I wanted to highlight a few resources I have found helpful, and commend them to you, my reader. You have gripped your seats with white knuckled worry as you’ve read my posts, wondering, “What hornets nest will he whack this time?” Here is your reward. A grab bag of apps/sites and other resources which I’ve found immensely helpful on a variety of fronts. In full disclosure, a few of these are referral links; that means if you like these as much as I do and purchase the app, you get a discount/promotional rate, and I get a few nickels to keep the lights on here.
With all those formalities out of the way…let us proceed.
My momma always joked that my money burned holes in my pockets. However, while seeking to be both generous, frugal, and provide for my children and children’s children, my wife and I hunted for various budgeting systems. We tried envelopes, but found that that made online shopping difficult. We tried a few other apps (i.e. Albert, Mint, etc.). Last year we tried the free trial for YNAB (You Need A Budget), and after the trial expired gladly paid the annual subscription to their software. It has been, hands down, our most responsible year financially. We’ve kept to our budget much better, been enabled to save more and give more than ever before. I’d highly recommend gifting this to young married couples, or folks who’ve gotten into bad financial habits who are willing to do some hard work to get back in the black. The basic principle is that you enter the amount of money you have right now (not what you expect to come in in a few weeks); you then put that money in your “funds”, and then you can link your various accounts or manually enter transactions. If you stay under budget, the money rolls over (in that same fund) to the next month. So we always budgeted $100/mo for gas. But after a few months using YNAB, we realized we were only using about $60-70/mo. This meant we could either reduce our budgeted amount, or let that spare $30 roll-over and pay for future months’ expenses. In other words, you break the paycheck to paycheck cycle.
As far as Bible software goes, I started using Blue Letter Bible 10+ years ago, and while I’ve dabbled in other programs, I’ve come to use BLB for most of my study/sermon prep. They’ve only improved their desktop and mobile interface. My favorite feature in the app is that you can set the text to autoscroll. This helps with daily Bible reading, because it helps you read quickly, and forces you to not get bogged down in rabbit trails that should be saved for when you have the time to delve into the text. All the original languages and various translations are there. I really appreciate that it doesn’t have many bells and whistles; it keeps the text front and center. It’s free, but I’m sure BLB would appreciate the occasional donation to give some peanuts to the gerbils that power their app and website.
This was a really great discovery, as years ago I had adopted the “one-letter” Bible memory method. You basically memorize a verse/passage by just using the first letter of each word. See if you can read this one: “I t b G c t h a t e.” Easy peasy, right? Genesis 1:1. Well, the Bible Memory App uses that principle to help you memorize verses. Once you’ve mastered a verse, it automatically sends you a notification at set intervals so you can review it. As you master a verse, the period between reviews gets further apart. I found this really useful in prepping for my ordination exam, as I was able to really solidify various texts that I wanted to cite in case of being asked to prove some difficult doctrine from Scripture. This link will get you a discount on the paid version of the app, but there is a free version that is quite useful as well. The free version doesn’t allow you to create your own “sets” of verses, you just have to use “pre-made” sets.
Lastly, Spreeder is a really useful tool for getting used to speed reading. It also helps to read lengthy texts available in the public domain. For instance, you can copy any text into the browser app (linked below), set how many WPM it flashes, the size/color of the font, and then press play…and…away it goes. I was able to train myself to go from 300WPM to 600WPM. Quite useful for becoming a faster reader, and then allowing you to read any text you can copy/paste online quickly (i.e. articles, public domain books, congressional bills etc.)