25 Jun

Paying your credit card off with your savings – Sometimes you gotta be bold!

For us this has been quite a difficult one. This year hasn’t been the greatest as far as money is concerned. Things have been tight at times to say the least, but we have managed to put aside about £30 a week into a pretty standard savings account. Since about January, the £30 plus anything else we could lay our hands on, has been squirrelled away into that savings account, amounting to just over £2000 up until yesterday. Not a bad achievement at all I don’t think.

Now back on New Years Eve, Tina, Elizabeth & I wrote on a note on a Chinese Lantern, a short note, asking to be personally debt free in 6 months, which we both agreed would be the end of June 2012. In a flash of inspiration and alarm this Saturday, it dawned on me… we had just 7 days to be debt free and we still had £3124.80 on our personal credit card! There’s no way we could manage that!

After much discussion, deliberation and thought, we went through every savings account we could find, to try and get our wish to come true. With the money we’d saved and some that was sitting dormant in a couple of other accounts, we could just do it. It would wipe out our safety net once again, but we decided…

…Let’s Go For It!

So yesterday we took that bold step. Why? Because the interest on the credit card is WAY higher than that we’re earning on our savings… So paying it off would save us £100’s if not £1000’s if we only paid it off a little at a time like we were doing.

Plus, there’s nothing like a little motivation! If ever there’s a reason to get the stuff I’ve got stored in the garage cleaned up and sold, this is it… If ever there’s a reason to work smarter and bring in more money… this is it. No safety net is a dangerous thing, but sometimes you’ve got to fly by the seat of your pants, take a chance, and have faith in whatever you believe in, yourself, your family, God… Whatever your faith, you’ve got to believe you can do it.

So has our wish come true?

In a fashion yes… Debt free in 6 months… Done!

Maybe not in the way we thought we’d do it, so maybe we need to be a little more specific with next years wish. But in a day or so’s time when the credit card company confirms receipt of the payment, we shall be debt free. Now the massive challenge comes in building that safety net once again… £30 at a time, even £1 at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, so if we keep focused, all pull in the same direction, we can do it.

What’s happening to the credit card now?

It’s going to be locked away in the drawer… where it belongs.

26 Feb

5 Must Read Books For The Financially Free Wannabe!

Just a quick post today listing my favourite 5 Must Read Books for the Financially Free Wannabe. I’ve read several of these books not once, not twice but up to 4 and 5 times, and each time I do, I learn something new or gain a fresh new way of looking at life, finances and my approach to work… I hope you find this list useful!

The Richest Man In Babylon Rich Dad Poor Dad Awaken The Giant Within 4 Hour Work Week Conspiracy Of The Rich

  1. The Richest Man in Babylon by George S Clason
    A very inspirational guide to personal finance and solving money problems which is presented via eleven ancient Babylonian tales, ultimately revealing the way to financial success. A very good read once you get your mind around the style of writing.
  2. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki.
    Robert explains the theories and thinking behind his strategy and attitude to money. Written in a clear and easy to understand way, Robert illustrates striving to buy, build and create investments and assets that provide cashflow it’s entirely possible for anyone to achieve true financial freedom.
  3. Awaken the Giant within by Anthony Robbins
    One of the greatest Motivational Coaches of all time, Anthony Robbins shares his wealth of knowledge about how the human mind works and how we can condition ourselves to achieve more in our relatively short lifetimes. There’s some excellent exercises to help break bad habits and indeed form some very good habits when it comes to behaviour, work, money and life in general. Well worth a read.

  4. The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich
    by Tim Ferris.
    Again focusing on the passive income / cashflow concept, Tim illustrates how anyone can reduce the working week substantially by cutting out the crap and focusing on what really matters. While it’s hard for the average reader to achieve what Tim has, many of the techniques and theories detailed in this book can be applied by anyone wishing to Achieve and Earn more.
  5. Rich Dad’s Conspiracy of the Rich: The 8 New Rules of Money
    by Robert Kiyosaki
    I don’t like suggesting too many books by the same author incase it looks like I’m jumping on any bandwagons, but I can assure you I’m not when it comes to this book. An excellent eye opener with regard to the current financial crisis. Robert explains in laymans terms exactly how the Financial world confuse and bamboozle the average person for one specific reason – to make money! He explains exactly how many investments work and how we can cover our backs when it comes to investing and making money regardless of what the economy is doing. I’m currently putting into practice some of the ideas and concepts put forward in Conspiracy of the Rich and I’ll keep you up to date with my progress over the coming months.

