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Archive for January, 2008

I caused the recession ...

January 30th, 2008 at 06:41 pm

Written by someone who left their name as "I'm not bitter or anything":

"Our economy, the largest in the world, is driven by consumer spending. I say that you and Dave Ramsey have crusaded us right into a recession with your message of paying off your debts instead of taking that vacation and buying a 60″ flat screen when you get home - all courtesy of the Visa card.

I hope you're happy with yourself and can sleep at night as my 401k has now become a 301k."

Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm …

Readers: What are your thoughts?

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Awesome privileges …

January 30th, 2008 at 10:09 am

I was reviewing my credit card offers the other day, and I just starting laughing out loud! It is a regular comedy act!

Here is what made me laugh:

* The Visa Signature card states "This card has everything you want, even your initial." HA HA HA HA HA!!! It goes on to say, "… it proudly displays your monogram every time you lay it down. Jennifer, this card is YOU!" HA HA HA!
* In the fine print of the above card, it says "We will allocate your payments to balances (including new transactions) with lower Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) (including zero percent) before balances with higher APRs." The REAL credit card personality shows up in super large 2-pt font!
* The Household Bank Platinum card says "Everything you like in a card. Including the design." I don't like anything in a credit card. They never helped me WIN with money.

When you look at your 200 - 250 credit card applications that you receive each year, what stands out to you?

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Filing Taxes Yourself This Year?

January 29th, 2008 at 06:40 pm

Are you filing your taxes yourself this year?

I have always prepared my own taxes each year. I have used TurboTax every single year.

This software has been extremely helpful and straightforward to use.

I have considered using TurboTax's competitor, TaxCut (by H&R Block), but I always back out because TurboTax is designed to automatically transfer all of last year's information over to this year's return.

(I wonder if TaxCut can auto transfer a return put together using TurboTax?)

If you have a very simple tax return and plan on using 1040EZ, TurboTax provides their software and one federal tax filing for FREE!

Otherwise, there is a cost for the software, but it is reasonably priced for such a good software package.

I've never had a problem with a filing I have made with TurboTax.

I am sure it is the same for TaxCut software, but I have not used the product.

By the way, I usually look at the Staples or Office Depot sales ads this time of year before purchasing my TurboTax software. Usually, they will have a special - something like "Buy TurboTax and get a $10 gift card" deal. I like that! Last year, I ended up buying my software from Best Buy, and it came with a free wireless mouse. It is a great mouse! It was backordered and took over two months to get it, but they did ship it to me!

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What An Incredible Eight Days!

January 28th, 2008 at 06:53 pm

I have had a crusading dream the last eight days!

Let me recount the last eight days …

Sunday January 20th

Spoke at NewSpring Church for all four services! You can watch an entire service HERE. You should also check out Perry Noble's site as well.

Friday PM and Saturday AM (January 25th & 26th)

Taught the entire Financial Freedom Experience at NewSpring Church (over 300 attended!) People drove 5 and 7 hours to come to this class. That absolutely blows me away!

Saturday PM and Sunday AM (January 26th & 27th)

Taught at the weekend services at Southbrook Church, pastor Rob Singleton.

Sunday PM (January 27th)

Taught the Financial Learning Experience at Southbrook Church!

I got to speak eight times and teach both versions of my class in EIGHT DAYS! It is UNBELIEVABLE that I get to do this for a living! Oh yeah, I also see that there are 14 one-on-one financial counseling appointments on our calendar this week!!!!

To all who attended the classes or church services, THANK YOU!

You can see where the crusade will be next by clicking HERE.

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Reflections On Writing A Book

January 23rd, 2008 at 06:26 pm

What an amazing journey it has been. Writing I Was Broke. Now I'm Not has been so worth the time and effort!

For those of you out there who have ever thought about writing a book, I thought I would share some things I have learned.

* You will not sit down and write the entire book at one time.

* Writing the book was the easy part. It was the 28 edits/revisions, cover art design/selection, ISBN/EAN bar code, Library of Congress Control Number registration, crappy image software, copyright … The list goes on for quite awhile!

* You have to be PASSIONATE about the book and have a STRONG VISION for it. If these two items do not exist, you will not finish the book. There are too many competing priorities that will take you away from it otherwise!

* Books don't have hotlinks. This is a bummer! I have been so accustomed to providing a quick-link to something I am writing about. A book doesn't have that. I really like the interactive component, and it has been an integral part of my communication style.

