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Archive for November, 2007

Wants Needs: Follow Up

November 30th, 2007 at 08:48 am

My http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com/2007/11/18/wants-needs_321... a couple of weeks ago really generated quite a response, and it has been interesting to receive all of your feedback on the steps that Jenn and I are taking to eliminate our home mortgage.

If you recall, we are considering eliminating/reducing our spending on:

* Cable TV
* Spending Money
* Babysitting Money
* Internet
* Entertainment Money
* Gasoline Money
* Christmas Money

Well, here is an update to our discussion.

* Cable/Internet I was spending $126/month on my stupid cable and internet bill. That is ridiculous!!! After forty minutes of phone conversation and talking to six representatives (yes I counted), I have been able to reduce to basic cable and basic internet for $34/month. That is a savings of $92/month! Annually, that is a savings of $1,104 and it will allow us to color in over 15 extra squares on the http://www.josephsangl.com/?cat=16 PER YEAR!
* Gasoline Money We are starting to take our lunch to the crusade instead of going home. This allows us to save 12 miles of driving each day. This will save us around $36/month! Annually, that is a savings of $432 and it will allow us to color in nearly 6 extra squares on the http://www.josephsangl.com/?cat=16 PER YEAR!
* Babysitting, Entertainment, Spending, and Christmas Money are all on the docket for this month's spending discussion. PRAY that this goes well!

As I have routinely said throughout my life - Thoughts and talk without action is mere babble!

We are taking ACTION to destroy this stupid mortgage!

I welcome any money saving tips you may have!

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Hidden Debt - Do You Have Any?

November 29th, 2007 at 07:07 am

As I have helped people prepare hundreds of budgets, I realize that debt is sometimes hidden from people.

Let me give you an example.

One of the first things I ask when helping a person prepare a written budget is "How much is your take-home pay?

They tell me a number, and we start applying the famous equation: INCOME - OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO

Everything is proceeding smoothly until we get to the debt column. The "revealing" of the hidden debt happens here.

The statement is made, "I have a 401(k) loan, but it is taken out of my paycheck. Should we include it here?"

The 401(k) loan is taken from their paycheck before it ever gets to them. Ever hear the saying, "Out of sight. Out of mind."?

I usually adjust the "Take-Home Pay" by the loan payment amount and then include the payment in the debt column.

Here are some common "Hidden Debts" that I see:

* 401(k) loans
* Overdraft loans
* Car payments
* Company loans

These hidden loans are "Out of sight. Out of mind." Yet they are eroding one's ability to win financially.

Expose the debts to daylight and ATTACK them!

Oh, by the way, you ought to list out all of your paycheck deductions and see how much you are paying annually for each one. When you see how much you are paying in taxes, it will ensure that you vote every single time you have the opportunity!!!

You can start your written spending plan by using one of the FREE easy-to-use forms on the http://www.josephsangl.com/?page_id=151 page.

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1,000 downloads of the Monthly Budgeting Form

November 28th, 2007 at 06:19 am

About eight weeks ago and after nearly two years of blogging, I finally established the ability to track the number of downloads for individual forms.

Sometime this week, the http://www.josephsangl.com/wp-content/plugins/wp-downloadMon... will be downloaded for the 1,000th time during that eight week period!

That is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!! I put these tools on my web page for FREE because I wanted to help people start winning with money, and it is working!!!

How do I know that it is working? Read some of the success stories http://www.josephsangl.com/?p=499.

Are you one of the many who have started using the budget forms to put together a spending plan that works? Share your success story http://www.josephsangl.com/?p=499!

Maybe you have been on the fringe reading the writings of this lunatic named Joe Sangl. Is today the day that you will put together a http://www.josephsangl.com/?cat=21? Click on http://www.josephsangl.com/?page_id=151at the top of the page to start your journey to financial freedom!

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Prevent Overspending For Christmas!

November 27th, 2007 at 08:28 am

I remember the days that I used credit cards to pay for Christmas.

There were two key reasons that I used these fabulous credit cards:

1. I did not save money for Christmas during the year
2. I overspent on Christmas presents

I solved #1 by creating a Christmas escrow account.

