Archive - January, 2009

Awesome Financial Learning Experience at Element Church!


I was PUMPED to be able to teach the Financial Learning Experience at Element Church in Cheyenne, Wyoming!

I had never been to Wyoming, and it was awesome to be able to carry the crusade there.

I love watching folks learn the tools that I used to march out of debt and become financially free!  I LOVE seeing hope restored.  I love being a part of life-changing work.

I know that I say this often, but I must say it again.

I can't believe I get to do this stuff for a living.

To all who attended the FLE, you rocked!  I can't wait to hear your voice mail message of "WOO-HOO!"

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FLE – Ottumwa, Iowa – thebridge

I had a BLAST teaching in Ottumwa, Iowa on Wednesday.  It was a terrific day.

The day started by meeting up with the pastor of thebridge, Marty Schmidt and his bride, Jenny.

After lunch, I was able to train SIX new financial counselors through the Financial Counseling Experience.  Training financial counselors is one of my favorite things to do!  It means that this crusade will carry on long after the event has taken place.

On Wednesday evening, the Financial Learning Experience kicked off.  Lives were changed.

I can't believe I get to do this for a living!

Thanks so much to the volunteers and staff of thebridge church in Ottumwa, Iowa for making it a GREAT event!

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0% Credit Card Transfer Story

A person who recently attended a Financial Learning Experience e-mailed me the following question:

I had the privilege of hearing you speak both during the message and the class that followed. Mywife and I are committed to eliminating our debt. With that in mind, I have a question. I have three credit cards one for 6,000.00, one for 1956.00 and onefor 5775.00 I am paying high interest rates 27.98, 24.00 and 20.4% respectively.

I tried to reduce my rates, but they were unwilling and the reality is that I don’t get [0%] offers in the mail anymore.

I responded with the following question: Have you applied for one of the cards on my “Next Steps” site [HERE]?

His response FIRED ME UP!

Here is his response …

I just applied for the discover card and I put two of the cards to be transferred totaling 11,500.00 and I was accepted! After talking to Bank of America earlier today I felt as if I were a heathen slug that had delinquent deadbeat written on my forehead and the reality was that I had always paid them!

Thank you … you will get my phone call with a loud yahoo! You have an awesome ministry keep up the good work.

So let’s look at the math.  $6,000 was moved from 27.98% and $5,500 was moved from 20.4%.  That one move saved $205/month in INTEREST!!!  That is over $2,400 per year in INTEREST that was eliminated.

If you are paying interest on a credit card, why?

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Crocs Do Not Work Well In Snow

I am in Ottumwa, Iowa.

I am here to teach the Financial Learning Experience tonight at thebridge church (pastor is Marty Schmidt).

I have already learned a lot about Ottumwa, Iowa.

  • It is the hometown of Radar from M.A.S.H. and Tom Arnold
  • It is about 1.5 hours south and east of Des Moines
  • There is a huge need for financial training (just like all other areas of America!)
  • I like Ottumwa
  • It is home to a cool new church called "thebridge"

I also have realized that I have been living in the South for awhile.  I showed up in Des Moines (8 degrees F and snow) wearing a light jacket, running socks, and Crocs.

Guess what?  I was cold.  Snow came in direct contact with my legs just above the ankles, and snow went right through the holes in the Crocs and soaked my socks.

So for those of you who were wondering: Crocs do not work well in snow. 

It made me think about the number of times I have showed up ill-prepared to address financial issues.  For example, I used to think that earning more money would solve my credit card balance and impulsive spending decisions.  I was wrong.  The fact was that I could earn millions of dollars a year, and I would still have an outgo problem.

I was ill-equipped.  My monthly written spending plan using INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO was the correct tool to address my problem.

My Crocs have been replaced with nice leather waterproof shoes.

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Stressed Out About Finances

When I teach the Financial Learning Experience, I always take some time to have everyone write down the reasons why they want to be financially successful.  I believe that when people know WHY they are sacrificing financially, it helps them stick to their plan.

Do you know what the number one reason is?


Nearly everyone in the room has written down that one of the reasons they want financial success is to have less stress in their life!

Is that you?  If it is, I want you to know that you CAN reduce the stress related to your finances!  You CAN!

