Often, when talking to people about the work I do, I tell them that I help people clear their credit card debt once and for all and never have to use a credit card again. For many that sounds like the definition of impossible! They have cleared their debt before, often many times, and know that it just goes back up again.
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Then, when I tell them about the process I use and explain that, if possible, I will get them to commit to not using their credit card at all until I see them next time, I see the horrified looks and panic setting in!

The reason for this is that, like so many people, their credit card is their security blanket! It’s what stands between them and financial disaster if the car breaks down, the child needs orthodontic work, the dog needs surgery, Christmas arrives, someone has a birthday, friends ask them out for dinner, they need a holiday etc etc! It is where they go for “money” when all else fails. I know this, I have done this, more times than I care to remember, but I also knows that it doesn’t work and only makes the situation worse.

I am not going to go into all the other reasons people use credit cards, like air points etc and the reasons why it is better and cheaper to use debit cards or better still cash! Today I am just talking about using them as your back up plan! I have been a bit facetious above with the “emergencies” people use their credit cards for, but I have either given them myself or heard them, and more, many times when people have told me that they only use them for emergencies.

Now, if you are reading this and thinking “but I do only use them for emergencies and then immediately pay them off in full” then fine. Whilst I do think that there is a better way, this message is not primarily for you, but read on because you might be interested in how you could do it differently.

I then go on to explain how I help them save their way out of debt, once and for all!  Doesn’t that sound good? Too good to be true? Not at all. If you follow the method which I teach you, which was developed by Karen McCall of the Financial Recovery Institute, that is exactly what you can do. I never ask people to cut up their credit cards, nor put them in a container of water in the freezer, I just ask them to trust the process, which has worked for thousands and thousands of people, and not use their credit cards until they see me again. As Karen says, “ if you want to get out of a hole, first you must stop digging”!

The other key steps are to pay the minimum on your credit card each month whilst building up a savings account, which we call a Periodic Savings account. Now I can hear all of you with financial backgrounds or those who pay off your credit cards in full every month, exclaiming that this will cost extra because of the interest. Yes, you are right but if you are someone who constantly uses your credit card and can never manage to always pay if off in full every month, then, trust me, this is a much cheaper way in the long run. Remember I teach you how to pay if off, in full, once and for all and to never have credit card debt ever again.

That’s because the Periodic Savings account becomes your security blanket; it’s where you go to get the money to pay the dentist, the vet, the restaurant, the holiday and Christmas! Using a formula I teach you, you can plan for all these and more, and know that you will always have the money available to cover all these events, without having to bring out the credit card. Once this is functioning well we also start another account which we call a “Safety Net” account and here you provide for coverage of all your expenses if you were to have an interruption in income.

So, if you would like to learn how to save your way out of debt, once and for all, use one of the methods below to contact me and we can have a coffee and discuss it further, to see if I can help you.

I’d love your comments about all of this and feel free to share it with your friends either by email or socially below.

Have a great week everyone and give it a try… Can you manage to not use your credit card for the next week?

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Getting to today! My story

February 4, 2014

Another of the most common questions I get asked is how did I get to be doing what I do! This up close and personal video tells most of the story.

 

Can you identify with my story?Let me know in the comments below or if you would like to do that in person click on this link and request a strategy session with me. It’s free and if you’re in Auckland I will meet you for coffee and I even buy the coffee! I can’t say fairer than that!!

 

Hugs

 

 

 

You know the one… You’ve been invited to a wedding, birthday party, company dinner, or in fact just about anything… and the first words out of your mouth are…”But, I’ve got nothing to wear!”

Now, that is patently not true, because:

a) you have not spent the whole of your life in bed, naked, and hiding under the covers nor

b) walking around in public naked. This is not acceptable behaviour in most modern societies and you would probably have been arrested or taken to see a doctor!

What you really mean is: I don’t know what to wear, or, I don’t want to wear what I have, and this seems like a justifiable excuse to buy something new!

 

It is not a disaster for the following reasons:-

 

  1.  Firstly, the definition of disaster from Dictionary.com is: a calamitous event, especially one occurring suddenly and causing great loss of life, damage, or hardship, as a flood, airplane crash, or business failure. No mention of not having anything to wear!
  2. At most functions you attend, you are not the centre of attention…( unless of course, it’s your wedding)…and very few people will notice what you are wearing. (NB If it is your wedding, that is a justifiable excuse to buy something new. I am assuming that you will have been planning it for some time and have the savings to go out and buy it!)
  3. The occasion is not a fashion show …well not usually anyway…and almost always, it is about people celebrating the occasion. That means that you have been invited for your company not your clothes! Therefore, “that old thing” is probably going to be perfectly suitable.
  4. Unless you are the Queen, or Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, chances are that nobody will realise that you have worn the outfits in your wardrobe before! People are just not that observant. More importantly they are pleased to see you, not your clothes.

