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Our Philosophy: The thinking behind Money Surgery.

The Philosophy behind Money Surgery.

Being in Control

This site is focussed on people who have a reasonable regular income. People who are unemployed, I'm sure, are already doing everything they can to increase their employability. However, EVERYONE from students to pensioners, can benefit from the ideas in Money Surgery. There are groups who can help with employment on our Contacts page.

Please read on.

The ideas and rules that are the backbone of started life back in 1996. We HAD to become DISCIPLINED. We wrote down our bills and our income. We changed our lifestyle a little. We also had to think in terms of priority spending.

Essential purchases included things like lightbulbs, basic washing kit and simple food that was good for our health and our wallet. The rest of the stuff we generally class as essentials were put on hold. The clothes we had already would have to last a bit longer; going out for meals could be cancelled; taxi's here and there could be avoided. How long could that tenner in your pocket last?

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Getting Efficient

EVERY TRANSACTION was written down at the end of the day and totalled at the end of the month to see where it went. This close watch of spending, simple as it is, became the backbone of the philosophy of Money Surgery. It allowed us to TAKE CONTROL of our spending. This process of intense scrutiny allows your own financial "sense" to develop. Your LIFESTYLE will begin to evolve into a lean, fit money-efficient machine. Every penny must be spent wisely and nothing must be wasted. If you HAVE to buy a sofa for example, and your halfway through paying off your debts, buy one that will last and last. Some purchases may be for life, like a solid wood table, and they may be more expensive but they are WISE buys. Invest your money in good products but only when you REALLY have to. And this all starts from writing down what comes in and what goes out.

Please read on.

From simple and written booklets, these diaries evolved into an Excel spreadsheet file. It enabled us to keep tabs on our spending and we entered our transactions into it religiously. It developed and is still kept up-to-date today. We call it the Money Controller.

Please read on.

A month-at-a-glance guide to balancing your budget...
courtesy of Money Surgery.

Make it easy to keep tabs on your money with the Money Surgery Money Controller. The first step to coping with debt and expenditure is to take control and watch where every penny goes. A few moments each day will help you track your everyday spending, check your statement and pay bills on time. Money Controller is designed for people to print off, for themselves or others, and fill in by hand, or to fill in using Microsoft Excel. Simply download the file and change the details to suit your own. You could even remove the text, print it off and fill it in by hand.

Money Controller Excel 97: 70KB

Here are your four steps to success...good luck!

Step 1
The Money Controller, above, saves you adding up the regular bills each month. Just fill in Sheet 5: Regular Outgoings and these will be added together in the Total box. If any of these amounts change, remember to amend this sheet. The Diary, Sheet 1, will show each of these events as they happen, pre-empting your bank statement, allowing you to foresee your end-of-the-month low and adjust if necessary or the scope for money for savings.

It has been said that a man lives even with the world when his expenses total HALF his income, while a man grows rich when his expenses amount to ONE-THIRD of his income.

Step 2
The Diary sheet can show each transaction on your current accounts. The following rows can be used in a similar way for your savings accounts. At the bottom of the sheet, is your Financial Status in a nutshell, showing your total savings, borrowings and worth. Make sure that the savings field picks up the latest total from each of the accounts above.

Step 3
The Average Interest sheet is designed to show you the interest on all of your savings. The fields on the right calculate the interest for each account based on the inputted amount and interest rate. Change the rate on one account and watch the effect on the total. Take money out of an account and see the difference that makes.

Step 4
The Planning and Targetting sheets are useful places to keep note of forthcoming events and goals. For example, you could make a note that you have £1000 Mini Cash ISA allowance remaining or note the earliest re-mortgage date.

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Doctor's Health Warnings:

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Consider Things from Another Point of View

(00:20 Thursday 12th May 2005 news story)

Consider things from another point of view, went a song on Radio 1, the other day. How right that is.

A Patient of ours ran into the Surgery yesterday, wailing that "Rover has gone missing".
"It's allright", said our receptionist trying to calm her, "there are other cars, and your Rover will last for ages yet."
"No, my Rover is a dog, and he's disappeared." moaned our Patient.
"Then why not put an ad in the paper."
"That won't do any good. Rover can't read", sobbed our Patient.
Clinging to her ever thinning line of optimism, our receptionist offered, "But just think of the dog food you're saving."
"You're right", snapped our Patient, "I never thought of that", and promptly trotted back out, beaming, tilting her head as she waved her "Cheerio".

This actual conversation, as recorded by our reception CCTV for your protection as well as ours, is typical of the way situations can be turned around, depending on your perspective. When in debt and determined to survive without debt, our perception of money has to alter. Spending money on luxury goods isn't a mark of success, even if other people are spending their own money. It's our perception of the act of spending that has to change.

