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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sometimes We Cheat...(Article)

Just Sharing...


Having problems developing a plan to get out of debt? Want to know who we are doing our debt snowball? You may need a coach...MsMoneyGuru is here to help, contact me at for a consultation.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Investment vs. Expense...Changing Your Mindset.

I watch a good amount of television. Not too much crazy reality shows (although I do have my guilty pleasures), but mostly lifestyle HGTV, and the Travel Channel, with a lot of Investigation Discovery (ID), CNBC,  and History Channel thrown in. Okay so unfortunately watching lifestyle channels, CNBC, and listening to Dave Ramsey is my only real glimpse into how wealthy people view things.

One thing I have picked up is that when wealthy people are interviewed for a particular show, whether it be buying a property or going on a vacation, then tend to describe it as either an  "investment" or an "expense".  As you would expect, they tend to "invest" more then just "expend", my assumption is because they want to stay wealthy...Maybe broke people "expend" more than "invest"... Is it that simple? defines the word invest (verb) as:"to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value". So in other words, people who do more of this tend to put their money into things that  will reap some sort of return (monetary or otherwise). also defines the word expend (verb) as: "to use up".  So in order words, people who do more of this tend to put their money into things that use it up. Basically "expending" your money is like driving down the highway with $1 bills in your hand throwing them out of the window, its gone, its not going to generate anymore, its been expended!

I suspect that when wealthy people decide to "expend" they first determine if they can really afford to take the "hit", given the amount of their other money is going toward investments.  

For example, you take a $3,000 vacation which (for the sake of argument) is an "expense"; can someone with your net worth and income level really afford that vacation? Even if you don't go into debt and save up for it; can you really afford to take a $3,000 "hit" to your total financial world (net worth, etc.)? In other words, can you afford to drive down the street and throw 3,000 $1 bills out the window without batting a eye?

I think if we are going to be financially successful, we need to pay attention to how much of our money are we "investing" vs. how much we are "expending".

I know that in order to survive expenses are a very necessary part of our world, however I think we should consider them under these terms.  I don't know the "magic" formula of how much of your income should be going to expenses vs. investments...but I am (personally) trying to get my living expenses down to 50% of my income, with 30% to invest, and the remaining 20% to spend and enjoy. So that would leave me 70/30 in terms of expending vs. investing. Now if (when) I become wealthy those ratios will change, just because you make $10M, doesn't mean I must now live on $5M and spend $2M on crap.  Likewise a person making $30k per year, may not be able to live on $15k, invest $9k and spend $6k a year!

I would challenge you today to make a list of things you often spend money on and categorize them as either an investment or an expense...

Let me help you...

*Some of these items can be considered both an expense and an investment depending on the circumstances.


Having problems developing a plan to get out of debt? Want to know who we are doing our debt snowball? You may need a coach...MsMoneyGuru is here to help, contact me at for a consultation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The way to handle your bills! (VIDEO)

Is this your idea of doing your bills?

It might be time get a financial coach...


Having problems developing a plan to get out of debt? Want to know who we are doing our debt snowball? You may need a coach...MsMoneyGuru is here to help, contact me at for a consultation.

Friday, April 13, 2012

"How We Saved $10,000 in Just One Year" (Article)

Check out this article!

Interesting story about "Wealth Watchers" a Money Diet (sorta like Weight Watchers).

"How We Saved $10,000 in Just One Year" - Your Money - MSN Living

The author of the story is married with two boys. She and her husband do not combine their inco me (they split bills), they tried this Money Diet separately and found relative success.

The Wealth Watchers program in short requires that you make a typical monthly budget, with income at the top subtract all fixed expenses, then take the remainder and divide by 30 to give yourself a daily discretionary  budget. The author had about $90 a day to spend. Of course if you spend more one day you can spend less the next tally up your net spending every week and save the excess.  Psychologically, having only $90 a day to spend made her reevaluate her needs vs. wants therefore making her a better saver (like Weight Watchers does with its daily points system). After a year, she was able to save or pay down $10,000 worth of debt.