 

Of course, if you have planned to buy a new outfit, because you truly need it ,and not just want it, it is lovely to be able to wear something new to a special occasion. We all love that.

However, if it is not in your plan, especially if you are trying to stop overspending or reduce your debt, an invitation to an occasion does not justify buying something new to wear.  Remember it is about the people and the celebration, so “that old thing” will be just perfect.

Tell us about any creative ideas you have, that gets around this common situation.

 

 

From my last post you have seen I recommend that, unless you pay your cards off in full each and every month, you use debit cards.

Now that’s all very fine but, what if you already have a credit card, or cards, which have balances on them which you can’t pay off in full. What do you do then?

The first thing I recommend is,  stop using your credit cards immediately. There is a saying which is very pertinent here:

” If you want to get yourself out of a hole, first you have to stop digging”.

In other words, you can’t hope to get your credit cards paid off, whilst you are still using them and increasing your debt. Once you stop using them, the amount you pay off them then actually starts to make a difference. How you go about paying them off was the topic of another post of mine http://wp.me/pDpjD-2p. Essentially I recommend that you pay the minimum off them, until you have savings that will cover all periodic expenses you have, or will have. As I say it is the subject of another post!

For those of you who are now saying ” This doesn’t help me, because I have to use my credit card just to buy my groceries or kids’ clothes”

OK, what I suggest for you is that at the beginning of each month, you sit down and draw up a spending plan for the month ahead. Now if you are really serious about paying off your credit card(s) for good, this plan should address all the real needs of your family, namely, shelter, food and essential clothing, but not include wants eg new flat screen TV etc!! Once you have this drawn up, if there is a gap between the money you bring in and the money required to fulfill those needs, that is the amount you may put on your credit card. This amount is planned, which is the key word. This does not mean that you can see a dress that you just love and buy it with your credit card. The dress is not a need, and it’s purchase is not planned. You would also benefit from seeking the assistance of a Financial Recovery℠ Counsellor. You will find a list of them here:-http://www.financialrecovery.com/?p=find-by-area

Do you draw up a spending plan or budget at the beginning of every month? Do you stick to it? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Often my clients admit to me that they feel ashamed that they are in debt, and not able to manage their money as well as they think they should. I can really empathise with them as I know that was how I felt too.

In all other aspects of my life (well most of them anyway LOL!) I was successful and competent. My overspending and chronic debting were my “dirty little secrets”, which I hid, or tried to, from everyone. I was very ashamed that I couldn’t control my spending as well as I controlled other aspects of my life. I was intelligent and could write fantastic budgets – I just couldn’t keep to them.

I now know that having money problems or issues with money behaviours, such as chronic debting and overspending, has no regard for gender, race or income level. Nor are they an indicator of intelligence.

Almost always they are a way of coping with some emotional factor or other. In my case, I was using buying myself stuff, as a way of caring for myself!

Faulty thinking that surely was, getting myself into debt over and over again was only harming me. Despite causing me loss of sleep and enormous angst, I just couldn’t see it and repeated my excuses like mantras to soothe me, as I spent. “I need this” “I deserve this, I work hard” ” I’m not responsible for anyone else so I can just spend it” (Sadly, I didn’t realise I wasn’t looking after me either!) “No-one else will buy it for me so I’m just going to do it!”  I knew them all!

It wasn’t until I found  the Financial Recovery℠ Institute and completed my Money Minder® Autobiography that I  had some “aha” moments and began my recovery journey!

If you recognise your story in any of this ask for help sooner, rather than later.You will then be proud of yourself, not ashamed!

Does any of this resonate with you, either for yourself or a loved one? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Today I was reading one of the blogs I follow  DailyWorth – Know Your Worth. and came across this gem:- BFB – best financial buddy!

MP Dunleavey (www.mpdunleavy.com), who is also a columnist for MSN Finance, talks about The G.O.O.D. (get out of debt!) secret – Save.

One of the tips she has to help you is getting a BFB to hold your hand.

What do you think? Would it help you? Do you keep your money worries to yourself?

I’d love to hear what you think or any experience you have had.

Mine has been, and continues to be, my Financial Recovery counsellor, Danielle Ray. (www.integrativefinancialcounseling.com) She has been invaluable.

PS MP’s other tips are fantastic too!

‘Til debt do us part | StarTribune.com.

I’ve written about this before but here’s an article I’ve just read on finances and relationships. It discusses not only hiding purchases, but also hiding debt from partners.

Our upbringing has a huge impact on how we view and manage money. Our partners may well have been raised very differently; consequently they also have different views on what’s OK to spend money on or not.

Communicate, communicate and communicate and if you still can’t sort it out – get professional help.