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Answers to some general questions about Money Lounge
On the paperwork Money Lounge is a DBA of Creative Soulutions, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.
Ask any of our friends, though, and you'll get a very different answer. Money Lounge is a community of people learning some must-have financial principles, exchanging ways to put those principles into practice, and encouraging each other to do what we learn on a more regular basis.
Although we constantly adjust the wording, the mission never really changes for us. Money Lounge was created to help people have a greater impact in the world through wise financial decisions.
Our values have remained unchanged since Money Lounge began. They are rank-ordered to help us make decisions about how we accomplish the mission.
We don't want anybody to accuse us of 'bait and switch.' We, the creators of Money Lounge, are followers of Jesus Christ. (Click here to see the Money Lounge statement of faith.) While we would love to see everybody who uses the site make a similar commitment, you don't have to.
We believe the principles in the Bible are a letter from the God who created us, wants to spend time with us, and desires the very best for us. We believe the principles are absolutely solid regardless of the economy, the time in which we live, or the area on the globe we call home. These principles have repeatedly been tested over thousands of years, and they work.
Just so you get the whole picture. While we believe you can take a principle from the Bible, put it into practice, and see some favorable results, we believe there is something much more available. When one of God's principles is put into practice by a person with a personal relationship with God, things get kicked up to a whole different level.
So, there you have it. We invite you to learn whatever you want to learn. Experiment with things in your own life. If you don't see something you are looking for, just ask us. We are happy to help whenever we can.
The Bible is full of great principles that meet real needs in our lives. In fact, it is not uncommon to find Biblical principles in many financial books and seminars today (although they aren't often credited as such). Any of us can choose a few of these principles and do our best to live them, but we also believe there is something more available.
We believe the Bible is actually God’s love letter to people. God wants to do more than just provide us with a bunch of self-help. God wants to hang out with us, to teach us things, and even to help us succeed.
In fact, He wants to help us squeeze everything we can out of life. The Bible calls it abundant life and it is only found when we are in a tight relationship with God. The Bible is one of the easiest ways to get to know Him.
If you've looked around the site, you are probably wondering where you get your subscription or pay your annual fee. Let us know if you find that page because we don't remember putting it in.
Seriously, though. Long time friends and supporters have basically paid for you to use this site. As such, you won't see any fees for you to use it. On a few pages, you will see a place where you can donate. If you find this site useful, we ask you to consider a donation to keep the site free for others who will use it.
So basically, it's going to cost you some time, a little bit of hard work, and a willingness to give something new a try.
The short answer is you don't. That said, we think you will want to register. Registering gives you some pretty cool stuff. You get your own spot in the community, the ability to join discussions, groups to join, ways to earn points, and a really cool new tool to help you manage your money.
Note: You cannot access the Flow Guide Forms (budget creator) without registering. This is obviously so we can link your information to you!
We've made registration quick, painless, and absolutely FREE. Today is a great day to get started!
We think most everything on the site is pretty self explanatory but maybe not.
If you find yourself asking, 'how do I ________ ?'(fill in the blank), here is what you do.
Find answers about Change. For an overview check out the similarly titled link on our main menu.
Change is a seven week experience in handling your finances in a new way. Each week there is at least one principle to learn, some fun activities, and a practical tool to design your spending plan.
If you have been around Money Lounge a while you will note that the name Change is new. This is because we now have many different ministries and organizations using the Flow Budgeting System. It was confusing to them to have the 7 week study have the same name as the budgeting tools.
So why Change? Two reasons, we want you to have more financial change (you know, money) at the end than you do today. But even more importantly, Change is invested in helping you look at your financial beliefs and keep those that are effective and realign others to match up with God's Word and His best for you. Change...in your finances and your life.
Sure. But why would you want to?
There are some definite advantages to doing things with our friends. First, we can learn things from other people. Second, if we are going to blow it big on our finances, our friends are usually involved. If everybody is working on the same thing, you can come up with a less expensive alternative that everybody might still enjoy. Third, some things are just more fun with friends. We think Change is one of them.
You can have as many as you want or as few as you want. We've found that dynamics of a group start to change after about 5-8 people. As a general rule of thumb, if you have more time, you can add more people.
Hey! It's your group. You can meet whenever and wherever you want for as long as you want.
