Monday, August 31, 2009

Chapter 1- The Man Who Desired Gold


Welcome, to the first day of discussing our first Book Nook choice, The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.

This is an exciting day for two main reasons. First, it is our first time trying out the Book Nook. Second, it is our first book to discuss at Janie Out of Debt.

I am excited to begin and share all of this wonderful information with you. Are you ready to get started?

Here we go…

The format will usually go like this:
  • Discuss Characters
  • Main Ideas

  • Quotes From Chapters (that I like)

  • Take Home Points

Chapter 1- The Man Who Desired Gold

Characters
These are the characters introduced in Chapter 1- Bansir, Kobbi, Arkad, and Nomasir.

Bansir- the chariot builder of Babylon
Kobbi- the musician who was Bansir's best friend
Arkad- old friend of Kobbi and Bansir
Nomasir- is the son of Arkad



Main Ideas
  • Bansir, wished to be a man of means and wanted to be fairly rewarded for the work he was doing.
  • A man’s wealth is not in his purse that he carries. It is in the ability to make more money by having multiple streams of income.

  • Ask for advice from those who know and understand money. Beware and cautious of the advice you seek and where it is coming from.

  • It is up to you to decide if you are seeking sound advice from a trusted source.

  • Bansir, felt that Arkad was a good source of information because he was the richest man in Babylon and he was a friend. Therefore, Bansir trusted his advice.
Quotes from Chapter 1

“I wish to be a man of means. I wish to own lands and cattle, to have fine robes and coins in my purse. I am willing to work for these things with all the strength in my back, with all the skill in my hands, with all the cunning in my mind, but I wish my labors to be fairly rewarded...” page 4

“We do not wish to go on year after year living slavish lives. Working, working! Getting nowhere." page 6

Take Home Points
  • If you wish to acquire wealth you need to understand money and seek knowledge from trusted sources.

  • Find ways to create multiple sources of income for yourself, so you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. For instance, if you just have a job then you only have one stream of income. What happens if this job goes away? Then you have zero streams of income. Now, try to brainstorm multiple streams of income that you can create for yourself to spread the risk around.

Stay tuned because next week we will be discussing Chapter 2 of The Richest Man in Babylon.

I know when I was in debt I felt just like Bansir’s character. I just worked and worked and lived pay check to pay check and had no freedom. I was seeking my advice from books and this one is full of great information!

How about you do you feel like Bansir (always working so hard and never getting ahead)?

Best wishes,

Janie

Sunday, August 30, 2009

How do you get out of debt quickly?

I received the following question in my email the other day and I think it is best to answer it here. The question is “How do you get out of debt quickly?”

Honestly, I don’t know if it is possible to get out of debt quickly unless you win the lottery or a windfall of money lands in your lap because of an inheritance. Otherwise, it just takes time and a lot of hard work. I know this isn’t the glamorous answer you were looking for. But it is the honest truth.

It is a lot faster to get into debt than dig yourself out of debt. The same goes for gaining weight. Isn’t it always easier to gain weight? And then it takes you months or even years to get that weight off. Getting out of debt requires that same hard work and time commitment.

The hard work that is required to understand money and debt is by far the best gift you can give yourself. If you don’t understand money and how to keep money than you will probably blow through that lottery winning or inheritance real quick.

Just take one day at a time, work hard, pay your bills, continue reading my blog, believe in yourself and enjoy your life you are on your way…

Thank you for sending me questions and comments. If you have other questions that you would like me to answer just send them over to me (via email or leave a comment).

Best wishes,

Janie

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weekend Quote #6- Blueprint for Achievement

This Winner's Blueprint for Achievement just speaks to me. I love it and I need to share it with you this weekend. Enjoy!

BELIEVE while others are doubting.
PLAN while others are playing.
STUDY while others are sleeping.
DECIDE while others are delaying.
PREPARE while others are daydreaming.
BEGIN while others are procrastinating.
WORK while others are wishing.
SAVE while others are wasting.
LISTEN while others are talking.
SMILE while others are frowning.
COMMEND while others are criticizing.
PERSIST while others are quitting.
~William Arthur Ward

Print this out and keep it on your refrigerator and look at it always.

Picture from Craziest Gadgets.

It is on mine! Love it!

Best wishes,

Janie

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Just want you to read this post...

I have to say…

You are all the nicest bunch of blog readers ever! I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I get emails daily about how much you are enjoying this blog and how much it is helping you. I am delighted and I love the fact that I am able to help.

