Archive - July, 2008

Teaching Children About Money – Guest Post

Today's post is written by Katie.  Katie is a HUGE help to the crusade!  She coordinates all financial counseling appointments, manages my schedule, and helps ensure that the crusade to help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances rolls along smoothly.

Anyway, she and her husband (Matt) are the proud parents of two beautiful children – Cameron (4) and Claire (<1).  Today, Katie shares how she and Matt are training Cameron about money.

Since our son is only four years old, we are teaching him that there is value to everything and that we use money to buy the things that we need. Because money is limited we teach him not to be wasteful. One of his favorite things to do is to pour milk down the sink (who knows why). I have started explaining to him that we paid money for that milk so we need to save what we do not drink because it is worth something. When we go shopping I am constantly talking to him about how we have to pay the store money before we leave because those items are worth something and we have to exchange our money for them. When he asks for a treat or something at the store I have to tell him that we only have x amount of money and that costs more than what we have to spend since we are buying other items to eat for meals.

Sangl says …  It is never too early to start teaching children about money.  Jenn and I started teaching our daughter about money when she was four years old too.

By the way, Matt and Katie's son is super-smart.  He has learned the books of the Bible and can say them without help – backwards.  Watch it HERE

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SERIES Teaching My Daughter About Money: Waiting

Ever since Jenn and I had our I Have Had Enough Moment with living paycheck-to-paycheck and B-R-O-K-E and living the three-time-loser-with-credit-cards life, we have made it a huge priority to teach our daughter about money management.  It became a HUGE priority when we realized that she has inherited my "spender" genes!

In this series, I will be sharing some practical ways that we are teaching her about sound money management.

Part Three – Waiting

To put it bluntly, waiting sucks.  I despise lines.  I detest waiting rooms.  I deplore delays.  Waiting is no fun.  I have routinely said, "If I had wanted patience (patients), I would have become a doctor."  

Yet, it is absolutely true that patience is a virtue.  If one spends money based on snap decisions without the beauty of time between the "I WANT THAT!" moment and the purchasing moment, there will be huge opportunities for regretful decisions.

There have been times that I have had our daughter leave her short-term savings at home when we go shopping.  Why?  Because I have observed the wishy-washy decision making that she is highly susceptible to (I've even written about it HERE).  First she wants a Webkinz, then a bunny rabbit (yes a live one), then it is bunny rabbitS (plural!), then an iPod, then …  Children are such a reflection of their parents.  I'm sorry you have got my "spender" genes, my beautiful daughter.

By leaving her money at home, it opens the door for me to have conversation about the important financial principle of "waiting".  Yes, honey, it is no fun, but just think about the fact that all of that money that you have saved for months is still safe and sound for that big purchase you are saving for.  No, honey, I have not always waited and here is how I paid dearly for it …

Great conversations can be had when you just say "wait", "not now", and "later". 

Here are the lessons I think are being learned or reinforced:

  • Waiting is essential to excellent decision-making.
  • Open lines of communication are critical.  Instead of just saying "No!", we provide the opportunity to talk about why the decision has been made to wait.
  • Her parents are practicing what they are preaching.  By showing our daughter that we are also "waiting" on some purchase decisions, we are demonstrating that we are living this out.  Now THAT will preach!

Read the entire series 

Part One – Twenty Dollars

Part Two – Give, Save, Spend

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Financial Learning Experience!

I am PUMPED to be training new Financial Counselors for NewSpring Church on Saturday morning, August 2, 2008!  It is AWESOME to watch people catch the vision for this crusade and go help others radically change their entire financial future.  Simply AWESOME!

As part of the Financial Counseling Experience training, I will be teaching the Financial Learning Experience from 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM.

So here is the deal, I have fifty open spots for people who want to attend the Financial Learning Experience.  There will be no cost, but you have to sign up HERE and include a line that says "I Want To Attend The Financial Learning Experience!"  Include the name(s) of the people who will be attending.

It is open to anyone.

I can't wait!

SERIES Teaching My Daughter About Money: Give, Save, Spend

Ever since Jenn and I had our I Have Had Enough Moment with living paycheck-to-paycheck and B-R-O-K-E and living the three-time-loser-with-credit-cards life, we have made it a huge priority to teach our daughter about money management.  It became a HUGE priority when we realized that she has inherited my "spender" genes!

In this series, I will be sharing some practical ways that we are teaching her about sound money management.

Part Two – Give, Save, Spend

Jenn and I purchased Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace Jr. kit back in 2004, and it has been a mainstay on our refrigerator ever since.  I really like the three main categories that he focuses on in the kit – GIVE, SAVE, SPEND.

Every time that Melea receives money, we have taught her to divide the money into the three categories.  She has to put twenty-percent into the GIVE envelope, at least twenty-percent into the SAVE envelope, and the rest goes into the SPEND envelope.