The only thing I didn't like about the story (example) is that she and her husband don't combine to any extent their finances... In my opinion, we were not put on this earth to go alone, so if you have a good healthy relationship and you utilize teamwork in everything else (raising kids, etc.) why not include your finances?  I think she would have been much more successful if she and her husband combined some things...

In an extreme case this is how you end up with one spouse that is a saver and has $30k in the bank with $300k in retirement savings and the other spouse with $30k in debt and no retirement savings...that's counterproductive in my opinion and makes for a hard choice when the skeletons are reveled.  When they retire will the responsible spouse (at the end of the day) be willing to share their hard earned money with the irresponsible spouse? Maybe your irresponsible spouse has a hard time with money and is not a natural saver, isn't the responsible one obligated to help them improve instead of leaving them to fend for themselves?  I just think its a recipe for disaster. 

I am personally a spreadsheet, category driven type of girl and would go crazy if I didn't know how my husband was managing the other side of the household, I need to balance my checkbook every day, and I don't buy anything without first consulting my budget.  However, this daily allowance thing is a little too much...I budget two weeks at a time (aligned with my paycheck schedule).

What do you think about the Wealth Watcher program as described in the story? Is it something you can see working for your family?


Having problems developing a plan to get out of debt? Want to know who we are doing our debt snowball? You may need a coach...MsMoneyGuru is here to help, contact me at for a consultation.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Just Paid Off Some Debt So Why Do I Feel Broke?

I use to "feel rich" even though I was really "broke", but now I "feel broke" even though I am "richer" then I've been in a long time! 

How does this happen?

For the last few months I have been saving up cash to pay off in full two debts totaling $14,000.  The way it works is, I pay my minimum payments (to stay current), meanwhile I save up money on the side to pay them off completely.

When I finally had enough to kill the two debts, I drained my savings account down to the bare minimum emergency fund to get rid of them. Its only been two weeks since my "expenditure" and with Easter and my mom's recent birthday celebration, it has been an expensive month!

The fact that I was able to pay off these debts (ahead of schedule) and still pay for a holiday and special birthday (it was her 60th, shot out to Mom), I should be happy!  But, I have to keep it real...I feel broke!  I don't have any (cash) money...I cant wait til payday! Even though I knew I was going to pay off debt with that money, it felt good to have it in the bank, now I just want to refill my coffers as soon as possible.

I get paid in two days and next month I will not owe $370 in payments, so maybe I'll feel better then.

Emotional Downside of Being in Debt and then Sacrificing to Pay off Debt:

As some of you know...I am a financial coach and in dealing with clients I find that they have an emotional experience when they consider how much they will have to sacrifice to get out of debt. I mean, no eating out (for the most part), no major vacations, no new clothes, cutting back on personal expenses (hair, nails, spa days, etc.), and having to disappoint family and friends when they can't participate in recreational activities. (And) although I know its totally worth it to honker down and sacrifice to pay off debts, I have to say I totally understand the emotional reluctance...

Sacrificing to pay off debts sucks! I mean its like being on a really strict diet, really!  You are suffering NOW for the cheeseburger and onion rings you had 10 days ago...REALLY!

Although my net worth has increased (debts going down) and I still have an emergency fund...I have to say it sucks to see all that money go to something I already enjoyed... Honestly, I don't even know what it was that I bought with the debt. The first debt was a credit card that I haven't use in over 20 months and it was a little of this and a little of that.  The second was a (consolidation) loan I took out to pay off two other credit cards so I REALLY don't know what the heck I got for all of that! 

I mean...$14,000 just GONE...I beg you all...DON'T GO INTO are sacrificing your future for a moment of pleasure, really not worth it.  If I was debt free, what could I have done with FOURTEEN GRAND???  Oh to think of it makes me depressed...

That's why God says, "the debtor is slave to the lender", so what did I have to do with the money that I earned? Hand it over to my master! 

Something to think about...