As a side note, if you don’t get a response right away from your email that you send it isn’t because I forgot or I am ignoring you. It is due to the amount of email that I get each day. So, my promise to you is that I will get to your email in the order that I receive it and I will respond. If for some reason it is more than a week and you haven’t heard from me please just resend your original email.

We all know technology isn’t perfect and I am human and I make mistakes. Thank you for your understanding.

Next, I found two bloggers who linked to my blog and I was touched deeply. I feel so incredibly blessed. Thank you to Jonnie and Budget Fab it means so much to me that you would think of linking to my in a blog post. I really appreciate it.

This is what they had to say:

Budget Fab- Fab Friday Round-up

Jonnie- Debt.....how did you find me?

If there are other blog posts about Janie Out of Debt that I may have missed please send them my way. I will be sure to make another blog post featuring these for everyone who reads my blog to see.

Also, I want to say that I have enjoyed getting to know many of you over email and this blog. I love to read my blog followers blogs. I learn so much from you all as well. Thank you for being you and supporting me.

Isn’t blogging great?! I would like to know, "how has blogging changed your life in a positive way?" please comment below.

Best wishes,

Janie

Janie's Book Nook- you can buy it from Amazon by clicking here now: The Richest Man in Babylon

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Getting Out of Debt Rule #3

Rule #3: You gotta stop those inexpensive daily habits.



You may be saying, "What this doesn't make sense?" Let me explain by using the vending machine as an example. Say you spend $3.00 every single day of the year at the vending machine. That is 365 days x $3.00 = $1,095.00 in a year.


That $1,095.00 used at the vending machine could have been put towards a credit card balance or in an emergency savings account during that year.

Yep, those tiny expenses do surprisingly add up to a big amount.

Now, think about some of your daily habits that you could cut out of your routine.

Getting Out of Debt Rule #1

Getting Out of Debt Rule #2

I am participating in Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family with my getting out of debt rules. I hope you enjoy!

Best wishes,

Janie

Janie's Book Nook- you can buy it from Amazon by clicking here now: The Richest Man in Babylon

The vending machine image from above is from Freewebs.

Monday, August 24, 2009

What is the Janie Out of Debt Book Nook?

I have decided to start the Janie Out of Debt Book Nook. I was tossing around the idea of having a book club but I have settled on the Book Nook instead. This will be a place were I discuss different financial books that I have been reading and feel are the best.


If you find any of the books interesting then you can purchase a copy for your own personal book collection or borrow it from the library. I just discovered that you can get some used books from Amazon for a penny.

Can you believe a penny? For all of that wonderful knowledge that will come from the book. I think that is unbelievable.

So, when I was learning how to get out of debt I purchased almost every financial book known to man kind. Let me tell you there is a lot of stuff out there and at times it can be confusing and repetitive. Some books say the same things over and over again.

Therefore, my list of books will only be the best, or the classics, or the ones that I got the most out of and I think everyone should read. However, like I said before if you are in a ton of debt please don't go out and buy a ton of books. Just enjoy learning about them first here on my blog and then if you feel compelled to buy do so after careful consideration of your budget.

If you like the books you can always go to a public library and check them out. Or buying used from Amazon for a penny! I love that some books are a penny! Can you tell?

The first Book Nook book will be The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason.

Best wishes,

Janie

You can buy it from Amazon by clicking here now: The Richest Man in Babylon

Step 2- Of Getting Out of Debt

Step 2: Discovering the Root of the Problem


“The deep root of failure in our lives is to think, ‘Oh how useless and powerless I am.’ It is essential to think strongly and forcefully, ‘I can do it’ without boasting or fretting.”

~ Tenzin Gyatso

The Discovering the Root of the Problem is the second step in the Janie's 6 Step Plan for Getting Out of Debt.

This is when you determine your relationship with money. How does it make you feel? Does money make you impulsive, scared, rich, out of control? Do you understand money?


My problem was that I was impulsive and I thought that I deserved to have nice things because of the stage of life that I was in. I had just graduated from college and I was on top of the world with lots of earning potential and tons of money. Right? Nope not true at all.

Actually, I had it all wrong. Just because I had a credit card didn't mean that I could afford to use it. It would have been smart to have the money in my bank account to back up the money that I was spending. I shouldn't just rely on potential future earnings at my job because I could lose my job. There are no guarantees in life.

I believed that I was $12,000 richer because that was my credit limit on one of my cards. In my mind, I had convinced myself that I was rich. To put it bluntly I was living WAY above my means.

Here I summarize for you the root of my own money problems:

  • I was impulsive and I thought that I deserved to have nice things.
  • I was on top of the world with lots of earning potential and tons of money.

