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And UPGRADE'S Founder

   Dawn Wilson


Entries in Saving money (2)


Smart Women and Financial Choices

Known as "America's Family Financial Expert,"® Ellie Kay walks her own financial talk. She knows the power of following clear  financial principles. In this Financial UPGRADE, she suggests wise tips to help women become more money savvy.

Ellie asks, “Would you like to make smarter decisions when it comes to money matters? Think about the woman who ‘considers a field and buys it: with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard’ (Proverbs 31:16). She’s smart!”

I (Dawn) know the Bible has a wealth of wisdom regarding finances* and Ellie has some great tips to encourage the wisdom process too.

Ellie continues . . .

When I was a young bride, I was overwhelmed in learning how to manage a household. I didn’t even know how to cook and I remember asking my mom how to boil an egg.

She said, “Boil it until it floats.” I had no idea she was joking, and I boiled it for an hour until the water evaporated and the eggs exploded. They never floated.

Today, I have young millennial daughters and daughters-in-law who are learning to manage their own homes, and I developed guidelines that can help them a little more proactively than my mom’s advice helped me.

Here are my top ten tips for women to make better financial choices.

1. Avoid Emotional Spending.

Never shop online or in the store when you are depressed, sad or lonely because you are far more likely to engage in “shopping therapy” and overspend.

2. Show Love through Actions and Not Things.

If you have a love language of gift giving, or if you tend to show love to others by what you buy for them, then you may want to shift your point of view and save your budget in the process.

3. Volunteer Often.

Those people who have the best balance in their financial lives understand how fortunate they are by giving back to their communities.

4. Err On The Side of Generosity.

By following the principle of tithing 10% of your income, you invite God’s blessing upon your money matters and live a more abundant financial life.

If you are going to err, don’t let it be on the side of stinginess, but let it be on the side of generosity.

5. Ask Yourself, "Is This a Need or A Want?"

Most of us do not have unlimited financial resources and for every purchase we make, it’s wise to ask ourselves this question BEFORE we buy.

6. Play the Waiting Game.

In order to avoid impulse buying, when you see something on sale in the mall or online, wait 24 hours to purchase it. This helps you get beyond the impulse to see if it’s something you truly need.

7. Have A Money Buddy.

Accountability is a wonderful thing.

Every woman should have a person who can ask the hard questions about sticking to your budget, paying down consumer debt, or funding a retirement. In community, you are far more likely to keep your financial commitments towards good stewardship.

8. Become a Master Saver.

The Millionaire next door rarely pays full price on anything when they can save money. Read money savings blogs, download apps for coupon codes, and be prepared to compare prices on goods and services.

9. Become Comfortable with Negotiation.

Whether you are negotiating the price of a car or the bid on painting your house, you have to feel it’s the best deal for you.

Tell the other person, "I don’t feel comfortable with that price," and then be quiet. I’ve found that nine out of 10 times, I’ll get a counterbid that is something I feel more comfortable with; and if I don’t, then I feel the freedom to walk away.

10. Pray about Money Matters.

Recent PEW Research indicates that 80% of Americans admit to praying weekly or even daily. Even a financial expert like myself needs to pray to be make wise financial decisions, that people won’t be able to take financial advantage of me and that I’ll be able to find the best provision for my budget.

When in doubt, pray.

Which of these steps do you already practice and which ones can you implement today?

Ellie Kay is the best-selling author of fifteen books including Lean Body, Fat Wallet (with Danna Demetre), and Heroes at Home. She is a Toastmaster Accredited Speaker as well as a popular international speaker and media veteran who has given over1,200 media interviews including appearances on ABC, CNBC, CNN and Fox News. As a popular columnist, she writes for six national magazines and has been a Subject Matter Expert for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post. Currently, Ellie provides financial education to military members through her “Heroes at Home Financial Event” sponsored for USAA. Ellie is married to LTC Bob Kay and they have seven children.

* Some Key Scriptures about finances: Matthew 6:24-25, 33; Philippians 4:11-13; Luke 12:15; Psalm 37:21; Mark 8:36; Proverbs 15:27; 22:7; 1 Timothy 6:6-10, 17-19; Philippians 4:19; Malachi 3:10; Acts 20:35; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Luxstorm at Pixabay.


8 Ways to Celebrate Savings

Ellie Kay, "America's Family Financial Expert" ®, offers some easy, practical money savers in this Financial UPGRADE to help us become better stewards of our financial resources. With financial wisdom, we can share with people in need and support the Kingdom in tangible ways.

"Saving money can be a lot easier than you think," Ellie says, "if you know when and where to use the right websites and apps."

I (Dawn) have appreciated Ellie's budgeting and saving tips in the past, and this post has a few ideas I hadn't thought of before!

Ellie continues . . .

I just returned from Barksdale AFB, where we had the latest Heroes at Home Financial Education event. I absolutely love traveling around the country giving these events to our Heroes and Heroes at Home! 

There are several apps we always love to recommend (RetailMeNot, TravelZoo, etc.) because they are so easy to use and save money. But one of the things I love is that we are always learning more and more websites and apps through these military families we encounter.

According to James 1:5, if we lack wisdom, we can ask of God who will give it to us.  

So let’s CELEBRATE the savings with a few of our favorite ideas, that can help you become wise in the use of your money.

1. Organize your Inbox: Sign up for emails from your favorite stores and brands because they frequently send out sales, deals, and coupons to get you back into the store! But if you don’t want to get 20-30 emails in your inbox every morning, sign up for Unroll.Me. You are able to unsubscribe from lists through this email that you no longer wish to see.

2. Budgeting: Mint is a great site and app for budgeting that I recommend quite frequently. You are also able to pay your bills and see your credit score. Also check out GoodBudget (formerly EEBA) if you are an envelope system family, and for sharing budgets with members of the same household.

3. Gas: Waze is my favorite GPS app out there. It calculates the best route using both major highways and side streets. But one of my favorite features in this app is that it tells you the gas prices for all gas stations in your area. It will also calculate how far off your route each gas station will be. TripTik (by AAA) calculates mileage based on most economic route.  GasBuddy is another great tool for calculating a trip cost, gas price charts, and more.

4. Coupons: RetailMeNot is my recommended coupon app for retail stores. But also check out Coupon Sherpa for in store coupons to make sure you are always getting the best deal. If you are a fan of paper coupons, use SnipSnap to take pictures of the coupon and use your phone when it comes time to redeem.

5. Entertainment Tickets: Goldstar is a great site for finding half-priced tickets for shows and concerts in cities around the world. For Veterans and families, take advantage of Veterans Tickets Foundation, which is a great organization that provides free tickets to family members of troops Killed In Action (K.I.A.), our Military and Veterans to sporting events, concerts, performing arts and family activities.

6. Parking: Never overpay for parking in any city when you use BestParking. You are able to search city and airport parking to find and compare the best rates. This is a great tool for both planning trips, and getting a good price on the go.

7. Airfare: Looking for that special price for that trip coming up? Keep an eye out for the best time to fly at the best price with Hopper or

8. Other Apps –

What are some of your favorite ways to be a better steward of God’s resources? Let me know so I can keep spreading the word!

Ellie Kay is a regular expert on national television with ABC NEWS NOW’s Money Matters and Good Moneyshows. Ellie is also a national radio commentator, a frequent media guest on Fox News, and CNBC, a popular international speaker, and the best-selling author of fourteen books including her  newest release, The Little Book of Big Savings (Waterbrook, 2009).

Graphic adapted, Image courtesy of Feelart at