx

My wonderful sisters, the way to avoiding anxiety and distress is by Wise Money Management. Wise money management is simply living the gospel of Jesus Christ. Wise money management is as easy as your ABCs (well backward): Decide (education), Commit (choice), Believe (faith) and Achieve (work).


  • It is by Deciding what is important to you to be after learning your options and trying to determine what Heavenly Father would have you do.
  • It is by Committing to righteous goals that will bring you closer to Christ and back to His presence by seeking His help
  • It is by Believing that He wants you to be financially prepared, so you can have the faith that you can accomplish all that He asks you to do, including to be a wiser financial steward, and
  • It is by Achieving your righteous goals with the help of the greatest friend in the world, even our Savior Jesus Christ.

In summary, your ability with wise money management will be the sum of your education, your choices, your faith and your work.

One final caution. Just as the Lord does not expect perfection in other areas of the gospel immediately, he does not expect it here as well. But He does expect us to be a little better today than we were yesterday, and tomorrow than we are today.

May you go forth with faith to accomplish your goals as did Ezra, who “had prepared his heart to seek the law of the Lord, and to do it”, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Bibliography
iDavid A. Bednar “Teach them to Understand,” Ricks College campus Education Week Devotional, June 4, 1998, Rexburg, Idaho.
ii C. Max Caldwell, “What Think Ye of Christ?,” Ensign, Feb 1984.
iii Italics added, Gene R. Cook, “Trust in the Lord”, Ensign, Mar. 1986.
iv Quoted from J. E. McCulloch, Home: The Savior of Civilization (1924), 42; in Conference Report, Apr. 1935, 116.
v Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Harold B. Lee [2000], 134.
vi Joe J. Christensen, “Greed, Selfishness, and Overindulgence,” Ensign, May 1999.
vii The Story of Philosophy, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1927, p. 1.
viii D&C 93:24.
ix Matt. 6:33.
x David A. Bednar “Teach them to Understand,” Ricks College campus Education Week Devotional, June 4, 1998, Rexburg, Idaho.
xi Ensign, May 1976, p. 120.
xii Conference Report, Apr. 1950, p. 32; italics added.
xiii D&C 43:34.
xiv David A. Bednar “Teach them to Understand,” Ricks College campus Education Week Devotional, June 4, 1998, Rexburg, Idaho.
xv 1 Nephi 3:7.
xvi Alma 5: 14-19.
xvii Robert C. Gay, “What Shall a Man Give in Exchange for His Soul?”, Ensign, Nov. 2012.
xviii Boyd K. Packer, “Little Children,” Ensign, Nov. 1986, 16.
xix “Notable and Quotable,” Wall Street Journal, April 4, 2013, p. .
xx Italics added, Thomas S. Monson, “Be of Good Cheer,” Ensign, May 2009, 92.

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