* Self-publishing is a great option. When I started putting pen to paper in January 2006 (yes, two years ago), I thought that I needed a publisher. I found out that there are several GREAT printing companies that produce high-quality books for a reasonable price. My experience was literally a "above and beyond expectations" experience! By the way, I sought advice from very wise people while making the decision of "should I self-publish or pursue a publisher". The wise people? Tony Morgan, Mark Batterson, Paul Marshall, Perry Noble, and Dave Ramsey. I loved Dave's statement … "Self publish … do print it and do sell it - It's worth it, man!"

* God is in control. And when He is, it don't get no righter!

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BOOK RELEASE!!!

January 22nd, 2008 at 08:03 am

I am FIRED UP to announce that my first book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not., is officially released!



In this book, I share how my family stopped being broke and won with money. While telling my family's story, I teach the actual tools that we used and still use to this day!

More than anything else, this is a book of HOPE. I know that you CAN do this! I know that you CAN win with money! I know that you do not have to be a straight-A student to win with money (that's really good news for me!).

You CAN break free of financial bondage and win with money. This book was written to show you HOW to do so in a PRACTICAL way!

If you are looking for theory or philosophy, this is the wrong book. If you are looking for immediate help to take your finances to the next level, this is the right book!

You can PURCHASE YOUR COPY HERE!

To all who are on this crusade with me, thank you for being a part of it! This book is yet another tool we can use to accomplish my life's passion - that is to enable others to accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances. Why is that my life's passion? Because when people are financially-free, they are freed up to go do EXACTLY what they have been put on this earth to do!!!

Want to read the INTRODUCTION? You can read it HERE!

That, my friends, is what it is all about. People doing what they were made to do!

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The Book Is Printed!

January 19th, 2008 at 08:05 am

I am FIRED UP to announce that my first book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not!, is now in existence. It will be released on January 20th!

On January 20th, it will be available for purchase through this web site. In mid-February, it will be available via Amazon.com!

This is one of my key "Wagon Staplers". It is one key way to help people "stay on the wagon".

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Yet another success story!!!

January 18th, 2008 at 10:04 am

You have GOT to check out THIS LINK!

I spoke at Jeff's church in early December and taught the Financial Learning Experience!

There is NOTHING like having the pastor of the church lead the way to Debt Freedom!

I'm proud of you, Jeff and Michelle!

Anyone else want to share a success story?

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My Cat and The Podcast

January 16th, 2008 at 05:28 am

Yesterday, I was recording the weekly "I Was Broke. Now I'm Not!" podcast (iTunes; Non-iTunes) at an abnormal location - my house.

I experienced a technical difficulty at about 2 minutes 36 seconds into the podcast. The technical difficulty? My stupid cat.

Having never recorded the podcast at my house before, I failed to realize that my cat would show up and request (demand) to be petted. She came trotting in - collar bell ringing and all.

The result? Well, I can't really describe it, but it was all caught on the podcast. I have cut that section out for your listening pleasure HERE. A few seconds into it, you will start hearing the cat's jingling bell. You will hear it close in on the microphone and then … well, you will have to listen to it!

Why not SUBSCRIBE to the podcast? A new episode is issued every Thursday morning and is less than 10 minutes in length! In each podcast, I share a success story and a question from the www.JoeSangl.com community. I promise you that you will be motivated and inspired by this podcast!

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Google 411 - A Tool You NEED to know!

January 15th, 2008 at 05:17 pm

Ever paid money when you used 411 to find out a phone number? Never pay it again!

I have not paid a dime for a 411 service for at least a year because I use Google 411.

The toll-free number is 1-800-466-4411

Go ahead and save it into your cell phone contact list now! It has saved me money and frustration multiple times!

I bet the Saving Freak will be really proud of this money-saving idea!

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FRUCALL - A Tool You NEED to know!

January 14th, 2008 at 07:41 am

Another great tool to share with readers!

Ever been in the middle of a store about to purchase something and wonder, "I wonder if I am getting this for the best price?"

Now you can KNOW!

Let me set up how this service can be used with a real-life story this last weekend!



One of Jenn's Christmas presents was a new piece of luggage. I wanted her to pick it out - so we went to the store and picked it out. It was a wonderful piece of luggage - expensive - but this brand has lasted for me. I really like this brand, but I wanted to make sure I was getting the absolute best deal possible on it.

How am I able to know? By dialing 1-888-363-7822! It is a toll-free number offered by FRUCALL.

After you dial the number, it asks you to type in the bar code number. When you type in the bar code number, it will tell you the LOWEST PRICE this item is currently offered for and WHERE you can purchase it for that price!

It comparison shops for you!

When I entered the bar code number, it told me the name of the product and the current lowest price for the luggage. It was $3 cheaper on Amazon. I went ahead and purchased the item in the store. It was worth it to me to pay $3 extra and have it now than wait a couple of days.

