Truck Pay-Off Spectacular

In keeping with the spirit of the Home Pay-Off Spectacular, I have prepared a "Truck Pay-Off Spectacular". Print it out, divide the purchase price of the truck by 426 squares, and start filling in the squares!

I recommend that you put this right on the refrigerator where all can see it!  You will generate conversation like no other!  Who knows?  You might have the opportunity to teach your friend how to win with money!

You can obtain your FREE copy HERE!

Readers – Who are you?

So, as with most blogs, I have the ability to see general regions of the country that my blog's readers are from.

I am seeing a huge number of hits from New Jersey and New York.  Who are you guys?  What is going on in New York and New Jersey?  I want to hear from you and see what the potential is of meeting you guys one day!

Other readers – California, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Maryland …  who are you guys?

Thanks for being a participant in my crusade to help others with their finances!!!


In school, if you did not pay attention in class and did not study the subject matter, you will receive a letter grade that is not desirable.  It would be the dreaded one-legged "A" that is also known as a big ole "F".

I don't know what would have happened in your house, but if I ever came home with a "F" on my report card, I am pretty sure that I would have become the first person who achieved near-earth orbit via an explosion from my parents.

It is near-instantaneous feedback.  I do not study, and no more than a few months later I receive the dreaded "F" and ultimate accountability with my parents.

It is NO DIFFERENT with your finances!  You might think that you are getting away without studying the subject.  You might have convinced yourself that you do not really need to take time to plan your finances.  You could even believe that you are doing well even without learning more about finances.

I will tell you that you are dead wrong.

If you do not learn about the subject of your personal finances, you WILL have accountability.

It will come in the form of:

  • Not being able to pay for your children's wedding.
  • Not being able to pay for your children's college.
  • Not being able to retire.
  • Not being able to take that vacation that the rest of your friends/family are taking because you are broke.
  • Daily FINANCIAL STRESS that just will not go away.
  • Questions from your children on why you and your spouse are always arguing about money.
  • Having to work tons of overtime just to pay the bills.
  • Having to take a second job just to pay the bills.
  • Not being able to be a stay-at-home mother because bills have forced you into the workplace.
  • Not being able to start that business you always wanted to start.
  • Not being able to realize a lifelong dream to travel around the world.

I do not know if any of these have hit home with you, but I made a decision a long time ago that I would NOT allow money to dictate what I do and do not do.  I will take the money that I have and tell every single George Washington where to go.  I will ensure that quite a number of George's are given away and that large quantities are saved BEFORE I start spending them on anything else.

My PRIORITY is to get an "A" on my finances.  The only way I will accomplish this is to continue learning and apply what I learn to my finances.  Every. Single. Day. 

Financial Hero – David Chilton

Why is DAVID CHILTON a Financial Hero?

My dad gave my twin brother and I a book when we were around twelve years old.  The book's title?  The Wealthy Barber 

This book is written as a fictional novel set in the Detroit area.  The book is very easy and quick to read.  The primary lesson learned in this book is the POWER of Compound Interest.  I remember setting that book down at around twelve year's of age and saying, "If a barber can be a millionaire, then I will be too!"  AT AGE 12!!!

Why should DAVID CHILTON be your Financial Hero? 

  • David's book teaches the concept of compound interest in a fun, easy read.  You can buy a copy and have your children read it as they enter the teenage years.  After they have read it, a great opportunity will be available for you to discuss the power of compound interest and investing.
  • The Wealthy Barber also shows the power of developing a sound business plan and shows it in action through a single lady, a married couple, and a bachelor.  In other words, anyone can do this!
  • I personally have ordered copies of this book ten at a time that I have handed out to friends of mine.  The lesson of compound interest needs to be KNOWN by all people!

David, you are an official Financial Hero!  At age 12, my world was rocked through your book!  My financial future was forever changed by learning the POWER of compound interest so early in life.

Want the book?  Get it HERE.

Read about other Financial Heroes!

Saving Money on Home Improvement

I have been updating an older house lately, and today I will share with you some ways that I have saved money.

1.  Friends/Family have helped out for FREE!

  •  For FREE!  I can't believe it!  My friend, DJ, has worked over 40 hours on my house.  He just keeps showing up!  My mother and father showed up while I was in the pit of despair over this dad-blamed house.  They stayed a WEEK and canceled a Florida trip to stay and help pull us out of the mess!  I should note that my father has built homes for almost 50 years.

