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