Since this has been the standard procedure since she was very young, it is part of her DNA to think this way now every time that she receives money.  She KNOWS that it must be divided between the three categories.  You want to feel proud?  Watch your child automatically take birthday money and separate it into the three categories and see that the GIVE and SAVE categories exceed the SPEND category.

Thanks, Dave Ramsey, for offering such a simple, yet fantastic product! 

Here are the lessons I think are being learned or reinforced:

  • GIVE and SAVE take priority over SPEND.  So basic.  So subtle.  But this is HUGE when it comes to ensuring that our plans/hopes/dreams are fulfilled.
  • Giving fills the heart.  Saving fills the bank account.  We talk through the giving decisions. She knows exactly what she is saving for.

Read the entire series 

Part One – Twenty Dollars

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SERIES Teaching My Daughter About Money: Twenty Dollars

Ever since Jenn and I had our I Have Had Enough Moment with living paycheck-to-paycheck and B-R-O-K-E and living the three-time-loser-with-credit-cards life, we have made it a huge priority to teach our daughter about money management.  It became a HUGE priority when we realized that she has inherited my "spender" genes!

In this series, I will be sharing some practical ways that we are teaching her about sound money management.

Part One – Twenty Dollars

We recently embarked on the largest and longest vacation of our lives.  We traveled from South Carolina all of the way to far western South Dakota via car.  The trip consisted of a week at a fishing cabin in northern Minnesota and a week hitting all of the tourist destinations of South Dakota.

As with any type of vacation, we knew that we would be encountering the tourist traps just waiting to take money from our pockets and put it into their pockets.  This has been a source of frustration in the past because our daughter would see something she just had to have and begin a full-tilt marketing campaign to obtain it.  It starts with asking mom.  When referred by her mother to speak to dad, she spins the statement by saying, "Mom said I can get it if you say it is OK."  This spin is done to make me clearly understand that I am the bad guy if I say NO and that I am the only barrier to achieving the acquisition of said trinket/junk/trash/souvenir. 

Well, I came up with the PERFECT solution for the problem.  Jenn and I gave our daughter twenty dollars at the start of the vacation with the following rules.

  1. When it is gone, there will be no more.
  2. You can spend it however you want.
  3. We will not question your purchase, but we will answer any questions you have.
  4. You can save the money if you want.

The result?  Stress-free walks through the tourist traps.  On several occasions, I even saw her pick up an item to purchase it and then put it back down.  One time she had picked up the bag to fill up with painted rocks (painted rocks! what an idea!) and she put it down, announcing, "They are really pretty, but they would just sit around at home."

Did she save any money to bring home?  Nope.  She is a spender through and through, BUT she followed the rules and it prevented a lot of frustration. 

Here are the lessons I think are being learned or reinforced:

  • Money is limited.  If you spend it all now, there will be nothing left in the future.
  • Cash limits impulsive spending.  For spending categories that are susceptible to impulsive purchases, it is very helpful to plan ahead and take cash.  You can not overspend cash.
  • Opportunity cost.  If you buy a particular item, what was the next best thing that money could have purchased.
  • She is a spender.  It is very helpful to recognize your own spending behavior.  My wife is a super-duper-saver.  She saves money.  She hates to spend money.  I am a HUGE spender.  Check that.  I am a reformed-spender.

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Success Stories

Here is a success story from a reader of who has completed the Financial Freedom Experience.  She provided this update the other day.

Just paid off CC #1.  Capital One no longer has any chains on me!!! Chase and Citi will be gone in less than 6 months now.  They are combined at $591.70 still over my head. One more credit card to pay off and then my car is on its way to being owned by me and not someone else!!! I'm so jacked up right now.  I can't even say thanks enough for what you have done through your classes.  I was once defined by my debt, and I didn't know what it would ever be like to have none of it.  I'm so excited that I'm getting one step closer to finding out.  Thanks again!

Here is another success story from a reader of

Just saying a BIG THANK YOU to you for giving me the courage and imparting wisdom to allow me to declare today as the first day that I am completely debt-free from all credit cards!  I managed, by the grace of God, to  pay off over $6,000 in debt in only 6 months. I cut out so much in order to accomplish this,realizing along the way that "stuff" is not even important!  Jesus is thedeal!  Thank you! Your life passion has given me a debt-free future!

If you were wondering …  You CAN do this!  Even if you are just embarking on your Debt Freedom March, keep reading this and other personal finance websites.  Read some great books on personal finances.  In I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. I share my family's Debt Freedom March story and then teach the exact tools that we used to achieve financial freedom.

And, oh yeah, I am PUMPED that the accompanying Home Group Study is now available for ordering!  Right now, you can get the I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. Home Group Study Guide FREE with the purchase of I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.  Click HERE to learn more!