All of these books have help change the way I think about money, saving & investing, and have set me on the way to retiring long before I reach 65! I hope you find them as beneficial as I do.

<a href=”http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0751532711?ie=UTF8&tag=jamesherberbrita&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=0751532711″>Rich Dad, Poor Dad</a><img src=”http://www.assoc-amazon.co.uk/e/ir?t=jamesherberbrita&l=as2&o=2&a=0751532711″ width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />
22 Feb

Saving… It’s good for the soul.

Put supermarket savings into your Savings Account!

Put supermarket savings into your Savings Account!

Being in debt has driven my nuts for the past few years. Including our mortgage the total outstanding was nearly £70k back in December 2009, with half of that being on the most evil forms of debt – the credit card. My god, that’s a lot of wasted money.  The stupidity of how I got there in the first place is one thing,  but the monotony of paying off a little each month, just keeping my head above water, whilst trying to keep my family happy, and keep my business going became a real bind. I should be enjoying life, not moping about moaning cos I’m skint.

Over Christmas, I did a lot of thinking, day dreaming and pondering about what I could do to at least make myself feel a little better, which would then, hopefully have a knock on effect on my health, and ultimately my relationships with my Daughter and my Fiance.

The revelation if you want to call it that came to me while I was lying in bed, about to fall asleep… “You’ve got to start saving”. Yeah right, that’s easier said than done with no extra cash coming in and what is coming in going straight into paying debts off, but I knew I had to find away. Just as is described in the excellent book “The Richest Man In Babylon”, putting a little aside each month, even when you owe money, does wonders for your well-being. Even the smallest amounts, put into a half-decent savings account soon start to mount up, and seeing “YOUR MONEY” begin to grow, no matter how slowly is a great feeling, so somehow I knew I had to find a way.

The thing is though, I’ve never been a big saver. Since I was young my savings account balance has been up and down more times than the lift in the Eiffel Tower. There has always been something more important that I needed the cash for than saving it for that mysterious rainy day. A car, CDs, DVDs, Computer stuff, new furniture etc… I guess the reason for me to save money had never really been there. Because of the debt that have been there for a few years now, I’d kind of reach a point where I had no interest in trying to save, because I owed money.

But, the fact is I’m get older, now approaching Middle Age, whatever the hell that is, and the rainy days I should be saving for seem to be approaching quicker and quicker. Plus my Daughter is growing up and I want to spend more time with her and my Fiance doing fun things, not working all the time. The only way I can do that though is to build a solid foundation of Savings that will cover us when work is slack, and also start to grow so that one day, we may, just may, be financially free!

So my task for the start of the new year was to find a way of putting money away each month. Where the bloody hell was I going to find any cash from to save?

Everybody’s got to start somewhere

The Eureka moment for me came on around Jan 2nd, when we popped into our local Tesco store. When you buy your regular weekly shopping from Tescos, Sainsburys, Asda etc, at the bottom of your till receipt, there is always a section that tells you how much you saved on the weekly offers. In our case, £5.77. Ok, so it’s not big bucks, but it’s £5.77 we didn’t spend because things we regularly buy in the supermarket were on offer. Now I know in the Rich Dad books, Robert Kiyosaki talks about hunting down supermarket bargains as being Poor thinking, and that’s true to a degree, but the difference here is I’m not going bargain hunting. If the things we as a family buy week in week out are on offer, then why not put that saving to good use…

Save the Savings

It’s always the simplest ideas that are the best and this one is no different. If I’d have spent the “Savings On Offers” money in the supermarket anyway if the items were at their regular price, why don’t I invest that money into a decent Savings Account. So that’s exactly what I’ve done. And now, in just over 6 weeks, I’ve got just short of £100 sitting in a Halifax Web Saver Xtra account by doing nothing but my weekly shop and saving the savings! Not bad going for about 2 mins work each week! That money is now growing, albeit at a paltry 2.8% per year, but it’s a start.

