Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Should I Save or Pay My Debt Off First?

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. My name is Stacey Powell, and if you’re ready not just to know better but do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Lately, we’ve been talking about the four letter word “debt”. How to stop using debt. Today I’m going to talk about how to, both, stop using debt and how to pay off your debt. I get asked this all the time. Now should I pay all my debt down first and then start saving? And in fact, if you watch Dave Ramsey, he says to save $1000 and then do nothing but pay down debt whether you have $5000, $20,000, $60,000.

I disagree. I think that it’s really important that you pay your debt down at a rate somewhere equal to what you’re saving. Because if you don’t have savings set aside, it’s like Groundhog’s Day all over again. Emergencies are going to happen. They are always going to happen, and you’re going to need a way to pay for the emergency. If you made a commitment to stop using debt, but you have an emergency, and you have to keep going back to the credit card, energetically, it just doesn’t work. We all think a lot harder about what our options are when we have to take money out of our emergency savings account than if we just pull our credit card out.

It’s something like needing a root canal and you don’t have savings. Well, I’m certainly not going to tell you that this is the moment to absolutely stop using your credit cards. But if your TV breaks, stop watching TV for a while. If your tires go bad, well, you know what? Maybe it’s time just for a couple of months to put used tires on or take public transportation or borrow somebody’s car. There are always options out there and we look at the situation differently when we're using our savings account rather than our credit card or getting the help from some other place.

So my recommendation when it comes to paying down debt and saving is: if you’re paying $500 to bills, put $500 into savings. Make sure you’re building your savings at a rate somewhere equal to the amount that you’re paying your debt down.

As always, these things aren’t easy to do on your own. If they were, you would have done it by now. I would love it if you would join us. We have a support group on Facebook called Team Do Better. It’s private. The only people that are in there are people just like you who are ready to do something different with their money life.

You can also sign up for our newsletter at or subscribe to our YouTube video series right here and be sure to watch next week when I give my one last final great tip about how to get out of debt.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

5 Strategies to Stop Creating New Debt

Hi. Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money. My name is Stacey Powell and if you’re ready to not just know better but do better, with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

In last week’s video, we talked about the four letter word “debt” and I promised over the next few weeks I was going to be showing everybody videos with my favorite tips about how to stop using debt. If you’re really ready to stop, I’m going to share with you my favorite few tips about how to do that.

The first one is very important. Cut up all your credit cards. Cut up your credit cards. Let people know that you borrowed money from in the past that you’re not going to do it anymore. Every single avenue you have, to take that easy path of borrowing money, stop. Make sure you just don’t even have access anymore because it’s too hard otherwise and I know maybe you don’t want to do it. I understand that. But if you’re really ready to make a lifetime change, you’ve got to do it.

If you absolutely refuse, then secondarily take them all and put them somewhere where it’s really hard to find, in a bank safety deposit account, with a friend that you know isn’t going to just hand them over to you because some important emergency happened, someone who’s going to talk through things with you, which is my next tip.

Find an accountability partner. Not your best friend who you commiserate with when you run out of money and blah, blah, blah and they make you feel better and they’re going to talk about their money problems and you talk – no, no, no. An accountability partner is somebody who you respect about how they handle their money. You know they aren’t going to judge you. You’re not going to feel judged. Somebody to mentor you and tell them what you’re trying to do. They will be thrilled for you. They will want to help. You have someone in your life like that. Think about who that person is and tell them, “I want to stop using debt. Will you be my accountability partner? Can I check in with you about how this is going?” It’s so much easier to do it with somebody by your side, cheering you on and rooting for you.

Then the last thing is when you think you absolutely have to use credit for some important emergency, I want you to stop and I want you to journal about the thing that you want to buy and I want you to list six reasons that maybe you wouldn’t have to do it, six ideas of things you could do other than using that credit card.

This is on page 109 if you’re following along the book and if the only way you can buy this book is with a credit card, don’t do that. Just go to the store at It’s on there under the free downloads. Download that page. Every time you think you need to use a credit card, fill that out and if you make that commitment alone, I promise you you’re like not going to be using your credit card at least half the time because you’re not going to want to take the time to fill that sheet out.

That little thing right there will make a difference and an impact on your life and then my fourth tip is sleep on it. Sometimes our subconscious can come up with solutions that we can’t come up with.

So, if you’re ready, I’m here to support you. We have a group called Team Do Better over on Facebook. Come join us. We will be your accountability partner if you think you can’t find one. You can also sign up for our newsletter at Subscribe to our videos right here on YouTube and if you’re ready to do this, do it with us. I would be thrilled to support you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

3 Ways You Can Stop the Debt Cycle

Hi. Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series. My name is Stacey Powell, and if you’re ready to not just know better but do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place and today we’re going to talk about the four-letter word “debt”. Not a word that most people like.

There are a lot of you that are watching today that are really clear that you got a problem with debt. You’re living paycheck to paycheck. You struggle to pay your credit cards off. You’re using them most months. You get sick to your stomach when you see your interest charges.

Maybe you’re even using credit available from one card to pay off another. It can be really crazy making – and shameful and all that comes along with it. If that’s you, you know who you are but I know there are others of you out there that probably aren’t using credit to that level, but you still have that feeling in your stomach that you want to do something different.

You’re using it more than it feels in integrity for you and you would just rather not. I’m going to be talking to you today as well, and then there’s a few of you out there who you don’t have any credit card debt right now because you’ve paid it all off with your home refinance that you did last year, or you had a bankruptcy.

