Listen, I know I’m milking this Valentine’s thing for all it’s worth – today is President’s Day and technically your subscription doesn’t even call for a column on days the market is closed – but one of you sent me a Valentine last week that made me feel so good I wanted to share it.

WARNING: It is incredibly self-promotional of me to post this message. It’s the sort of thing my mother would do (promoting me, never herself). I am ashamed of myself. But the thing is, I got these folks to make a budget. Do you know what a big deal that can be? Behold:

Jer: ‘Eighteen months ago, my family and I were constantly broke, behind in our bills, about $8000 in debt to credit card companies and waiting for the electricity to be shut off. Even CCCS advised bankruptcy, since we couldn’t meet the minimum monthly payments. It looked hopeless — we were so broke that we didn’t even argue about money! I saw no end in sight. We earned fair money, but where did it go?! Now, a year and a half later, our credit debt is down to $2000, and will be paid off in 5 months, our bills are all caught up, we have $800 in an IRA, and are contributing $250/month into it, and we have more spending money than ever before. Your book changed our lives. We started the simplest of budgets — just a sheet with our utilities, credit cards, and medical bills, the amount due, and the date due — and filled in the blanks when we paid it. We found where the missing money was going: most of our bills were due at the start of the month, with only a few in the middle. Late payments and over-amount fees on our credit cards totaled at least $300 every single month. Bounced check charges came to about $75-$100 a month. By simply figuring what we HAD to spend and WHEN, we were able to divvy up the paycheks to last all month — now we’re over a month AHEAD on bills — and by paying our cards on time, and NEVER bouncing checks, we were able to take $400 a month and put it right on our cards. We even bought cases of tuna at Sam’s Club! Thank you so much for putting out a simple but life-changing book! I recommend it to everyone!’

☞ Just to reiterate, nothing in the book is original with me – Ben Franklin was saying this common sense stuff 200-odd years ago and Aesop, 2500-odd years ago. My job is just to push it. So, well, I’m pushing it.


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