  • I believed that I was $12,000 richer because that was my credit limit on one of my cards.

  • I did not understand money and I did not understand the consequences of my actions- with regards to credit.

  • I did not grasp the seriousness of my situation.

  • I did not have high self esteem, I lacked confidence, and I was lonely inside so I used credit and money to fill that void.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that I have action steps at the end of some of my posts. These are questions and activities for you to think about and write about in a journal. By answering these questions and keeping a journal you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses in your thoughts, budget, and life. It will give you greater clarity and truth about yourself.

Now, it is your turn to determine the root of your money problems. Below are questions that I asked in previous posts to get you thinking and on the right track to figuring out your money woes.


1. Are your friends or family members toxic to your financial life?

Janie's Answer

2. Do you try to keep up with others (a.k.a keeping up with the Joneses)?

Janie's Answer

3. Do you have monetary jealousy?

Janie's Answer

4. Are you purchasing for retail therapy?

Janie's Answer

5. How do you feel when you are buying something?

Janie's Answer

6. Are you intimidated by money?

Janie's Answer

7. Do you think you are smart enough to learn about money and finance?

Janie's Answer

8. Are you overwhelmed and exhausted when you think about your finances?

Janie's Answer

9. Is your financial life simple or complicated?

Janie's Answer

10. Do you know where all of your important financial papers or online statements are located?

Janie's Answer

P.S. This list will continue to grow because of the evolving nature of this process and the Janie Out of Debt Blog.

You are on your way to finding the root of the problem. You are doing a great job!

Best wishes,

Janie


Note: The root picture that I used above is from How Stuff Works.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Weekend Quote #5- Be Gentle With Yourself

For the weekend,

We all need to remember to be kind to ourselves. It is especially important when we are struggling inside.

"Be gentle with yourself, you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul."

~ Max Ehrmann


May you have a fun, relaxing, and peaceful weekend.
Go here to view other weekend quotes.

Best wishes,

Janie

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Motivational Weekend Quotes

I have received a lot of positive feedback via email about my motivational weekend quotes. I am glad that you are finding them to be helpful. So, due to the popular demand I am putting together a running list of all of the weekend quotes.

Now you can find your favorite quotes quickly and easily instead of digging around in my archive. Plus this way you can refer to them whenever you need some motivation. Enjoy!

1. At the working man's house...

"At the working man's house, hunger looks in, but dares not enter."
~Benjamin Franklin


2. Believe In Your Dreams

"If someone believes in you, and you believe in your dreams, it can happen."

~Tiffany Loren Rowe


3. Happiness and Money

"Happiness does not buy you money."
~ Warren Buffett

4. Peace

Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

~Unknown

5. Be Gentle With Yourself
"Be gentle with yourself, you are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars. In the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul."

~ Max Ehrmann


6. Blueprint for Achievement

BELIEVE while others are doubting.
PLAN while others are playing.
STUDY while others are sleeping.
DECIDE while others are delaying.
PREPARE while others are daydreaming.
BEGIN while others are procrastinating.
WORK while others are wishing.
SAVE while others are wasting.
LISTEN while others are talking.
SMILE while others are frowning.
COMMEND while others are criticizing.
PERSIST while others are quitting.
~William Arthur Ward


7. Start Where You Are

"Everyone who got where he is has had to begin where he was."
~ Robert Louis Stevenson


8. Time Is Spent Forever


“Remember, you can earn more money, but when time is spent it is gone forever.”
~ Zig Ziglar

9. You are today...

"You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you."
~ James Allen


10. The only way

"The only way around is through."

~ Robert Frost

Best wishes,

Janie

With Plastic, Beware and Be Informed...

Picture taken by Fu of Eiko (the dog) and her 1st credit card. I found this on flickr and thought it was too cute to pass up for this post. Okay, now into the important matters for today....


This past weekend, Michelle Singletary from The Color of Money in the Washington Post wrote an article called "With Plastic, Beware and Be Informed."



Well, my friends this Thursday is an important day in the credit card world. A few key provisions go into effect today that I would like to bring your attention to.



They are:
  • Creditors are now required to give you 45 days written notice before increasing your interest rate. You can go here to refresh your understanding of what an interest rate is: Janie Out of Debt Baffle Bag.

Note: It used to be that creditors were required to give 15 days written notice so this is an improvement. Now we just need to get to get those creditors to increase the font size on their small print and make it understandable. I would like to be able to open up my credit card mail and not think, "There is no way I can understand this." I still do this even today and that is why in future posts I plan to dissect the fine print and make it understandable to a real person like me.