Go ahead - try it out! Pick up a book next to you and call the number. Find out the cheapest price it is currently available for!

Readers - Try this out and let me know how it helps you!

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular - January 2008

January 11th, 2008 at 06:33 am

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn's Home Pay-Off Spectacular! The third monthly update is TODAY!

We are even more fired up about getting rid of the mortgage!!! Why? Because we HAVE TAKEN REAL ACTION to reduce our expenses so that we can send even more money toward principal!

So Jenn and I have shook hands and made an agreement that the house payments will be gone within by October 2011 (Three years and 10 months). You guys will all get to watch the mortgage leave by watching the "Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular" turn green! By the way, I have a stretch goal of October 2010. It is a HUGE STRETCH.

On with this month's update!

Here is the update!

Total Squares: 2,426

Paid-For Squares: 709

Squares Remaining: 1719

% of House Owned By The Sangl's: 29.2%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo: 70.8%



Although it does not look like it, Jenn and I mailed EXTRA money toward the house this past month as a result of the gains we made through our intentional spending cuts! In two more months, we will own the east wall of our house! I am so excited!!!

By using the "Early Pay-Off Calculator" on the TOOLS page, our house will be paid off in 77 months (6 years and 5 months). In order to achieve our target of 3 years and 10 months (and my own stretch goal of 2 years and 10 months), we really need to start making larger payments. Let's see what next month brings!

I'm predicting a larger payment!

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REMINDER: 349 Days Until Christmas!

January 11th, 2008 at 06:28 am

For those of you who were wondering …

CHRISTMAS is only 349 days away!!!

Are you going to be able to Pay CASH for Christmas this year?

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A Debt Pay-off Spectacular In Action!

January 11th, 2008 at 06:26 am

I LOVE seeing Debt Pay-Off Spectacular's in action!

This one is in action in Wilmington, NC and Jeff Kapusta, pastor of Lifepoint Church is the one paying off his VAN!

Go to THIS BLOG POST and click on the "Pay This Sucker Off" link to see the picture!!!

Way to go, Jeff!!! Only 67 squares to go by my count!!!

You can get your OWN Debt Pay-off Spectacular FREE by clicking HERE!

You can even get a copy of a Llama Pay-Off Spectacular!!! You never even knew the benefits of reading this blog, did you?

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By the way, Jeff Kapusta is one of the coolest people I have ever met.

Investments - Having Fun Watching Them DROP in Value?!

January 11th, 2008 at 06:24 am

Every single month, I update my net worth numbers. It helps me track my investments, plus it helps me understand first-hand what is going on with the market.

For those who are not complete nerds like me, you calculate your net worth by adding up all of your assets (everything that has value like houses, cars, investments) and subtracting all of your liabilities (debts like mortgages, credit cards, car loans, etc.)

Over the first part of this year, it was always a lot of fun updating the numbers, but lately … It has not been much fun!

In fact, over the past two months I have seen my net worth drop by 3.45%!!!

However, I am not stopping investing! In fact, I am investing even more!!! Why? Because I view this like a sale! I can buy shares of my favorite mutual funds at a discount! They are on sale!

It is not fun watching them drop in value, but this is money that I won't need for at least thirty years!

The great thing is that there are two ways to increase your net worth - INCREASE your Assets OR DECREASE your Liabilities.

Jenn and I are investing every single month - That INCREASES our Assets!

We are also aggressively paying off our mortgage! - That DECREASES our Liabilities!

We can't help but do well with money! I am glad this stuff is not too difficult!

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Marching To Debt Freedom - Couple #2 - Month 04

January 10th, 2008 at 11:44 am

Introduction
This couple is THROUGH with debt! It has now been four months since they announced that they were breaking up with debt.

Here is the update.

What went well this month …
We had a great December!! We finished all of our Christmas shopping and paid for every dime of it in cash!! We had extra money come in during December and paid extra on the Discover card, which brought the balance down a lot. We finally got a handle on the cash envelopes and made them last during this month. We are very excited about how far we have come in only FOUR months. For anyone who is on the fence about trying Joe's program…GO FOR IT NOW!!!! We are so happy with our progress, but can't help but to think how far ahead we would be if we had only started sooner. But… we are very proud of our success and are looking forward to being debt free.

Challenges and struggles for this month …
Believe it or not, this month was pretty easy. We planned for everything (trip to Florida, trip to Georgia, Christmas presents, Best Friend's birthday, etc.). Since we try to look ahead each month there aren't as many surprises. I can't think of anything that was a struggle or challenge for December. It is getting easier!!

