Archive - March, 2012

April Budget Reminder

It is time to prepare your budget for the month of April!

Here are few tips for this month:
• The FREE BUDGET TOOLS are located HERE
• Major Expenses Coming Up Soon? Graduations, Mother’s Day and Memorial Day are next month. Father’s Day and a lot of weddings are in June. Are you traveling anytime in the next few months? These could add up to major expenses, and you could lessen the financial impact by beginning to save for them in April’s budget!
• Consider clothing. The weather is awesome, but all of the clothes from last summer will no longer fit the kids since they have grown like weeds! Be sure to put some money in the plan for this expense!
• Will. Why not make this THE MONTH that you get a will? Set up a meeting with an attorney or go to an online provider of will kits like LegalZoom.com or USLegalForms.com

Two questions for you:
1. What are some other unusual budget items that you will encounter in April?
2. What are some “wins” that you experienced during the month of March?

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What Do You Truly Value?

What do you truly value in your life? It has been said that with one look at a person’s calendar and checkbook register, you would learn what a person truly values.

That’s certainly true, but I believe there is an even better way to learn what you value most. Have someone ask your spouse and children what you truly value. If you are not married, have someone ask your closest friends.

I’m having this asked of my bride and children. I wonder if the answers will align with what I say I value.

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Why Do I NOT Do The Things I Know I Should Do? Romans 7:15

Romans 7:15 – 15I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

Paul shares his thoughts on his struggle with not doing the right thing and doing the wrong thing.

This is a problem everyone faces – especially in the following areas of personal finances.

  • Budgeting  We know that we should prepare a monthly written Give/Save/Invest/Spend plan, but for some reason we don’t allocate the time and effort required to make it happen.
  • Giving  We know that we should give, but we fail to do so when it comes time to write the checks or pay the bills on-line for the month.
  • Saving  We know that we should be saving money.  After all, the children are growing like weeds, and it seems like they will be headed to college tomorrow!  The car has special “rattling” sounds, yet we have not saved any money to repair or replace it.
  • Investing  We know that we should be investing to fund our big-time dreams and prepare for retirement.  After all, our bodies are creaking, and it seems to take much longer to get rolling each morning.  Yet, we choose to invest little to no money to cover our living expenses and live life to the fullest during our retirement years.
  • Wills/Estate Plan  We know that we will die someday, but we choose to ignore that reality by failing to have a written will and estate plan.
  • Insurance  We know that we are going to get sick one day.  Yet, we choose to not have health insurance.  We know that law requires us to carry insurance for our cars and that we will probably be in a wreck someday, yet some still choose to drive without auto insurance.
  • Debt  We know that substantial debt can delay or completely prevent the funding of our future plans, hopes, and dreams, yet we choose to “sign the line” anyway.

The LIE that we tell ourselves is this:  “Things will be okay.  After all, we have made it this far living this way.”

If that is you, let me ask you a few questions:

  • Are things REALLY okay?
  • Are your dreams fully funded?
  • Are you living the life you dreamed of when you were young?
  • When was the last time you really allowed yourself to dream?

What do you need to do?

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Joseph Sangl’s Books – Kindle Versions Available

I am so excited to announce that digital versions of my books are now available via Kindle!

You can purchase these books in Amazon by clicking the links below:

 

Digital versions of my books will also be available via iBooks very soon or you can use the Kindle version NOW by downloading the Kindle App!

Of course, all of these resources are available via print as well – with group study materials as well – via our STORE.

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What Sarah Learned From Her Year-Long Spending Fast

It was amazing to read all of your feedback on THIS POST!  I asked Sarah to share the Top 10 Things She Learned from her year-long spending fast.

=== Sarah’s Thoughts ===

As of today, I have officially gone 365 days without buying anything new. Joe asked me to record the top 10 things I learned from this experience.

Today is March 21st 2012 and I have nothing new I need to buy today. I expect this day will come and go like every other day – I’m even going to the mall and won’t be buying anything but yogen fruz!