Let's say that I wanted to spend $1,000 for Christmas. By saving $83.33 each month, I magically have $1,000 when Christmas arrives! This takes away a lot of stress, and I highly recommend it! You can read more about creating your own escrow account by clicking http://www.josephsangl.com/?p=425.

I solved #2 by putting together a written plan for my Christmas shopping. I pulled up a copy of the Mini-Budget Form (Excel)on the http://www.josephsangl.com/?page_id=151 page and entered the names of those I am shopping for this Christmas.

At the top of the form, I entered $1,000 for the "Cash Budgeted".

I then wrote in the amount of money that I plan to spend for each person on the list.

Applying my secret formula for financial success, INCOME - OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO, I spend the $1,000 to EXACTLY ZERO.

By pulling out cash for the Christmas Shopping, I can ensure that I will not overspend!

I am FIRED UP by all of the success stories that readers are sharing via the "Success Stories" link! Have you shared your successes - both large and small? You can do so by clicking on SUCCESS STORIES on the sidebar or by clicking http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com/2007/11/20/new-feature-suc...!

Saving Money?

November 26th, 2007 at 06:51 am

"I saved $3,000 when I bought this new car!"

"I saved $250 when I bought this new TV!"

"I saved $200 when I bought this new computer!"

I am sure that you have heard people say this. You have probably said this. I know that I used to say this a lot!

The FACT is that - I have never seen anyone save money by spending money!

I have seen them spend less money, but I have never seen them save money.

People want to believe that they are getting a great deal, AND they know that they should be saving money. Marketers are genius to use the phrase "Save money by buying today!"

I will probably use this phrase when my book is released. I will say … "Save $3 by purchasing today!" Smile

I guess there is one way to kill my statement. That is to take the money that you did not spend and actually save it!!! Like physically putting the money into a savings account where it can gain interest. That would certainly put a hole in my rant!

I really like saving my emergency fund money in my http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2718006-10420585 and receiving 4.2% interest (it's current interest rate)!

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

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NEW FEATURE: Success Stories!

November 20th, 2007 at 07:57 am

Today, I proudly introduce a new feature - Success Stories!

Beginning today, there will be a link on the sidebar that links to this post. Why? Because this is THE SPOT where you can tell the entire world about your financial successes - both great and small!

Did you save money on car insurance? We want to hear about it!

Did you try out cash envelopes and save money at the grocery store? We want to hear about it!

Did you put together your first-ever monthly budget and actually follow it? We want to hear about it!

I want to hear your stories! We all want to hear your stories! Let's see if we can get 1,000 success stories by the end of the year!

I am going to list one of my recent success stories first! Who's next?

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

Wants vs Needs Backlash

November 19th, 2007 at 08:19 am

It seems my http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com/2007/11/18/wants-needs_321... out of my life has generated some really strong feedback.

I have gotten comments on the blog, e-mails sent directly to me, and pretty strong feedback from individuals I see weekly.

I have gotten statements like …

* Joe, you have to live a little!
* Way to go!
* Why are you doing this?
* You should also considering cutting …
* This seems extreme
* You should invest all of this extra money instead of paying down the mortgage.
* You're crazy!

Why is it that all of the people who are suggesting that I am a little off of my rocker for doing this all have house payments?

Folks, I am not doing this to be normal. If I wanted to be normal, I would still have car payments, student loan payments, credit card payments, furniture payments, and dog payments. That is what normal is in America - I've lived that way (except for the financed puppy), and TRUST ME I like the debt free life better!

I CHOOSE to NOT be normal!!! As I like to say when teaching my class - you can call me crazy, weird, a nerd, or anything else - just don't call me broke anymore!

Who's with me?

Wants Needs

November 18th, 2007 at 09:03 am

Jenn are going through a season where we are SICK of paying mortgage payments. We have been debt-free except for the house for nearly four years, but this stupid house mortgage makes us angry!

If we paid the regular monthly payment for a thirty year mortgage at a fixed rate of 6% interest, only 17% of the principal & interest payments made in the first year go to principal! Where does the other 83% go? To the mortgage lender!!!

