Way back when I was in school, there was a course called ‘Home Economics’. (Am I showing my age?) The course was designed to teach us basic skills, and by ‘basic skills’, the course was designed to teach us how to cook, clean, sew, and balance a checkbook.
Yeah… cooking and cleaning and sewing! S n o r e !
It was soooo boring. But then one day the teacher came in and held up a checkbook.
Checkbook Grabbed My Attention
I remember that I was actually really excited to learn about checkbooks. It was one of the things in school that I was really ever excited about. I listened to every word my teacher was sayin… and that was different for me. She taught us where the date goes, who you’re making the check out to, for how much, and then she taught us the proper way to fill in the ‘how much’ in a written format. The final requirement on the check was the signature. She emphasized how signing the signature in a legible way was so important to protect ourselves from someone that could try to forge our signature if we did not… I was sucking all this information in!
Then things got REALLY serious and she became VERY stern.
If you are going to use a checkbook, you MUST always, ALWAYS use the check register BEFORE you write your check to make sure you that you have the money! You must also ALWAYS keep your balance up to date and accurate, she scolded us. Then she turned to the register and taught us how to enter the date, check number, amount and how to carry the new balance down.
We also learned that every month the bank sends a statement for the checking account. She taught us the correct way to reconcile our checking account EVERY month to make sure that our checkbook register matches the bank’s statement – to the penny!
I Wanted My Own Checkbook
I was extremely excited with learning about the checkbook, so much so that I could hardly wait for my parents to get home that night. I wanted a checkbook – my own checkbook – but I was only about 13 at that time. I began my sales pitch by sharing with my parents what I learned in school about checking accounts.
I knew that they knew why I was telling them this, and of course my parents wanted to know why I wanted a checkbook. After pleading my case full of enthusiasm, I was pleasantly surprised – okay shocked actually, when they agreed to take me to the bank to get one setup for me.
I was on top of the world with my new checkbook! I got the coolest cover for it and I carried it EVERYWHERE I went. I kept it to the penny and loved when my statement came in so that I could reconcile it.
Checkbook Broke (*pun intended? 😉 )
Fast forward about thirty years… my… OUR checkbook broke. I remember walking into our office and my beautiful wife was sitting there with tears in her eyes. She had our checkbook open on one side of the desk and on the other side, she had our stack of bills.
“We don’t have enough money to pay all of our bills this month,” her shaky voice slowly shared with me. I was in shock. How could this be? We both were making pretty good money… so how could there possibly not be enough in our account to pay all of our bills?
I sat down, pulled a chair up next to her and started going through some of the bills that she had paid. My son had just recently gone through brain surgery at the Boston Children’s Hospital and the bills were rolling in.
Bouncing Checkbook (another pun)
I noticed that she was paying quite a bit more to each of the bills than I would have paid. We had a discussion about that and after our discussion, we agreed that I would take over paying the bills. My mindset was to pay as little as possible to every bill in hopes that we would be able to pay all of them.
It was working, and not only was I able to pay toward all of our bills every month, but I was actually able to start accumulating some money in our checking account. My beautiful wife and I sat down again a few months later to review our situation. I felt pretty proud that I was able to kind of get us back on track again and when it came to light that we were actually accumulating some money in the checking account, we agreed that my beautiful wife would take back over paying the bills again.
Two Payment Methods
A few months later we sat down together to pay the bills, but had to stop before paying them all. There was more month than paycheck left… again. We were frustrated… angry, upset, stressed out and confused. We dove in deep, wanting to try to figure out what was going on.
My beautiful wife wanted to get rid of the bills as fast as she could, so she paid a lot more than I paid to each of the bills every month. That meant that we could not pay toward all of the bills. I wanted to be able to pay all of our bills every month, so I paid as little as possible to each of the bills. Not only did that work, it even left some money in our checking account every month.
Who Is Right?
With how much you are paying to each of those bills every month, she claimed, we will never get all of those bills paid off. I know, I know, I defensively replied, but we can’t keep paying as much as you are every month to each of the bills or we will go broke paying late fees to the accounts that we aren’t or can’t pay.
We both sat in silence… thinking.
What am I missing, I thought to myself, and then I started beating myself up inside. I’m not that stupid of a person and I really can’t believe that there is not a fairly simple answer to my… to OUR problem. Are we the only people having this problem? What do other people do about this???
Searching for Solutions
I had just gotten online and realized the wealth of information available to me on the internet, so I turned there for a solution. But WOW! What an eye-opener! There was so much – TOO MUCH information! Hours turned into days… and days turned into weeks… and weeks turned into months… and I was really frustrated.
Weeding through the jungle of all the information… and misinformation… and opinions… and lies… and… well… just everything, it was overwhelming to say the least! I had so many tabs and windows open and I finally just had to shut the computer off!!! As I sat in frustration, I let the silence calm and focus me, so that I could think about what it was that I really was looking for.
What am I looking for? A solution for how to pay my… our bills. What are the components of the problem? I have x amount of money coming in and I have x amount of money going out. What is the fastest mathematical way to pay all of our debt off?
And then… all of a sudden, it hit me…
I Was Looking For A Mathematical Solution!
It became clearer to me that I had a mathematical problem that I needed a mathematical solution for.
