Monday, January 21, 2013

It Doesn't Have to be Mango

I have no idea how I'm not a millionaire yet.  What with all of the fabulous (and plausible) ideas flowing through my household, something's bound to stick.  Just last night, my son helpfully suggested I could save all the money I spend on Scentsy products by inventing gas producing mango-scented dog treats. (Did I mention we were a klassy bunch?)

As you can see, I drink from the well of auspicious ideas on a daily basis. 

I considered playing the lottery.  But quickly thought better of that idea.  I'd be one of those lottery winner fails, for sure.  I picture myself wanting to remain a common-man millionaire.  "Sure, I have all of this money, but I'm just like you," I would say.  I would continue to work, stay in my modest home, press on driving my Altima with 134,963 miles and perpetually lit "Check Engine" light, and continue to buy my formal wear at Target. 

But then, I'd get lottery winner unrest.  I'd do something to set me apart - something millionaire-y - like buy a lion.  Then I'm sure Kyle (the lion) would do something unfortunate, like trample the neighbor's rose bushes, or, you know, eat her...and I'd be sued for my winnings, my house and all of my Target formal wear.  (They'd tell me just to keep my car, though. What a bunch of imaginary asses.)

I actually do have a path to my millions, however.  You see, I'm what some lovingly refer to as a cult member.  I wear the moniker proudly, because without it, I wouldn't be in the financial situation I'm in currently.  Not a millionaire by any stretch, but I'm definitely better off than I was in year's past.

A little background:  I'm a single, working mom of a 12 year old son.  I divorced in 2007 and was drowning in debt.  Saving for college or retirement were ridiculous thoughts.  To put it in perspective, I used my Shell gas card to purchase groceries, not gas.  Ah, yes - good decisions abound. 

A friend of mine, with whom I confided my woes, suggested that I listen to some financial CD's she had.  "You can just listen in your car during your commute," she said.  I'm not even sure she finished the offer before I shut her down.  Thanks, but no thanks.  Look, I've already got the worst road rage in the country on any given week day.  Compound that with a financial lesson and you may as well just rename my daily commute to Hell.

Hell, however, had a whole new meaning when I was faced with the possibility of losing my home.  At that point, I tucked my tail between my legs, gritted my teeth and reluctantly asked my friend for the CD's. (good Lord, pride is something I've got to work on.)  

I thought it best to wait until I was about 15 minutes from home to pop in the first CD.  I figured it would take at least 16 minutes of being told, "You're a loser and you're doing it wrong" for me to become homicidal.  I intended to listen for 15 minutes and then go inside and whip up a little Shell Station Tartare.  What I did instead, was sit in the driveway for 6 hours and listen to every CD in the case.  I emerged a totally different person. 

The guy on the CD's was down to earth.  He was motivating.  He spoke to me like I was a human being.  He had actually been where I was financially - and he climbed his way out.  It wasn't magic, it wasn't investment schemes - it was as simple as creating a budget and telling your money where to go.  And if you're thinking, "But my budget is upside down - I'm bringing in less than I owe."  That's okay. 

The man on the CD's was Dave Ramsey. 

I am not now, nor have I ever been employed by Dave Ramsey.  I am not being compensated by Dave Ramsey in any way by writing this entry.  But I highly recommend checking him out if you're having trouble making ends meet.  I have spoken to a lot of people who are in the same situation I was in 6 years ago, and I thought it might help to know that someone else has been where you are - and that same someone else came out on the other side.  Today, I have no credit card debt, my car will be paid off in 2 months, college savings and retirement are in place and my house will be paid off in 2021 if all goes according to plan.  And please don't be mislead, not everyone is lucky enough to drive the Altima - that's just me.

I couldn't have done any of it, however, without the help of Dave Ramsey and my wonderful friend who offered the CD's.  A million thanks to both.  

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And, hey, if Dave Ramsey isn't for you, you can totally steal the gas-producing mango-scented dog treat idea.  

You're welcome. 

8 comments:

  1. That's great! I know a lot of people who are true believers in the Dave Ramsey plan. My husband's company offered the class one year and we went. I was very impressed.

    Also, Lord help us if we are ever on the road in close vicinity. I don't say nice words when I'm driving.

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    1. I don't know what Cali is like, but you know how ridiculous Texas drivers are. My commute is an hour each way - it's really just not safe for anyone.

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  2. Good for you!! I'm sure it hasn't been an easy road so you deserve an abundant amount of kudos! As soon as you said "financial CD's" I thought Dave Ramsey. He's is awesome. You're right, he totally spells it out in a very un-condescending way. Having said that, thank you for the dog treat idea. I think I'll use it to pose to the husband when he opposes the whole idea of a budget again...better yet, let me bounce a few ideas off of your son. He seems to have it goin on. :)

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    1. My son is available for brainstorming at any time! He's always coming up with something and it's always entertaining. Thank you for the kudos :)

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  3. Omg, I think your son and I would get along great! Love his idea! Haha!

    But, on a serious note, I'm seriously intrigued. My husband and I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to get ahead and stop living paycheck to paycheck. We HAVE a budget, but it never fails that a few days before the next payday we're scraping change for gas and the like. We're not in debt in any way, but we're ready to feel 'comfortable' with our finances and have some sort of fall back when times get tough, you know? I'm for sure about to do some heavy duty Googling of this Dave Ramsey guy!

    Thanks for this post & I'm so happy that you were able to make lemonade out of your lemons & conquer your financial struggles!!

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    1. Yo mama! Dave isn't for everyone, but he came along at just the right time for me. I have just spoken to so many friends lately who were having money troubles...thought I would throw it out there. I usually don't write those kinds of posts...

      My son is the funniest little dude - he couldn't believe I wrote about his dog treat idea, but I know he secretly loved it. Thank you for the kind words! xo

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  4. Dave Ramsey is awesome.......I'm very familiar with his ways! (Meaning that Hairyman (my husband) 'MADE ME' listen to Dave Ramsey's CD's some years ago) (.......apparently, Hairyman didn't like my spending habits....) ....anyway.....

    Dave Ramsey is a smart man! He helped Hairyman and me get back on track some years ago! I'm glad you were able to listen to his tapes and get back on track, too! Kudo's, girlfriend!

    And myself...I'm just waiting to win the lottery so I can quit my job, go back to being Hairyman's trophy wife and start spending/shopping like there's no tomorrow! :)

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  5. Ooooo! If you do win the lottery, would you mind a sister-wife? Thanks for the kudos!

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