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3 Places to Save Money on Groceries – CouponMom.com

Food consumes 15-20% of the average American’s household gross income. With such a large spending category, it is helpful to understand some key ways to manage these costs while still being able to purchase enough food (and hopefully even healthy ones too). In this series, I’m discussing three specific places that can save your grocery bill money. So, are you ready to save $100 – $300 every month on groceries?

#3 – CouponMom.com 

If you are not using CouponMom.com, there is a high chance that you are way overpaying for your groceries.

In our Financial Learning Experience events, I have the opportunity to share some money saving ideas.  Of course, I always wish I had ten or eleven hours to share as many of them as possible, but there is not enough time. One that I ALWAYS mention however, is CouponMom.com.

Here is how it works:

  1. Obtain Sunday newspaper coupon booklets (issued by SmartSource, RedPlum, and P&G)
  2. Mark the date issued on the coupon booklets – do NOT cut the coupons
  3. Sign up to CouponMom.com (click HERE to sign up – it is FREE!)
  4. Every week, go to CouponMom.com and pull up your store’s deals under the “Grocery Deals By State”
  5. CouponMom.com will tell you which coupon booklets to cut coupons from and how to use them to obtain an average of 50% to 85% OFF!

It sounds too good to be true, but I use this myself!  I KNOW it to be true!  For example, this week I went to Publix (grocery store near my house) and had a bill of $69.00.  I received $33.98 OFF after using my coupons.  This was not for useless junk that I will never use.  This is for cereal, pickles, ice cream, vitamins, toilet paper, paper towels, and many other products that I would purchase anyway.

Have you used this service?  If so, share your victory stories!  If not, get started and save a ton of money.

3 Places to Save Money on Groceries – Southern Savers

Food consumes 15-20% of the average American’s household gross income. With such a large spending category, it is helpful to understand some key ways to manage these costs while still being able to purchase enough food (and hopefully even healthy ones too). In this series, I’m discussing three specific places that can save your grocery bill money. So, are you ready to save $100 – $300 every month on groceries?

#2 – SouthernSavers.com

Add this website to the ones you check every single day. This website is written by a stay-at-home mom so you KNOW that she will share some incredible deals!

You will find INCREDIBLE deals for at least fourteen grocery stores, coupons, and saving tips.

All of the members of the I Was Broke. Now I’m Not. team are crazy about this site.

You can check it out HERE (you should go ahead and SUBSCRIBE).

Have you used Southern Savers? Share your story!

3 Places to Save Money on Groceries – Aldi

Food consumes 15-20% of the average American’s household gross income. With such a large spending category, it is helpful to understand some key ways to manage these costs while still being able to purchase enough food (and hopefully even healthy ones too). In this series, I’m discussing three specific places that can save your grocery bill money. So, are you ready to save $100 – $300 every month on groceries?

#1 – Aldi Grocery Store

Aldi is the cheapest grocery store I have ever found. It is first-quality, top-notch food, and I LOVE shopping at this store! It is about 10%-33% cheaper than the next cheapest grocery store.

I buy cereal, milk, bagels, bread, eggs, cheese, fruit, vegetables, meat, canned foods, and many other products at this store, and I have been very satisfied!

I can only hope that Aldi has a store near you.  You can click HERE to see if they do.

Do you shop at Aldi?  If so, share your stories below!

Monday Money Tip: How to Save Money on Groceries

Welcome to another addition of Monday Money Tip! In today’s tip, I’m sharing several key ways you can save money on your groceries. This tip can help you free up cash to buy more groceries or save, invest or give more money.

Want to automatically receive a helpful and practical money tip every Monday? Just sign up HERE (It’s FREE)!

I Can’t Do This! I Have Had Enough

If you have attended one of our Financial Learning Experiences or heard me speak, chances are pretty high that you’ve heard me talk about IHHE Moments – I Have Had Enough Moments.

