Archive - June, 2009

Blogs and Websites I Read EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.

I love the "tabs" feature that Firefox (and now Explorer and every other browser) has.  Tabs allow me to have more than one "home page" for my internet browser.  This allows me to have a routine of reading websites I want to make sure I read on a consistent basis.

Here is a list of the finance web pages I read every single day:

  • CNN Money  This is where I obtain a lot of excellent information regarding legislative changes that impact personal finances.  I also like the regular features on "Millionaires In The Making"
  • My Money Blog  Jonathan writes excellent detailed blog posts that relate to how he is using his cash to fund his short-term and long-term dreams.
  • Lazy Man and Money  The Lazy Man writes about personal finances as well as how to earn money on the internet.
  • Saving Freak  This guy is a FREAK when it comes to saving money, and if you read his blog you will find out how to save a ton of money also!

Those are the four personal finance web sites I read every single day.  Which ones should I add to my list?

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Financial Learning Experience – Fairfax, VA

I am FIRED UP to be teaching the Financial Learning Experience in Fairfax, VA this weekend (you should come)!

Here is the line-up:

Thursday, June 25, 2009 4:30PM – 5:00PM

Guest on the Don Kroah Show on WAVA, 105.1 FM.  You can listen on-line, if you want.  I will be talking about I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. and the Financial Learning Experience being held at Fair Oaks Church on Sunday.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Hang out with family in DC.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Speak at Fair Oaks Church at 5:00PM service (Pastor David R. Stokes)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Speak at Fair Oaks Church at 9:00AM and 10:45AM

Teach Financial Learning Experience from 2:00PM – 4:00PM.  It is FREE and has FREE CHILDCARE!  You can register HERE.


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Parent’s Poor Money Choices Impact Children

Don't believe me?  Go read Lazy Man and Money's post HERE.

This type of article is why I get up FIRED UP and PUMPED UP to do what I do.  I am passionate about helping people make GREAT decisions with their financial resources so that their children can be PROUD of how their parents managed their "stuff".

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Free Financial Counseling For Pastors

I am passionate about helping become financially free.

Here is something I have discovered as I speak to people throughout the nation.  Many pastors are struggling with their own finances.

This leads to many issues, and here are some of them:

  • Fear.  Scared to talk about money because they are intimidated by their own financial situation.
  • Hypocrisy.  Teaching on the Parable of the Talents while mismanaging their own money.
  • Loss of call.  When one is perpetually broke, it is hard to stay committed to one’s call.
  • Stuff-itis.  When a person is broke, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that some “stuff” will satisfy and make things better.  It is a lie, and the pursuit of “stuff” can easily tear one from their true calling.

Maybe you can add more, but here is the deal.  I believe that Christ-followers should manage their finances according to God’s Word.  You can call me crazy, but I believe that the leadership (pastors and staff) should MODEL this.  Pastors should not be highly leveraged in debt and trapped in stuff-itis.

And here is the key:  It does not have to be that way!

If you are a pastor who is struggling with your finances, we want to help you.  My team is available to provide FREE confidential one-on-one financial counseling for you.  We provide this service on-line, and it works.  We are not going to sell you anything.

Of course, our time is limited, so we only want to counsel pastors who are COMMITTED to making a change in their finances.  Your commitment is to participate in at least three consecutive monthly sessions.  The first session will last 1.5 hours.  The following sessions will last less than one hour.  Your commitment is also to have your spouse participate in all meetings.

If you need help, and you do not know where to turn.  We are here to help you.  If this is you, click HERE and request counseling.

Tell us the following information:

  • Your name (and spouse’s name)
  • Your church
  • Location
  • Why you feel that you would benefit from financial counseling
  • Your commitment to the process

We have been counseling pastors for the past three years, and the results have been AWESOME!

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More I Was Broke Group Study Guides On The Way!

I can't believe I am writing this, but I am PUMPED and FIRED UP to say that I just ordered another 3,000 I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. Group Study Guides!


What started out as a dream to teach 100,000 people in the first five years of this crazy ridiculous crusade is becoming a reality!  We are nearing 1/2-way there!!!

I have two things to say:

  • I could not do it without you – the only way this crusade works is by you carrying the word to others!
  • I can't believe I get to do this for a living!

I have had many people ask how they can support the crusade.  Here is my answer:  Buy these resources and give them away to others.

Thanks so much for making this possible!

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Health Insurance

Health insurance is a pit that makes money disappear.  I have seen that proven over and over.

However, I have seen that the LACK of health insurance is an even larger pit that not only makes money disappear, but many times it leads to bankruptcy or worse – a failure to diagnose a major health issue.

Health insurance is costly, but I wanted to share some tips that might help you save money as you acquire insurance or evaluate your current coverage.

