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The Debt-Free Spending Plan: An Amazingly Simple Way to Take Control of Your Finances Once and for All Paperback – Oct 10 2012


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Amazon.com: 37 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
If you are committed to conquering your debt Oct. 8 2012
By John Chancellor - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book for anyone who is totally committed to living debt free. The approach is simple but far from easy. If you think there is some easy gimmick, some magic trick which will erase your debt, this book is not for you. This is a very hard nosed approach that really works. But for this approach to work takes total commitment on your part. As Yoda says, "Do or do not - there is no try." You must embrace the idea to be completely debt free. Half way will not work.

Joanneh Nagler, the author has written an excellent guide for those who are fully committed to getting out of debt. The book is based on her personal experience with debt - she shares many details of her story. She is now a coach, helping others learn to live debt free. The book also contains many examples from her work with others.

This book reminds me a lot of The Richest Man in Babylon. It follows some of the basic tenet in The Richest Man in Babylon but with a lot of updated ideas. This book gives you a better system and is more realistic for today's lifestyles and habits.

The first step to living debt free is to get a clear picture of your current income and expenses. Most people are incurring debt because they won't live within their means. Ms. Nagler insists that to live debt free, you must make a budget and stick with it. The budget or as she calls it you Debt Free Spending Plan has three main parts. First your income, how much you take home each month and when you get paid. The second part is your fixed expenses such as rent, insurance, phone, etc. and when they are due. The third part she calls your daily needs - these are the expenses you need to live each day, food, fuel, cleaning supplies, etc.

The basic idea of the book is to make a budget for each line item in the budget - for example figure out how much you have to spend each month on food, fuel, etc. Then if your budget exceeds your income, figure out where you will cut back. Ms. Nagler talks very straight with the reader. At times she is tough, "You must do this." At other times she shows understanding and empathy, "I've been there and I know how it feels."

She gives lots of tips for creating and working through your Debt Free Spending Plan. She even gives scripts for dealing with credit card companies and for letting family and friends know you are changing your ways and will not be overspending in the future.

This book covers all the things you are likely to come up with in living your Debt Free Spending Plan. While she indicates that you could do it on your own, I believe you will be much more successful finding a coach or mentor to work with you and give you support when needed.

The challenge is not so much in the plan as in coming to terms with the fact that you can no longer live beyond your means.

The book is well written and easy to read. There are plenty of examples and in addition to showing the budget process, Ms. Nagler does a good job of talking about the emotional issues you will encounter as you implement your plan.

This is a great resource for anyone totally committed. But be sure you are ready. The commitment is the biggest part of the battle. If you are committed, following this guide will help you achieve your goal to live debt free.

