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! 


  1. Paul Moyer on March 23, 2007 at 5:35 am

    For me it was getting married. I read all the statistics on the main reasons for divorce in America and money was at the top of the list. In striving to divorce proof my marriage I pushed for the two of us to go through financial counseling together our first month of being married.

    This has allowed us to get out of debt except for the house and we have only been married for a little over two years. We have also been able to enjoy our money, going on atleast one vacation each year and being able to splurge on a few weekend getaways. It also helps that I am a bargain hunting fool!!

    This weekend we are going to being staying at a 4 star resort on Hilton Head island for only $79 per night AFTER taxes.

  2. jane muir on March 23, 2007 at 6:14 am

    Joe… I guess the big thing for us was your sermon in Nov. about not wanting our marriage issues to be the same 5 years from now…

    We have been married for 9 years now, dated for 4 years… and money has been an issue since before we started dating!

    Now we are on the same page, okay, well, in the same chapter. Before we weren’t even reading the same language!

    I know I have posted this before, but your ministry and the sermons we have heard at NS are rocking our world. How can I not stand on the roof tops and shout how God is rocking our world!?!

  3. Chris on March 23, 2007 at 8:06 am

    I played around with snakes and racked up a credit card debt…I called it leverage. However, I played the game of no interest and when the “no interest” period was about to come up I would do a balance transfer to another card that had another no interest period. I also thought it was smart because I got a few free $20 gas cards out of the rewards (not worth the stress).

    The day that I said no more was the day that I got a minor bite by one of the snakes. I realized that I got an interest charge for like $50 bucks on my card for a month. I frantically tried to get approved on another card to do a balance transfer but I actually got turned down (which was weird cause I never missed a payment and had “good credit”…which is only good if you use debt).

    Regardless I got bit and decided to quit it…I paid the $2500 balance of quickly and was out of that game for good. I tell my money what to do instead of wondering where it went…

  4. Deanna on March 23, 2007 at 9:07 am

    After hearing you speak during Lord of the Rings, my husband and I started looking at our finances to see what we needed to do to start tithing. We are both young, and have been very foolish in our finances – even in the recent past.

    We didn’t track ANYTHING (not even in our check registers – stupid!) that we spent before hearing the message you gave, and afterward, we discovered that our biggest “bill” over the previous couple months was NSF fees (I’m NOT joking)!! So, we decided we needed to start working on our system (or the lack thereof). Our solution was to reduce everything to one checking account, and began tracking EVERY PENNY we spent in Microsoft Money…which has been helpful in MUCH more than just eliminating our NSF fees and getting us to the point that we could tithe (which was a big accomplishment on it’s own).

    We have used Money to track how much we spend on groceries, eating out, gas, date night…like I said…every penny. And because Money is so much smarter than we are, it also will compare our spending from month to month and allow us to use that to reduce our spending and/or set a budget for all of our spending.

    So now our biggest bill is daycare for our children (I don’t suppose Microsoft Money could take that away…), and we have paid off quite a few things. We are now tithing for the first time ever, are also saving to build our “dreamhouse” and look to have enough saved to put down a minimum of 20% (hopefully much more)and plan to start building in 2010 (we’re waiting and saving so we don’t make ourselves “house poor” from having to finance a really high amount). Life is good, and money is where it belongs – growing in our accounts!

    So there’s my story…. =)

  5. Vanessa on March 24, 2007 at 7:36 am

    When I first raised support to serve overseas for a year I knew I had to be sure and manage money well. I praise God that I never got in too much debt–only by His grace–and learned early on the importance of being a good steward. But it wasn’t until I started raising support that I got serious about having a budget and knowing my money was being used wisely and for His purposes.

  6. Joseph Sangl on March 25, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Love the feedback! It looks like the reasons being given are truly based on fulfilling your dreams. Things like “to have a great marriage” and “to give more” and “to maximize gifts that have been given to me”. Amazing!

    I wonder why no one has written the reason “to be filthy rich” …

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