Here is how it changed me, and here is what I learned:

  1. Healthy spending is as much of a lifestyle for your heart as healthy eating is a lifestyle for your body. I’ve adapted to a new lifestyle.
  2. I still have more than enough. Although I wasn’t purchasing anything new for myself, it was embarrassing how much I already had in my possession. I could still shop at second hand stores. It became a treasure hunt when I needed something. When was the last time you did an inventory check?
  3. I value gifts so much more. When you aren’t buying for yourself, you really appreciate someone else’s thoughtfulness.
  4. I learned what was frivolous. When I received a gift card, I put thought into what to purchase and why. There was no thoughtless, frivolous spending.
  5. Time matters. It was amazing how many times I wanted something in the moment, and how less than 24 hours later I had forgotten about it completely.
  6. I found a new love for gift-giving!  The only time I could shop was to buy gifts for people – so I found a new love for gift-giving! The best part is I never walked out having ended up spending money on myself…
  7. I focus more on the people I’m with than the products to buy.  At the beginning of this challenge, the hardest part came in leisure shopping trips. Now I focus more on the people I’m with than the products to buy.
  8. I stopped spending so I could give, but giving has to be intentional. Although I wasn’t spending money on ‘new stuff’, it was easy for that money to end up in my savings or on eating out if I didn’t have a plan for it.
  9. I’m still greedy. It’s something that doesn’t get ‘cured,’ only surrendered. Living in North America, greed is like germs. You just get over a bad cold and go back into a school full of kids with runny noses.
  10. Generosity can be just as contagious.

=== End of Sarah’s Top 10 Learnings ===

Two Questions for the readers:

  1. Which learning impacted you the most as you read it?
  2. Could you take this challenge and see how it changes your spending habits?

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Why Sarah Went On A 365 Day Spending Fast

This post was guest-written by Sarah – I’ve written about her spending fast previously HERE.  Today marks the end of her 365 day spending fast – Congratulations!!!

=== Sarah’s post ===

I’m Greedy.  So what?

Once, a baby peed all over my lap because his mom didn’t have any diapers.  Once, I held the hand of a homeless man who was in agony, and he couldn’t tell me why.  Once, a woman said “God bless you!!” with a huge, toothless smile when I had only given her half a sandwich.

The poor exist because we have not learned to love our neighbor as ourselves. (credit to Shane Claiborne for opening my eyes to that in a whole new way…)

I claim to be a Christian; to follow Jesus Christ.  “Love your neighbor as yourself” is his commandment, second only to loving God with all we are.  It’s funny how those link hand-in-hand so closely.  If we claim to love God without loving our neighbor, can God’s love really be in us? (1 John 3:17)  Recently, I’ve begun to see how much I am failing at this.  I am greedy!  So what?

“If you have two coats, one of them belongs to the poor.” – Dorothy Day (…but the guy that baptized Jesus said it first!)

I have three coats.  Actually, four.

I buy myself things I don’t need all the time.  Those shoes that were on sale. That little dress I might wear… someday.  A wall hanging I just fell in love with.  More CD’s, books, movies – why not?!

I’m afraid to count how many t-shirts are in my drawer.

We all buy things we don’t need, and we all have neighbors that need. So what?

You already know this – we live in a community and nation that is obsessed with more, bigger, better. The more we get, the more we want. Our stuff “expires” fast and then we want to buy more stuff. When will we stop believing in stuff?  Meanwhile, your neighbor has an empty fridge.  My neighbor has no friends. Their neighbor has no home.  Still, so what?

We have an opportunity to change things; the only thing I can change is me.

Will you join me?

As a result of personal conviction on this issue, I realize I need to confess my greed and throw it away.  So I confess to you now – I am greedy, and I am sorry! On March 21st 2011, I resolved to buy nothing new for myself for 365 days.  I will shop at second hand stores only.  I will borrow and share.  I will give what I do not need to those who need it more.  I want to be free from always wanting, and I pray this resolution changes me from the inside out. Every time I see something new that I want to buy, instead I’ll turn to God and say thanks for all the ways He has already taken care of me. Filled and inspired by the love of Jesus, I’ll throw my old self away and put on a new way to live. (Ephesians 4:21-24)

Will you join me in buying nothing new for a day, a week, a month, a year, whatever you choose…?  Instead, give that money to someone you know that needs it, or take a bag of groceries to the food bank or a friend, or support your local church, or sponsor a child through Compassion, or send some flowers.

Will you let it change you?

=== End of Sarah’s post ===

One of the finest and most convicting posts I’ve read in some time.  Your thoughts?

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Savings Tip – Fast From Something

Here’s a savings tip that be a lot of fun and a serious challenge if taken seriously – Go on a spending fast and give or save the difference.

It’s a simple concept.  Stop spending money on a specific item for period of time, and deposit the money that would have been spent on that item into savings or give that money away.