  • Consider a High Deductible Health Plan.  An HDHP usually has a deductible of $2,500 or greater.  The insurance will not pay a dime for most items until the policy holder has paid an amount equal to the deductible.  After the deductible is reached, some plans pay 100% of the rest, other plans might require the policy holder to continue to pay a certain percentage.  Why is a HDHP good?  Because it is much cheaper because the policy holder has assumed more risk.  If you have a healthy family, a higher deductible can be a good risk to take because the deductible is not guaranteed to happen.  The premium is guaranteed to happen!
  • Purchase insurance with a Health Savings Account.  Health savings accounts allow one to save money on their health care expenses because the money can be used tax-free for healthcare-related expenses.  Think about it for a minute.  If a doctors appointment costs you $70 and you have to pay for it, it actually costs MORE than $70.  Why?  Because the $70 is AFTER you have paid payroll and income taxes.  You had to earn about $100 to net home $70.  If you have a HSA, you are able to use BEFORE TAX money which stretches your money about 30%!
  • Shop around.  There are a myriad of insurance plans available.  I personally shopped mine around on eHealthInsurance and with a local independent insurance agent.  I got a pretty good deal on a $5,000 Deductible Major Medical plan with a HSA.  After I spend $5,000 in the year, my insurance plan will pay 100% of the rest.
  • Compare GUARANTEED costs and MAXIMUM costs.  The premiums are guaranteed to happen.  Take the monthly cost and multiply it by 12 to obtain an annual cost.  Let's say a plan has a monthly cost of $250 and a deductible of $5,000 and the insurance will pay 100% after the deductible is met.  The guaranteed cost is $3,000 ($250 x 12 months).  The maximum cost would be $8,000 ($3,000 premiums PLUS $5,000 deductible).  I personally make it an objective to fund my HSA with an amount equal to the maximum cost so that when a major medical event occurs (baby!), I will have the funds ready to roll.

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Miracle On The Way

In the church that I attended as I grew up, they had something called "testimony service".  It was a time where people shared with the entire church what God was doing in their life.

With that in mind, let me testify …

Jenn and I have one child, a daughter.  She is nine.  Jenn is from a family of six children.  I am from a family of six children.  We wanted a large family.

For eight and a half years, we have had wanted to have an addition to our family, but have been unsuccessful.  If you have ever read my book, I Was Broke. Now I'm Not., I share on pages 15 and 16 about two major surgeries that Jenn had to have to remove large tumors/cysts from her ovaries.

We met with a reproductive specialist twice.  Once in 2004 and again in late 2008.  The conclusion was the same.  Because of the scar tissue and multiple surgeries, the only real option for a pregnancy was to pursue "in vitro fertilization" (IVF).  IVF is extremely costly and has many issues – not the least of which are the moral considerations.  Before we could even consider IVF, however, we were told that one of the fallopian tubes had to be removed because it was so scarred and damaged.  In November 2008, that tube was removed – further reducing our chances at pregnancy.

After much prayer, Jenn and I embarked on the IVF journey in January with the agreement that every embryo would be given a chance at life.  God has blessed us, and we had the money to pay cash for it.  We could have remodeled our master bathroom and kitchen for the cost of IVF, but we decided that we would rather have a child than granite countertops.  We knew that we were privileged already because we had been blessed a child – many have not had that joy.  But we also knew the joy of having brothers and sisters and prayed that this investment into IVF would work.

Our prayer to God was this:  "You have blessed us with the funds to do this.  You know our heart's desire for another child.  Whatever the answer is from You, we will accept it.  If Your answer is, "No", then OK.  If Your answer is "Yes", AWESOME!

We went for the blood test to see if IVF worked in early February.  The answer was, "No".

We were devastated.

So let me set up where we were on June 16, 2009 by summing up the facts:

  • Two major in-patient surgeries on ovaries
  • Major scar tissue
  • One fallopian tube
  • Two doctors saying IVF is pretty much the only chance we have
  • Dropped nearly $18,000 trying IVF
  • Gave up completely

On June 16, 2009, my tired, exhausted, and nauseated wife said she thought something was wrong and said the only time she had ever felt this way was ten years ago when she was expecting our daughter.  She went out at lunch to buy a pregnancy test.  I told her that she was throwing money down the drain.

Can I tell you a secret?  I went into our spare bathroom as Jenn went to "take the test" and I BEGGED GOD to answer our heart's cry.  Ever been there?  Ever BEGGED GOD?  It is a level of desperation I have rarely felt.

I believe that God smiled and said, "Watch this!"

You would not believe the pandemonium that took place in the house over the next two hours.

In early 2010, if it be God's will, we will have a new addition in the Sangl Family. God has shown Himself to be who He says He is.

Prayers are appreciated for my bride and the pregnancy.

Testimony Service Over – unless you want to share how God has been faithful to you!

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How To NOT Save Money

There are so many "How To" manuals, lists, books, and articles.  I have written many myself, but today I want to write a "How To Not" list about saving money.