  • Creditors must inform you in the same "interest rate hike notice" from above of your right to cancel the credit card account before the increase or change goes into effect.

Beginning in February 2010, credit card due dates must be on the same day each month. If your due date falls on a day that the creditor does not accept payments by mail (such as weekends or holidays), the creditor cannot treat a payment received the following day as late.

This brings me to another important point. I always pay my credit card a week before it is due. I do this so I don't miss the due date and get a late payment. But I also do this so it gives me ample amount of time to check to make sure the payment went through. If there is a mistake then it gives me time before the due date to clear up any mistakes.

I hope this was helpful today. Be on the look out for those future posts where I dissect the credit card's fine print that no one understands or reads (well, I am sure someone does). But I have had a credit card since 1996 and I still haven't sat down to read the fine print yet.


You are doing great! How are those mini-vacations going? I am about to take one myself.

Best wishes,


Janie

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

On Demand Vacations- Absolutely Free!

I would like to talk about taking mini-body vacations when you are dealing with your debt and stress. These body vacations are totally free and they occur in your own mind.

I love to go on vacations but can't afford to go very often. Partly, due to budget constraints but also due to the amount of vacation time I have at work. Right now because of the economy I am not planning any vacations.

I first usually start my vacation each day by visiting-

Bing: http://www.bing.com/. I love the photography on Bing and I love that you can learn something new about a new place. This is also part of my journey to learn as much about the world as I can.

Then I take a beach vacation in mind everyday! I know this may sound cheesy to some but it works. I instantly feel like I am at the beach by recalling all of the sensations I feel, smells I smell, and sights I see all while I am on a beach vacation.

Here goes if you want to take a beach vacation with me today-

1. Close your eyes.
2. Picture yourself at the beach.
3. Feel the sand.
4. Take note of the warm temperature of the sand.
5. What do you smell? What do you see?
6. Allow yourself to be fully present at the beach in your own mind.
7. Breathe deeply in and out and just transport yourself to that warm beautiful beach. I feel it right now as I am typing this blog post.

Here is a link to some great beach photography if you need a visual to get you started. You will have to scroll down the page to get to some beach pictures.

http://angelicagracedesigns.com/blog/2009_07_01_archive.html

If you feel like you don't have 10 minutes to do this mini-body vacation then you are the person who needs it the most. I was just like that. I was running all over the place and didn't believe that I ever had time to slow down. I needed it the most let me tell you!

This is now my "me" time and I take my mini-body vacation everyday. You could say I am now a believer of this free vacation. I hope you have fun with this activity. Oh, it doesn't have to be the beach. It can be somewhere else as well.

Best wishes,

Janie

Getting Out of Debt Rule #2

Rule #2: You gotta stop going to malls or shopping online for fun and recreation!

These places are too tempting and usually wreck budgets. Try to think of something else to do rather than shop for fun.


Note: This image is Level 1 of Tyson's Corner Mall in Mclean, Virginia. I got this picture from the Tyson's Corner website.

In a previous post, I made a list of a number of things that are inexpensive to do and they don't involve shopping. Check it out here: http://janieoutofdebt.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-inexpensive-rewards-did-i-do-for.html.

Getting Out of Debt Rule #1

I am participating with my getting out of debt rules in Works For Me Wednesday over at We Are That Family. I hope you enjoy!

Best wishes,

Janie

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Did I always want to buy new stuff?

Did I always want to buy new stuff (for the house, car, kids, etc.)? Yes, I always wanted to buy brand new and I wanted to replace things often and quickly. I was never satisfied and nothing was ever good enough. I would yearn for change in my life.



I was allowing my material possessions to take over my life and I was acting powerless to consumerism. My material goods defined who I was.

Due to a number of factors like the recession and climate concerns I have changed my thinking drastically about making new purchases. First, I always try to reuse or buy used. It saves you money and it is better for the environment. Second, it saves a lot of money if you reuse and buy used.

There are a number of places where you can go to find used goods on the Internet. Some places include:

Ebay

Craig's List

Unique

Mustard Seed- In Bethesda, Maryland

If you haven't had the pleasure of going to a Unique Thrift store before I would highly recommend going. You can find name brand items for dirt cheap. Mind you, it is a thrift store and you have to be willing to dig to find things.

If there is one in your area and you want to check it out I would go for it. However, if you have tons and tons of debt I wouldn't go to these stores because you will just end up spending money. This money could be used to pay part of your credit card debt.

Action Item:

1. How do you delay gratification?

Best wishes,
Janie

Monday, August 17, 2009

How did I decide which credit card to pay off first?