No wonder people aren't winning financially!

So, Jenn and I are attacking the mortgage. This translates to the fact that we are boosting income and cutting spending.

As part of the "cutting spending', Jenn and I are having to have the Wants vs. Needs discussion.

I have got to tell you, it is BRUTAL!

Here is what is up for cutting or eliminating in our budget:

* Cable TV
* Spending Money
* Babysitting Money
* Internet
* Entertainment Money
* Gasoline Money
* Christmas Money

Here is NOT what is up for cutting or eliminating in our budget:

* Vacation Money (we save for it monthly)
* Retirement Savings
* College Savings

I need some great ideas for saving a boatload of cash. Anyone have any great ideas?

Another edition of the Weekly "I Was Broke. Now, I'm Not!" Podcast was released yesterday! To subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, click http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcas.... If you do not have iTunes, you can download an mp3 by clicking http://feeds.feedburner.com/JSFinancialFreedom.

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How much interest are you getting paid?

November 15th, 2007 at 07:08 pm

I remember back when I had an average bank balance of $4.13. I had a savings account that paid a whopping 0.25% interest.

I would be paid something like $0.02 in interest per year, but get charged $5 per month for being under the "minimum balance" they had established.

What a lousy deal! It was a lousy deal when I had $4.13 in the bank, and it was a HORRIBLE deal when I had way more than $4.13 in the bank.

That is why I am such a big fan of on-line savings accounts - especially my ING Direct on-line savings account.

ING has no minimum balance requirement, charges no fees, has outstanding customer service, is FDIC-insured, and is currently paying 4.2% interest on their http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2718006-10420585! They even pay 3.25% interest on their http://www.jdoqocy.com/click-2718006-10497671!

For money that I am not going to need for at least five years, I invest in mutual funds.

For money that I will need in the next five years, I carry in an interest-bearing savings account that pays great interest!

Let me ask you the question again. How much interest are you getting paid?

The Wagon Staplers

November 15th, 2007 at 05:31 am

As a teacher, counselor, and speaker, I am able to teach personal finances to thousands of people each year.

One of the hardest things for me to see is those "who fall off the wagon."



These are the people who get PUMPED UP to start winning with their money. They put together a written spending plan, calculate their Debt Freedom Date, and tell everyone they know that they are getting out of debt.

Flash forward three months. The written spending plan has been trashed and is not updated. The Debt Freedom Date has been stored away. They hang their heads saying, "I guess we won't be able to win with money."

That hurts my heart! It makes me want to cry! Why? Because I KNOW that the tools I teach WORK! I am living proof! I was able to break free of debt. You can do it too!

I don't know all of the reasons that cause a person to fall off of the wagon, but I am here to tell you that YOU CAN WIN WITH YOUR MONEY!!! You CAN do this!

Pull out the http://www.josephsangl.com/?page_id=151 - your monthly spending plan and debt freedom date calculation!

Go to the http://www.josephsangl.com/?page_id=151 page and put together a spending plan for the rest of this month. Update that Debt Freedom Date Calculation! Print it out and put it on the refrigerator!

You CAN do this!

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Putting the CUSS in Customer Service - A Rant By Joseph Sangl

November 14th, 2007 at 05:43 am

Ever had an experience with customer service that really puts the CUSS in Customer Service?

I have had some seriously frustrating experiences with my cable over the past year.

I will list some of them.

* Cable goes out during nearly every rain storm
* When cable goes out, my INTERNET goes out (it's amazing how tied to the internet I have become!)
* My cable has went out for periods ranging from 1 hour to 17 days
* I can shake a wire outside and the cable service MIGHT come back on, but the company can't figure out why
* I have had no less than four different issues/outages.
* Cable went out during a Purdue Boilermaker football game. That is bad news for the cable company.

When I talk to Cusstomer Service, they have yet to say, "I am so sorry for your problems. You are a very important customer to us, and we are committed to fixing this right away to your complete satisfaction."

