Paycheck Planning

Many newly married couples face challenges when it comes to making the transition from my money and your money to our money. We have found the following ideas helpful in reaching unity in our approach to money management.

  • Listen to each other. Though money-management styles differ, each spouse has needs to be met. It’s important to recognize these differences and plan accordingly. Don’t waste time trying to change each other. It’s more productive to focus on areas where you agree.

  • Establish a place where all bills go when they arrive in the mail. Each payday, sit down together and create a plan for the upcoming pay period. Base your projections on current or past paychecks. Making plans for income that may come can be risky.

  • Set priorities to include the following: Tithing and fast offerings Rent or mortgage payments Utility bills Insurance Loan payments Food Transportation Savings Other expenses

  • Write down each expense for the month. Some expenses, such as spending money, might be best handled with a weekly budget.

  • Add up all expenses and compare the total with your actual income. If expenses exceed income, make adjustments.

  • Post your agreed-upon budget where both can see it. Posted, the itemized budget serves as a checklist and reminder of your plan.

  • Couples dealing with irregular incomes will find it especially important to build up a savings program. Then if you have a low income one month, you can use money from savings to pay the bills. This allows you to live within your income, be it great or small.

Sitting down together to plan our budget has increased our sense of unity and provided us with greater control over our income.Robert and Dacia Williams, Skiatook, Oklahoma

Helping Others Understand Temple Marriage

Recently we attended the wedding reception of a couple who had received permission from their bishop to invite guests who did not have temple recommends to a special meeting in the chapel before the reception. Because many guests knew little or nothing about temple marriage, the couple wanted to share with them the doctrine of eternal marriage and their joy at having been married for time and eternity.

First everyone was invited to sing “I Love to See the Temple” (Children’s Songbook, 95) and “Families Can Be Together Forever” (Children’s Songbook, 188). Then a priesthood leader gave a short, clear explanation of the Latter-day Saint view on celestial marriage. Both the bride and bridegroom spoke briefly, expressing their joy at having just been married for eternity in the temple. The bride also spoke lovingly of her grandparents, who were deceased, and the tremendous impact for good they had been in her life. Because she wanted to remember them on this joyous occasion, she explained that she had placed a flower representing the months of their birth in her bridal bouquet as well as a blossom for the months of her own and her husband’s birth.

In this instance, these simple activities helped friends and relatives who were not members of the Church appreciate the strong and eternal family ties that temple marriages create.Athelia S. Tanner, Brampton, Ontario, Canada

Taming TV

“Turn that thing off!” My shrill voice echoed throughout our house—again! It seemed I was always nagging my sons to turn the television off. Though I was always pleased to see my children reading or playing, lately the television had become their preferred entertainment.

Like many parents, I had heard about the adverse effects of television. Was it my imagination, or were my three boys fighting more? Was our family arguing more often over TV programs? Were my children asking for more junk food and toys after watching slick advertising? The answer was yes. Something had to be done.

My husband and I decided to give out tickets for TV watching. We bought a big roll of admission tickets, such as might be used at a carnival, and gave each child a fixed number per week. Each ticket was worth 30 minutes of TV viewing.

Then during family home evening we discussed how television watching can be a positive experience and how it can also be a negative influence. Using the 13th article of faith [A of F 1:13] as our guide, we talked about what it means to seek after things that are “virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy.” We discussed which shows might be appropriate to watch and which should be avoided, and we agreed on a few shows and videocassettes that could be watched for free. We also agreed that unused tickets could be turned in at the end of the week for 10 cents each.

Then we sat back and watched the week unfold, wondering if our plan would be successful in helping children make better TV choices. As the week wore on, we noticed less fighting over programs. In fact, the house became quieter and more peaceful. The boys began thoughtfully discussing which shows were worth a ticket and which could be given up.

At the end of the week, my husband and I were surprised when our children turned in all but two of their tickets. We assumed their initial cooperation would wear off, but the boys proved us wrong. During the following weeks our sons virtually gave up TV. Instead, they rediscovered basketball, bicycles, books, and board games. Best of all, they made this choice themselves.

Even six months later the boys were still watching very little TV. Thanks to TV tickets, television had finally taken a back seat in our home.Lisa Ray Turner, Littleton, Colorado

Tips for Music Leaders

As ward music director, I have enjoyed singing and learning the hymns of the Church. I have found the following ideas helpful in making hymn singing an enjoyable and spiritual experience.

Choosing hymns. A prayerful spirit will help you find hymns that best serve the occasion and congregation. Whenever possible, find out the meetings’ themes in advance and select hymns in harmony with the topics. Acquainting yourself with the various hymns and their messages will make it easier to find appropriate music for each occasion.

Introducing new hymns. Arrange with the choir or some ward members to perform an unfamiliar hymn; then choose that hymn for congregational singing in an upcoming week.Linda Stotts, Houston, Texas

Gospel Art at Home

To stimulate gospel discussions in our home, many mornings we randomly select a picture from the Gospel Art Picture Kit (item no. 34730, U.S. $14.25) and display it in the window above our kitchen table. Because the pictures depict many different gospel subjects, we never know what will be pulled out. During the day, family members look at the picture and sometimes even read the story or description found on the back of each one.

At dinnertime we ask if anyone would like to comment on what the picture is about. We read the account on the back and discuss the story, including where it can be found in the scriptures. Then we talk about how the story might apply to us today.

We have also found the pictures in the kit useful for family home evening, lesson preparation, or framing to beautify our home.Jeanne Ellerbeck, Everett, Washington

One Talk a Month

Once a month during family home evening, we read and discuss a general conference talk. Sometimes our teenagers make suggestions for an article they would like to review.

We make photocopies of the selected talk so each family member can follow along as we read aloud. While we read, each of us selects a favorite passage to review or comment about later. When we have finished reading, we share our ideas, making notes of the ones that impress us individually.

At the end of the lesson, we place our copies of the talk in three-ring binders that we earlier covered with fabric and decorated. Then we can refer to the talks in the future when presenting thoughts or devotionals or preparing talks or lessons.Tara Parker, Ovid, Idaho

[illustration] Illustrated by Beth M. Whittaker

[illustrations] Illustrated by Joe Flores