How did I decide which credit card to pay off first? I started paying off the credit card with the lowest balance first. While tackling the lowest credit card balance, I was still paying the minimum payments on the other cards. So, I didn't get any nasty fees because of a missed payment.

I felt like I was accomplishing my getting out of debt goal with this method. I would get a boost each time I paid off a credit card with a small balance. Even though I had a few other cards with large balances it still made me feel good. Plus it kept me motivated and on track. For instance, I paid off a $1,000 balance and even though I still had $19,000 in debt I knew that I could keep going.

However, this method will not save you the most money in the end because of the different interest rates that you have on your cards. Paying off the highest-interest rate card first will save you the most money in the end. But for me it was more motivating to just tackle the card with the lowest balance first.

I say whatever works best for you and keeps you going is the best way to go. It is all about paying off that debt and getting you to a place of freedom.

Even Lisa Ray, a financial-education specialist at the Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta talks about this method. She states,

"with this method, you pay down the lowest-balance card first and pay minimum balances on the rest; as each card is paid off, apply the money you would have paid on it to the next-lowest-balance card, and so on."

I love making lists. I always have lists going on and I feel so satisfied and accomplished when I cross something off my list. So, when I had all of that credit card debt in my mind I had a running list of the credit cards. I would cross off the ones that were paid off. Let me help you visualize this with an illustration.

Here is my list when I am paying each credit card and spreading my money over the different cards.

Here is the list in my head when I tackled those lower balances first.
As you can see I felt better in my own mind when I paid off the smaller balance first because I got to cross something off my list. Now it is your turn to cross something off your debt to do list. Good luck and I am here for you!

Best wishes,

Janie

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weekend Quote #4- Peace

To my blog friends,

I wish you peace this weekend.



Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.

~Unknown

I am participating in "Give Me Your Best Shot" for this picture over at Better in Bulk. I hope you enjoy.

Go here to view other weekend quotes.

Best wishes,


Janie

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Inexpensive things to do on a vacation to AZ...

Friday at Kelly's Korner is "show us your favorite vacation spot" and I couldn't wait to join in on this blog hop!

My favorite vacation spot is Tucson, Arizona. I love it hot! I know you are probably thinking I am crazy right now. But I am a petite person and I am always cold here on the east coast. I just feel like I get to finally warm up out there is Arizona.

Here are some inexpensive things you can do in Tucson, Arizona:

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Getting Out of Debt Rule #1

Rule #1: You gotta stop digging!



If you are serious about getting out of debt then you need to cut up, freeze, or just put away those credit cards. The only way you can get out of debt is to stop digging yourself into more debt.

I thought this picture was great! Just stop your digging.

Best wishes,

Janie

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

What is a financial baffle bag?

During my sophomore year in college, I took a personal finance class and was introduced to my first Money magazine. For the past 10 years, I have been subscribing to Money magazine.

It has been like a security blanket to me. I read it from cover-to-cover each month and take it everywhere. I love it because it has helped me grow and become more financially literate. I find the articles to be complete, well researched, and well written.

In the beginning, I would sit in my room and read one article and highlight every word that I didn't understand and put the magazine down. This was out of pure exhaustion because it was like trying to understand a foreign language. At the time, I made a goal for myself that I wanted to be able to read an entire Money magazine and not be so baffled by the financial terminology.

So my friends, this is how the birth of the baffle bag came about. Any word that I would come across that I didn't understand I would look it up. Now, I am able to read Money magazine without feeling so confused.



Lets talk about this Janie Out of Debt baffle bag. I have created this bag to teach you about financial terminology. This can be your go to place when you are stumped by a financial term and you want it explained by a "real" person and not a complicated dictionary definition.

My goal is to help you feel more confident and in control of your money. I am truly pouring my heart and soul into this site because I believe that financial smarts makes the world a better place. I believe that everyone deserves and owes it to themselves to be financially literate. This way you can protect yourself against being taken advantage of financially.


First Baffle Bag Word: Interest Rate

Note: These words will not be in any order. But I will categorize them in alphabetical order in a future post. Also, these are definitions that I have put in my own words. If you would rather see a more complete or technical definition of the word, I will place a link to a reputable source at the end of each post.

An interest rate, is the amount of money you pay for borrowing money that isn't yours. Money that isn't yours, can take many forms like available credit, student loans, car loans, mortgage, etc.

It is normally expressed as a percentage rate over a period of one year. You may have seen the term annual interest rate at your local bank or on television.

The person lending you the money is making a profit because they are charging you to use their money. For instance, when you place your money in a savings account and you earn interest on that money. You are lending the bank your money and they are paying you interest to use your money. See it goes both ways. You just want to try to be the lender more often than the borrower. Make sense....easy enough right?
I hope you enjoy the new Baffle Bag concept.