Here are some examples:

  • Stop buying soda (or pop or Coke or whatever you call it) and redirect the money to savings
  • Refuse to purchase any new clothes for an entire year and redirect the money to savings
  • Eliminate the daily $4 coffee drinks (gasp!) and redirect the money to savings
  • Park the car and ride a bike to work for a month and redirect the money to savings

A young lady I met a year ago embarked on a journey just like this.  Her name is Sarah, and she resolved to “not buy anything new for 365 days.”  Her year-long quest began on March 21, 2011, and she is about to finish her journey. On March 21, I will be posting the blog post that I asked her to write.  You won’t want to miss it.

QUESTION:  What will you choose to go on a spending fast for?  What will you do with the money that would normally have been spent on that item?

I’ll reveal my spending fast goal next week.

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Are You Really Ready To Win With Money?

I’ve noticed something that has happened in my life as I have transitioned from BROKE to NOT BROKE, and I can’t say I was prepared for it at all.  I’m pretty certain I was not prepared to win with money.

My bride and I have faced questions that were completely irrelevant when we were broke.  Questions like:

  • Where to invest money to obtain the best rate of return?
    • We did not know hardly anything about investing
  • What charitable organizations and causes should we give to?
    • We wanted to maximize the impact of our giving
  • Where should we put our saved money?
    • We’d never saved money before
  • Should we talk with our family and friends about how we are winning with money as the result of preparing and following a monthly budget and pursuing debt freedom?  If so, how much?
    • Believe it or not, your family or friends may not be as excited as you are about winning with money – they might refer to your genuine excitement as bragging/boasting/pride
    • Even worse – some people have a legitimate concern that their friends and family will steal money from them!

“Are you really ready to win with money?”

It’s a legitimate question that anyone pursuing financial freedom should consider.

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U.S. National Debt Update March 2012

The US National Debt has increased by $93,188,029,341 since our last update in January 13, 2012.  Another month, and the United States has dropped nearly another $100 billion in the hole.

National Debt as of 3/13/2012

$15,497,165,306,031

That is an increase of $4.9 BILLION PER DAY since our last update 36 days ago.

QUESTION: Have you ever lived this way – where you used a credit card or some other form of debt to spend money that you did not have?

My question remains:  At what point in time will this type of spending stop?

I believe the answer remains the same – When the citizens of the country as a collective whole start managing their own money responsibly!

What are YOUR suggestions for addressing this?

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CHURCH LEADERS – FREE Church Stewardship And Generosity Conference

What do the following people have in common?

  • Perry Noble
  • Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.
  • Casey Graham
  • Clayton King
  • Mike Madding

ALL five are tremendous church leaders who have seen their vision become FULLY FUNDED!

AND the great news is that ALL of these great men will be speaking LIVE at the Funded And Free Church Leader Conference in Charlotte, NC on Thursday, April 19, 2012!

  • Bishop Thomas will be able to share how New Psalmist Baptist Church completed a major building project in the middle of The Great Recession – and continued to see tremendous ministry growth!
  • Perry Noble will share how NewSpring Church built a youth facility, children’s facility, and launched multiple campuses during 2008 – and continued to pour tremendous amounts of money and resources into missions and outreach!
  • Mike Madding will be talking about how The Cove Church has been able to equip their people to win financially even in the face of a tremendous economic downturn in their area – and their church has grown by leaps and bounds.
  • Casey Graham will be sharing how to increase your operational giving through the implementation of proven biblical systems.
  • Clayton King will be sharing about his worldwide ministry and how leaders can THRIVE in the midst of a chaotic and crazy schedule!

You don’t want to miss this one-time only event!

Want even better news?  Injoy Stewardship Solutions has partnered with some other great organizations to provide this conference absolutely FREE for church leaders.

Here are the details:

  • DATE: April 19, 2012
  • LOCATION:  The Cove Church – Mooresville, NC (Charlotte Area)
  • TIME:  ONE DAY (9AM – 4PM)
  • COST:  $0 (thanks to the kindness of our sponsors!!!!)
  • FOOD:  Provided (and it is free too!)

Space is limited so reserve your spot while one is available!

Are You Willing To Take A Financial Risk?

Equipping my children to be a blessing to others is one of my top priorities in life.

As part of this quest, I have had my daughter invest some of her money into a mutual fund.  As I explained mutual funds to my beautiful seven-year-old girl, she immediately grew alarmed.

“I could LOSE some money?!?!?”, she exclaimed.  This outburst was immediately followed by, “I am not interested in that type of investment.”