Having problems developing a plan to get out of debt? Want to know who we are doing our debt snowball? You may need a coach...MsMoneyGuru is here to help, contact me at for a consultation.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dave Ramsey Comments On My Post About His New House, His Debt Philosophy And Giving, Part II

Continued...Posted By Peter Anderson On June 21, 2011 (9:26 am) In christianity, money

Good Stewardship

In his comments Dave mentions that the money is all God’s in the first place, and that they ask God for guidance on what to do with HIS resources before they do anything.   He mentions that like the rest of us he doesn’t always get a clear answer as to how to proceed, but seeking God’s will is important.
So what does good stewardship mean?  It means using what God has given us in accordance with his will, and using it wisely.  It also means working hard so that we can feed ourselves and our families, while having enough left over to help others as well.
17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18 Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19 In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.  1 Timothy 6:17-19 (NIV)


Wealth And Things As Tools Used For His Kingdom

Dave mentions that they consider their house, and their wealth in general as a tool to be used for His kingdom.  I think that’s a great way to look at how we should view the material things of this world – as merely tools given to us by God to be used to further his kingdom. When they become ends in themselves, they can become more important and we can start to lose our way.


Importance Of Prayer And Seeking God’s Will

Far too often we negate the power of prayer, and don’t even think to seek God’s will for our lives, and in our decisions.  When that happens our own sinful motives far too often crop up.  Ramsey touches on the importance of prayer, and seeking God’s will for your life and the resources he has entrusted you with.
We can make our own plans, but the LORD gives the right answer. People may be pure in their own eyes,  but the LORD examines their motives. Commit your actions to the LORD,  and your plans will succeed. Proverbs 16:1-3


God Can Use The Wealthy (And The Poor)

I was reading in my Bible study this week about several very wealthy men in the bible – and how they were men after God’s own heart.  There was King David, King Solomon, and then later on I read about some New Testament Christians who had wealth and used it to help others in need.  God can use those who are obedient to his will.
For instance, there was Joseph, the one the apostles nicknamed Barnabas (which means "Son of Encouragement"). He was from the tribe of Levi and came from the island of Cyprus. He sold a field he owned and brought the money to the apostles Acts 4:36-37
Those who have much are called to give much.
We all also remember the story of the widow who gave sacrificially out of faith as well, and how Jesus contrasted that with the showy giving of the pharisees. While God hasn’t entrusted us all with the same financial resources, we can all use our resources to give glory to him.    We should try to avoid giving in order to gain approval from the world or other men, but instead give with godly motives.


Humility And Our Need For Prayer

Despite the fact that I believe it’s OK for a Christian to be wealthy, I believe, and I believe Dave understands, the need for humility and a constant seeking out of God’s will. If we aren’t constantly seeking his will, the things of this world can quickly become an idol in our lives, and the money and wealth can become more important than our relationship with Christ.
No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus.  He said to them, "You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of others, but God knows your hearts. What people value highly is detestable in God's sight.  Luke 16 :13-15
As the verse says, God knows our hearts.  When we try to justify ourselves in the eyes of others, and use money and position as a justification of our worth, and not our relationship with Christ, that’s when we start to focus more on ourselves and our own self-importance, and not God. It’s something we all need to guard against.



Whether or not you agree with Ramsey’s decision to build such a large house, I think there are things to be learned from this situation, such as our need for Christ, the importance of prayer and God’s guidance in our lives, and our need to be justified only in Christ, and not in the eyes of others through our money and possessions.  We need to focus on Christ.


Dave Ramsey Comments On My Post About His New House, His Debt Philosophy And Giving

Hello Peeps!

MsMoneyGuru has recommended this article to you.

Dave Ramsey Comments On My Post About His New House, His Debt Philosophy And Giving

Posted By Peter Anderson On June 21, 2011 (9:26 am) In christianity, money

A few months ago I published a post about how financial guru Dave Ramsey had built a beautiful new multi-million dollar home in an upscale neighborhood in Tennessee.  When I wrote the post I intended to focus more on the fact that Dave Ramsey had built the house without any debt of any kind, and wanted to hold it up as an example of living a financially responsible life.  I thought it was pretty cool that Ramsey was practicing what he preaches, and was living a cash only lifestyle.

Soon after I wrote the post the comments section quickly took a turn, and the comments turned from a discussion of paying cash for a home, or living a cash only lifestyle, to a discussion of the ethics and morality of buying such a big home when you don’t need it, and whether you can be a witness for Christ when you have such wealth.