Definition of Interest Rate from InvestorWords.com


Best wishes,


Janie

Monday, August 10, 2009

Part 2- Reviewing Your Goal

What do you do next with your goal?

If you need a refresher on writing, a getting out of debt, goal you can go to my previous post- Part 1- Writing a Getting Out of Debt Goal.

Next, you will want to employ a practice of refreshing your mind with your goal each day. This can be done in a variety of ways. You just want to make sure that you keep that goal in the forefront of your mind each day. Otherwise, you may lose sight of your goal and give up on the goal all together.

So, lets talk about some ways to keep those goals in front of you until you reach them! Yes, we all want to get out of debt.

Personally, I would read my getting out of debt goal each morning and evening before going to bed. I also had my getting out of debt goal on a sticky note. This note was attached to my credit card in my wallet. This way I would see my goal before I would use my credit card. It made me stop and think before purchasing something.

Here are some other ways of keeping your goals in front of you:
  • Use a digital photo frame to display photos of your goals.

  • Post your goals on your desktop background.

  • Write your goals on paper and post them everywhere.

  • Create a collage of your goals. Below is a picture of my current goals that I am saving up for now.

My current goal is to save up and purchase the Canon- PowerShot camera, a 17- inch MacBook Pro, and a KitchenAid 5-Speed Blender by December 25, 2011. I have this goal collage as my background on my desktop computer and now on my blog for the world to see!

I know these are big ticket items that I am saving up for now. However, the key words in that sentence are "saving up for" and this is a big change for me. I never saved up for anything in my previous debt consumed life. I would just buy and do everything on impulse. I had no self control. I just wanted and then I would go out and buy. So, "saving up for something" is a huge accomplishment for me.


To review:

#1 Write a SMART goal like- It is October 3, 2011, and I have just paid off 4 credit cards totaling $10,000.

#2 Keep your goal in front of you and your mind

Best wishes,

Janie

Do I know if my friends are in debt?

Do I know if my friends are in debt? I personally know a few are in debt because they told me, however, you just never really know. It is like saying, "I know exactly what is going on in that marriage or relationship." Hmmm....no you don't because unless you are in that situation you can only see so much from the outside. Again I just love this statement: "Keep in mind, the problem with looking at other's people's grass is that from your side of the fence, you can only see so much."


I talked about this quote in a previous blog post about keeping up with others.

This is why it is important to focus on your own finances and not worry about what others are doing. Because at the end of the day, that debt, your spending, your habits, and your decisions are going to dictate your life. This is the basis for taking personal responsibility.

For me, taking personal responsibility was the hardest thing because I was scared and I was a perfectionist. I didn't want to accept the responsibility that I messed up and made some bad decisions. I was arrogant and I felt entitled. I had convinced myself that it was another person's problem or I would pass the blame.

The scariest moment for me during the getting out of debt process was looking in my past and saying, "yep, you really messed up but it is okay you are going to be okay." I had to remove my ego from the equation. I had to just put my ego aside and be truthful to myself for once in my life. I had to stop living the lies. I had to learn to love myself for who I was in that moment- mistakes and all.

I still mess up and still make mistakes but I am okay with that now. I take personal responsibility for the good and bad. It builds character. My grandfather always said, "God doesn't ever give you more than you can handle in any given moment." You are a stronger person for your struggles. You can be more empathic for others when you go through difficult periods in your own life.

A good quote about failure:

"Every failure is a blessing in disguise, providing it teaches some needed lesson one could not have learned without it. Most so-called failures are only temporary defeats."

~ Napoleon Hill

I have been getting a lot of emails. Thank you so much! I love hearing from you and I am just so happy that you are benefiting from my blog. It makes me feel so good that I can give back to you and help you along the way. Good luck with this process you are doing great. You are not alone there are a lot of people out there that are dealing with this as well.

Action Item:

1. Do you always want to buy new items (for the house, car, kids, etc.)?

Best wishes,

Janie

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Weekend Quote #3- Happiness and Money

To my wonderful blog readers,

I leave you with this quote for the weekend.

"Happiness does not buy you money."
~ Warren Buffett


You can be the richest person in the world, but without loving family and friends, you would also be the poorest. I love this statement because it is so true in my opinion! I hope you get to spend quality time with the ones you love this weekend. Maybe you can enjoy a picnic.

Go here to view other weekend quotes.
Best wishes,

Janie

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My inexpensive wedding cake alternative...

