More Credit Cards Chopped!

I have always said that the first rule of holes applies really well to debt.

You know what the first rule of holes is, right?

When you are in one, STOP DIGGING! 

Well, I have had some great things happening during recent financial counseling appointments.

People have taken substantial steps to STOP DIGGING holes as they step toward Financial Freedom!

Want proof?  Here are some pictures!  A HUGE round of applause for these people who are taking action to change their lives!


Have you STOPPED DIGGING yet?  If not, what will it take?  A job loss?  A pay cut?  A broken car transmission?  A huge medical bill?  Bankruptcy?

If you have stopped digging, send me pictures of your chopped up credit cards (or filled in Pay-off Spectaculars – found in the TOOLS page) and I will post the pictures! 

Plans – They paid off!

Four years ago, I went to Philadelphia to attend my twin brother's "white coat ceremony" at Drexel University College of Medicine.  This ceremony started the four year journey through medical school.  For John, it was the realization of years of studying, planning, and dreaming.

Today, I find myself in Philadelphia again.  John graduates from medical school today.  The first doctor in the family.

John's plans have paid off!  It was not easy.  It was not fun all of the time.  It was not glamorous.

TODAY, however, is easy, fun, and glamorous.  Today, John Sangl becomes Dr. John D. Sangl.

Congratulations, John, on achieving a life-long dream!

Anyone out there have a dream?  A big dream?  A dream that scares you to death?  One that you can hardly share with those you care most about?  Question:  What are you doing about your dreams?

Financial Hero – Larry Burkett

Why is Larry Burkett a Financial Hero?

Larry Burkett is a Financial Hero because he LIVED what he taught.  Larry taught the principle of "God is the owner.  We are the managers."

Think about that principle for a minute.  It changes the entire way you manage your money.  It forces you to look at it from the position of a manager, NOT the owner.  Let's break this down.  If you are a store manager for my favorite fast-food restaurant, Chick-Fil-A, what is your job?  Ultimately, it is to help the owner make more money!  Yes, you are responsible for ensuring the customers are delighted with the food and service and ensuring that the drive-through moves swiftly, but ultimately you are responsible for boosting sales and increasing profits.

If you were the owner of U, Inc., would your fire yourself?  How are you doing?

Larry consistently challenged everyone to look at their finances from a biblical perspective.  The Bible is very clear that when you approach your finances from a manager's perspective, you will obtain better results.

Larry wrote over 70 books!  Let's put this into perspective.  I am still working to have my first book published!

He passed away in 2003, but he has left a legacy in print and spoken word that continue to impact tens of thousands every year.  What a legacy!

Larry Burkett, an official Financial Hero!

Read about other Financial Heroes!

An Open Letter To Business Leaders/Pastors

Dear Business Leader/Pastor,

As a leader, you encounter people who are in financial trouble.  Statistics show that over 70% of Americans live paycheck-to-paycheck.  OVER SEVENTY PERCENT!

What does this mean to you?

For business leaders, it has been shown that people who are struggling financially have lower productivity, are prone to attendance issues, and pursue raises constantly, solely because of their financial need.

For pastors, it is clear that people who are struggle financially will also struggle spiritually.  It is also means that these people are unable to give as they want to.

I have a question for you.  What are you doing to financially equip your people?

Business Leaders – Do you just push their issues under the carpet and chuckle about the “OT” hogs?  Do you beg off by saying “We are a business, not an educational institution.” Or “We can’t tell our people what to do with their money?”

Pastors – Do you teach about giving the full tithe, pushing all non-givers into complete guilt, without offering a way to make it happen?  Do you beg off by saying, “God says to ‘test me in this’”?  Or “Just give and God will make up the difference?”

WE MUST EQUIP PEOPLE!  If we do not, who will?  Marketers and salespersons looking to make a huge margin, that's who!

I am on a CRUSADE to help people with their finances!  I cannot simply stand by and watch others struggle with their finances the way that I did!  I cannot simply stand by and see others struggle while KNOWING that there is A BETTER WAY!  I will travel the planet to proclaim this!