2.  Borrowed tools!

  • Call me a free-loader, but tools cost a lot of money!  My friend, Will, loaned me an air compressor, hose, and air nailer.  DJ loaned me a shop-vac, miter saw, and approximately 50 other tools.

3.  Used 10%-off coupons at Lowe's!

  • If you are moving, you can get a 10% Lowe's coupon by clicking HERE.  Even if you are moving across town, you can get this discount.

4.  Used 10%-off coupons at Lowe's in conjunction with manufacturer's rebates.

  • I wanted to install the 30-year American Cottage Pergo flooring in on of my rooms.  Pergo had a special at Lowe's from 3/4 – 4/1 that offered $0.40 off PER square foot.  I used the 10%-off coupon to purchase the Pergo, and then got another $0.40 off per square foot.

5.  Buy used appliances!

  •  They aren't brand new and they won't have a sticker on them, but you can buy an appliance SOOOOOO cheap!  I have friends who were re-doing their kitchen.  They are replacing their appliances and were looking to sell their old ones.  I bought a stove that is a major upgrade from what we did have for WAY CHEAPER than a new stove (think 5 – 10% of the price of a new one).
  • I sold a refrigerator and my old stove from my house, and I was willing to negotiate.  They asked how much I wanted, and I said, "I'm asking $200, but make me an offer."  They did.  They left with the appliances.  WIN-WIN-WIN.

6.  Do the labor yourself!

  • This only applies if you actually know what you were doing.  The room addition that was put on the home that I purchased was not done well.  The down side was that the roof leaked miserably.  The up side was that it only leaked when it rained! Smile    Do not think that just because you have a hammer and nails that you are a carpenter.  This is especially true on home remodels.  It is so much harder to work backwards on a house.

What are you holding on to?

As I was driving in to crusade this morning, I observed a squirrel standing in the road.  He seemed to notice the oncoming vehicle, but was weighed down by a walnut that he was carrying.

As my truck bore down on him, he seemed to be working with all of his might to get off of the road to safety, but he kept his grips tightly onto the nut.

I applied my brakes and swung out wide to avoid him.   The squirrel got off of the road safely with his nut.

My thoughts on this?  I see people like this all of the time.  They are holding on to something that is slowing them way down financially, but they just won't let go of it.  Unfortunately, many creditors and financiers do not swerve and apply their brakes to protect them.

The end result?  They lose their financial freedom while trying to hold on to the very thing that is weighing them down.  Things like the car with the huge car payment, the huge house that has way to much payment, the student loan that is way too big, the furniture payment, the boat payment, or the college payment for our children.  The list can go on and on.

What is it that you are holding on to?  Get rid of the expenses and you will find liberty that you only dreamed of. 

A letter

I received a letter of encouragement from someone who took the Financial Freedom Class that I teach at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC.

The author wrote the most incredible line in it.  A line that jars me each time I read it.

"For the longest time, I am ashamed to say, I thought "poor people" were on budgets.  I now realize it is "rich people" who are on budgets, and the reason they are rich is because of having a budget and staying on a budget." 

That, my friends, is TRUTH.

Are you planning your spending every single month?  Free tools are available to help you by clicking "Tools" at the top of the page. 

Home Pay-Off Spectacular

Joe and Jenn have fell off the "normal" curve a long time ago with the way we manage our money.  That's OK!  We're not broke anymore!!!

One of the things we have sought to implement in our lives is accountability.  Now, accountability can be a LOT of FUN!

Here is a way to make accountability FUN!  Let me introduce you to the "Sangl Family Home Pay-Off Spectacular".

Here is how it works.

  • We drew up an outline of the house in Microsoft PowerPoint and then put a bunch of small squares in it.  They are not square feet – they are just squares.
  • Once the outline was filled with squares, we counted up the squares.
  • We divided the amount we paid for the house by the number of squares in the outline.  This yields the $/square value.
  • Every time we pay $72.14 in principal on the mortgage, we get to color in another square!

This is SO visual!  When my daughter was FOUR, she looked at this thing on the side of the refrigerator and said, "Man!  We sure are in a whole lot of house debt!"  My FOUR YEAR OLD daughter gets this!  It really makes it clear how much of the house you actually own.