For the past two weeks, I have been participating in "Show us your life" over at Kelly's Korner blog. It has been a lot of fun so I am going to continue to participate in these blog hops on Fridays. I thought we could make Fridays a fun day to try out new things around here at Janie Out of Debt.

My husband and I love cake so that was the item we splurged on in our wedding budget. Our guests loved us for it too! I have never received so many compliments on food and especially wedding cake.

In my opinion, wedding cake is usually just awful and dry or at least all of the weddings I have attended. Shhhh....don't tell my friends. But not this cake from Just Cakes in Bethesda, Maryland. Just Cakes is absolutely fabulous and I highly recommend this bakery. The owner is very sweet as well.

We provided the red roses to the bakery and while setting up the cake they placed the roses around and on top of the cake.


Previous Posts from my Wedding:


#1 Wedding Dress: http://janieoutofdebt.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-inexpensive-wedding-dress.html


#2 Wedding Flowers: http://janieoutofdebt.blogspot.com/2009/07/my-inexpensive-wedding-flowers.html



A cost effective alternative to wedding cake can be.....



CUPCAKES!


You could have a few friends or family members make the cupcakes and decorate them with white icing and stick premade sugar flowers on them (refer to picture above).

Do-It-Yourself Cupcake Stand



Then put them on this cute cupcake stand. Learn how to make this DIY cupcake stand at Cake Journal. This is a cute idea for baby showers and kids birthday parties too!



Popular Janie Out of Debt Posts:
6 Step Plan for Getting Out of Debt
Did I shop for retail therapy?
Are my friends toxic and getting me into debt?
Was I intimidated by money?

Do you like the cupcake idea? Or do you prefer a traditional wedding cake instead? Leave a comment I would love to hear from you.


Best wishes,

Janie


P.S. I recommend the book The Conscious Bride for all brides to be. A friend gave it to me as a wedding shower gift and it was the best book. I loved it. Her writing style calmed me down during all the wedding planning and preparation. It is a must read for all brides to be.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Step 1- Of Getting Out of Debt

Step 1: Moment of Truth


"One of the great surprises I met with, in connection with my research, is that so few people are willing to hear the truth when it shows up their own weaknesses. We prefer illusions to realities!"

~ Napoleon Hill


The Moment of Truth is the first step in Janie's 6 Step Plan for Getting Out of Debt.

This is the moment when you determine just how much debt you are truly in. You can no longer hide behind the mountain of endless debt anymore. You have to be honest and truthful with yourself.

You may feel raw and ashamed inside after discovering just how much debt you are in. Or you may feel relieved because you aren't in as much debt as you had originally thought. Whatever, your outcome maybe this moment is for exposure to the truth about your financial situation.

This is the first step in taking personal responsibility and feeling more in control. Now, that you know the truth about your situation you can do something about it. You are getting one step closer to a debt free life.

If you have been reading my blog for awhile you know that I have action steps at the end of some of my posts. These are questions and activities for you to think about and write about in a journal. By answering these questions and keeping a journal you will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses in your thoughts, budget, and life. It will give you greater clarity and truth about yourself.

Here are the previous blog posts that you can journal about to discover your moment of truth about your finances:

1. What was your first experience with credit cards?

Janie's Answer

2. Who taught you about money?

Janie's Answer

3. When did you realize you were in debt?

Janie's Answer

4. How does the debt make you feel?

Janie's Answer

P.S. This list will continue to grow because of the evolving nature of this process and the Janie Out of Debt Blog.

You are on your way to finding your moment of truth. You are doing a great job!

Best wishes,


Janie

Part 1- Writing a Getting Out of Debt Goal

How do you write a getting out of debt goal that is attainable?


Your goal should be written in a manner that is:


S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, timely, tangible, trackable

The SMART acronym is used to describe what experts consider to be "good" goal statements because at a future date you can look at your goal and determine if it has been achieved or not.

An example of a SMART goal- It is October 3, 2011, and I have just paid off 4 credit cards totaling $10,000.

This is a SMART goal because you can look at your goal after October 3, 2011 and determine if you achieved it or not. If you did, then congratulations you are right on track. If you did not, then it identifies areas of weakness and what you can do next time to reach your goal. Either way it is better to write a definite goal then aimlessly walk around life without a plan or goal.


It is your turn. Try writing a getting out of debt goal today using the SMART technique. Part 2 of this process will be how to review your getting out of debt goal on a daily basis.



Best wishes,


Janie

Monday, August 3, 2009

Would you co-sign a credit card for a child?

Calling all moms or anyone who has ever considered....