I want to help you!  Here are ways that I can help.

Financial Learning Experience – A 2 to 5 hour class (Custom-designed to your staff/congregation/employee needs).  It is a practical class that is focused on the “how-to” of sound money management.  I LOVE taking the crusade on the road!  The recent road has included teaching in Easley, SC, N. Myrtle Beach, SC, and Atlanta, GA.  The future road already includes Atlanta, GA.  This road will soon include Texas, California, Washington, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Indiana.  More to come! – This web site is chock-full of information and practical tools that have changed entire financial futures!

Want to bring the Financial Learning Experience to your location?  Contact me HERE

Plan Your Spending EVERY MONTH

I provide one-on-one financial counseling for 10 to 15 people each week.  In this counseling, we usually put together a spending plan for the upcoming month.  This is usually a VERY eye-opening experience!  The words "WOW!" and "Oh my goodness!" and "That's insane!" are commonly said (No – I am not the one saying that!).

Folks then leave with their spending planned for the next month.  They have spent every dollar on paper.  If they follow the plan, they will start winning in a way they never have before.  Two or three months pass and we meet again – only to find out that they are still trying to use the same spending plan we had put together!


Why?  Well, every single month is different.  Now, some costs are fixed (or close to being fixed) like the mortgage, rent, insurance, car payment, student loan payment, etc.  However, many expenses are variable – they don't happen every month.  Items like vacation, Christmas, weddings, baby showers, graduations, weekend getaways, etc.  If you do not plan your spending every month, you will not maximize the use of your money!

Let me give you a practical month.  In this month of May, Jenn and I traveled to Atlanta the weekend of 5/5.  This past weekend?  Wow!  We traveled to seven states, 2000 miles, for two graduations (Jenn's sisters) and a wedding shower.  This next weekend, we are going to another graduation – my twin is graduating from medical school.  Is that a typical month?  I HOPE NOT!  The "gifts" part of our budget for May is HUGE!  Next month will be calmer in the gift category, but the vacation line item will be boosted.

Get the picture? 

Every month is different.  It only takes 15 minutes to tweak the budget and make it work fabulously well EVERY SINGLE MONTH!

Thoughts from Purdue University

On Sunday, I had the honor of seeing my sister-in-law, Chelsee, graduate with a BS Nursing degree from the world's GREATEST college, Purdue University!

One of the speakers at the school's recognition and pinning ceremony mentioned that this was a moment they would never forget.  She stated that many of those in the room were remembering their own moments.  She got that right!  It was all I did the entire time!

On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, I walked around the entire Purdue campus.  The ENTIRE campus.  I had the pleasure of just walking around with my daughter and telling her all the stories.  The story of how Jenn and I met there my first weekend at Purdue.  The story of where they teach people how to slaughter cows (yikes).  The story of riding my bike around campus.  The story of running through the fountain in the engineering mall. 

I lived at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN for four YEARS, and it seemed like it was only four MINUTES!

Here is what is on my mind right now – What are your dreams?  What are your hopes?  What do you wish you could do?  What were you created to do?  What have you been put on earth to do?

Three words for you:  GO  DO  IT!!!

You will never regret doing what you have been created to do!


I meet people all of the time who do not plan their finances.  They use lame excuses to explain why they never plan their spending.

Some of the greatest LAME excuses are:

"I'm just too busy."

"The kids just have so much going on." 

"I put together a budget before and it didn't work." 

Let's apply this same logic to other aspects of life.

Surgery – Suppose that you needed surgery.  If the surgeon said, "I'm not sure what I am going to do.  I am just going to start cutting and I hope that it all works out OK.  And, oh yeah, if I remember, I will apply anesthesia first."  Would you allow this surgeon to operate on you without a plan?  NO!

House – Would you hire a homebuilder who said, "I don't like plans.  They are too constraining.  I do my best when I just freelance it."  Would you allow this builder to construct your home?  NO!

Football Game - Would you want to play for a coach who said, "Just run in there, and we'll make up a play as we go along?"  Teams who do not have a plan FAIL!