It makes spending a lot of fun too!  For example, we could go out for a nice meal that costs $70.  We look at each other and smile knowing that we could have paid another square off on the house.

If an "unexpected" expense shows up that costs $70, I will say, "Well, I could have paid another square."

When I get in an unexpected income of $700, I KNOW that I could fill in 10 more squares by sending it off to the mortgage holder.

When we do pay off another square or squares, I ensure that my bride and my daughter get to help color it in!  Even if it is just one square, I will divide it into three small sections and we will each color in a third of it. 

I LOVE this tool!  It is visual.  The entire family sees it.  My friends see it when they visit the house.  I can't wait for the day that the last square is colored in!

Financial Hero – Dave Ramsey

A new category of posts starts TODAY.  This category titled "Financial Hero" will be used to share about people that are my Financial Heroes and why they have become a Financial Hero to me.  Enjoy!!!


Why is DAVE RAMSEY a Financial Hero?

Dave rocked my world in December 2002.  I had been terrible at managing our short-term money.  We had always contributed heavily to retirement, but our short-term savings hovered continuously at around $4.13.

Dave's 7 Baby Steps changed the way I look at money forever.  I printed out these 7 Baby Steps and put an "expect-to-accomplish" date next to each one.

Jenn and I became debt-free (except for the house) in just 14 month's time.  We are now at Baby Step 6 and making HUGE strides toward Baby Step 7.

Why should DAVE RAMSEY be your Financial Hero? 

  • Dave Ramsey will tell you like it is.  He speaks at a level that you and I can understand.  Dave also is on over 300 radio stations every day for three hours which really helps you learn more about personal finance through the experiences of others!  You can listen to him on-line anytime HERE.
  • Dave has excellent resources available for you to learn more about your finances.  I recommend that everyone take Financial Peace University, a 13-week life-altering class.  You can find a class near you by clicking HERE.
  • Dave's book, Financial Peace, Revisited, is my personal favorite book that he has written.  He has also recently released The Total Money Makeover.  These books should be mandatory reading in high school.  He also wrote an earlier, less-known book called More Than Enough that was good, but I would read the other two books first.
  • Dave is real and authentic.  He has lost and won with money and is an excellent communicator.
  • Dave is also crazy about teaching our kids this stuff.  So much so that he has written a line of children's books.  They are filled with very creative drawings and have actually been given out by the millions as part of the Kid's Meal Program at Chick-fil-A!

Dave, you are an official Financial Hero!  You ROCK!

Fix-it Upper House – Worth It?

For the first time in my life, I have bought an older home.

Jenn and I have owned three other houses – two of them brand new and one was four years old.

Now we have purchased a home that is 28 years old.

Yeah, that wood paneling with wallpaper over it that looked like wedding cake was beautiful.  The two different leaks in the roof were nice.  The discovery of a pile of trash underneath the house was great.

With the work that we wanted to accomplish on the house, we decided to delay moving in until we had addressed many of the known issues.  We have worked tirelessly for almost two months to get the house ready, and we finally moved in last weekend.

We're tired!  It has been nearly a full-time job getting this house ready.  I spoke four times at NewSpring Church on Sunday, February 25th, and when I finished the fourth message, I got into the car and drove to the house to work on the house.  My days that I have taken off from my crusade have been spent at the house.  As we worked on repairing the roof, I managed to smash my thumb to oblivion using a 22 oz Estwing hammer.


You may be considering buying and fixing up a house.  You may be wondering if it would be worth the effort.  I will tell you this – I am the son of a home builder, and it has been very difficult for me.  I don't do this sort of thing EVER, but I kinda sorta know the general activity required.

I would say this, we have gained some significant sweat equity and learned a lot by fixing up this house, but I would not do this again for my personal residence.   EVER.

Financial Freedom Class

The Financial Freedom Class is launching at NewSpring Church in Anderson, SC on Thursday evenings, April 5th.

If you have been putting off this class and are in the Anderson area, now is the time to do it!  Sign up at the Resource Center on Sunday or during 1st Wednesday services. 

Five nights will change your financial future.


Just ask the people who have already taken it. 

Monday Morning – Random Thoughts

I love the comments that have been posted in response to THIS post.