I Have Had Enough … of those who say, “I can’t do this!”

I have spoken to or with tens of thousands of people regarding the topic of personal finances.  Without fail from every single event, I have received the phone call, e-mail, or comment that basically says this:

That is easy for you to say.  You have no debt.  You have income.  This will not work for me because of…

I have had enough!  No more! The FACT (regardless of how one feels about a situation) is that you CAN win with your money.  You CAN become debt-free.  You CAN save for retirement.  You CAN own a house some day.  You CAN pursue a dream.

To those who would say, “Joe, you have no debt.”  I would respond by asking them if they have ever read my book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.?  I was up to my eyeballs in debt!  While I pursued debt freedom, my wife had to have not one, but two major surgeries with huge deductibles that we had to pay.  Since we have become debt-free, we have experienced other surgeries, failed heat pumps, a fixer-upper house, a failed transmission, and many other expenses.  If we could endure this and become debt-free, so can you!

To those who would say, “Joe, you have income.”  This is true.  My hero, Dave Ramsey, has said it many times.  There is a good place to go when you are broke – to work – it is a sure-fired moneymaking scheme!  I have always worked.  Always.  I might even be called a workaholic, but the fact is that I will not accept unemployment.  I have spent the time and money to obtain an undergraduate degree.  Once I earned a job in the workplace, I spent the time and money to obtain a graduate degree – all while working a full-time job, being a husband, and becoming a father for the first time.  But I will tell you that I have worked jobs that were horrible too.  I have cleaned confinement hog buildings and “maintained” the hogs (no further details here – but it was awful) – all for minimum wage.  I have cleaned horse stalls and green broke race horses.  I was trampled by one, stepped on a nail while climbing the fence, and scooped horse dung all day long – for a few cents more than minimum wage.  I worked at Taco Bell.  I worked in a smoking hot steel mill.  If I could do this, so can you!

You CAN do this!  No matter what your doubters say.  No matter what your family says.  No matter the frustrations of accomplishing it.

STOP saying you CAN’T do it, and START saying that you WILL do it.

Have you had your IHHE moment? Tell me about it below.

12 Reasons You Aren’t Winning With Your Money

I get the opportunity to travel and speak to different groups of people, in different phrases of life, with different financial struggles. However, they all of one thing in common: they all want to win with their money. The unfortunate reality is that there are a lot of people who aren’t winning with their finances. It can be frustrating and overwhelming. The GOOD NEWS is that you can win with your money. You can become debt free! You can start living your fully funded life.

Here is the list of the top reasons (in no particular order) I see that people aren’t winning with their money. If you currently aren’t winning with your money, read the list below to see if any of these apply to you.

  1. Unwilling to admit there is a problem
  2. Inability to say NO (to themselves, spouse, and/or children)
  3. Shiny Stuff Syndrome
  4. Lack of financial education
  5. Spouses not working together
  6. Lack of giving (rarely do I see selfish people truly win with their money)
  7. No savings (it is impossible to win financially if you do not save)
  8. Unwilling to take risk with any investments
  9. Listening to the wrong (and broke) people
  10. Impulsive spending decisions
  11. Failure to carry health and disability insurance
  12. Unwilling to work for it

Would you add any additional reasons to this list?

Ready to Get Organized? Part THREE

There are two types of people – those who are organized and those who aren’t. Which do you fall under? How about with your finances? It’s extremely important to have your finances organized. In fact, I believe that a lack of organization is one of the top reasons that people do not reach the peak of their financial potential. So, are you ready to get organized? Here we go!

PART ONE  Understand why you are doing this in the first place

PART TWO  Prepare a list of all of your financial accounts

PART THREE  Information to include on your Financial Accounts Form

This form is meant to be the be-all end-all location for your entire financial picture. When you are looking for key financial information, you won’t have to go far because it is all contained within this file. When you pass away, it will allow your estate executor to easily understand what they are dealing with.