In fact, when I do call Cusstomer Disservice they attempt to sell me something! Every. Single. Time. "Sir, would you like to try out our VOIP phone service?" "Sir, would you like to upgrade your entertainment package?" NO! I just want my stinking cable and internet back!!!

So recently I read http://www.tonymorganlive.com/tony_morgan_one_of_the_si/2007... without having to have a home phone AND he saved a ton of money. You can bet that I have contacted him to figure out how I can do the same deal.

I KNOW that companies have issues. ALL companies have issues from time to time. That is when Customer Service is most important!

So cable company, the next time I call with an issue I want to provide you with a written checklist for your customer service agents to follow.

* "I am so sorry that you are having issues today. We strive for excellence, and we are sorry you are having this issue."
* "You are a very important customer to us, and we will not be happy until we have restored your service to its full capability."
* Upon verification of the issue, call and tell me, "I am placing a credit for one month's service on your account. We are so sorry for the inconvenience."
* If you really want to knock it out of the park, you can send me a written repair statement telling me exactly what the problem was, how it was repaired, and what has been changed to prevent this problem from occurring again in the future.

Perhaps you could really go out on a limb and benchmark some companies that are highly regarded for their great customer service. A company that comes to my mind is ING Direct. They have GREAT customer service AND they have a http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2718006-10420585!

But it may be too little too late for the Sangl family. Four strikes add up to an out with a mulligan.

http://iwasbroke.savingadvice.com

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Another couple has started their Debt March!

November 13th, 2007 at 06:14 am

So Robert and Helena have joined the ranks of those marching toward debt freedom!

Today, Robert and Helena brought me this picture of their credit cards.



They SHREDDED their credit cards to spell the words "NO NEW DEBT!!!"

And guess what? For over two months now, they have incurred NO NEW DEBT!

I guess they have had their http://www.josephsangl.com/?p=488!

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My Dream Savings

November 12th, 2007 at 05:21 am

I am starting to invest in a mutual fund for my non-retirement dreams.

I thought I would share some of my non-retirement dreams.

* A LONG trip to Australia and New Zealand
* A LONG trip to Europe - starting in England, including Denmark, Germany, Austria, and ending in Poland.
* A LONG trip to Israel
* My daughter's wedding (whether I like it or not, she will probably get married some day)
* A really nice ski boat
* A really nice fishing boat
* A 100 acre farm
* A LONG trip around the United States

What are some of your dreams?

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Don’t They Get It?! - A Rant By Joseph Sangl

November 9th, 2007 at 05:26 am

Note: This situation has occurred MULTIPLE times in multiple venues and does not reflect any one situation.

As a financial counselor and teacher, I have encountered many horrible financial situations.

There are times that I leave the conversation thinking, "I don't think they get it!"

I have had people approach me for advice. Their situation? They are three months behind on the house payment and cars have been/are in the process of being repossessed. Their car payments are 40% of their take-home pay. The amount owed on cars is equal to two year's salary! The list of horrible, depressing situations could go on …

When I ask them how many hours they are working and how many jobs they have, the answer is forty hours and one job!

How is that possible?!!! If being three house payments behind does not motivate one to go get more hours and income, at what point does the fire alarm start ringing?

If I were even close to being behind on a house payment I would have five jobs by the end of the day! I would work eighty or ninety hours each week to get out of the situation!!!!!!

I feel like I am having to sell the concept of earning more money to pay the house payment.

I hear excuses like, "I'm not going to work at McDonald's. They only pay $7/hour."

I understand that they don't want to work at McDonald's, but desperate times call for desperate measures! By working 20 hours per week at McDonald's, they will bring home an extra $400 take-home pay to address the past due situation payments!

Don't get me wrong. I want them to earn as much per hour as possible, but when McDonald's is the option available - take it!

There are times when the world seems all wrong, the bills are stacking up, and life is just not fun. There are two choices available - stand around and watch it all be taken away OR take matters into one's own hands and generate enough income to recover!

You can AVOID falling behind on your payments by spending your money on paper BEFORE the month begins! Click http://www.josephsangl.com/?page_id=151for free budgeting tools.

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