For those of you that want a little more guidance, meet somewhere where everyone is comfortable talking. That might be a house, a church, or even a favorite coffee shop. Just remember, people may choose to discuss their finances or share their emotions so don't go too public.
As for how long to meet, you want everyone to have time to talk if they choose to do so. On the other hand, if the next week you think about not going because it took SO much time, then you are probably meeting too long. Best guess for starters is an hour to hour-and-a-half.
Clear as mud, right? Talk about it as a group and decide for yourself. Experiment with it until it feels right to you.
You don't. If your group feels more comfortable online, then meet there. Just remember, sometimes it is easier to fudge things online. If you really want to make the changes you want to make, you might find it easier when you have to tell your friends in person how you are doing.
There are lots of things to do. Certainly keep using what you have learned! Each month check your slider settings, move the budget alerts over to your tracking software, and play Flow Golf with us. This will keep your finances up-to-date and running smoothly. The best part, for an investment of just a few minutes a month you will keep remembering and reaching your goals all year long! Stay involved in the online groups and discussions. Share your wisdom with others as the things you try work or don't.
If you didn't get it the first time, do it again. Either start fresh or just complete what is missing. Every time you go through a Flow group, it will be a different experience even if the same people go through because you are in a new place.
As a group, we hope you get serious about the giving project in Week 6. Figure out how your group can make a difference. Share what you did with everyone. You can even invite or challenge others to do what you are doing. Start a trend and see if it takes off.
If you totally got it (or just want to help someone else while you work on it!), host a new group to help others you think might benefit from more money, more peace, and less stress in their life.
Find answers about Money Lounge tools for creating your personal Flow Plan.
Flow Guides are the building block of the Flow Budget System. You will answer simple questions and Flow will do the math for you. These easy to use worksheets are designed to help you create your own Flow plan for your money. When you have finished the Flow Guides, you will have a budget that is as flexible as you are AND the tools to keep it running smoothly going forward.
Of course not! Hopefully you are figuring out that Money Lounge is a place for you to learn what you want to learn. You are more than welcome to use the guides without going through the study.
We interrupt this FAQ for a shameless plug...
That said, you are going to miss out on some cool things if you just use the guides and never try the whole Change experience.
You start practicing. Money Lounge does not have any magic beans to hook you up with a bunch of cash. We have some principles that we know will make a difference as you regularly apply them.
Flow is only half the solution. You will also want to track how you are doing. There are a million ways to do this including cash in jars or envelopes, spreadsheets, software, and many others. We highly recommend using MintTM. It's easy to use and it has some great tools to get the job done well.
It's too easy to get sloppy with tracking. And way too easy to stop planning our spending without tracking. Let's face it. We are all busy and spending a lot of time on finances is just not a lot of fun.
Mint does a great job of pulling in info from just about everywhere. It also does a good job learning how you typically categorize your transactions. This means less work for you as time goes on.
MintTM gives you pretty timely updates. It's not always real time, so if you are doing a lot of shopping in day, you may have to send it out to do an update.
Best of all, Mint is FREE!
It's a fun and easy way to keep track of your progress. If you want, you can even brag about it to the community by adding it to your profile. You can read more about Flow Golf in our knowledge base.
Many people feel uncomfortable using Mint.TM So you have a balanced perspective, here are some of the drawbacks.
1) They do collect your personal account information. Information can be hacked.
2) They occasionally miss a transaction. In their massive movement of data it is a very, very small portion. Unfortunately, if it is your piece of data, it may cause you a problem.
3) They do not check your accounts constantly and they can only download what your financial institution has already posted. So if you are out on a multi-stop shopping spree, their warnings may not be fast enough to stop your overspending. That said, you probably don't have any warning systems at all right now. So if you know you are tight on a budget item (or in your account!) know before you go and pay attention. You can also go out to Mint and ask it for an update at any time to force it pull and show your most current financial reality.
4) They want you to buy things from their affiliates. That is how they make their money so you will see ads. You can ignore them but we do find that it bugs people who use Mint.
We are not affiliated with MintTM in any way. If you have another system with which you are already happy, please keep using it! But if you don't, Mint is pretty easy to use and gives you pretty fast feedback. Just know the limitations and plan accordingly.