Here is a short list of items that removed a ton of financial stress from my life: 

  • A written spending plan every month before the month begins.  It is truly EZ to win with money!
  • Stopped acquiring more debt
  • An emergency fund of at least $2,500
  • A wife that chooses to work together with me to manage our money
  • Paid off all debt except the house
  • Prayer
  • Realizing what "enough" was
  • Answering God's call on my life (you can watch me share my journey HERE)

What has helped you eliminate financial stress in your life?

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How To Save Money On Groceries – Guest Post

A couple who attend NewSpring were sharing with me how much money they have saved purchasing groceries with coupons.  I was blown away and asked them to write it up for me to share with everyone on the blog. They did and here it is!

You asked how we’ve saved so much money on groceries and household items. This is our story.

My husband and I attended both your one night lecture (FLE) and 6 week class last year (FFE) and knew that we had to make some major changes in our spending habits. After making a budget, I started to investigate areas that I could cut costs.

I had already developed an interest in green alternatives to toxic chemicals and started to make my own cleaners and detergents from common household items such as vinegar, baking soda, washing soda, and castile soap. The best side effect was that I was able to save money on both the cleaners and my allergy medication…  I did not need it every day anymore!

We also slowly switched to cloth napkins, towels, and unpaper towels (you can get 18 paper towel sized face cloths at Walmart for under $4). We keep a cloth bag in the kitchen and throw the dirty cloths in as we use them. One extra load of laundry a week is much cheaper than paper towels and napkins, especially when you make your own detergent for about 3 cents a load.

Our biggest money saver has been my newfound coupon hobby. My mother did not coupon so I really did not understand it, and was shocked by how much I could save. I learned about couponing on (yes we cloth diaper as well, and boy has cloth changed in the past generation!) and was linked to a great site  The gist of couponing breaks down to these 3 points:
1.    Get the coupons. Clip them out and organize them in a way that makes sense to you. Where do you find coupons?  (a) Sunday papers (b) Online company sites and coupon sites like (print and clip) (c) Company and store flyers (usually in a rack near the front of a grocery store) (d) has coupons that you can link to your Upromise card

2.    Match up your coupons with store deals. Grocery and pharmacy stores send out flyers on Wednesdays and Sundays, plus post their deals online as well. Look for deals like BOGO (Buy One Get One Free), 2/$4, Instore special prices and closeouts, competitor store coupons accepted, etc. Then match up your coupons to those specials to pay little or no money for items that you use! Sound like too much work? These sites have done the work for you!
a. (Publix, Kroger, CVS, Walgreens-WAGS, plus others)
b. (just about every grocery store I have ever seen)
c. (tons of stores)
d. (you have to pay for this one, but the first month is free)

3.    Stock pile so you can only buy what is on sale. Once you start saving money it’s easy to buy non perishable items (rice, pasta, canned goods, soap, etc) and frozen items (meat, vegetables, complete meals, etc) that your family uses when they are really cheap, or even free with your coupons, and keep them stored away. When you need the item you visit the stock pile instead of the store. Small trips for perishable items and special needs are much cheaper than paying full price for everything you use! Also, I think it’s important to add …  only buy what you need or will use. Paying a dollar for an item that you will not use or give away is a waste of a dollar.

To show you how we’ve saved …  I used to shop at Walmart and spent an average of $120 a week. I loved to shop at Publix for fruits and vegetables, but thought it was too expensive for entire grocery trips. Publix has BOGO deals every week, doubles coupons up to 50 cents, and accepts competitor $5/$25 type coupons from stores like Bloom and Whole Foods.  The past month I have been able to shop at Publix and spent about $40-$50 dollars a week. The one week I spent $80 I saved over $90 with specials and coupons and completed a one moth stockpile. It takes a little while to clip and print online coupons but it is so worth it! Couponing our way to financial freedom,

Thanks so much for sharing, Kestlyn and Mike!

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Interesting Posts and Articles

Here are two interesting blog posts and news articles I have read recently.

Have you read any good personal finance articles lately?  Share in the comment section!

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Financial Learning Experience SC, PA, IA, WY, MO, TX


I am PUMPED about the next few weeks!

I will be carrying the crusade to six states.  Here is the lineup.