We will all say that coaches, surgeons, and homebuilders should have a plan, yet we will not plan our finances!

If you wish to remain broke, keep up this same behavior!  The issue is this – I KNOW that NO ONE truly wants to be broke!  Everyone has hopes and dreams.  Everyone has been put on earth to accomplish something!  Everyone aspires to do their best with what they have!

I am on a CRUSADE to help you accomplish far more than you ever thought possible!  PLAN YOUR FINANCES!  Put together a plan for your money.  Spend your money on paper BEFORE the month begins and BEFORE you ever get the money.  Go to the TOOLS section of this page and pull up one of the budget forms.

Do it today for the rest of the month, and then put together a plan for next month's money.  When you spend your money on paper BEFORE you ever receive the money, you will start to win in a way you only dreamed of!

Plan Your Finances - You will NEVER regret this decision!

"Can I get a witness?!" 

Financial Hero – My Parents!

Why are MY PARENTS Financial Heroes?

Because my Mom & Dad taught me a lot about working hard, investing, and running a business.

My father started his own home-building business in the early 60s and managed to run that business all the way to retirement.  That is NOT a small accomplishment!

My mother ran the home economy.  We had a garden that probably totaled over an acre of land.  I remember days where we picked BUSHELS of green beans in the morning, snapped them all through the afternoon, and canned them all night.  Some days we would can over 100 quarts of green beans at a time!  She made clothes.  She bargain-shopped.  She cooked nearly every meal from scratch (cheapest way to make a meal – also the tastiest).

My parents managed to support a family of SIX boys through this business and develop some sound investments that prepared themselves well for retirement.

It was my father who gave me the book written by another Financial Hero, David Chilton, The Wealthy Barber, to read.  Through it I learned about the POWER of compound interest!

My parents never splurged on anything, but we ALWAYS went on a family vacation every single year.  We also had some motorcycles, dirtbikes, bikes, canoes, and fishing poles that ensured that we could have fun through the year.

Thank you, Mom & Dad, for instilling sound financial principles in me and showing me the importance of working hard!  You are officially Financial Heroes!

Read about other Financial Heroes!


I have had landmark moments in my past.  These are MOMENTS, not periods of time.  These are instances where my life was changed forever.  Forever.

I have figured out that landmark moments happen and many times I do not really understand the profound impact that this single moment will have on my future.  Landmark moments can also happen totally unexpected.

Here are some landmark moments that have happened in my life

  • Committing my life to Jesus Christ
  • Filling out an application to Purdue University
  • Going to a dance the first week of my freshman year at college & meeting this hot girl named Jenn (my wife!)
  • Deciding to contribute the maximum to my 401k
  • Taking a job transfer to South Carolina
  • Filling out an application to Clemson University
  • Meeting Perry
  • Helping start NewSpring Church
  • The birth of my daughter
  • Chopping up my credit cards and committing to become debt-free (We did!)
  • Starting the Financial Peace University class at Nappanee Missionary Church
  • Abandoning my career to go do exactly what God put me on this earth to do – help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible

I have found that landmark moments can be sneaky!  You never know when they are going to happen.  I have also found that landmark moments tend to be closely related to how you live your life!  If you live your life to the fullest – and pursue good and the betterment of your fellow man – more good landmark moments are bound to happen.  If you live your life to the fullest – and pursue selfish dreams at the expense of others – more bad landmark moments are bound to happen.

What are the landmark moments in your life?  When you look back, do you want to have a sea of regret?  NO ONE DOES!!!  By looking forward and saying, "HOW CAN I MAKE DECISIONS THAT HONOR GOD AND HONOR OTHERS?", you will have a GREAT chance of being able to look back and say, "No regrets.  I did all that I possibly could with all of the talents, possessions, and gifts that I have."

Savings Spectaculars!

If you have read for any time at all, you know how visual we want you to make debt!  One of the ways that debt is made VERY visual is through the use of Debt Pay-Off Spectaculars!  It is a fun way to see the progress you are making on eliminating debt.

