How To Have A Debt Free Christmas

What if I told you that you don’t have to go into debt Christmas shopping this year? That you can buy your gifts IN CASH and can avoid those dreaded credit card bills in January? Can you guess how you accomplish this? That’s right, a budget.

Christmas is a known, upcoming, non-monthly expense. That means that we know that Christmas comes on the same day every, single year and we should plan for it accordingly! In the Sangl household, we do this by saving a little bit for Christmas each month.

First, we decide how much we want to spend on Christmas altogether. Then, we create a list of every person or organization that we’re planning on buying a gift for and decide how much we plan to spend on each person. All that’s left to do is make that budget equal EXACTLY ZERO. Once you have your plan put together, you can do your Christmas shopping guilt-free!  

You can download a copy of one of our FREE BUDGET TOOLS HERE.


For more tips on how to have a debt-free Christmas, check out our full episode of the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.

For more information on how to create a Christmas Mini-Budget, check out this related blog post.

Black Friday Budgeting

Black Friday deals are probably piled up on your kitchen counter and overflowing your inbox right about now. Companies start promoting these deals at the beginning of November and most of the time cannot even wait until Black Friday to start selling! These sales are a great way to cross items off of your Christmas shopping list but can also become budget busters without the proper planning. You don’t have to spend January afraid of the credit card bills coming in, you can use our Christmas Mini-Budget to get Black Friday ready.

This budget tool is incredibly simple to use and does all the math for you. All you have to do is enter the total amount you want to spend this Christmas season and then list each person you plan on buying a gift for. Make sure you include everyone that you will spend money on, if they don’t make the list, they don’t get a gift. It might sound harsh but you don’t have to spend money on every single person that you know.

After you have listed the amount of money you want to spend and the people you plan to spend it on, you can begin to divy up your spending. Next to each person’s name, put the dollar amount that you plan to spend on them. You’ll notice as you start adding in numbers that the bottom of the spreadsheet will change colors. Like all of our budgeting templates, the trick is to make you INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO. Once you have accomplished this, the cell will turn green.

Until you begin making purchases, the “actual” column will be yellow. This indicates you still have money to spend. When you actually buy the gift, record that in the actual column. If you spend less than you planned, the cell will remain yellow. You can either spend more money or reallocate those funds to another person. If you spend the exact amount you planned, the cell will turn green. On the other hand, if you spend more than you planned, the cell will turn red. You either need to take that money from someone else’s gift or take the gift back and find one within budget. You’ll know when your budget equals EXACTLY ZERO on all fronts when all of the cells turn green. 

Black Friday and Christmas shopping don’t have to be stressful. With the proper planning you can avoid going over budget and putting yourself in debt to start the new year. Download the tool today and make this Christmas a debt-free one.


Want more tips like this one?  Subscribe to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.


Prepare Your November Budget

November is only a couple days away so now is the perfect time to make sure that you have prepared your budget! It is so important to have your budget prepared BEFORE the month begins. You are way more likely to stick with the budget if you have a plan in place for the first day of the month.

Make sure you download one of our FREE Budget Tools. You can choose either the monthly budget or the weekly budget template from our website. After you have downloaded your tool, you can get started putting together your income and expenses for the month of November.

Step One: Enter your expected income for November. Put a number in that you KNOW is going to happen. If you should receive more money throughout the month, you can always adjust this number upwards.

Step Two: Enter your expected expenses for the month. Even if you do not know what all of your bills will be, put in a number that is conservative enough that you know will be enough to cover it. Once your bills actually arrive, you can adjust these numbers to match what you will actually need to pay. Make sure you also include any Known, Upcoming Non-Monthly Expenses. You can use this calculator HERE to make sure you are saving enough to cover these expenses when they come up.

Step Three: Make your INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO™. If your budget turns yellow or red, it is now time to start adjusting so that your budget turns green. You might have to make some uncomfortable decisions or even tell yourself “no” a couple of times this month. It will be worth making some sacrifices in order to finally have a working budget.

Make sure you take some time this weekend to get that budget put together so that when Thursday rolls around, you’ll be prepared for a new month. This could be the month that you have your first ever successful budget. How awesome would that be? It all starts with a plan so make sure you have yours in place!


Want more tips like this one?  Subscribe to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.


All About the Budget Challenge!

There was a time in my life that I was completely clueless about money.  My life was a financial mess. I had massive amounts of credit card debt, huge student loan balances and to top it off, I decided that I needed to purchase a brand new car and home.  I was on a downward spiral, and I needed to make some drastic changes, and fast.