In the world of finances, there are two general types of people. Those who know what they spend, when they can afford to spend it, and how much they need to save for the realities of food and housing. And then there are the rest who spend what they have...and sometimes even more!
The Flow Guides were created for this second audience. If you have been creating budgets for years, answering the FLOW Guide Q&A questions may seem like a waste of time. You just want to know where the line item is for food. But for many of us, especially young adults, we write one check a month at most (everything else is done with plastic), never keep a register, and can't tell you if we spend more on food or fun...much less how much!
So, if you are one of the lucky (or trained, or disciplined) people who knows how much you spend for the category, Money Lounge may not be the system for you. However, if you want to help others who are new to the process, give it a try. You will see that not only does it help them create a more realistic budget, our outputs help them have success and stick with it.
Most budgets add your yearly totals and divide by 12 for the monthly budget. That means that almost every month you are off your budgeted amount. Because of the quick questions we ask, the Money Lounge plan shows you how much you really plan to spend each month. Having a more realistic monthly goal does two things. First it is less likely you will spend funds that need to be saved. Second, it allows you more success and success breeds success.
Answers to FAQs about the Money Lounge community
That's a fair question. Here's what you need to know. Money Lounge is not committed to being the best Social Networking site on the web.
We are committed to challenging young adults to make more wise financial decisions on a more regular basis. We just think you should have some of the comforts of your favorite sites and a little bit of fun while you are here.
Play where you want but when you are ready to get a better handle on your finances, we hope you will do that with us.
There are lots of ways to get involved.
As you read articles, or as you discover new ideas, you can start conversations in the discussions. You can also add content to your page within the Get Connected section. Share with others what you are learning. You may provide someone with the answer they need to get a better handle on their money.
Groups are another great way to get involved. Join one that interests you or start your own to meet up with others that might have similar interests or needs.
One of the best ways to get involved is to take what you learn on Money Lounge into your own world. Use what you learn to accomplish 'more, more better, more often' in your own life. Once you are doing that, gather a group of friends around you and go make a difference in the world in an area that is important to you.
Right now points give you bragging rights (and hopefully a little motivation to try new things). As you earn them throughout the site, you gain rank and status. For many of us, these are important.
We also have some cool ideas in the works with points but we are not quite ready to unveil those just yet.
The easiest thing to do is to spend a little time tinkering with things. The next best place to get help is the Knowledge Base. The KB has tutorials for many of the features in the community. If you don't find the answer in there, try the discussions.
Use the links available inside of the community to report misconduct. Once we receive a report, we will investigate the situation and take appropriate action, if necessary.
We try to avoid them but sometimes it happens. Check here if you get an error message.
If you get the following message, or something similar,
Login denied! Your account has either been blocked or you have not activated it yet. Did you not get an activation e-mail and follow the validation link?
Do not panic. Chances are good that you did not click the link to activate your account.
When you registered on Money Lounge, we sent you two emails. One contained your username and password for your records. The other had a link you need to click to activate your account.
If you do not see the email, check your spam folder. If you find it, follow the instructions it contains for activating your account. Going forward, we recommend you make Money Lounge a non-spammed sender. We don't send out much mail but this will make sure you get it when we do.
If you do not find the email, go to the Community page of Money Lounge (Activities>Community>Get Connected). On the righthand side under the Members Login, click the bottom link (it's blue) that reads, Resend Activation Code. This will resend the email.
Ever get talking too fast and mix up your word order? Well, occasionally when you log in that happens here too. The site is checking facts too fast and messes up.
Again, sorry for the inconvenience.
At the time of this writing, there is not a single bad link on the site. Ufortunately, content sometimes gets moved around and we don't always catch it. When that happens you'll receive a 404 error message.
Thanks in advance for your help!
As of Sept 26, 2012, the good news is that if you have the most recent verison of Firefox (v12.0) you can play the audio and video with no problems. If you have an old verison, you are probably not having issues either. However, if you have the previous version, Firefox and Java had conflict errors that would not let the audio or video on the site (or any others) play. To play the audio/video either (1) update your Firefox plug-ins from the Firefox menu at Help>About Firefox>Check for Updates, (2) disable the Java component that Firefox recommends, or (3) watch/listen in EI, Chrome, or Safari. Ah, updates....got to love them.