Dr. Jason Cabler is a practicing dentist and owner of the Celebrating Financial Freedom blog. He focuses on Christian personal finance, getting out of debt, and achieving financial freedom. We had a chance to sit down with Jason recently to hear his thoughts on debt, saving money, and becoming financially “free.”
Tell us a little about yourself. How did you become so passionate about personal finance?
I became passionate about personal finance when my wife Angie and I struggled to get on the same page with our finances early in our marriage. We realized things had to change, so we took a “get out of debt” course that changed our perspective. I saw how much that changed our lives and our marriage, and I decided I wanted to help people effect that same kind of change in their lives, too. That’s how Celebrating Financial Freedom was born!
What are some of the false assumptions made by many people who are living paycheck to paycheck?
Too many believe that debt is just a normal part of life and that they will never be able to get completely out of debt. What they don’t realize is that you don’t have to live a life in debt, even if you have a small income. When you have the right plan in place, you can pay off all your debt and stop living paycheck to paycheck. Financial freedom is achievable for anybody!
Once someone assembles a monthly budget, how hard is it for them to actually stick to it? Do you have any advice for people who are struggling with this challenge?
I think the reason a lot of people have trouble sticking to a budget is because their budget is not really a budget. In surveys of my readers, I found that most people who budget only make a list of their bills, which is only a small part of the picture. You have to do a detailed, zero-based budget that’s forward-looking; and spend all your money for the month ahead on paper before you spend it in the real world. Combine that with a cash envelope system, and you never spend more than you make!
What are some strategies for families who want to avoid financial peril when an unexpected expense arises?
Unexpected expenses are budget killers! That’s why the majority of people carry a credit card balance. The main reason people have trouble with an unexpected expense is not that they can’t afford it, it’s because they don’t have a plan in place to deal with it. That’s what an emergency fund is for. When you have one in place, you pay cash for your emergency and move on instead of spending months or years paying it off with interest. It’s all about the plan!
Finish this sentence: “If I wanted everyone to realize one thing about debt, it would be…”
…that you don’t need it to get by in life. With the right plan, you can be debt-free and stay that way!
Can people find great coupons and online deals without spending all day on the Internet?
These days, coupons and online deals are not hard to find. All you have to do is do a Google search for the store or the item you’re looking for, and you’ll find a ton of options available. Most of the time, you can find some sort of deal for whatever you’re looking for with just a simple search!
How much money can a typical family save using coupons?
You can save a ton of money with coupons depending on how much effort you want to put into it. I know people who get their groceries for 10 or 20 cents on the dollar through couponing! The average family can easily save a few hundred dollars a month this way.
Finally, tell us one innovative way that families can start saving money today on their monthly household expenses.
There are a ton of great ways to save money on household expenses! Virtually every store has some kind of discount or loyalty program available. From the WalMart Savings Catcher app to apps like Ebates and Paribus, you can save money on groceries, clothing, and pretty much anything else you buy on a regular basis.
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