I just bought tickets to vacation trip #1 on  I started out using because they are usually great to use.  However, this time it was all glitchy and failed to even get me to the point to purchase tickets.  So I went on to and I got the exact same ticket for $5/ea less!  Apparently, that is what the fee is that Delta pays Expedia to sell its tickets.  Round-trip to Philadelphia for less than $200 per ticket.  I'm likin' it.

Apparently, PERRY went to see Celine Dion while in Vegas.  Well, I DEMAND that his "Man Card" be laying on my desk by morning.  If he says HERE that my listening to Clay Aiken is wrong, then DEFINITELY Celine is in the same category.  I can't stop thinking about the movie, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days.  Perry in a pink Celine T-shirt – PRICELESS!

I can tell where a person is coming from by the way they phrase things.  If they say, "I had to finance the car" or "I had to get a loan" or "I had to buy it", then I clearly KNOW that they are approaching their finances from the wrong point of view.  If you have heard yourself say something like this, may I suggest an alternative approach?  How about – "I know that this big expense is approaching.  How can I pay for it without using debt?"

I delivered some of my fashion mags to Judith.  Sheesh.  The mailman is hating my delivery address.

I am ready to get my book published.  Anyone interested in publishing this little-known author who is on a crusade to teach 100,000 people about managing their personal finances in the next 5 years?

What makes a person willing to manage their money well?

Personal financial counseling is a blast!  I LOVE meeting with people and showing them how Jenn and I were able to start managing our money well instead of having our money manage us.

As I have spoken with hundreds of people on finances, I have been seeking the answer to this question.

"What makes a person willing to manage their money well?"

I use a similar approach for every single financial counseling appointment.  I ensure that I understand where they have been in life and where they are wanting to go.  I make sure I understand how each person feels about their current financial situation.  I assist them in putting together a BUDGET that uses the Magic Formula: INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO.  We work together to calculate their DEBT FREEDOM DATE.   I show them how to use Cash Envelopes for the spending categories that they feel they are most impulsive on (groceries, restaurants, spending money, clothing).

Even with all of this new knowledge, there are still people who will walk right out and continue life making decisions that will rob them of financial freedom.  The will continue to make decisions that will rob them of their ability to win big-time.

Don't get me wrong – MANY people make life-changing alterations to the way they manage money.  The issue is that I am on a crusade to help people with finances, and it hurts to see someone reject a better way and continue on their current path.

So again, the question I am asking is, What makes a person willing to manage their money well?

What made you start to manage your money well?  What key learning happened?  What key tool did you obtain?  What event happened?

Let the discussion begin! 

Money Saving Ideas

More money saving ideas, courtesy …

1.  Gardener? Talk to friends/family about possibly obtaining some bulbs/divisions/corms/tubers of perennials.  Free flowers are awesome!  I have obtained surprise lilies, day lilies, dianthus, coral bells, rudbeckia, iris, and other AWESOME plants for FREE.  I love FREE.  Anyone have any? Smile


2.  Seek out a cash-only, no insurance doctor.  You will pay 1/2 of what you would to a doctor who participates in insurance programs.  Why?  Because a doctor who deals with insurance needs at least two full-time people to chase insurance companies and payments.  You will feel better knowing that you have prepaid your bill, got a better deal, AND did not have to deal with the insurance company.

3.   Buy a used car that is 2 to 4 years old.  Most of the sharp depreciation in value is done by year 3 and when you lay down CASH for the purchase (remember – no debt!) you will get a better deal!  There is something about seeing 100 $100 bills laying down on the hood of a car that makes a car dealer or individual sell a $12,000 car for $10,000.  Try it!

Hey, I used to not negotiate anything, but I was B-R-O-K-E!  No longer!

My Magazine Order with Delta Skymiles

OK OK OK – so the response to my magazine order I wrote about HERE has been funny!

In response to some of the comments/questions, here is the list of magazine subscriptions I ordered.

On a personal note, I am anxiously awaiting my first issues of "Teen Vogue", "Diabetes Forecast", and "Glamour".

While I was reading "Details" and "Lucky" magazines, I took the scratch-n-sniff perfume/cologne samples and rubbed them all over my head and shirt.  I had at least 15 different varieties of cologne/perfume on me when I was done.  I smelled like a rose.

Jenn was only mildly amused at my behavior …