Your debt is gone, and it’s never coming back, right? Well, in my experience, the people that I’ve financially coached, when they’ve wiped the slate clean like that, it comes back slowly, but then not so slowly. So what I’m going to be doing over the next few videos is I’m going to be teaching you how to stop using credit cards, payday loans, loans from your friends and family, the equity that you work so hard to build up in your house. I’m going to teach you how to just stop. You know, and the thing is, is that when we use debt to pay for things, we make different decisions and if we’re using credit, then there’s some other problem in your life.

If you need to use credit, there’s something else you’re not doing, and it’s such an easy fix. We don’t notice it as much, right? Like oh, just you need a new alternator without that credit card. You think harder when you have to whip the money out of your savings account.

So if you’re using credit, it’s very likely that you’re not earning enough, you’re not saving enough, you’re spending money on things that really isn’t in a balanced spending plan for you and the minute you stop using credit is the minute when where your real problem lies becomes more clear. I want to help you find that. Make sure you tune into the next few videos where I’m going to be giving some of my very best tips about how to get out of debt.

As always, I would love to help you through this. Come on over to Facebook to our Team Do Better group or sign up for our newsletter at or sign up right here on YouTube to subscribe to our videos. Now take a big breath and get ready to stop using your credit cards.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Buying a College Education - Weighing the Costs

Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money video series.

My name is Stacey Powell, and if you’re ready to not just know better but do better with your money, you’ve come to the right place.

Lately, we’ve been doing videos about buying stuff, and a lot of people will say that a home is the most valuable thing that you can ever buy. But there’s one thing that I think is far more valuable than even a home, and that is your education. Whether it’s college or a trade school or grad school after your college, even your junior college education, it all comes with a price.

I think what happens with a lot of people is they just try to figure out, “Well, OK, what scholarships or student loans? How can I make this work? How much do I need to work every week, to kind of make it through? How much can my parents help or other people in my family?” And they kind of squeeze it into how they can make it happen instead of really looking at how much it’s all going to cost.

Now, part of me doesn’t really want to tell you to sit down and budget it all out and look at the total cost. It’s kind of like having a kid. You don’t necessarily always want to pencil that out because a logical person maybe would never really have a kid if you look at the total cost and the cost-benefit ratio. But with education, there are absolute statistics about the value of getting an education for the rest of your working life.

There is absolutely return on investment for every hour you put into your education, for every dollar you put into your education. But I will tell you to sit down and pencil it all out. In one of the last videos, I talked about sitting down and comparing prices. Compare prices of the three. Do your research. Do your homework especially if you’re looking at going to some trade school or online school. There are a lot of programs in the news right now, art institutes and chef institutes that promise you’re going to get this great $60,000 job right out of school. Well, a lot of times that’s not true. Maybe there are a few people that get out of those types of programs and make that kind of money.

But make sure that you read, Google, do your homework, look at the total cost and think about, “Well, am I the person who’s always at the top of my class and then going to be the one that gets that best job, that best money or am I maybe oftentimes a middle of the road person or am I somebody that struggles"? And I know those are harsh questions, but the thing is, is that I just want you to think hard before you sign up for $20,000 worth of student loans, $40,000 or if you’re an attorney, $100,000 of student loans. Do you really want that? If you do, absolutely go do it. Go get it. But think hard about what you’re buying before you make those decisions.

Go look in your field at what average salaries are. There’s a great website at Bureau of Labor Statistics, Go look up what your options are. It might be really enlightening for you. And let me know how it goes. If you want to know where to let me know how it goes come into our Facebook group, Team Do Better. And you can chat with me in our private group. You can also sign up for our newsletter at And subscribe below for our YouTube video series. Now go out there and practice some mindful buying.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

How Much House Do You Really Need?

Hi. Welcome to The Finance Gym Action Plan for a Better Life with Money Video Series. My name is Stacey Powell and if you’re ready to not just know better but do better with your money, then you’ve come to the right place.

Today we’re going to be talking about buying a home. I could go on for hours about buying a home but I’m going to just talk about one concept today and that is how much of a home do you really need. I think we’ve all seen what happened in the big mortgage meltdown and hopefully you’ve gone to see The Big Short. Great movie to really help you understand some of what happened. A lot of people bought houses but they didn’t really know how much of a house they were buying.

If you don’t have a good mortgage banker or good realtor really helping you walk through this, it can get really complicated. Most professionals will say you should take out a mortgage that’s somewhere between maybe 26 percent and 37 percent of your total monthly income and that that’s doable. Yeah, 26 to 37 percent is doable. But one of the things they don’t talk about is the price tag that comes along with that because if you’re taking out a mortgage that’s 26 percent and that’s including property taxes, insurance, mortgage insurance if you need it, one of the things you’re not kind of thinking about is all those seaming costs for the new roof or landscaping or putting new window coverings on. Any of us that have bought a new house know exactly what that goes like.

So all of a sudden, when you take this dollar and you thought that you were just shaving off 26 percent of it to buy a house, well, it’s actually kind of more like this. That’s all of your dollar bill every single month, of every dollar that you have left to spend. If you make that decision to buy a house where 37 percent of your monthly income goes towards your mortgage and your property taxes and your insurance, and then you have all of the other stuff you have to spend on your house, you’ve only got half of every dollar left to spend to live the rest of the way you want to live, to go on vacations, to buy healthy food, to send your kids to summer camp. All the other things to fund your retirement, to have emergency reserves.

So in the book I go into much greater detail and I encourage you this is a page – if you’re getting ready to buy a home, go invest in buying my book and read the couple of pages around this because it’s really important if you want wiggle room to live your life. You don’t want every single dollar to be cut in half. It’s really an unsustainable way to live and I encourage you to think a lot harder about how much home you can afford.

If you would like to chat with me about any of this, I would like you to come on over to our Facebook group Team Do Better group and join us. We can have conversations that only people in that group get to see. You can also sign up for our newsletter over at sign up for the newsletter and subscribe to our videos down below.