There were some comments that I believe made salient points about how we need to guard against allowing our wealth and possessions to become an idol in our lives, and about how we as Christians always need to be looking to Christ for guidance in our lives to make sure we’re being good stewards.

Dave Ramsey's House
Photo  copyright

There were other comments that I think were extremely judgmental, that were assuming the worst about Ramsey and essentially saying that he was making money off the misery of others and that he wasn’t a good witness for Christ.

I was thinking about closing the comments on the discussion because it was starting to devolve a bit, when Dave Ramsey himself decided to stop by and comment on the discussion to shed some light on the situation.

Dave Ramsey Comments On His House, His Debt Philosophy, Giving

It was obvious from Dave’s comment that he had read much of the discussion, and I’m sure some of it was pretty frustrating to read.  Here is what he said.
I just found this discussion from a twitter link. Wow. Thanks for all of your concern about my soul, my reputation and my witness. Please continue to pray for me because wisdom is sometimes elusive. The teacher in me has to reach out and help with proper biblical and life view points for some of you.

First, None of this is any of your business nor is it your problem, however in an effort to teach I have always been overly transparent. So I will try to help.

1) We tithe 10% of our before tax income to our local church
2) We have a family foundation that God allows us to give many times what our personal home or other items cost, so we give much more of God's money to his kingdom that we live on percentage wise.
3) No Gary, we don't have any debt any where of any kind. No corporate debt, no credit cards, no mortgage debt, no blind trusts, and no kind of debt no where no how. Didn't you hear? I don't believe in debt.
4) Before making a large purchase of any kind we ask God if that is what he wants us to do with HIS money. Like you I sometimes hear clearly and other times I am not sure. In the case of our home I was very sure.
5) Our home is a very small percentage of our net worth.
6) In the two years we have lived here we have had many many functions to fund raise for ministries, charities, and community causes. Millions of dollars have flowed through those events. We view our home, like everything in our life, as a tool to be used for the kingdom.
7) Yes, it blows my mind how much it costs to maintain a lot of things God has called me to manage. We have a 64,000 square foot office building (paid for) that we spend a lot of natural resources and money to keep operating and from where I came from it is sometimes hard to emotionally grasp the zeros. However, I man up, and step up to do what God gave me to do. It is weird some days though.
8) I used to say ignorant things like "what does anyone need with a ______ like that” when I was immature. Now I have been blessed to see how God uses people who are obedient when they are broke and when they aren't. I was with a really Godly guy a few weeks ago worth 2.2 BILLION. He gives 300-500 million a year. Some of you sent him hate mail worried about his soul because he bought a $110,000 car. That does not make him wrong, that makes that person silly, foolish, and spiritually immature. Note: God gave HIM 2.2 Billion to manage, God did NOT assign you to help.

Thanks again for your concern and please continue to pray for me as I am perfectly capable of messing this whole deal up. So far though, I am not inconsistent between my message and my life. So far I have managed to keep God First, Sharon Second, my kids third, and serving all of you fourth. I am having a blast and I thank all you who do understand.

P.S. I will not be visiting back to see your comments because I already know what they are: Some get it, Some don't.

Yours In Christ,Dave Ramsey

Monday, April 2, 2012

My Finance Journey...Update 3/31/2012

Thought I would do a quarterly update to our Financial Freedom progress...

In the last few months we were able to put to bed two more accounts. We are completely out of credit card debt and only owe on our car loan!

See our progress below:

 *I want to note that I don't count a debt as paid off until it is completely paid off. Therefore, while the starting number is accurate, the debt still owed is actually less due to ongoing monthly payments.

See our current debt category's below:

As you can see we have a beast of student loans to tackle!  My husband and I both have undergraduate and masters degrees, so this category is a substantial portion of our debt load.

We also sold our rental property last year, which help to eradicate $185k of the $430k we originally owed.

For those that think its not worth the sacrifice to pay off debts, take a look at the monthly savings alone.  We have more than $2,800 in extra income that is not going to bills!  That's money that is now going to pay for retirement, emergency fund, taxes, fun, giving, and of course to pay off more debt!  LOL

More to come...we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel!


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