How To NOT Save Money

  • Take all of your spending money with you to the store
  • Fail to prepare a spending plan BEFORE the money is actually spent
  • Always pay retail price
  • Buy it as soon as you see it – always give in to impulsive decision-making
  • Always buy things brand new
  • Buy expensive items that depreciate in value (cars, boats, Ty Beanie Babies, etc)
  • Buy more items than one can possibly use "because they were cheap"
  • Eat at restaurants for at least two meals every day
  • Never ask for a better deal on insurance or have insurance policies at multiple companies

Any that you want to add?

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I am PUMPED to be in Conway, SC this weekend to partner with The Rock Church (pastor Kevin Childs).  My team will be training financial counselors on Saturday so that they will be equipped to provide FREE one-on-one financial counseling to people throughout their community.  That FIRES ME UP!

On Sunday, I will be speaking during The Rock's morning services and then the Financial Learning Experience will kick off that afternoon at 3:00 PM for the event!


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New Pay-Off/Savings Spectacular – Harley Davidson

I am pleased to announce that we have added a new Pay-Off and Savings Spectacular for a Harley Davidson motorcycle on the "Tools" page and on the "Next Steps" site.


Thanks to Jessica M. in Orlando, FL for the idea!

Click HERE for the Pay-Off Spectacular.

Click HERE for the Savings Spectacular.

We love hearing ideas from the tribe of folks who are yelling, "I was broke. Now I'm NOT!"  If you have a suggestion for a pay-off or savings spectacular – send it in HERE.

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Debt Freedom March – Couple #2 – Month 12


This couple is THROUGH with debt!  They announced that they were breaking up with debt in October 2007.  They have agreed to share their Debt Freedom March with everyone in the hopes of inspiring others to do the same!

Here is this month's update.

Since the last update in September, another $8,600 has bit the dust!
Overall, we really have control over our budget.  Still doing a GREAT job with the cash envelopes and we DO NOT live pay check to pay check at all!!  🙂  Actually, neither one of us know it is pay day until the deposit slip comes in the mail.  It is a wonderful feeling.

Here is their updated Debt Freedom Date calculation …


 Month By Month Progress …

Sangl Says

Couple #2 have torched over $33,000 in debt in less than two years!  They are ON IT!  They have backed off on the debt pay-off plan for a little while because they are replenishing their emergency fund and their new baby fund!  Exciting times for Couple #2!

Readers …
Couple #2 is on a roll.  You can do the exact same thing!  Pull up the Debt Freedom Date Calculator (Excel) and put together your own Debt Freedom Date!
If not now, when?
My wife and I became debt-free (except for the house) in just fourteen months, and I share exactly how we did it in I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.

1,000 Posts

Yesterday's post was the 1,000th post on the website.

I remember when I first started the blog back in January 2006 that I was so excited about the opportunity to think out loud about personal finances.  I knew that I would use those writings to begin a book.

I have seen a lot of people burn out on blogs over the three years because of "lack of something to say" or "no time" or "Twitter".  All of these were valid reasons for them, but I am three years into this thing and have even more stuff to write about!  I am PUMPED and FIRED UP about what is going on with this crusade, and I can not WAIT to see what happens next!

Thanks for being a loyal reader of  It is my hope that the content shared on this page and the Next Steps page is helping you become the best manager possible of the money you have and will receive.

So, let's throw a little celebration, shall we?  Since you all are the reason we have been able to teach and speak to tens of thousands over the past three years, I want to give away some resources.

We will be giving away copies of I Was Broke. Now I'm Not. and it's related I Was Broke. Now I'm Not.Group Study Guide .

Here's how this 1,000th Post Celebration work.  I want you to give the resources away to someone else.  Send my team a note using THIS LINK HERE telling us who you want to give these materials to AND tell us WHY you want them to receive the materials.  The first five people that send in their gift recipient AND tell us WHY they chose them will win.

You have just read post number 1,001.  We will be celebrating post number 2,000 before you know it!

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – June 2009

Every month there will be an update of Joe & Jenn’s Home Pay-Off Spectacular!

Here’s this month’s update!

Total Squares:  2,426

Paid-For Squares:  784 789

Squares Remaining:  1642 1637

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  32.3% 32.5%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  67.7% 67.5%

Here is the updated “Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular” (Click on the picture to view the larger, cleaner version)

How are you doing on YOUR house payoff spectacular?  If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates

Newspaper Article – “Money Help”

Many of you may not know that I write a Sunday article for the business section of our local newspaper, the Anderson Independent-Mail.

The article I wrote this week was focused on small businesses and how important it is to keep business accounts separate from personal accounts.

You can read that article (and nearly a hundred others) HERE.

I would love to expand this article to other newspapers.  If you have a newspaper that you feel would benefit from a weekly business columnist, you can have them contact me HERE.

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