Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Learning to Live Financially Free by Marybeth and Curt Whalen & Giveaway

Marybeth and Curt Whalen

Current. Relevant. Timely. Financial worries and woes abound. In these tough, economic times people are learning to be more frugal and spend more wisely. Marybeth and Curt Whalen, parents of six children and authors of the new book, Learning to Live Financially Free, offer advice and encouragement for families struggling to stay above the water of debt and despair.

(North Carolina) - The fear and reality of tough economic times, foreclosures, bailouts, bankruptcies and falling stocks strike fear in the hearts of many Americans today. With investors, newscasters and bankers giving advice, who can you trust? Marybeth and Curt Whalen share their financial successes and failures in their new book, Learning to Live Financially Free: Hard-Earned Wisdom for Saving Your Marriage & Your Money. If a family parenting six children can get out of debt and live financially free, anyone can. The Whalens readily admit they made their share of mistakes the first ten years of marriage. Becoming more disciplined and intentional in spending and saving helped them learn valuable lessons for better financial stewardship--lessons you'll want to learn too.

Learning to Live Financially Free not only focuses on building a stronger financial understanding in the home, but also encourages couples to communicate, thus building better, stronger marriages. The Whalens clearly comprehend the need for careful money management and commitment in marriage. Money-strapped families will find peace of mind as they begin the process of becoming financially responsible and debt-free.

About the Authors

Marybeth Whalen is a speaker and contributing writer for Proverbs 31 Ministries. The author of For the Write Reason, Marybeth has also written for Parent Life, Money Matters newsletter, The Old Schoolhouse, Hearts at Home magazine, and Homeschooling Today. She contributes regularly to the daily online devotions of Proverbs 31 Ministries.

Curt Whalen is a trained financial counselor through Crown Financial Concepts. He has years of experience helping couples establish budgets, solve financial problems, and learn to communicate more effectively. He has written articles for TEACH Magazine and Money Matters Newsletter and has contributed to books by authors Lysa TerKeurst and Melanie Chitwood.

Marybeth and Curt Whalen know
what it's like to juggle marriage,
kids and money. Their new book
will encourage readers to manage
their money and marriage more

Are You A Financially Focused Couple?
Instructions: Give yourself 1 point for every "yes" answer, 0 points for every "no."
1.Do you have regular budget meetings?
2.Do you communicate about daily expenses?
3.Do you discuss large purchases before they're made?
4.Does each spouse have an equal vote about money decisions?
5.Have you planned for your future through life insurance and a will?
6.Do you agree about tithing and giving?
7.Can you both list out your debts, including the amounts and monthly payment for each account?
8.Do you have a plan that was written together for paying off debt and saving money?
9.Do you encourage each other to save money?
10.Have you discussed the spending habits and attitudes about money that you carried into the marriage?
Tally up your score and use the guide below to see what category you fall into.
0-2 points: Don't get discouraged. There's nowhere to go from here except up!
3-5 points: You are taking steps towards being a financially focused couple.. Keep working together and you will get there.
6-8 points: You are almost 100% financially focused. Keep up the good work and get intentional about those trouble spots.
9-10 points: You are a financially focused couple and could show us all a thing or two! Consider sharing your wisdom with other couples who are struggling in today's uncertain times.
Top Ten Tips For Saving Money In Tough Times
1. Make a budget (and stick to it). A budget overwhelms many people but it is really nothing more than devising a plan for every dollar you bring in. Having a budget helps you spend smarter and think more. It also helps to improve your buying power. The best way to make a budget is to start by sitting down with your spouse and deciding how much you spend on regular categories like groceries, gas, medical, etc. each month. Talk through these things and get them down on paper. Then spend accordingly. An article that goes into step by step detail about making a budget can be found at:
2. Stop using credit cards. Studies show that people who use credit cards buy more and think less about their purchases. By learning to spend cash and limiting your purchases, you make your money work for you rather than against you. Credit card companies are getting craftier as the economy struggles. 25% of all credit card users in this country will have their rates raised this year, or their monthly payment raised. When you are in debt, you are at the mercy of the company you owe. Don’t let yourself get bogged down by credit card debt.
3. Cook at home. It sounds so basic and yet how many of us resort to eating out because we just can’t deal with dinner? By taking a few moments once a week to devise a menu plan, shopping for the needed ingredients for that menu plan, and cooking the meals in your home, you can save lots of money and have more time to gather as a family and enjoy a slow evening at home. Eating at home not only saves money, it saves valuable family time.
4. Buy clothes at thrift or consignment stores. This is especially true with children’s clothes. When you are in a department store, always shop the clearance racks and avoid the other racks so you aren’t tempted. It’s also an income generator if you consign your own clothing. You can then take the money you earn on consignment and buy clothes for a new season without being out of pocket any money!
5. If you must eat out, only go to places you have coupons for. Keep a small photo album and arrange restaurant coupons so they are easy to find as you are heading out the door. It’s also a great idea to look for “kids eat free” nights and frequent those. Other ways to save on eating out include ordering water (big savings on this), share meals, order a kids’ portion if the restaurant allows it, and go out for lunch instead of dinner. For people who work, it’s always a good idea to pack your lunch regularly instead of running out to eat. A jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread will go a long way.
6. Learn to play the coupon game. Many people devote themselves to clipping and organizing coupons—and reap great savings from doing so. There are many frugal websites and blogs that detail exactly how to save a lot of money with coupons. A great one to start with is And here is a great tutorial video you can watch:
7. If you have children, limit the number of activities they do to one per child, per year. If you are struggling to pay for even one activity, consider asking for the activity as a gift from grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, etc. Instead of another toy that will end up broken or lost, your child can receive a gift that truly keeps on giving as well as one that invests in their future.
8. Think about the things you regularly spend money on like gas or utilities and research ways to save money on those things. For instance, tells you where to buy the cheapest gas according to your area code. Bundling services with your cable provider can save money each month. Calling your energy company to find out when their off-peak hours are and doing your laundry or dishes during those times can save on your monthly bill as well.
9. Don’t shop as a recreational activity. If you can’t see it, you won’t feel a need to have it. Use time you used to spend shopping to go for a walk, visit a park, exercise, read a book, or spend time researching money-saving sites on the internet! If you have a friend you used to enjoy shopping with, sit down and list out other alternatives for your time together.
10. Look for ways to generate additional income. Whether it be an additional part-time job or a way to make money from home using a skill or talent you possess, get creative, get motivated, and get excited about the potential you have to generate income that you didn’t have before. Every little bit helps, so put on your thinking cap and don’t be shy about stepping out and trying something!
I would like to thank Gina from Kathy Carlton Willis Communications for sending me a copy of Learning to Live Financially Free. If you'd like to win a copy of this book, leave me one of your money saving tips! Please leave your email (mnjesusfreak at gmail dot com). Also if I receive 10 comments, the person I choose as the winner will have their name sent to KCSC for the grand prize drawing:
1 copy of the book
1 copy of Financial Peace Revisited by Dave Ramsey
1 subscription to P31 Woman Magazine
1 copy of God's Purpose For Every Woman (collection of the best devotions from Proverbs 31 Ministries)
1 cd of Marybeth's message "Becoming A Woman of Influence"
1 Dove Chocolate bar (because everything is better with chocolate!)


