How To Become A Millionaire: Dave Ramsey, Pregnancy Tests & Blow Out Sales
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At some point in the past few years I tired of the mindless yapping of skeezy radio deejays and their discussions about celebrity gossip and sexual positions. I am now a full-fledged convert to AM talk radio. Not only does it provide news and intellectual stimulation for a stay-at-home mom while running her errands but my tiny passenger is easily lulled to sleep by the deep male voices of Glenn, Rush, Neil, Sean and Dave.
As I was in the car earlier this week, financial guru Dave Ramsey was really hammering a point about the behavior of millionaires. He was saying that we hold misconceptions about rich people because we tend to think that they were always rich or just got lucky. But this is not true. He sighted studies and statistics on the behavior of millionaires to demonstrate that people who are millionaires have conservative spending and saving habits in common that got them to the point of being millionaires. He asserted that we can all become millionaires if we heed what millionaires do and behave like them. Dave said that a minutely small percent of millionaires lease cars (most have always paid outright for what they can afford) and only a small percentage of millionaires live in houses worth over a million dollars. He said that close to 73% of people who live in houses worth over a million dollars are not millionaires! Not only does this mean that there are a lot of people living in houses far above their means, but according to the study many millionaires live in houses well below their means. The point I took away is that most “millionaires” are just regular people who worked hard and lived below their means, allowing them to save enough money to one day retire.
As I listened to Dave, I had this view in my head of all the “dumb people” who live above their means and spend like they are millionaires when they are not. But it hit me over the head a few minutes later that I was one of those people. My natural tendency is to whip out my credit card and buy things that there is no room for in the budget. As I drive through a nearby neighborhood, I always look longingly at a large gorgeous home for sale set behind huge oaks trees on a sprawling green lawn and wonder just how much money my husband would need to make for us to buy this house. I wonder if it will still be on the market when we are ready to upgrade. Why do I automatically assume that we will upgrade homes as soon as we can afford to!? This is silly because if our budget is tight now, even if he gets a raise we will remain tight if we take on a larger mortgage and upgrade our lifestyle. Sheesh. Thinking like this and using credit cards to spend above our means (which I tend to do), will certainly never allow us to save enough money to be comfortable later in life.
Dave revealed to me that I am certainly not a millionaire in the making. But with my new awareness that we can all become millionaires by altering our spending habits, I am now on the road to becoming one.
With a more conservative perspective on spending from my Dave Ramsey lesson, I proceeded to make two spending choices this week. One good and one bad.
Dollar Stores & Pregnancy Tests
The first occurred at an outing to the dollar store. If you do not go to the dollar store, you very well should! You can save a lot of money on items that you would regularly purchase at the grocery store. From napkins and paper plates to wrapping paper, cards, pet products and cleaning products, its amazing what you can save on things that you buy regulary. But my latest and most exciting discovery at Dollar Tree this week were pregnancy tests! Yes–pregnancy tests for one dollar! For those of you who who are male or just never question if you are prego, this is much cheaper than the $13.00 you pay at the grocery store for a test. So I stocked up, patted myslef on the back and went on my merry way. My hubby was very pleased that evening about this bargain that I had discovered as he has privately joked that we should have a budget category for this item because of my neurotic need to always just “make sure”.
Falling Victim To “Sales”
My second and not so successful spending decision this week occurred as I strolled at an outdoor shopping village on a cool sunny day. With my daughter in her stroller, I had resolved to just enjoy the sights, sounds and beautiful cool air without spending any money. But then I saw it. A giant sign in the window of one of my favorite clothing retailer stores said SALE! Even though I had reached the spending limit in our budget for the month, of course my husband would be pleased if I got some great deals and saved us money! I went in and sure enough got some spectacular deals on fall sweaters and a pair of shoes.
But when my husband got home that night and I began excitedly chirping about the great deals I had found and paraded in holding up my new beautiful boots, he was not as pleased with the money I had “saved” as I thought he would be. He brought it to my attention that I had not only NOT actually saved money, but I had spent money. He was also tired of hearing about sales because anytime that he has to dip into savings to pay off our credit card on any given month it is always because of some sale. At first I pitched a fit because he could not appreciate the incredible deals and what I had got for so little. But as I think about it more I know that he is right. Without him to keep me in check I would sale-shop myself into major credit card debt. The stores are smart and there will always be some enticing sale somewhere to lure you in and remove the guilt from spending money that you don’t have. Sure, if you have the money for a few new things and you go with a shopping list, make sure you get things that are on sale, but my lesson learned is that walking into a sale with no “needs” and no money in the budget for new clothes is dangerous.
In summation, my road to becoming a millionaire this week has had its ups and downs. From now on I will never pay $13 for a pregnancy test. And I am determined to stop falling prey to the psychological marketing strategy behind those huge store window SALE signs.