Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The $500 Coffee Mug With 12% Interest

I love my bank. It is small, locally owned, has free Atm withdrawals no matter the network, and I have a small beef with them. Whenever I come in to withdrawal cash for my families weekly expenses I am solicited for a new credit card. I must preface that the people that know me in the bank don't offer this because they know my debt assassin stance. But, every now and then I have a new teller help me. Today was one of those days.

"Mr. Williams would you like to open a new credit card today?",  I say no thanks. She immediately responds with, "You get a free coffee mug when you do". I politely tell her I appreciate the offer of a $500 coffee mug with 12% interest but today I will pass. The teller responds to me saying that she can't believe people actually do open the account just to get the free mug.  I have to tell you I was one of those people before becoming a debt assassin.

I would sign up for all kinds of cards just to get free junk. Probably the worst thing I ever got was when I was in college,it was a $500 beach towel with the Visa logo on the towel. My towel eventually cost me about a grand over a five year period. What is the dumbest thing you ever received for signing up for a credit card, and how much did that "free gift" cost you in the long run?  Post in the comments and let me know.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Repentance And Debt (Part 2)

In the first part of this two part post found here, I covered the first 3 parts of repentance and debt.

  1. A deadly stabbing of the inner man.
  2. A pronounced awareness of guilt.
  3. An unashamed admission of ignorance and or inability.

In this last part I will cover the last three parts.

  1. A humble cry for help:
    1. This cry for help was not as loud for me as it should have been.  I should have been shouting to people who loved me and knew would want to help me through this.  Instead my wife and I kept it to ourselves and after we were sure of the direction we were headed we started to talk to others about our plan.  As I said in part 1 the person we asked for help was Dave Ramsey (Affiliate Link), and of course we turned this dilemma over to God through prayer as well.

  1. A timely arrival of self distrust:
    1. Knowing that I could not trust in what I was doing financially Amy and I had to set up controls that held each other accountable.  We set up a budget each month and each of us had an allowance.  This also meant that we used cash for most of our purchases.  Things like gas we still used debit cards.  This really made tracking easy and allowed both of us to know what was in our account and what money would be coming out.  This also eliminated over draft fees which averaged around $200 a month when we were not using this system.

  1. A refreshing absence of excuses:
    1. When we had over draft fees, or missed a bill payment, we often would make excuses on why it would happen.  We would blame a company for not processing a payment in a timely manner, or the bank for allowing us to overdraft our account when there was actually no money in it, but the worst thing of all we would do was to blame each other.  By pointing the finger at each other no one was accountable for our financial mess and this type of thinking led to a lot of fights.  When God switched on the light of repentance over our financial sin the excuses and finger pointing ceased.  This helped Amy and I to really put the pieces of our financial lives back together and renewed our marriage as well.  Instead of making each other the enemy we made debt our enemy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Repentance and Debt (Part 1)

I have to give my pastor Dr. Scott Maxwell credit for providing inspiration for this post.  He did an awesome sermon on repentance that you can play here.  I never really thought about the steps spiritually it took for me to come to grips with the sin of poorly stewarding over God’s provisions until I heard Dr. Scott’s message.  The sermon is outlining Acts 2:37-47.
  1. A deadly stabbing of the inner man.
    • For me this stabbing was realizing that I was living a life that was not in line with what God had intended.  Even though I was saved from my sin this was an area of my life that God had not chosen to reveal to me.  I was spending more than I made and was not keeping track of what God had blessed me with.  
  2. A pronounced awareness of guilt.
    1. I was definitely ashamed of how I was living.  Not only was I guilt ridden but I was so ashamed that I could not tell people that were close to me (church leadership, close friends, and mentors).  Just because you feel guilty it does not mean that you should not seek help from those people that are in the church.  Church goers and leaders should never be shocked or surprised that a fellow brother has fallen into sin.  It is the church’s job to help sinners understand that Jesus died so all sins can be forgiven.
  3. An unashamed admission of ignorance and or inability.
    1. This is where I started to turn the corner.  Knowing you don’t know how to accomplish or start something is a very freeing feeling.  I knew I needed help which meant I would start searching for people who had gone through what I was going through.  Spiritually it meant I was going to depend on God.  Physically I knew that I needed someone to help get me financial house in order.  That person turned out to be Dave Ramsey.

In my next post I will close with Scott’s other 3 points and how they relate to my poor stewardship of money.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

You Can Never Have Too Many Resources

Here is a link to some well known links and some not so well known links that will help educate you on debt and personal finance matters.


There is also only one week left in the NFL season (sad).  However Peyton Manning might be coming to my Arizona Cardinals (beyond happy).  I know this is a personal finance blog, but it is my blog and I thought you should know.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This Is Art?

At an event for work and it is being held at the Phoenix Art Museum.  I have no idea what this is.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What I Learned In 2011

  1. That development is solely my responsibility. No one is going to invest in my success more than I will. Which means that personal development needs to be built into my monthly budget and the payoff is exponential.
  2. Small consistent steps are better than big ones. It is a simple, and often a forgoten phrase that slow and steady wins the race.
  3. That in order to succeed I need to get out of my own way. This is a hard principle to grasp but we let our own thoughts betray what we can ultimately accomplish.
  4. Comfort is the cousin to complacency and stagnation.
  5. Jobs are not honorable or dishonorable but the people who do them are.
  6. I need to talk less and listen more.
  7. God’s word is to be applied to my life in every way.
  8. Failure is only bad if you quit something because of it. Failure is awesome as long as you learn from it and don’t let it defeat you.
  9. What you feed your mind is as important, or more important as what you feed your body.
  10. That I am grateful for the new people I have gotten to know by writing this blog.