As I was watching my handsome man getting sized for alterations on his work shirts yesterday, I was reminded of the books The Millionaire Mind and The Millionaire Next Door. These two books completely changed the way that I look at things, especially as a consumer.
First, however, it made me realize that there are many “every day” millionaires all around us that we wouldn’t even know about. When I thought of millionaires, I thought of Donald Trump, or trust babies (Dave Ramsey’s term, I can’t take credit) such as Paris Hilton, professional athletes, or famous singers. I had started having my eyes opened to who real millionaires were with businesses I had participated in, and then again after listening to Dave Ramsey’s talk show. But I guess I had no real idea of how many of them were out there around us, who do so well with their finances. These books were the icing on the cake, bringing it home for my brain. True millionaires are not necessarily those who live in mansions, drive the latest Bentley, and purchase the most expensive diamond necklaces. They’re not the people you see in gossip columns, and probably not even in Forbes richest people.
Instead, they are your everyday people. According to Thomas J. Stanley, Ph.D, author of The Millionaire Mind, “They live in lovely homes located in fine neighborhoods. Balance is their approach to life. They are financially independent, yet they enjoy life-they are not ‘all work, no play’ type of people. Most became millionaires in one generation. Neither their lifestyle nor their wealth was generated from being highly leveraged financially. They are not credit junkies. How did they accomplish this? How did they balance their need to become wealthy and economically productive with their need to enjoy life? They have the millionaire mind.” Wow. You could live near a millionaire, and not even know it.
Secondly, the way they consume was very fascinating!! Again, I thought these people would be wasteful and not care about how much they spend on things. NOT TRUE!! I don’t think I understood how some of them got to be millionaires in the first place. I sure never saw these kinds of ideas talked about on TV. I’m not saying they would be the people on EXTREME COUPONERS, but you better believe that they are smart with what they purchase. Some of the things listed in the Millionaire Mind are:
• Having furniture refinished instead of buying new
• Switching long-distance telephone companies (the copyright on the book is 2000)
• Never buying from telephone solicitations (Door to door would probably be on here too)
• Having shoes resoled or otherwise repaired
• Using discount coupons when shopping
• Buying household supplies in bulk
They typically purchase quality and have it fixed as needed. Also, their habits do not feed into a discontentment. You probably won’t see too many of them hanging out at the mall.
Ok, so I’m not bringing this up, so that we will worship the ground these millionaires walk on!! NO WAY!! They’re people, and that would be creepy. It was just amazing to me, that I was doing many things to impress people (I don’t know who, but people), and trying to look more successful than I was, and yet, I was hurting my family financially, and not really impressing anyone anyways. Don’t tell me you’ve never done this. I see people doing this around me all the time, and I have to admit, I still catch myself doing it. Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with liking nice things, and I like to dress in style-I am careful with how much I spend on TRENDS now, and I no longer, ever put it on a credit card! I just think we have to be careful about our motives, and the decisions we make based on those. For example, if you are leasing a car to make people around you at the stop light impressed, but you are swimming in debt, and you can barely make the payments, what good is that doing you? You are simply adding stress to your life that is unneeded, and what’s more is-it won’t get you ahead in life leasing that car. You saw above that millionaires don’t over leverage themselves out-leverage means debt. Stability does not come this way, and you’re not impressing anyone who matters.
I have to say that these ideas are where the true epiphanies came for me years ago. I love to spend money!! I mean, who doesn’t. But I realized that I was never feeling content. I realized that many of my habits were also keeping me there. I was really excited though, when I began to change my ways. For example, I have a pair of silver boots that I love, but the heels had the nail poking through (they are not expensive boots, but I love them), and I had never thought of having them fixed. I didn’t even know what the professional name of someone who fixes shoes was. It’s a cobbler, for those of you who don’t know either. Anyways, I took them in to see if a local cobbler could fix them, and sure enough, it was only $9 for the pair to give those boots a few more years of life!! Funny thing too, he said he had to hide them, because women kept coming in wanting to purchase them-they are great boots!! But, how awesome is that?!! Also, I had heard of altering from my military days, and from What Not to Wear episodes. They often talk about purchasing clothing to fit your bigger parts, and then have them taken in. I don’t know why I didn’t think I could do this, but I finally decided to give it a try. I found myself a local alterations shop, and I had the gal take in, and even completely change the look of a couple of Blazers, and sure enough they looked amazing!! I’ve been using them ever since. It really makes you love your smaller amount of clothes more when they fit you exactly the way you want them to.
Anyways, the point to all of this is:
1) I highly recommend that you read, or listen (they have the audio book at our local library) to the Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley. It will hopefully change the way you think about purchasing, and the way you handle your finances.
2) Do your habits keep you broke?
3) If you are purchasing the latest and greatest of anything (clothes, electronics, etc.), that’s ok, but make sure that you’re not just doing it to impress people, who aren’t really impressed anyways. Make sure it’s a good value and something you really want or can use.
4) Lastly, but actually very importantly, find local shops that can help you fix or redo items in your home. This is a Win-Win. You get what you need, and you help local businesses. Can you fix your shoes? Alter clothing? Re-upholster furniture? Buy used, and it have it customized? Think about it And have fun with it!! I have actually enjoyed this way of thinking for years!!