Linda said...

I thought I was pretty savvy about our finances. Looks like there are some areas that are definitely needing attention.

My biggest money saving tip is to check the Sunday fliers for the lowest price for a grocery item I need. I then arrange all my errands around the place/places I need to go. Grocery stores are very competitive and vary largely weekly.

Pamela said...

One of the best ways I know to cut out impulse buying and therefore stick to a budget is to always have a shopping list whenever you go out (even for clothing shopping or trips to the home improvement stores!) and to estimate the total cost of the trip ahead of time. Take only the cash needed for your purchased (I add 10% to my estimate in case I'm off a bit) and leave the checkbook and credit/debit cards at home.

cozymysterygirl said...

This sounds like a wonderful book.i could always use some financial tips please enter me into the draw thanks Kellie

Ashley Ludwig said...

Mimi - We still need to work on discussing the little expenses. The big ones, no problem. LOL.

Thanks for this... you're great... and you DO have my e-mail I think...



whitewolf said...

What a great giveaway and we all sure could use it in the hard economic times. We are eating out less, unplugging appliances when not in use, making my own cleaners and laundry soap, hanging clothes out to dry, not using my central air, not buying junk food, baking and cooking from scratch instead of boxed convience foods. We put out a huge garden this year to eat from and can for winter. I also planted some extra to share with the widow next door. I have been shopping at thrift stores when I need new clothes, freecycling things I no longer want or need. I knit & crochet so I've started making simple gifts for Christmas and am using up the yarn in my stash instead of buying new yarn each time I start a new project. The only thing I haven't really scrimped on this year is my pet food. I have 2 dogs and 2 cats and I refuse to buy them cheap worthless dry food. They still eat Blue Buffalo and I also cook chickens that are marked down to supplement and streth their food.

I am trying to get out of credit card debt and have been re-thinking about using them for purchases I dont really need. We must all learn to live within our means and not live beyong our means. said...

I would really like a copy of this book, we are trying to eventually get debt free right down to the mortgage. That's all we have left right now, but we're trying!
Amy Wingfield

P>S. I'd like to know how to do this free gift thing on my blog too.

Jo said...

We can still use some help with our finances. I know that I am pretty good but do still need help and hubby can definitely use some help. Please enter us in the drawing.


Mimi N said...

Linda, good suggestion for searching the cheapest stores before you shop!

Pamela I've definitely cut out impulsive shopping. When I know I'm strapped on a certain week, I use my calculator as I walk through the grocery store.

Whitewolf (I need a way to contact you) we rarely eat out ever. I need to start doing baked goods at home. I don't always think about it. I agree with you about the pet food as well. I have never cooked for my pets. :)

Amy, good "luck" with the mortgage payoff!

Ashley, the little things can begin to add up to what the big things cost!

I agree we all could use tweaking & extra help in these economic times. Just remember, when things start to get better, it's still important to be good stewards of what the Lord has given us. Every decision is a financial one


lilac grandma said...

Saving lots of money now that i am makeup free! Think it was ruining my skin anyway! Please enter me. thanks, Melody
msproule1225 at gmaildotcom

Jenny said...

This looks like a resource no home should be without. I know our budget/financial communication could use some tweaking.

Thanks for the chance to win.

eviesmommo at yahoo dot com

Linda said...

This is Linda. I forgot to leave my email: desertrose5173 at gmail dot com

Paula said...

We could always use some help in this area. Enter me for the contest. Thanks!

Paula said...

Also forgot to leave my email...
poppiescottage at

Mimi N said...

Our winner is Pamela! Thank you guys for entering!

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Woven by Words by Mimi B is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.