It was a very interesting discussion that helped me understand why so many people are financially stuck – they absolutely refuse to take any risk.

I know a couple that have budgeted their entire lives and have always lived within their means, but they are arriving at retirement with virtually zero savings.  Why is this?  Because they never prioritized investing because it would require risk and “they might lose some of their money.”

Many people jumped out of the stock market when it collapsed in 2008.  They jumped out at rock bottom due to fear of losing it all.  Those who remained in the market were generally financially whole within two years and have gained substantial ground since then.

Some people have said, “I would have been better off to leave my money in a CD instead of investing it into the stock market.”  I ran the numbers on my investments and discovered that even with the drop of 2008, my investments were still way ahead of CD rates of return!

In fact, CD rates are lower than the inflation rate.  Even if the CD interest earnings are tax-protected, the saved money will still lose overall purchasing power.

What are your feelings about taking risks with your investments?

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Could You Handle $1,000,000?

If you were blessed with $1,000,000 RIGHT NOW, could you handle it well?

Chances are high that if you can’t manage your current income well, you wouldn’t be able to handle $1,000,000 well.

I’m convinced that if I had been blessed with $1,000,000 before I made major changes to my finances in December 2002, I would have blown through all of it and all I would have now is some rusty stuff and an ocean of regret.

Think about this for a minute:

  • If you don’t prepare and follow a budget with your current income, you won’t with $1,000,000 either.
  • If you choose not to consistently give now with your current income, you won’t with $1,000,000 either.
  • If you choose not to consistently save now with your current income, you won’t with $1,000,000 either.

Money just amplifies current behavior.

What changes do you need to make now to prepare to manage the $1,000,000 with excellence?

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A Financial Miracle

This is a series that appears on a weekly basis here at JosephSangl.com – “Biblical Financial Lessons”

I believe that the Bible is the best money book ever written, and I really want to take some time each week to share the money lessons I have learned from the Word.

A Financial Miracle – II Kings 4:1-7

II Kings 4:1-7  (You need to click HERE to read it)

I covered II Kings 4:1 previously and shared the fact that debt had jeopardized the very freedom of her children.  Wonderfully, the story does not end there.  In fact, a financial miracle takes place.

In verse 2, the prophet Elisha responds to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?

The woman responded, “Your servant has nothing there at all except a little oil.

Thought #1 - Have you noticed that when we are faced with an extremely difficult situation for which we can see no answer that we tend to minimize everything we DO have?  This lady said that she had nothing – except a little oil, but that was not the full truth!  She still had her sons at the moment.  She also apparently had good health (a tremendous blessing).  Moreover, she had access to the man of God!

In verses 3 and 4, Elisha responds to her with a command.  “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons.  Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”

Thought #2 – When we seek God’s guidance, He will give it!  This lady went to the man of God, and received the word she needed.  We have direct access to God through prayer.  He hears our desperate prayers – even as we cry them out in despair!

In verse 5 and 6, the miracle takes place.  The lady left Elisha and did exactly as this man of God had instructed.  The oil flowed until the very last jar was full!

Thought #3 - We have to do our part.  What if this lady had refused to do as the man of God had instructed?  The miracle would not have happened, and she wouldn’t have been able to save her two sons from slavery!

In verse 7, the lady informed Elisha of the miracle, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts.  You and your sons can live on what is left.”

Thought #4 - God always provides overflow!  He provided enough to settle the debts and enough to live off of the rest! Simply amazing.

In summary, here’s what happened:

QUESTIONS:

  1. Do YOU believe that a financial miracle could really take place for you?
  2. What do YOU need to do?
  3. What is your desperate prayer?  Email it to me at joe@iwbnin.com and me and our team would be honored to pray for it with you!

Read the series

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Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular – March 2012

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:  1090  1110

Squares Remaining:  1336  1316

% of House Owned By The Sangl’s:  44.9% 45.7%

% of House Owned By Wells Fargo:  55.1%  54.3%

Here is the updated Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular (click to view large size)

For the 11th month in a row, Jenn and I were blessed to ATTACK OUR MORTGAGE with extra money toward the principal balance.  This month, we obtained ownership of a strip of our living room.  We see the end of our mortgage in sight.  While it is requiring us to sacrifice in the short term, we believe that it is so very worth it!  We’re FIRED UP!

How are you doing on YOUR house pay-off spectacular?

If you do not have one, you can get one here => Pay Off Spectacular – House.

Read previous Sangl Home Pay-Off Spectacular Updates