Here are the key items to include on your Financial Accounts Form.

  • Investment Accounts: Include your 401(k), 403(b), 457, TSP, Roth IRA, IRA, Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Fund Investments
  • Bank Accounts: Include checking, savings, money market, CDs, and any other accounts held at a bank or credit union.
  • Real Estate: If you own real estate, be sure to list the addresses and the financial status of these holdings.
  • Will: According to LexisNexis and LegalZoom, 55% of Americans do not have a will or other estate plan in place. Have one, and include it’s location and your assigned executor on this document.
  • Power of Attorney: Healthcare POA, Limited POA, or other legal assignments of responsibility should be included in this document
  • Insurance Policies: Include Life Insurance – be sure to include policies provided through your workplace. Also include insurance on key possessions owned.
  • Jewelry (or other valuables): If you have valuable possessions, be sure to list them and their location
  • Safe Deposit Box: If you have one, indicate it on this document and include it’s location.

I know! I know! This can seem overwhelming, but it is absolutely worth the effort to put this together!

 

Ready to Get Organized? Part TWO

There are two types of people – those who are organized and those who aren’t. Which do you fall under? How about with your finances? It’s extremely important to have your finances organized. In fact, I believe that a lack of organization is one of the top reasons that people do not reach the peak of their financial potential. So, are you ready to get organized? Here we go!

PART ONE  Understand why you are doing this in the first place

PART TWO  Prepare a list of all of your financial accounts

If you are a slightly or very disorganized person (like I used to be!), this is probably going to be the most difficult part of the entire organizational process. It is important to gather together your financial statements so you can easily prepare a one or two page document that details your entire picture.

To speed up the process, we have a tool that you can use to consolidate all of your information into one place. You can download a copy below:

Financial Accounts Form (PDF) or Financial Accounts Form (MS Word)

Below is a sample of how the information can be written into the file:

In the next step of this series, we will talk about specific types of information that you need to be sure to include on this document.

Ready to Get Organized? Part ONE

There are two types of people – those who are organized and those who aren’t. Which do you fall under? How about with your finances? It’s extremely important to have your finances organized. In fact, I believe that a lack of organization is one of the top reasons that people do not reach the peak of their financial potential. So, are you ready to get organized? Here we go!

PART ONE  Understand why you are doing this in the first place

Let’s face it. We are all extremely busy. The last thing we need to do is initiate another paperwork process just for the sake of what “might” happen. I believe, however, that this process is an extremely valuable step toward maximizing one’s financial potential. If you take the time to complete the steps in this series, you will discover areas where your financial plan is lacking AND also where you are winning (which is very satisfying to see).

Here are some reasons to get organized financially:

  • Control: It is hard for the finances to run out of control when you are focusing this intently on your financial affairs
  • Improved financial focus: We tend to improve that which we focus our attention on
  • We will die someday: Our family will appreciate a clearly organized set of financial affairs

Organization and a great financial plan are two of the key reasons that Jenn and I have been able to experience financial freedom!

Is It Worth It?

Is it worth it?

I had a person express to me the importance of them receiving a paycheck because they are living paycheck to paycheck.

This individual has been working over 20 years and is still living paycheck to paycheck.

WOW!

Is everything they have purchased with their money been worth living paycheck to paycheck for 20 years? Balancing each week to pay the bills without bouncing a check?

OUCH!

If you keep doing what you are currently doing, are you going to look back in 20 years and still be living paycheck to paycheck? 10 years from now? 5 years from now? 1 year from now?

Really?

You see, I believe that for more than 95% of Americans the issue is NOT income. It is OUTGO! I believe that you can change your financial future. I believe that I can NOT change your financial future. You will change your financial future only when you have committed yourself 100% to the goal of living beyond the life of “paycheck-to-paycheck”.

I can help teach you. I can help educate you. I can plead with you. Your spouse can beg you. Only you can do it!