Here is their updated Debt Freedom Date calculation …


Month By Month Progress …


Sangl says …
Did you notice that Couple #2 paid off ANOTHER credit card?!!! This couple is experiencing a time of blessing, and they are utilizing it as the opportunity to become debt-free! Another $27 and this couple will have paid off over $10,000 in debt! That is INCREDIBLE!!! They have reduced their debt by 13.9%!!!

I am FIRED UP by the progress this couple is making! They have been at this for FOUR months, but did you notice what is happening to their Debt Freedom Date Calculation? It has went down SIX months! They are two months ahead of schedule already! This is why I regularly say that people who commit to becoming debt-free usually achieve it in 2/3 of the time calculated by the Debt Freedom Date Calculation. Why? Because when people are truly committed to accomplishing debt freedom, they will put off some "wants" and redirect that money toward their debt!

Readers …

Are you feeling the momentum that this couple has with them? It is January. Early January. Why not make this year THE YEAR that you take control of your money and start your own Debt Freedom March?

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Marching To Debt Freedom - Couple #1 - Month 04

January 9th, 2008 at 09:10 am

Introduction

Couple #1 is THROUGH with debt! They have been married for many years and have two children. They are now four months into their march. Here is this month's update.

What went well this month …

We paid cash for Christmas, and we didn't spend as much this year. Our kids are older, and it is not so much about the gift as it is about showing your family how much they mean to you.

Challenges and struggles for this month …

Only minimum payments were paid this month. That means wasted interest and delayed freedom but our day will come. 2008 will be a watershed year, or should I say a debt shedding year. I am jacked up about it. I plan on sleeping better because I don't have to worry who I am going to pay tomorrow.

Updated Debt Freedom Date …


Month By Month Progress …


Sangl says …

This month Couple #1 has experienced something that every single person who attempts to pay off debt WILL EXPERIENCE - They encountered a Budget-Busting Expense. They chose (rightly) to AVOID MORE DEBT by paying the minimum payments. This allowed them to PAY CASH for Christmas!

Think about it this way. How demoralizing would it be for you to be attacking your debt and then have to turn back to debt because you do not have money for a budget-busting expense? It has derailed many attempts at achieving debt freedom. Don't let this happen to you! Choose to do what Couple #1 did - slow down enough on the debt freedom march to have the cash on hand for your budget-busting expenses!

Way to go Couple #1! I am FIRED UP by your progress! You guys are inspiring THOUSANDS to take control of their finances! I can't WAIT for your Debt Freedom Party!

Readers …

You too can PAY CASH for next Christmas! Read the series "Save Money For Next Christmas" to avoid debt during Christmas 2008!

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2007 - Reflections On An Incredible Year

January 8th, 2008 at 03:06 pm

What a year 2007 was! It was my first full year on this crusade to help people win with their money, and I still can't believe what I have seen.

Here are some facts:

* 470 people received one-on-one financial counseling - FOR FREE!
* Wrote the Financial Freedom Class (5 session class)
* Taught the Financial Freedom Class 5 times!
* 413 people attended the Financial Freedom Class!
* Developed the Financial Learning Experience (2 hour class that travels the nation!)
* Taught the Financial Learning Experience 10 times!
* 1,209 people attended the Financial Learning Experience!
* Completed my first book "I Was Broke. Now I'm Not!" (being released in February 2008)
* Started a weekly newspaper column called "Money Help" in the Anderson Independent-Mail
* Initiated a weekly podcast called "I Was Broke. Now I'm Not!" (Listen to the iTunes version HERE, the non-iTunes version HERE)
* Spoke/Taught at NewSpring Church, Revolution Church, Crossroads Church, Barefoot Community Church, Lifepoint Church, 5 Point Fellowship, Oak Leaf Church, Word of Faith Christian Ministries, Little Steps, and Peachtree Community Church)
* Got to meet Dave Ramsey, sit in with him during his radio show, and interview him!

All of that - IN JUST ONE YEAR!!!

I am so blessed and humbled to be a part of this great crusade. I am overwhelmed by the blessings I have in my life.

Thanks be to God for making my life's work imminently clear! I LOVE what I get to do! I am truly living my dream!

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Save Money For Next Christmas - Part 4

January 7th, 2008 at 06:31 am

In this series, we are learning how to ensure we pay cash for next Christmas!



Step 1 Determine how much money you want for Christmas nex...

The goal in this step is to use the Mini-Budget Form (Excel) to determine the amount of money that you want for next year's Christmas.