To hold back that cash in your pocket is the goal. Resisting temptations to spend are the marks of achievement. Getting through the month on fifty quid is the new, personal, status symbol. Debt elimination is the only thing that matters, so blinker your view and focus on survival. Fancy cars, fancy holidays and fancy clothes are naturally, normally, aspirational objects, but think of purchasing these things as crazy, stupid, unnecessary.

It's easier than you think to will yourself to perceive the trappings of luxury, however great or small, to be foolish. The Money Surgery Philosophy can be compared with a more spiritual and less possession-orientated way of life. Materialism doesn't necessarily equal happiness, whether you're in debt-focus-mode or otherwise, but if you are going to eliminate debt, think about how things can be turned around, psychologically.

That car is gorgeous: I want one.
No, it costs 4K a year to run, depreciates more the more expensive it is, and they don't give you any exercise.
That house is lovely: Guess what, I want one.
No, the mortgage payments would be 975 pounds a month, the insurance, bills, council tax, distance from work would all add up, plus do I really need seven bedrooms living on my own?
Ok, then, that Bounty chocolate bar: I want one.
No, no, no, they taste like soap, last 30 seconds, clog-up your duodenum, have no nutritional content, and cost as much as three tins of mushy peas at Tesco.
Other chocolate bars are available.

Ready to Beat Debt? Then take a different view, with Money Surgery.
As the song Point of View by DB Boulevard goes, "Can't you see, life's easy, if you consider things from another point of view".

Pure MoneySurgery

(22:00 Monday 14th March 2005 news story)

Imagine this: You have debts, and they are getting in the way; you're working to pay debts and should there be a loss of income, the consequences could be serious. At this point you might make a list of outgoings and income, then a forecast for the remainder of the month until pay day, being honest and giving everything your most accurate estimate. You realise that if you (and your partner maybe) spend nothing, travel only when necessary, use the phone as little as possible, etc., then your spending for the month might be reduced right down to a paltry figure.

This is the basis of the MoneySurgery philosophy. It is in its most extreme sense, to merely exist for a short time, foregoing unnecessary expenses, so that debts can be paid off as quickly as possible. It could be called pure MoneySurgery or extreme MoneySurgery.

Think about the term MoneySurgery. Its name was not accidental. It implies a crisis, it implies pain and suffering, an immediate whole-hearted response to an emergency situation. Pure MoneySurgery means cutting-out comfort and luxuries, prioritising where our money goes, channelling it into paying-off those debts. Surgery also describes a review and a refocussing and a chance to regain control of our own money and our own life. To see where every penny goes and to make changes. To be brutal and to waste nothing.

The more extreme the response, the quicker the recovery.
Cut out the car, get an instant cashback and save £4,000 a year, £60,000 - 70,000 in ten years.
Cut out smoking 20-a-day and save £35,000 in ten years.
Keep re-mortgaging and save 20% of the mortgage, that's £20,000 over a 25-year 100K mortgage.
Don't have a baby, save £20,000 - 50,000 in the first five years, depending on the child care.
Cut-off your mobile account, go Pay-as-you-go and switch to BT's Light-User Scheme and pay just £15 per quarter. Dial "M" for MoneySurgery.
Snip-off your hair for free, and save £1,200 over 10-years.
Buy just enough food to live on, from a supermarket, using own-brand products and good-for-you fruit n veg, that won't get wasted.
Give NOTHING to charity: YOU are the charity now.
Keep checking and switching fuel supplier, and keep the lights out and the heating down
Don't buy clothes - They'll last.
Cut out holidays and any unnecessary travel.
Forget satellite TV, computers, CDs, DVDs and books.
Don't booze, gamble or do anything illegal because getting caught costs.

Living like this is extreme. It is, in a way, pure. There are many aspects, of abstinence, of poverty, of discipline, of suffering, even of chastity, that we share with religious beliefs and doctrines. The difference is, all you need to believe in is yourself. Oh, and you'll get your reward on Earth, too. In cash.

Please read on.

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Copyright 2000 - 2008 ©Kevin Anthony Jones. All rights reserved.

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Saving Money: Switched on ways to keep hold of your precious cash.
Getting Money: Clever, barely legal ways of getting money.
How a house, open a bank account...
Future Dreams: Planning, after your debts have been eliminated.
Financial X-Ray: Let the nice doctors at Money Surgery X-ray your wallet.
Money News: The latest from the world of personal finance.
The best interest rates for saving and borrowing.
Feedback: Write to the Surgery.
Contacts: Other people who may be able to help, if we can't.
Money Surgery.