I was provided a review copy of this book.
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Interesting personal finance discussion Nov. 10 2012
By C. Wagner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
At first glance, an easy enough system--determine your income, divide your expenses into categories, fund your bills and monthly needs and make the balance work for you in a meaningful way.
However, the example on pages 42-43 is more than interesting. The $3,184 cash income was a standout. Most incomes have federal, state, and local taxes, FICA, Medicare, and personal health care subtracted from them...at least 35%. In this case, the example probably grosses more than $48,998.00 a year, which, of course is nothing compared to say Suze Orman who grosses at least $8,000 a day. USA Today claimed the U.S. 2011 median household income was only $51,413. The Huffington Post says the U.S. median salary was $26,364 in 2010. With my master's degree and thirty-eight years of experiences I net substantially less monthly than the example. The two minimum credit card payments of $112, for someone who has been debting on plastic would not begin to pay the usury and would not have the cards paid off in a million years. (The concept of paying the credit card companies only what you can afford instead of the minimum is very interesting, except that in the meantime you are digging yourself further into the hole with a Chinese shovel.) I am saying that this example will only work if the real life practitioner earns substantially more than the average working slob.
The $15,000 a year employee will really need an interesting debt-free spending plan.
The example of paying off an $80,000 family debt at $50.00 a month would take 133.3 years and then only if no interest is charged. In that time, the lender would probably lose the entire purchasing power due to compound inflation.
But, the author is correct enough stating that daily needs can only come after the bills are paid, unless you are headed for the last fiscal roundup. A three month buffer account is also swell, along with savings categories for items such as cash vacations.
The magic notebook is a plus, should the disciple actually no longer be under water.
Nagler says if your are uninsured for medical expenses, get insured. This is easier said than done especially on a budget. Believe me, I have been to multitudinous medical insurance meetings and know that this is impossible for inadequately paid working persons, especially over age forty-five and with preexisting conditions. Even with insurance, co pays and out of network providers are budget busters. Persons on Medicaid do better than the working poor in terms of medical expenses.
Examples keep coming. Alanna funded a clothing shopping spree in six months by saving $25.00 a month and a three month vacation in South American in one year saving another $25.00 a month, presumably paying the rent out of that account also during the holiday, since most of us do not have a three month paid vacation. Read how this became possible.
The author is not without a sense of humor. A new car fund at twenty-five dollars a month...
The chapter on bankruptcy is not without merit, although many a wretched soul will still remain saddled with student loan debt.
The debt-free spending plan is an A, but the recovering from obscene debt plan is at best a C.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The Debt Free Spending Plan Oct. 8 2012
By SUNNY IN SANTA MONICA - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Author JoAnneh Nagler coached me using the principles that she's so brilliantly outlined in The Debt Free Spending Plan. I have been using this plan for a while and it has changed my relationship to money completely in a "kind", "gentle" and "loving" way. Those words are not often mixed with "money" and "debt". There's a spiritual truth to her work that helped me get out of debt while living on a downsized income. I now have clarity with money for the first time in my adult life. This plan works if you work it! And, the bottom line is
this is a very, very simple plan. I highly recommend the book. Absolutely buy it. Here's to your solvency!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Simple, effective, usable advice Jan. 17 2013
By Randi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Most financial help books tell you to not use credit cards, pay down debt, and keep it that way. I think we all know that. We just don't know how to get there. The Debt Snowball is great, and it works, but only if you don't have a slip-up, and don't have a unexpected expense early in the process.

This book gives you a solid plan to tackle your spending, plan for unexpected expenses, and still live your life. She does recommend, at first, only paying the minimum balance -- or only what you can afford. The reason for this, and the key thing most authors miss out on, is that you did not accrue debt by throwing money in the street. You bought too many comic books, or clothes, or whatever. Most of us do not have superhuman will power. For those that do, this is not your book.

For the rest of us, the very first thing you need to do is to plan to live your life. And that includes having a very small bit of fun. At first. You can tackle the Snowball later, when you have practice living within your means. She provides detailed step-by-step instructions on how to set up a spending plan that you can actually live with.

(This review actually applies to the audiobook version of this book.)
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Practical and surprisingly helpful Feb. 2 2013
By C. Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I am very good at reading financial books. I've read a lot of them, and made several attempts to use various plans to help my debt situation. Unfortunately, I have never been a meticulous, keep-track-of-every-penny person. I am certain that Nagler wrote this book specifically for me!

I got this book from my local library and didn't have a lot of hope--just another "get out of debt" book....but I still read it. And something hit home. The plan was so simple, I couldn't not try it. The key for me is the Magic Little Notebook. This is what has been missing from my previous attempts to harness my spending. I have tried online budgeting sites (Mint, Learnvest) and even Quicken. (I don't have a Smartphone and can't afford to get one at this time) But since my lifestyle involves a lengthy commute to a full time job and also a part time job, my attention to the online sites was sporadic, and mistakes happened because I would forget to get a receipt, forget to log on, and suddenly it was all messed up. The Magic Little Notebook--so incredibly simple--put that "tracking mechanism" in my car, in my pocket, wherever I needed it. Honestly, I can't believe I never thought to do that, but "better late than never", right?

I have been following this program and using my notebook for 3 weeks now (that's three paydays as I have two jobs). And I have found it hugely empowering to look at that notebook there on my dashboard and know that I am in control. It's also very nice to feel like it's ok to buy something "fun" and not feel guilty about it, because it's written into the plan. It has been a long time since I have been this excited about my money!

I would recommend this book to anyone who has gotten frustrated with the complicated/highly involved plans touted by other financial experts. It's simple, thorough, and it works.

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