With the post of Debt Pay-Off Spectaculars, Jon Smock had a FANTASTIC comment HERE.  His comment was to create SAVINGS spectaculars for those who have actually eliminated their debt or are SAVING money to PAY CASH for their next purchase.  Jon, what a FANTASTIC idea!!!

So today, is proud to announce the arrival of SAVINGS SPECTACULARS!  They work the same way as the Debt Spectaculars.  Take the "Expected Purchase Price" and divide it by the number of squares.  That will give you the value of each square!

Example  You want to purchase a truck with cash.  The expected cost of the truck is $10,000.  The Truck Savings Spectacular has  426 squares.  Divide $10,000 by 426 and you get $23.47/square.  Every time you save another $23.47, you will get to color in another square!!!

The Savings Spectaculars and Debt Pay-Off Spectaculars are all located at the bottom of the TOOLS page.

Savings Spectaculars has been created for a TRUCK, MINIVAN, FURNITURE, COLLEGE, and a TV.

HAVE FUN!  Any other Spectacular ideas?

Reasons I blog …

One of my favorite personal finance blogs, Lazy Man And Money, recently wrote about the reasons that he blogs about personal finances.  I thought I would do the same.

1.  I had my life changed because someone cared to share with me a BETTER WAY of managing my money.  I can't help but share my story with the world!

2.  It helps me put my thoughts on paper.  I am pretty scatterbrained, and this blog enables me to put my thoughts together.

3.  I am on a CRUSADE to help equip others to win financially!

4.  I want this blog to be a place where people can be encouraged, obtain HOPE, learn new ways to manage their finances, and share successes! 

5.  My life's passion statement is "To help others accomplish far more than they ever thought possible."  This blog helps me accomplish that passion!

Thank You To Crossroads Church!

I just got back from teaching the Financial Learning Experience at Crossroads Church in Douglasville, GA!

It was awesome to be able to carry on the crusade to the Atlanta area!  There were 56 people who came in ON A SATURDAY MORNING to learn about finances!

I can tell you this – from the moment the class started everyone was engaged!  Everyone was interested!  Everyone was actively participating in the discussion!

I will predict this right now.  Mark this down in your books.  There were lives that were changed today!  Lives that will never be the same!  There will be children who will see their parents WORKING TOGETHER on their finances for the first time – without fighting!  Mark it down!

MANY THANKS to Kurt Dean for the hospitality and allowing me the opportunity to carry on my crusade at Crossroads Church!  Kurt – I can't thank you enough!

Since Jenn and I were in town on Friday evening, Kurt and his bride, Janine, invited us to their home group for game night.  Bud and Monica hosted us for some flame-grilled burgers (very FLAME-grilled!Laughing), ping-pong, and a game of Taboo.  In ping-pong, I was thumped by Kurt, Bud, AND Zach.  My Ping-Pong SKILZ have went south!

It was an awesome day, and I am PUMPED UP knowing that there are couples who RIGHT NOW are working together on their finances for the very first time! 


Do you see this chart?!!!  This is the last 100 readers of this blog!!!  Look at where people are checking in from!

Georgia, New York, Oregon, Washington, Indiana, South Carolina, Michigan, California, Arizona, Florida, Queensland, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Illinois.

Freaks!  That's what you all are!  Why would you keep reading the writings of a crazy mad man who is on a CRUSADE to help others with their finances!  You must be some sort of crazy individuals yourselves!

Nerds, Freaks, Crazies – I do not care what they call us!  JUST DON'T CALL US B-R-O-K-E ANYMORE!!!

THANK YOU for reading every single day and helping take this crusade to the nation!  Tell others about the FREE TOOLS that are available.  Set up dinner with your friends and then SHOW THEM how you are managing your money!  SHOW THEM how it is transforming your marriage and your financial future!   TEACH YOUR CHILDREN THIS STUFF!  Carry it to your schools!  Carry it to your workplace!  Carry it to your local bar!  Carry it to your church!  Take it to the community!