Back to The Internet
Feeling re-energized, I went back online to find the software, or application, or program, that would guide me as to how to pay my debt off in the most efficient or fastest way!
Having a different search focus changed the results for what I was seeing now. Although, to be perfectly honest, I was still feeling like I was looking for a needle in a haystack! There was a lot of information that kept trying to pull me back to the tainted traditional financial misinformation, until…
Too Good To Be True
I’ll never forget, it was Stacey Moore who I found. ‘More cash for you’ was her click phrase. Pay off all of your debt in 1/2 to 1/3 the time, is what caught my attention. I was intrigued, and anybody that knows me knows that I have to know how EVERYTHING works! *smirking*
I read through everything on her website because I was so excited by what I found. But it didn’t give me the deeper information that I was looking for, and truth be told… I was trying to find the catch. I picked up the phone and called her.
I was on the phone for so long with her that Eileen came in wondering who I was on the phone with. I pointed to her website on my monitor that was displaying her information. I can’t tell you how amazing Stacey was… kind, patient, caring, and so outgoing that she actually put me onto her program!
I must have spent 4 or 5 HOURS playing in Stacey’s program. She called me to see what my thoughts were about it and gasped… “you are still playing in the program,. aren’t you?”. I timidly replied that I was. “What are you looking for?” she questioned. I honestly replied to her, “the catch”. She said “good luck with that. I’ve had the program for months and I still haven’t been able to find the catch! It’s just numbers. I’m going to bed. Have fun with it.”
I think I stayed up half the night trying to trick the math or find the catch or find something to discredit it. I couldn’t. I was falling in love with this program… it was AMAZING!
Sign Us Up!
I finally came to the conclusion that the only way I was going to find ‘the catch’ was to buy in. Eileen and I had lost a heck of a lot more following traditional financial advice so we agreed that moving forward with this program was really the right thing to do.
Back then everything was paper documents and wet signatures (actually putting a pen to paper and signing) and then putting everything in an envelope and mailing it (snail mail).
Oh my gosh I remember how impatient I was waiting for our program to be activated. Every day… okay maybe even multiple times a day I would check my email. Where is it, how long is it going to take, did they get our paperwork? I even bugged the home office, who were also so amazing, completely understanding the anxiety and excitement I was feeling, waiting to get our activation email.
I’ll never forget the night I got home, checked my email and IT WAS THERE! It was activated!!! I logged into our brand new program and began the verification of accounts, added all of our bank accounts in, added all of our income in, and then began setting up all of our budget items… food, gas, electric, phone… I was really enjoying myself!
I was so entranced with getting our information into our new program that I didn’t hear Eileen… “Whatchya doing?” she startled me. As I looked up at her I couldn’t contain my happiness and broke into a huge grin. “OMG you got it?” she asked sounding almost more excited than I felt. I immediately started shaking my head yes and broke into an even bigger grin. “And?” she asked the million dollar question wanting to know if we got swindled again.
Too Good To Be True
I looked into my wife’s beautiful blue eyes and while starting to nod, also noticed the feeling of satisfaction starting to surge throughout my whole body as I proudly answered her, “This is #*!(^%&_ amazing!!!” “Seriously?” she replied with a look of amazement. “You actually found something that is as you expected it to be?” She seemed so surprised that it was almost a little hurtful, lol. “YUP” I proudly answered her and launched into a full blown presentation of what I was doing and what our new ‘Financial GPS’ program was going to do for us. Our new Financial GPS Program was replacing our broken checkbook!
- Finances are built on a very basic foundation that is surprisingly simple – spend less money than you make.
- When trying to troubleshoot financial problems, always return to the basics. (Over forty years in the automotive repair business I learned a huge lesson… KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid.)
- Understanding exactly what is going on in our personal economy (the money we have coming in and the money that we have going out) is absolutely critical to us being able to formulate a successful financial strategy!
What’s My Point?
- I want to make sure that my beautiful wife does not take this story as a dig or as an insult toward her for the way that she developed to deal with debt. Rather it is an experience to share with others in the hope that I can use it as a way to help others through their difficult and stressful times. One of the most infuriating things I have come to understand is that financial education is not taught for a reason. (I will rant more about this in another post.)
- Our individual economies, and by economies I simply mean the flow of money that comes in and goes out of our control every month, is a fairly simple equation. If I spend less than I make, I have discretionary income, which simply means I have money left over each month and I will be able to leverage, or learn how to leverage, that money.
- If I spend more than I make, that means that I am digging a hole, I am going deeper and deeper into debt, to someone else. Someone else owns my debt, and President John Adams said that there are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.
- The simple equation becomes not so simple when we inject human emotion into it. Wants become needs and then sometimes the microwave mentality, I want it now, completely overrides rational and common sense.
- There is an amazing way to learn about your specific economy, your cash flow. It will show you, step by step, the fastest way for you to pay all of your debt off. A checkbook or any other financial accounting program only records your past to present financial transactions. A financial GPS has the ability to show you your actual and hypothetical future financial outcomes of every decision or strategy that you can think of to try!
Not only has Eileen and I benefited tremendously from this program but we honestly do not know how we could have ever handled all of our finances without it! Even both of our children use it.
Want to know more about this amazing Financial GPS program? You can find out more about it here…
For Your Best,