Looking for a next step? Check out my latest book for all the details – HERE.

Fun Summertime Activities For FREE (or close to it)

Well we’re getting ready to say goodbye to spring and hello to summertime! That means heat, no school, and lots of free time. In this tight economic time, a lot of people are getting very creative about how they spend their time and money. Let’s face it, we all want to have fun – even more so when the money is tight and times are stressful! Here are some ways that I have seen people having fun and it is costing them NOTHING (or next to it).

  • Start a blog
  • Listen to a podcast
  • Play a board game, card game or any kind of game
  • Check out the community calendar
  • Library visits – just to peruse the books, magazines and check out free movies
  • Bake a new dish using stuff that is already in the pantry and freezer
  • Clean up the yard
  • Learn a new skill (maybe how to change your car’s oil)
  • Start a DIY project
  • Start a new workout routine
  • Attack one room in the house and reorganize it
  • Volunteer at a local community center, food pantry, or animal shelter
  • Take the train downtown to people watch – I LOVE doing this in Chicago!
  • Catch up on some old shows with Hulu.com
  • Take time to pet and play with the dog and cat
  • Go on a hike or a walk
  • Pick-up basketball games at the local park

These are a few ideas. What are your favorite things to do that cost little or no money?

 

Is Your Money Making Money For You?

As I described in my book, Oxen: The Key to an Abundant Harvest, you truly begin winning with money when your “money makes money for you”.

With that said, here’s a great question to ask yourself: “How much interest is my bank paying me for the money in my savings account?”

Chances are high that the number is 0.01%. In fact, I checked several large banks and here’s what I found for their basic savings accounts:

  • Bank of America – 0.01%
  • Wells Fargo – 0.01%
  • Bank of the West – 0.01%-0.02% (Depending on the state you live in)

This is why I hold all of my business and personal savings in ONLINE BANKS. This is not a “bank with website access”. They are banks that exist almost exclusively online. Since they do not have physical buildings, they have to do extraordinary things to attract customers, like offer higher interest rates. You can check out my top 5 reasons why I use online banks HERE.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you put $2,500 (one month’s of expenses – Rung 2 of the IWBNIN Ladder) into a savings account today. In one year you could earn almost $25.00 in interest from an online bank vs. $0.25 from one of the large banks. I’d say that’s a great deal! Now that might not seem like a significant amount of money to you but it’s free money and every little bit helps! Also, remember this is your savings account, not an investment account.

With this information, I’d encourage you to do 2 things:

  1. Find out how much interest your bank is currently paying on your savings.
  2. Check out the online banks that we recommend HERE.

 

5 Essentials to Paying Off Debt – Step 4

In this series, I want to equip you to become debt free!! Jenn and I became debt free in just 14 months by following this process. I can tell you this – there is NOTING like living life without the weight of debt!

STEP 1 – Understand the WHY before the HOW

STEP 2 – Calculate your Debt Freedom Date

STEP 3 – Accelerate your debt elimination

STEP 4 – Use the Debt Snowball Technique 
We can all agree that debt is a drag. It hangs on like a bad relationship or a fixer-upper money pit house. Anyone, when given the choice, would choose to be debt free over paying debt payments every month.

The average family possess credit card debt, student loan debt, furniture debt, vehicle debt, and a personal loan or two. Then a house payment enters into the picture. Every single month, 40% or more of the family’s income is “dead on arrival” because it must immediately be sent out to lenders. Let’s work on changing that!

With Steps 1-3 complete, we can now focus on actually paying off the debt using the Debt Snowball Technique!

Let me explain the process for using the Debt Snowball Technique.

  1. List ALL debts from the smallest balanced owed to the largest.
  2. Pay the minimum payment on all debts except the smallest one.
  3. Pay as much as you can on the smallest debt.
  4. When the smallest debt is eliminated, take the monthly payment you were paying for that debt and add it to the monthly payment you’re making on the second smallest debt.
  5. Continue this process with a vengeance until you are debt free!!

