Archive for November 2007

Prevent Overspending For Christmas!

I remember the days that I used credit cards to pay for Christmas.

There were two key reasons that I used these fabulous credit cards:

  1. I did not save money for Christmas during the year
  2. I overspent on Christmas presents

I solved #1 by creating a Christmas escrow account.

Let's say that I wanted to spend $1,000 for Christmas.  By saving $83.33 each month, I magically have $1,000 when Christmas arrives!   This takes away a lot of stress, and I highly recommend it!  You can read more about creating your own escrow account by clicking HERE.

I solved #2 by putting together a written plan for my Christmas shopping.  I pulled up a copy of the [download#3#nohits] and entered the names of those I am shopping for this Christmas.

At the top of the form, I entered $1,000 for the "Cash Budgeted".

I then wrote in the amount of money that I plan to spend for each person on the list.

Applying my secret formula for financial success, INCOME – OUTGO = EXACTLY ZERO, I spend the $1,000 to EXACTLY ZERO.

By pulling out cash for the Christmas Shopping, I can ensure that I will not overspend!

I am FIRED UP by all of the success stories that readers are sharing via the "Success Stories" link!  Have you shared your successes – both large and small?  You can do so by clicking on SUCCESS STORIES on the sidebar or by clicking HERE!

Christmas Shopping

This morning I am going to go Christmas shopping.

I will join the masses of people who are engaging in one of America's great events – buying stuff.

I get to shop for Jenn (my wife) and that is it.  My bride woke up this morning at 4:45AM to go shopping, and she has the list for everyone else.  I am thankful that we save for Christmas every single month of the year as it really makes Christmas more fun when I am not worried about spending money that we don't have!

I was handed an updated "Wish List" from Jenn last night.  The items on it now exceed the budgeted amount by at least five times!  I really need help from The Saving Freak to show me a frugal way to increase the purchasing power of my Christmas shopping money!

I also get to take my daughter Christmas shopping with me.  She has a few people on her list, and I love watching her shop!

Perhaps while I am out and about I will pick up a Clay Aiken Christmas album for Perry this year!

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Marching To Debt Freedom – Couple #2


This couple has announced to their debt that they are breaking up with it.  Their friendship with debt has waned and frankly, it's time for them to cut debt out of the picture.

It has now been three months since Couple #2 began their March Toward Debt Freedom!  This PUMPS me up!  Why?  Because I know that the third monthly spending plan is when financial plans really begin to take off!

On to the update.

Here is their updated Debt Freedom Date calculation.

What went well this month … 

Great news!!  We paid off two credit cards; Belk and Home Depot!!!  This will free up $125 to put toward paying off the Providian.  We are so excited!!  We did not accumulate any new debt this month either.  The cash envelopes have really helped us to “live within our means.”  We never thought of ourselves as “living above our means” before, but that is exactly what we were doing over the last several months.  Thank God for Joe and his plan to help us become debt free.  We have a ways to go, but I feel like a different person…like I have more control over our future.

Challenges and struggles for this month … 

We had to practice saying NO this month.  Both of our envelopes ran out of cash pretty fast, so we had to "just say no."  In a way it was nice, but still tough.  Sometimes we think we need to do everything just because we are asked, but now we have realized if it is not budgeted, we don't do it.  Our family and friends were very understanding.  I simply explained to them what we were doing and they were very respectful of our decisions.  The cash envelopes take time to get used to, but in the long run we know if we say no today we can say yes in the future.  Next month we are going to work on making the cash envelopes last longer.

One more thing…in the beginning, we estimated on how much we owe on our Student Loans and Vehicle One.  However, we realized that we estimated a little high on Student Loan Two & Vehicle One and low on Student Loan One.  We owe about $900 less on Student Loan 2, $500 less on Vehicle 1 and $400 more on Student Loan 1.  Lesson learned…double check everything, even if you think you are correct.  Luckily, we owe less than we thought, but it would not have been encouraging to learn we had more debt.  This was irresponsible on our part, but I want to tell everyone just in case someone else out there did the same thing.

Sangl says …

I am so PROUD of Couple #2!  They have made it through the three most difficult months of developing good spending plans.  They are well on their way to Debt Freedom!  I think it is awesome to see that the Debt Freedom Date has moved up 1.6 months from last month!

Couple #2 – Make sure that you are preparing for Christmas in your spending plan.  You want to make sure that you can pay cash for Christmas and continue your awesome progress! 

I am so appreciative that you are willing to share your journey with thousands of others!

Readers …

How has Couple #2 inspired you to take control of your finances?  Would you leave a word of encouragement in the comments?

View past updates from Couple #2 

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Marching To Debt Freedom – Couple #1


Couple #1 has HAD IT with debt!  They have been married for many years and have two children.

It has now been two full months since they embarked on their Debt Freedom March!

Here's the update for this month!

What went well this month …

The budget is in effect and being cursed daily.Smile  The debt is being taken out 1 by 1.  Two Cards are ZERO and a 3rd will fall this month The emergency fund is funded.

Challenges and struggles for this month …

It is hard because Christmas is coming ,and I have obviously not looked at a calendar.  I am going to do the best I can to go without in other areas and cut back on total Chistmas spending. This time next year I will have Christmas already funded.

Here is what their updated Debt Freedom Date calculation looks like.

You can calculate your own Debt Freedom Date by clicking HERE!
Sangl says …
The first three months of budgeting are the most difficult.  You are changing your spending behavior and that takes a lot of effort!  I am proud of Couple #1 for sticking to the plan!  The plan will work if Couple #1 works the plan!
Couple #1 gained 0.20 months toward their debt freedom over the past month, but don't miss the HUGE accomplishments!  Two of their credit cards have left AND they now have an emergency fund!  Take a lesson from Couple #1 – BEFORE you go attack debt, make sure that you save up at least $1,000 in a beginner emergency fund.  If you have kids or a house, I recommend at least $2,500!
A note to Couple #1 – You don't have to incur debt for Christmas!  This is THE YEAR and THE TIME that you are changing your spending behavior!  The best Christmas in the world is the one that is a blessing to you and your family.  Avoiding debt will bless your family! 
Way to go Couple #1, you are on your way!
Readers …
Would you write Couple #1 a note of encouragement – especially as to how you have avoided Christmas debt?