January 21, 2009  FLE   NewSpring Church  Anderson Campus Anderson, SC

January 22, 2009  FFE   NewSpring Church  Anderson Campus Anderson, SC (staff)

January 22, 2009  FLE   NewSpring Church  Anderson Campus Anderson, SC

January 25, 2009  FLE  Christ's Church of the Valley  Royersford, PA

January 28, 2009  FLE  thebridge church  Ottumwa, IA

January 28, 2009  FCE  thebridge church  Ottumwa, IA

January 31, 2009  FLE  Element Church  Cheyenne, WY

February 4, 2009  FLE  Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce  Anderson, SC

February 7, 2009  FLE  Meadow Heights  Ironton, MO

February 7, 2009  FLE  Meadow Heights  Fredericktown, MO

February 7, 2009  FCE  Spring Creek Church  Garland, TX

February 8, 2009  FLE  Spring Creek Church  Garland, TX

See more upcoming events HERE.

Request Joe to speak HERE

Pray for huge life change to take place!!!

Marathon Splits and Photos

I am recovering nicely from participating in the Chevron Houston Marathon on Sunday.  I am back home and have already taught a Financial Learning Experience on Wednesday evening!

Since I am still a nerd engineer at heart, I thought I would share a chart of my mile splits.  Anyone who has ever run a distance race will certainly enjoy staring at these numbers.

You can clearly see that I hit a slight wall at mile 22.  That is where I decided to walk 45 seconds at each mile marker.  Even with the walking, my longest mile time was 10:07.  Pretty good considering my average pace in my other marathon was 10:15!

If for some reason you are interested in seeing some pictures of me experiencing the pain of the marathon, you can see a host of them HERE

I had a BLAST!  There is nothing like accomplishing a truly huge and intimidating goal.

What do you need to begin preparing to do that today seems almost impossible?

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Great Blog Post On Travel Airfare

My fellow personal finance blogger, Lazy Man And Money, has a great post today about how to save on airfare.

You can check it out HERE.

By the way, Lazy Man's personal finance blog is one of three that I read every day.

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Financial Learning Experience at NewSpring THIS WEEK!

The Financial Learning Experience is being taught at NewSpring's Greenville and Anderson Campuses this week.


  • Wednesday (1/21) Greenville Campus  6:30PM – 8:30PM
  • Thursday (1/22) Anderson Campus  6:30PM – 8:30PM


FREE!  Just click HERE to register.

Official Marathon Time: 3:55:40

I was able to achieve my goal of completing the marathon in under four hours!

I am PUMPED!  More to follow in the next week on the similarities between finances and marathons.

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Running a Marathon TODAY!

I am PUMPED about running the Chevron Houston Marathon today!  I am running with two of my brothers.  We began training for this marathon on September 15 and have each run over 400 miles in preparation for this race.

This is my second marathon and the first for my brothers.  It is going to be a blast running 26.2 miles!

You can track our progress through the race by clicking HERE and searching for the last name "Sangl".

Running A Marathon On Sunday

This weekend, I will be running the Chevron Houston Marathon.  After four months of training, me and two of my brothers will embark on the 26.2 mile journey at 7:10AM Central Time.

I love how this race has embraced technology.  You can track any runner's status just by registering HERE.  When the registration is completed, text messages will be sent at the 6.2 mile, 13.1 mile, 18.3 mile, and 26.2 mile marker.  This is able to be done because of a chip placed on my shoe.  Additionally, each runners status will be shown on a map throughout the race.

It has me asking this question:  How can this crusade better utilize technology?

I welcome all suggestions!

Related marathon posts

SERIES: I Lost My Job – Now What? – Part Four

Welcome to the latest series on – I Lost My Job – Now What?

In a time of increasing unemployment and job loss, I thought it might be helpful to write this series.  It is my hope that it is a help to those who have experienced a job loss.

Part Four – Resolve to never give an employer such power again!

If you have been laid off and are panicking about what to do, let me ask you a question.

If you had $20,000 in the bank, would you be as panicked as you are right now?

I suspect the answer would be, "Not nearly so much as I am right now.",  or "Not at all."

When you build a HUGE emergency fund of at least six month's worth of expenses, you build a hedge of protection around you.  It protects you from being horribly impacted by your employers decision to cease your employment.

Do not get me wrong.  A pile of money does not address all of life's issues nor is it a worthwhile item to place one's trust in, but it is excellent stewardship to hold financial reserves.  It just makes sense!

So …  If you have not experienced a job loss, resolve today to get rid of some expenses so that you can build up an awesome emergency fund.  If you have lost your job, resolve to never get into this predicament ever again!

You CAN do this!  Saving up a ton of money and denying yourself of some wants might not be fun in the short term, but it is SO WORTH IT!

So that is it for the "I Lost My Job – Now What?" series.  Is there anything that should be added to it?

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