Beginning Budgeting

Many people who successfully manage their finances have learned to budget. However, Jared and Kristy, a newlywed couple, weren’t convinced that a budget was necessary. “We felt we had so few expenses that we didn’t need to budget,” said Kristy. The two of them decided to conduct an experiment. For one month they agreed to keep all of their receipts and see how their money was spent.

“At first it seemed like a nuisance. I didn’t think I spent much money,” admitted Jared. “When the month was over, we were amazed to find that we had actually spent more money than we brought in! It was incredible to me to see how fast our money was spent when we had no particular restrictions on it. Now we use a budget.”

Young couples can benefit from establishing good budgeting habits early in the marriage. Even though expenses may be few, simple measures taken at the beginning of their life together lay a foundation that can be built on in the future as financial obligations increase.

For budgeting to be effective, beginners should experiment until they find a system that works well and takes into account individual needs. One family finds the following system helpful. On payday they review their list of all fixed expenses, such as tithing, housing, utilities, and so on. Then they write down the money due for each item, total that up, and subtract it from the amount in the paycheck. Of the remaining funds, a portion is set aside for unexpected expenses and short- and long-term savings, allowing them to pay for such items as vacations and auto insurance. Together they discuss how to use the remaining funds and agree on a certain amount for spending money, which is taken as cash. The cash is placed in a jar called the “kitty.”

When one of them needs to buy gas or get a haircut, the money is withdrawn from the kitty. As cash in the jar gets low, together they must decide which is more important: the gas or the haircut. This system allows each to have a voice in how money is spent and ensures they won’t overspend their income.Carolyn C. Williams, Redlands, California

Learning to Use the IGI

Brother Jones was researching his pioneer ancestors. He had prayerfully searched his own family records and used the Ancestral File to see what he could find on a distant uncle, Joseph Grant, who had not joined the Church. Ancestral File had listed Uncle Joseph but not his wife and children. Now Brother Jones was anxious to see if the International Genealogical Index® (IGI) would contain any information on this family.

He prepared for his visit to the stake center FamilySearch® workstation by asking his ward consultant for information about the International Genealogical Index. He learned that the IGI contains names of deceased persons who have had temple work done for them. The current edition includes the 1993 IGI, which contains about 200 million names, and the 1994 Addendum, which contains an additional 40 million names. More than 30 million names are due to be added to the Addendum soon.

He learned that some names in the Addendum are the same names found in the Main IGI but may show additional ordinances. He also learned that persons who were members of the Church in their lifetime were less likely to be found listed in the IGI; therefore, he should carefully consult family records and Ancestral File to help determine if temple work has already been completed for these persons so he knows not to resubmit their names.

Brother Jones learned that he could access the IGI by selecting a search and typing in a name. He could choose to look at the information in three ways: (1) Individual Search, where the ordinances of baptism, endowment, and sealing to parents are listed; (2) Parent Search, where records are arranged by names of parents and often list together the brothers and sisters of a family; or (3) Marriage Search, where marriage sealing information is found. The Individual Search and Parent Search use the same records, but Marriage Search retrieves a different set of records.

Brother Jones chose the Parent Search. First, he looked for Joseph Grant as a child with his brothers and sisters. This was information he already knew, and he used it to become acquainted with using the IGI. He pressed the F8 key and typed in the names of the parents: Joshua Grant and Athalia Howard. Since Athalia was often known as Thalia, he knew he would need to make additional searches for variations in the way her name was listed. Brother Jones did not see Joseph in the Main IGI, so he pressed the F9 key and switched to the Addendum, where he found more than one record for Joseph Grant.

Brother Jones was excited to see the information displayed before him. He also looked for records with the father’s full name, Joshua Grant, and only the mother’s given name, Athalia, where he found a record for Joseph’s sister. He looked for records with the father’s name and with no name in the space for the mother’s name, where he found a record for Joseph’s brother. Then he looked for records with the mother’s full name in the principal search position. This could bring up records in which the father’s name was listed with a different spelling, such as Jos. instead of Joshua.

Next he looked for Joseph Grant as a parent. He typed Joseph’s name into Parent Search. Since he did not know the name of Joseph’s wife, he could not type it in. He looked for the places of birth and dates of the children to see if he could identify any likely candidates. Then he scrolled through all of the listings for Joseph Grant as a father, but he did not find anything helpful.

By pressing the F7 key, he could transfer to the Marriage Search section and search for possible marriage records for his Uncle Joseph. Again, he did not find anything helpful. By pressing the F9 key, he could go from the Main IGI to the Addendum, and he looked in both. He found nothing.

Having exhausted his options using the IGI, he was now ready to extend into original research on this family. He turned to his ward family history consultant, who helped him develop a research plan.Elizabeth L. Nichols, Salt Lake City, Utah

Family Pioneer Celebrations

This year, as the Church celebrates the sesquicentennial of the pioneers’ entering Salt Lake Valley, individuals and families are invited to commemorate pioneers both past and present through family home evenings and other family activities. Such activities will strengthen ties to pioneers who have influenced each family’s journey to come unto Jesus Christ.

Family Home Evening

Family home evenings can give families opportunities to read about and learn from the examples of pioneers. Families can discuss what it means to be a pioneer both historically and today. Members can consider how their lives have been influenced by pioneers from their families, wards, stakes, or communities, as well as by pioneers from Church history. They can also discuss ways they, as members of the Church today, can set examples of faith and dedication for future generations.

Lessons on the “Faith in Every Footstep” theme can focus on various aspects of faith, such as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, the prophets, the gospel, one’s family, oneself, and society. Lessons can also focus on turning faith into action by building stronger individuals, families, and communities. Members may also wish to become acquainted with the faithful examples of their brothers and sisters in the gospel by learning about other areas and cultures throughout the world where the gospel is spreading.

Family History

Individuals and families may wish to focus on pioneers in their own families through personal history and family history activities. Families could work together to interview other family members and collect information for writing family histories. Individuals and families may decide to recommit themselves to keeping a journal, writing personal histories, and writing letters to faraway relatives.


Families and individuals can perpetuate the pioneer spirit through service. Families may organize programs that encourage family members to serve one another or others in their neighborhood. Members can consider local needs and organize service projects, such as cleaning yards, visiting the elderly, collecting food for a homeless shelter, or volunteering at a community center. Performing temple work provides invaluable service to ancestors. Members may also wish to serve missionaries throughout the world by writing letters to them.—Adapted from “Pioneer Sesquicentennial Celebration Guidelines” (1995).

[illustrations] Illustrated by Scott Greer

[photos] Photography by John Luke and Greg Frei