Proud of Gary Lamb

I am little late to praise Gary Lamb for paying off his Jeep.

Apparently, I did not receive his Twitter update stating that Gary received the title to his Jeep due to my stupid, boring, non-Twitterific cell phone.  I REALLY want a Blackberry Curve now!  Time to re-tool the budget and make the cost of one of those fit in there.

Anyway, Gary, I'm proud of you!  You are now right up there with Jeff Kapusta in the crusade hall of fame. 

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Great “Teach Your Kids About Money” Reminders

Jessica sent in the following article link from that I think is an important reminder on how parents can help educate their children about sound money management.

The article is HERE.

There are five points.  I graded myself as I went through them.

1.  Set a good example.  [ GRADE: A- ]  I am still a spender at heart.

2.  Start saving – at any age.  [ GRADE: B+]  My daughter inherited my "spender" genes.  She always saves some of her money, but I have let her continue to buy those stupid Webkinz!!!  How many of those things does a kid need anyway?!!!!

3.  Budget sense.  [ GRADE: A+ ]  Our daughter knows about budgets.  She knows how they work.

4.  Go shopping together.  [ GRADE: A ]  On recent shopping trips, I have really seen our daughter pull back from making a frivolous purchase that she would have made in the past.

5.  Make it a long-term conversation.  [ GRADE: A+ ]  Anyone who knows me, KNOWS that I can make a conversation about money be a LONG-TERM conversation.

Grade yourself below, and let's start the conversation!

Received: Another Shipment Of Books

Last month, I wrote that I ordered more copies of I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.

Last week, I received that order of books.

I have to say I was stunned.  STUNNED.


Let me go back to January 2006 …

It had been about two years since Jenn and I had become debt-free, and it was becoming very clear that we needed to go teach this personal finance stuff full-time.  I really felt compelled to write a book that shared our journey out of debt and into financial freedom.

That last line I just wrote is FUNNY.  I mean laugh-out-loud HA-HA FUNNY.  I had never written a book.  How does one write a book?  What about copyrighting?  What about barcoding, LCCN, and all of that stuff?  What about the editing?  Not to mention the formatting, editing, and PUBLISHING!   I was totally intimidated.

I remember that Jenn and I made the trip down to NewSpring to visit Perry, Ken, and friends for New Years weekend.  Perry and Ken had starting doing this new thing called blogging.  I quickly realized that this was a way for me to start getting my thoughts written down on paper.  At that time, I did not care if anyone read this blog.  It was simply a tool for me to get my thoughts down on paper to possibly use in a book some day.

Fast forward two years later to January 2008.  I took a HUGE leap of faith and self-published the book – I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.  Let me break down what "self-published book" means.  It means that I paid cash to a book printer to print this book.  In other words, a publisher did not lay out the cash for me.  Jenn and I had to lay out the cash.  Lots of it.

We took a chance.  We took a step of faith.

Fast forward to today and why I am so STUNNED.  This week I received the same amount of books that I ordered in January.  When I stacked the new delivery of books next to the first shipment, it DWARFED the first set.  Why?  BECAUSE SO MANY PEOPLE HAVE BELIEVED IN THIS CRUSADE!  I am blown away, humbled, and very honored that so many people have invested in this crusade by purchasing a book.  I am blown away and humbled by the kind words that have been shared by people whose lives have been impacted by what they have learned and applied through the book. 

For all who have invested in this crusade, thank you.  I am overwhelmed that I get to do this stuff for a living.

Supplementing My Budget With A Garden

I have written before about how I am crazy about gardening.

I just love the fact that I can plant a little seed and then see it sprout, grow, and produce tremendous fruits, vegetables, flowers, and foliage.


Over the past month, the garden has produced the following vegetables:

  • Dozens of zucchini
  • DOZENS of cucumbers
  • Strawberries
  • Several yellow squash
  • A hundred ears of sweet corn
  • DOZENS of yellow pear cherry tomatoes
  • Several Better Boy tomatoes
  • Dozens of bell peppers
  • Dozens of jalapeno peppers
  • Onions
  • Snow peas

And shortly it will produce about a dozen watermelons and at least four canteloupes!  In the fall, I will get to harvest sweet potatoes, peanuts, pumpkins, and butternut squash.

The herb garden has cilantro, basil, chives, and bee balm.

The flower garden has day lillies, surprise lillies, sunflowers, zinnias, gladiolas, purple coneflowers, cleome, aster, marigolds, shasta daisies, sweet william, snapdragons, celosia, coleus, alyssum, coral bells, liatris, and chinese lanterns.

I tried this year to grow luffa sponges again.  I tried them two years in a row in northern Indiana and all they did was vine all over the place.  This year, in the hot south, I decided to try them again.  And they have been vining all over the place AND blooming.  Today I discovered that it has actually set a large luffa sponge gourd!  I am so thankful because now I know that I will be able to have soft and smooth skin all winter long.  Smile

I have attached a few pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Sunflower (over 10 feet tall!)