FOR ALL OF YOU ATLANTA FOLKS – I will be at CROSSROADS CHURCH in Douglasville, GA THIS SATURDAY at 9:30AM teaching the FINANCIAL LEARNING EXPERIENCE!  I would love to meet you guys!  It is always great to meet those who are reading the blog!


Financial Hero – Howard Dayton

Why is Howard Dayton a Financial Hero?

The short answer requires only three words:  HE LIVES IT!

Howard is the CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, the world's largest financial ministry.

Get this, Crown's Main Objective is this:

To teach God’s financial principles to 300 million people by September 15, 2015.

Folks, just in case you missed it, I am going to add the 0's behind the 300 there.  That is 300,000,000 PEOPLE!  That is an officially REDONKEYKONGULOUS number!  That is outrageous!  That is unreal!  That is crazy!  It sounds like something only GOD could do!  I LOVE it!

I have a personal goal to teach over 100,000 people about finances over the next five years.  It makes my goal seem way too small.

I have read Howard's book, Your Money Counts, and I love the perspective that he emphasizes throughout the book.  Howard emphasizes that we are just managers of the resources we have.  We are not the owners.  You haven't seen anyone take anything with them when they die.  Land, possessions, stuff … it all just goes to someone else.

Howard actually includes a Quit-Claim Deed certificate in his book where you transfer ownership of your possessions and stuff to God.  AWESOME!

Crown Financial is also heard daily on radio stations around the world with their Money Matters and How To Manage Your Money.  In these two shows, Crown Financial is able to teach and instill HOPE in the areas of money management and its impact on life.  You can listen to these shows ON DEMAND by visiting CROWN.ORG.

Howard, thank you for consistently reminding me who is the true owner of our possessions.  For that, you are
named an official Financial Hero! 

Read about other Financial Heroes!

How do I get my spouse on board?

This is a VERY common question that I encounter in the world of personal finances!

First, let me say these two things:

  • Until BOTH of you are on the same page financially, you will never be able to maximize your financial potential.
  • Finances are one of the top causes of marriage fights and divorce.

So, recognizing how HUGELY IMPORTANT it is that you WORK TOGETHER on your finances, I submit the following strategies to get that reluctant spouse on board with planning the family's finances.

1.  Plan out your thoughts

  • Take time to write out the reasons you would like to have your spouse's active help in managing the family's finances.  The Financial Planning Checklist can help you with this.  Include your dreams in this list.  That 25th anniversary trip you have always dreamed of, that boat you always wanted, paying for your daughter's wedding, paying for your children's college, etc.
  • Look into some potential ways to improve your financial management.  I highly recommend putting together a monthly spending plan BEFORE the month actually begins.  You can find FREE copies HERE.  Find a financial class in your local area.  I recommend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace University.  You can find a FPU class in your area by clicking HERE.

2.  Talk to your spouse about it

  • Get a babysitter.  Schedule a night out with your spouse.  Go to a nice dinner.  Go to a coffee house.  At the coffee house, tell your spouse that you have something you want to discuss that is VERY IMPORTANT to you.  TRUST ME.  When you tell them that you want to discuss something with them that is VERY IMPORTANT to you, you WILL have their attention!  This is NOT something that rarely happens!
  • Tell your spouse your concerns.  Explain in terms of unrealized dreams.  Here are some examples."I am concerned that if we do not work together to plan our finances, we may not get to go to Hawaii for our 25th anniversary" and "The children are growing up so fast, and we have not started saving for their college yet" and "We have earned over $500,000 over the past ten years, and we only have $1,500 in savings."  DO NOT PUT THEM INTO A DEFENSIVE POSITION – THIS WILL NOT BE A PRODUCTIVE DISCUSSION if you say things like, "Our finances stink because of your ignorance, and this is all your fault."

3.  Take Action!

  • You have had the discussion.  It might be appropriate to back off for a little while to let your spouse think through all that has been said.  However, at some point, you need to take action!  Sign up for the class.  Set up a night to put together a budget once the children are off to bed.

I hope this helps!  If you know of other ideas that have worked for you, please share!