Then, Jenn and I decided to prepare (and follow!) a budget.  It sounds so incredibly simple but it changed our financial future.  One hundred eighty-two months ago, my family prepared our first ever budget and have followed one every month since.

I know that many people have felt the same way that I initially did about my finances.  I know because I asked. Here is what people told us about budgeting:

  • 37.5% said their budgets do not work because they do not know how to budget effectively.
  • 27.5% of people said budgeting was “too frustrating and emotional” so they just gave up.
  • 25.8% felt like they did not make enough money so there was no point in creating a budget.
  • 27.5% said there “just was not enough time in the day” so they gave up.
  • 18.3% of people said they could not budget because their spouse would not participate.

Can you identify with any of this?  If so, I’m excited to tell you that I have a solution!  I know that many of you need help with budgeting so I have taken some time and created the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. Budget Challenge.  This 40-day challenge will equip you with everything you need to finally master your money.

Challenge Info:

  • When does the challenge begin? It will kick off with a LIVE two-hour, online equipping event on Tuesday, August 21st.
  • How does it work? You will receive special teaching EVERY DAY of the challenge! The first 10 days will focus on preparing your actual monthly budget for September. The final 30 days will help you succeed with your budget throughout the month.
  • Can I get real help from the IWBNIN team? Absolutely! There will be a live call once per week on Thursday at 8PM EST where your questions will be answered by Joe or a member of the IWBNIN team.
  • Do I have to show up to the live events or will they be available on-demand? We understand that you have a busy life! To help accommodate you, we will record all live events and make them available to all 40-Day Budget Challenge Participants!

If you have had enough and you are ready to take control of your money, reduce financial stress, and start making progress toward your plans, hopes and dreams, join me on the 40-Day Challenge.  Do not miss this opportunity! REGISTER HERE!

Money Lies – I Can’t Budget

There are tons of excuses for why you should not budget.  It is hard, it can be time consuming, and you might not feel like you make enough to budget.  I get it. But if you have been believing any of these excuses and use it as a reason why you cannot budget, you are believing a lie!  I am not going to lie to you, budgeting can be challenging. If it were easy, people would not feel so intimidated by it.

Ultimately, budgeting or not budgeting is a choice.  There is not a situation that prevents you from completing a budget.  You either choose that you are going to win with your money or you choose to let your money run you.  I know which option I am choosing. A budget allowed me to do so much more than I ever thought possible in terms of my finances.  A budget set me free.

  • A budget allows me to know where every single dollar is going BEFORE I am ever paid.
  • A budget provides me choices – because I plan it before I receive it.
  • A budget allows my bride and I to have constructive conversations every single month about our plans, hopes and dreams.
  • A budget allowed me to pay off all of my non-house debt in just 14 months.
  • A budget allowed me to pay off my house in 10 years and 1 month.
  • A budget allowed me to send my daughter off to college without incurring any student loans, fulfilling a dream of mine.

You can come up with as many reasons as you would like to not budget.  But, there are so many more reasons that you need one! It will set you free  and allow you to do more than you ever thought possible, just as it did for me.

Try some of these practical ways to make a budget work well for you:

  1. Use a budget tool – Budget tools will do the math for you.  This keeps you focused on the financial decisions at hand instead of facing a terrible math quiz.  You can try our FREE BUDGET TOOLS HERE and they will do all the work for you!
  2. Build an emergency fund equal to a full month of EXPENSES – Notice I said expenses, not a full month of your income.  Once you have saved enough for an entire month of expenses, you can ignore multiple paychecks and use the Monthly Budgeting Tool instead. And, you will rid yourself of a level of stress that you may not have even known you had!
  3. Be realistic – If you are just beginning to prepare a monthly budget, it is important to be realistic about your expenses.  Do not tell yourself that you will spend $3.45 on groceries in the next month. That is not possible and you will fail if you structure your budget this way.  If you have a household of kids that are involved in 62 after-school activities, do not put $0 in your dining out budget. Go through your debit/credit card history and see what your spending habits are.  Once you have determined what your history is, you can trim to what is reasonable.

Remember, no matter how daunting of a task you think budgeting is, it is going to beat not budgeting 10 out of 10 times.  Do it. You need it.


Want more tips like this one?  Subscribe to the Monday Money Tip Podcast HERE.

Are you struggling with your budget?  Are you ready to take control and finally start winning with your money?  If so, join our first ever I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. 40 Day Budget Challenge.  During this challenge we will help you create a budget and give helpful and practical tips every single day to make sure that you follow through until the end of the month.  Our launch date is Tuesday, August 21st and you can REGISTER HERE.  Don’t miss out!