Watermelon (just under twenty pounds at the moment!)

Luffa Gourd!

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Home Buying Disaster Averted

In response to a post that I wrote awhile ago about my thirty year old home having thirty year old problems, I received the following e-mail from a reader.  With her permission, I am sharing her story today.

Here is a near-miss where my husband and I almost made a horrible snap-judgment decision.  We were looking to buy a house and had been looking for awhile.  Our "preapproved" status was about to run out and we would have to start all over again with the credit checks, etc.  We could not find a house that we liked.  We did run across this 50 year old completely redone home that was very cute.  Everything was great except for the bedrooms were tiny and the heat and air conditioning had not been upgraded.  We thought this house was great, but we would have to spend money getting a new AC and pave a long driveway to the road.  The sellers would not budge on the price (they were flipping the house).  Our Realtor talked us out of purchasing the house.  She said we were going to sink money into the house that we did not have, they were asking too much for the house, and the bedrooms were too small.  We kept saying, "But this … " and "But that …" and we did not want to go through another preapproval stage.  She assured us that we had "time" to still find something.  So, we found the perfect house, but we prayed hard about it.  I think this was God's decision, not ours.  We would have paid more for a much older house and would have spent at least ten grand out of pocket for a few upgrades.  I am glad we pondered!

I tell you what, I have had house fever before too.  Left unchecked, it can lead you into making some poor financial decisions.

Have you ever experienced house fever before?  What did you do to control it and ensure you made a great, well thought out purchase? 

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Marching To Debt Freedom – Couple #3 – Month 07


This couple has been married for many years and have one child.   They have HAD IT with their debt and have been marching toward debt freedom since November 2007.  They are THROUGH with credit cards.

What went well this month?

The 401(k) loan payment won't be taken out of the paycheck until July 1, so we were able to increase our payment to $200 on National City this month! YEAH!! We are hoping once the loan payment comes out we can continue doing this…….  It is nice to see some balances coming down…..

What were the challenges/struggles this month?

We are just trying to stay on track and see the big picture at the end…BECOMING DEBT FREE!!! The cost of gas and groceries going up is impacting our budget some…but we are shifting things around so that INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO……we couldn't live without the budget sheet!!! It helps us out TREMENDOUSLY!!!!!

Updated Debt Freedom Date …

Month By Month Progress …

Have you taught any of your friends/family this stuff?  If you have, how did it go?

My husband has shared this with several co-workers who were excited about it….he gave them the website so that they could learn more about it.

Sangl Says …

Couple #3 is in position to make dramatic debt reduction.  Will it happen?  Let us watch and see!

Readers …

If you have debt, what steps do you need to take to position yourself to make dramatic improvements to your debt situation?  What will it take to make you take those steps?

Read previous Debt Freedom March updates HERE.

HOME GROUP STUDY: I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

I am FIRED UP to say that the home group study based on my book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not., is in its final stages.  It will be released by the first week of August!

This study has been written specifically for Church Home Groups, Small Groups, and Sunday school classes.

To help launch this study, I have come up with some special deals that can help you get your materials cheaper.

You can learn more and purchase your copies HERE.  All items will ship no later than August 7, 2008.

It is my passion to see people accomplish far more than they ever thought possible with their personal finances.

When people are financially free, they are much more likely to go do EXACTLY what they have been put on this earth to do!  THAT, my friends, is what this is all about. 


I really liked MyMoneyBlog’s post today …

Jonathan over at wrote an excellent post today about preparing for early retirement.

Maybe it is my planner's heart that was drawn to this article, but it is extremely well-written and thought out.

You should check it out HERE

Marching To Debt Freedom – Couple #1 – Month 10


Couple #1 is THROUGH with debt!  They have been married for many years and have two children.  They are now NINE months into their Debt Freedom March.

What went well this month?

Staying on schedule. I am glad we started this months ago. I would hate to be carrying that extra debt through these tough times.

What were the challenges/struggles this month?

Expenses are taking all the disposable income right now. Food and gas are unbelievable. We are determined not to create new debt. We are being very creative about saying no.

Updated Debt Freedom Date

Month By Month Progress

What has helped you stay on this Debt Freedom March?

The day that I can say I owe no money to anyone will be a benchmark in my life!

Sangl Says …

Next month, Couple #1 will clear $20,000 of debt paid off in the first 11 months of their Debt Freedom March!  That is AWESOME!  Also, it appears that the American Express card will be ditched completely!  This stuff works!

Readers …

How is your own Debt Freedom March progressing?

In my book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not., I share the story of my Debt Freedom March and teach the exact tools that Jenn and I used to become debt-free.  You can do it too!  You can read the book's introduction HERE.

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