Co-signing for a child's credit card

Far too many parents do this. It may or may not hurt their credit score. However, it does hurt their child if the proper money topics aren't discussed before giving the child a credit card. A credit card is a priviledge and shouldn't be taken lightly.

I truly am against co-signing in general, no matter what the age of the child, because this is exactly what my parents did for me when I was 16 years old. It didn't help me out and it actually hurt me even more. A more responsible approach would have been to teach me about money and personal responsibility.

Over this past weekend (August 2, 2009) in the Business section of the Washington Post there was an article and after reading it I just said, "AMEN, at the top of my lungs." Thank you Janet Bodnar for writing, "The Dangers of Co-Signing for a Kid's Credit Card" from Kiplinger's Personal Finance. Here is the article:

Come February, people under the age of 21 will have to provide proof of income to get a credit card or have a parent or someone over 21 co-sign their application.


The idea, of course, is to make it tougher for young people to get credit. But that solution raises another big question: Should you sign for your child's credit card?


For years in this column I've advised that you not mix your credit record with your child's. I haven't changed my opinion.


As long as teens have Mom or Dad to fall back on, they're unlikely to take full responsibility for using using a credit card. If they screw up, your good credit record is on the line.


A checking account with a debit card is a great first step toward learning how to manage credit. I'm well aware that debit cards aren't the perfect solution. But teens can get into far less trouble paying a $30 overdraft fee than running up a credit card balance of hundreds of dollars or more.


And if they first learn how to balance a checking account and avoid overdraft fees, they can be better trusted to pay their credit card bill on time.


There's no need to rush teens into becoming debtors-in-training. They have enough trouble juggling schoolwork, extracurricular activities and jobs without keeping tabs on credit card bills.


You don't owe your children your credit rating. I'd rather have them apply for a card independently after they've proven that they have the maturity and experience to handle it. Even if they have to pay a higher interest rate initially, they'll learn that credit is a privilege, not an entitlement.


I think some great take home points from this article are:


  • A checking account is a great first step
  • No need to rush teens into becoming debtors-in-training (I was a total debtor-in-traing in my teens and early 20s)

  • Credit is a privilege, not an entitlement

I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Leave a comment.

Best wishes,


Janie

Was I exhausted by my debt?

Was I overwhelmed and exhausted when I would think about my finances? In the past, I felt overwhelmed and exhausted by my debt for about 5 years, the entire time I was digging myself out. It was a constant and never ending anxiety that I walked around with every single day.

Constantly, wondering if anyone could tell or knew what was going on. The emotional toll that debt took on me and my body was serious. I had migraine headaches, back aches, stomach aches, chills, and anxiety. I was scared! I was fearful of the debt and I didn't always believe that I could get out of it. I found myself fighting off the negative thoughts about myself on a daily basis. This was so exhausting!


Finally, I had to learn some meditation practices to calm myself down. Now, I work on my breathing and meditation almost daily. Here is a breathing technique, from Dr. Weil, to try to calm yourself down (I used Dr. Weil's site as a resource for the following technique):




1. Close your eyes




2. Imagine you are lying on a beautiful beach (or other calming place of your choice).



3. Focus on your breath. Each time your mind wonders to a thought just gently remind yourself to focus on your breath.



4. Begin this breathing exercise by, exhaling completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound.



5. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four.



6. Hold your breath for a count of seven.



7. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight.



8. This is one breath. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times for a total of four breaths.



As I am writing this post, I am feeling calm already. I wish you peace while you are trying out this new breathing exercise. Peace throughout your entire body!

Good luck and try not to get discouraged if this takes sometime. First, learning to breathe and calming my mind was difficult for me, at one time. I didn't know or think it was possible to stop my racing thoughts. Second, just remember to be kind with yourself and you will get it.

Did my finances interfere with my personal relationships? It did because I wasn't being truthful of my situation. But I feel like money is one of those topics that people hide and don't want to talk about.


Would you agree that people don't generally discuss financial matters? Leave a comment. I would love to hear from you.



Action Item:


1. Do you know if your friends are in debt?


Best wishes,


Janie

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Weekend Quote #2- Believe In Your Dreams

To my faithful blog followers,

I am so appreciative to you, my current blog followers. Thank you for believing in me and choosing to follow my blog. It means so much! Here is to me believing in you always.

"If someone believes in you, and you believe in your dreams, it can happen."

~Tiffany Loren Rowe



Do you have any quotes about "believing" that you would like to share this weekend? Leave a comment. I will feature you and your quote in one of my future weekend quote selections.

Go here to view other weekend quotes.

Best wishes,


Janie
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