Step 2 Save EVERY month for Christmas next year

By saving for Christmas every single month of the year, you can really lighten the financial burden that is regularly felt in November and December's budget!

Step 3 Make it AUTOMATIC!

By making your savings automatic, you help ensure that you stick to you savings plan!

Step 4 When Christmas shows up, pull your savings out in cash

You have done great! You have planned your spending and actually saved up the money! Now, it is Christmas time. There is one more hurdle to jump - sticking to your spending plan! I highly recommend that you use the cash envelope method. Why? Because when you spend cash, it is IMPOSSIBLE for you to spend more than you planned! It is the ultimate accountability! When you run out of cash, you are done!

I have found that when I spend cash, I am much more frugal and I usually end up getting a lot better deal than if I would have paid with a credit card. Why? I really can't explain it. I think it has to do with the fact that I am less impulsive and that means I think longer before making the purchase.

Well, that is it! That is how I have managed to pay cash for Christmas every single year starting in 2003. Here's to you having an all-cash, debt-free Christmas next year!

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Save Money For Next Christmas - Part 3

January 6th, 2008 at 09:04 am

In this series, we are learning how to ensure we pay cash for next Christmas!



Step 1 Determine how much money you want for Christmas nex...

The goal in this step is to use the Mini-Budget Form (Excel) on the TOOLS page to determine the amount of money that you want for next year's Christmas.

Step 2 Save EVERY month for Christmas next year

By saving for Christmas every single month of the year, you can really lighten the financial burden that is regularly felt in November and December's budget!

Step 3 Make it AUTOMATIC!

Anyone who has ever participated in a Christmas Club savings account KNOWS how great it is to have the savings be AUTOMATIC! When you make anything automatic, it helps you stick to it. If you automatically go to gym every morning, you will stay in shape. If you automatically read your newspaper every morning, you will stay informed. If you automatically SAVE, you will pay cash for Christmas!

One reason I regularly promote ING Direct's on-line savings accounts is because of their great interest rates with no minimum balance. Another reason is these accounts have a feature that allows you to AUTOMATICALLY draft your bank account at a set frequency. You can set it to draft your account monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or any other frequency you choose. You have determined the amount you need to save for next year's Christmas. Now why not set up a bank account to keep you on course? If your bank pays competitive interest, you should contact them to have an automatic draft set up.

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Save Money For Next Christmas - Part 2

January 3rd, 2008 at 06:30 am

Welcome to the latest series!



The goal of THIS SERIES is to equip you to pay CASH for next Christmas!

Step 1 Determine how much money you want for Christmas nex...

The goal in this step is to use the Mini-Budget Form (Excel) to determine the amount of money that you want for next year's Christmas.

Step 2 Save EVERY month for Christmas next year

You know the amount that you need for next Christmas! Congratulations! You have taken a HUGE first step toward being able to have a debt-free Christmas next year! Now, you need to save that amount! Jenn and I save 1/12th of our Christmas every single month. If our Christmas savings needs to be $1,000, we would save $83.33 every single month.

By saving every month, we really reduce the impact that Christmas has on our November and December budgets. In fact, it allows us to actually ENJOY spending money for Christmas because we are not worried about how we are going to pay off our credit cards!

Here is a chart to help you determine the amount to save each month.

Save Money For Next Christmas - Part 1

January 2nd, 2008 at 10:44 am

Welcome to the latest series - "Save Money For Next Christmas"



Christmas is now over, and you have just ran up a pile of debt on your credit cards again. It was fun to give great gifts, but it was not fun putting the purchases on the credit card.

If this is you, welcome to normal America. An America where we charge Christmas on credit cards, and attempt to use our tax refunds to help pay it back.

I remember when this was me. Each Christmas from 1992 to 2002 was a financially stressful time! I ran up a balance on the credit card and commit to use my tax refund to pay it back. The commitment was not very strong, however, because I always ended up carrying large balances on my credit card and paying high interest.

Since Christmas 2003, Jenn and I have paid CASH for all of our Christmas presents. Zero debt. No credit cards. No financial anxiety.

In this series, I will show you HOW we did it!

Step 1 Determine how much money you want for Christmas next year

Jenn and I always showed up a Christmas time without a plan. As a result, we overspent. Credit cards were always happy to catch our slack planning.

There is a great way to determine how much money you want for Christmas. You can pull up a Mini-Budget Form (Excel) and list each person for whom you will purchase a present.

You might want to include line items like Christmas Cards, Postage, Christmas Tree, and "Unexpected Christmas Gift Needs".

The goal with this step is to obtain the amount you want for next Christmas. Is it $200? $500? $1,500? $5,000?

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