I highly recommend this technique because you will see individual debt payments disappear more swiftly from your monthly budget. For more information on the Debt Snowball Technique, grab a copy of my latest book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

5 Essentials to Paying Off Debt – Step 3

In this series, I want to equip you to become debt free!! Jenn and I became debt free in just 14 months by following this process. I can tell you this – there is NOTING like living life without the weight of debt!

STEP 1 – Understand the WHY before the HOW

STEP 2 – Calculate your Debt Freedom Date

STEP 3 – Accelerate your debt elimination
DEBT – This four letter word often consumes so much of our lives, thoughts and actions. But, it doesn’t have to!

When it comes to debt, I understand how stressful and frustrating it can be. I understand the weight and fiction it can bring to a family. However, I also know the freedom that comes when one become debt free and I want you to experience this freedom!

When you are ready to start attacking your debt, here are a few ways to accelerate debt elimination. (But before you begin, make sure you’re not making the #1 Debt Mistake – HERE.)

3 Ways to Accelerate Debt Elimination:

  1. Reduce Interest – Many people with substantial consumer debt do not realize that 50% – 75% of their payments are merely going to the lender as interest. This greatly reduces your ability to lower your debt. So, here are a few ways to lower your interest:
    1. Transfer to a 0% Interest Credit Card (Learn more HERE)
    2. Call & ask for a lower rate
    3. Pay on-time
    4. Establish automatic payments
  2. Increase Income – Since we’re all friends here, if we’re being completely honest, we all vote for this option, right? But a lot of people don’t realize that there are numerous ways to increase income that are within your hands. Here are a few:
    1. Pay Raise (see salary.com)
    2. Tax Refund
    3. Bonus
    4. Work Overtime
    5. Extra Job
    6. Sell Some Possessions
  3. Decrease Outgo – This is an option that is always available to us, but it’s probably not fun. If you can decrease the outgo to other things, you can increase the outgo to liberating your life from debt!
    1. Create and follow a budget!
    2. Sell some possessions

You can learn more about each of these steps in my book, I Was Broke. Now I’m Not.

5 Essentials to Paying Off Debt – Step 2

In this series, I want to equip you to become debt free!! Jenn and I became debt free in just 14 months by following this process. I can tell you this – there is NOTING like living life without the weight of debt!

STEP 1 – Understand the WHY before the HOW

STEP 2 – Calculate your Debt Freedom Date
When I meet with people, it’s a guarantee that I will calculate their debt freedom date. When I do this, it’s clear that people do not like debt! It’s also apparent that people have not been paying attention to their finances and do not have a well-defined plan for their life. Otherwise, they would not have incurred most of the debt. However, there is always HOPE and a way out! 

In these meetings, I often use the example of a dragon. Follow me here! How can you effectively defeat a dragon if you don’t know how many heads it has or how large the dragon is? So, before we calculate your debt freedom date,  let’s establish three things: 

  1. Who do you owe
  2. How much do you owe
  3. What are the payments that you are ACTUALLY making

You can list these on the Debt Freedom Date Calculator. Now we can calculate your debt freedom date! This date is simply the date that you will be debt free (including and excluding the house).

Let’s look at a sample. In this sample, the couple listed all of their non-house, non-business debts, as well as their house debt. After all of the debts are inputted, the debt freedom date is calculated. This couple will be debt free, excluding the house, in just 3.3 years and completely debt free, including the house, in 7.7 years!! Get fired up!

Debt Freedom Date Calculator

Are you ready to take your next step? You can calculate your debt freedom date HERE!

IMPORTANT NOTE: When you take this next step to become debt free, you must eliminate the potential for new debt! If you keep swiping the credit cards and running up the balance, you’re just eliminating your potential of becoming debt free.

Have you calculated your date? How many months until you’re debt free?

 

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