The Result

Money in the bank that will grow week by week! That feels damn good I can tell you. Good old Tesco… Every little really does help!

22 Feb

A Journey To Financial Freedom

Financial Freedom is something I’ve dreamed about for a long time, but like many Big Goals, it has always seemed totally unattainable. But as I get older, the need to achieve it is becoming more and more important, not only for myself but for my family.

Like a large proportion of 30 somethings in the UK and no doubt, the World, I have little or no provisions set aside for my retirement. The result of many years of poor planning and an over-active wallet I guess, but hey, that’s my reality and now it’s time to deal with it. I’ve always wanted to retire early and live a financially independent life, but the desire to actually attain it has never been strong enough. Why? I’ve no clue, but as the months go by, I’m thinking about reaching that point where I no longer need my pay cheque to survive and indeed enjoy life.

So, my quandary at the ripe old age of 37 is, can it be done? Is it possible to go from practically nothing, to being financially independent in say 15 years? Can it be done in 10 years? How about 5? What would it take to get to that point from where I am now? What will I need to do… Saving, investing, Gambling?!

The Journey is about to begin… it could be a bumpy ride!

07 Oct

Book Review: How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously by Mundis Jerrold J

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously

Millions of us have become trapped in a spiral of debt over the past decade, me included which is the reason I created this site, but there is hope. If you really want to free yourself from the shackles of debt which is becoming increasingly important in this current economic climate, then this book is definitely for you.

How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously can help you “get out of debt, stay out of debt and live prosperously” just as the title suggests. The author Jerrold Mundis writes in a friendly, engaging style, urging readers to stop the endless cycle of spending. Mundis knows what he’s talking about, he too, was once thousands of (US) dollars in debt and didn’t know where to turn. Anecdotes from members of Debtors Anonymous, plus multiple examples from the writer’s own life and ledgers, make How to Get Out of Debt a very encouraging read, not a condescending one. Once you start your program, you may want to periodically reread some chapters for futher inspiration to keep you on the road to recovery.

Click Here To Get Your Copy Of
How to Get Out of Debt, Stay Out of Debt and Live Prosperously Now

06 Oct

Don’t Consolidate… Snowball To Get Your Debts Paid Off Quicker!

Do you have so many credit cards that you paper a wall with them? Don’t know how to get rid of them? Then try this solution out for size. With this handy snowballing spreadsheet tool you can generate a custom strategy for becoming debt-free without the need for consolidation loans!

All you need to do is just enter your credit cards, their balance, and interest rate. Then enter your required minimum monthly payments and then put in the maximum possible amount you could put towards it, based on your current budget. Next, pick the style of repayment you want to go for, such as snowball or highest interest first. The program then generates an effective payoff strategy tailored to your needs. It calculates how much interest there will be and the total you’ll end up paying, and how long it will take to escape the shackles of debt you have built up.

If you’re carrying balances on several cards, this is a great tool for getting started on, or optimizing, your personal debt payment plan and setting you on the path to becoming debt free.

Download The Snowballing Spreadsheet Here

06 Oct

Work out how much you owe.

Step one on my journey to financial freedom was working out exactly how much we owed, and the best tools for doing this are either Microsoft Money or a spreadsheet. Dig out your credit card statements, your loan statements and start gathering all the figures together.

The moment you see just how much you actually owe, you’ll start to feel better… even though at present you might feel like you’re drowning in it all and can’t cope, just getting it on paper or into a spreadsheet is one of the best and quickest ways to focus your mind.

List everything, make a column for the outstanding amounts, interest rates, monthly minimum payments and anything else you have. Pull no punches… It’ll help get yourself organized.