During our family vacation last month, I saw my sister in law reading this book, The Total Money MakeOver by Dave Ramsey. She told me that she’s just finished reading another book called  The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley

As a frugal person myself I usually don’t read these kind of books. There are so many books about how to manage your finances out there, and it seems they all offer similar ideas.  There’s nothing new.  I’m always skeptical about reading one, since I think I am frugal enough and I don’t need any more frugal lessons from any books or anyone. Boy! I think I am wrong.

Knowledge is an investment! Wherever the source is, you can always take the benefit from it. Learning is never ending.

One reason that attracted me the most (out of my curiosity) to want to read these books is after watching the changes in the attitude and habit of my sister in-law. If these books can change someone’s attitude and behavior toward their finances, they must be powerful and well worth reading.

The Total Money MakeOver by Dave Ramsey

I asked my sister in law… “why these 2 books?” And she said, the total money makeover will teach you the core lessons of financial management that lead you to financial freedom, a debt free life and a better future. And the millionaire next door will give you an understanding or at least help changing your mindset toward who the the millionaire is (Isn’t that being be a millionaire everybody’s dream?).

A little information about this 2 authors :

You may already know Dave Ramsey is a New York Times best-selling author, a nationally-syndicated radio show host and television host & motivational speaker. He has written numerous books and own a radio show called the Dave Ramsey Show. Also he’s been featured on many media outlets.

Thomas J Stanley, is American business book Author. He’s a respected researcher, advisor, and author of several award winning books on America’s wealthy population.
The millionaire next door is a series of his research on how wealthy people or people he calls self-made millionaires behave toward their life and lifestyle.

Sticking to my frugal principal, I borrowed these 2 books from library last week.

Tip: don’t buy a book if you know you can borrow it from the library.

For the next 3 weeks or so I will read and learn from these 2 books. As I am reading the book, I’ll also write my review about these 2 subjects.

Here’s the part I’ve been reading so far…
Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Make Over Motto is “If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”  What it means is if you will make the sacrifice now that most people aren’t willing to make, later on you will be able to live as those folks will never be able to live.

The truth :  Do you know that 90% of people in our culture buy things they can’t afford?

Dave Ramsey makes the money makeover parallel to someone who tries to lose weight. If you want to lose weight you need to work extra hard the get rid of the pounds. The more pounds you have the harder the work you have to do. When you get older, your metabolism gets slower and losing weight gets harder and harder.

Have you ever seen the show “ The biggest loser”? it may seems easy for them to lose weight when you watch them on TV but in the reality I read from this interview with Jillian Michael they have to work out almost 4 hours every day. I know this is impossible and is not safe but the fact is you can do it if you want to.

The weight loss principle works similar to total money makeover. You just need to jump and make a decision if you want to change.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J Stanley

From the few pages of The Millionaire Next Door I’ve been reading so far, I found this interesting fact : Most self-made millionaires (I’m not talking about someone who inherits money, or wins the lottery) are the most frugal people in society. They buy second hand cars. They don’t wear expensive clothes, suits, shoes, as you expect millionaires should.

Working in financial industry myself and working and watch many types of clients, I definitely agree with what this book is saying. Looks can be deceiving. You just can’t believe people who drive nice cars/import cars, wear designer clothes/bags, nice suits and shoes have far less in their account compared to a millionaire who drives an economy car and wears “goodwill” clothes. As a matter of fact, the old saying “Don’t judge a book by its cover” is true.

To Be Continued….

Today is my birthday! For me, a birthday is not something I celebrate too commercially. I love it when people remember my birthday. Don’t you feel good when people think about you on your birthday?

Birthday Cake

I’m not a gift-demanding person either.  I just don’t like to make other people feel obligated to give me a surprise or to stress out thinking of what the best gift is to give me. Especially for men, deciding what gift to give can be challenging right? You give the wrong gift, your woman will be offended. You give a cheap gift, your woman thinks you are not valuing her. You want to give an expensive one but you don’t have money, arrgggh tough!  I know women can be difficult sometimes.

I think my husband is the luckiest person in that department because I’m such an easy going person. As long as love, kindness and affection pour out like rain, that’s enough.

At the beginning of our marriage, my husband suprised me with 2 dozen of red roses for my birthday. I was happy of course, but not so much from my frugal nerves. The first thing that came out of my mouth was,

“Why did you buy flowers that cost $50 and that die within a week?”

I know I was wrong. He’s trying to be romantic. I’m a very communicative person, later I told him it was not because I didn’t like the flowers. I told him if you want to buy me something for my birthday, I would prefer to have a plant instead of flowers. It turns out he took it well. He now understands my frugal side better since that incident. Besides that, we don’t need to wait until our birthdays to give each other a gift right? As small surprises here and there are of great value to a healthy relationship

Since I’m the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at home, don’t expect my husband to come home bringing me a diamond or a car as a surprise gift.  I monitor all spending, every dime and penny spent with our credit card. I know we can’t give each other a surprise because I will know and ask

“Honey, do you know what this charge is for? (hahaha…)”

But that method works for us. We are both happy with the way we manage it.

Since our birthdays are only a week apart, we always celebrate them together. We would ask each other what the other wants for their birthday. I usually like to get my birthday gift in advance. For example, our countertop oven was broken so I told my husband I want a new countertop oven as my advance birthday gift. We got it last Christmas.

One time my mother-in-law asked my husband what I wanted for my birthday. I’m honest. I boldly said:

“Either check or a gift card”

My husband told me I’m the most straight to the point girl in the world. I’m not ashamed.  Well, maybe because I grew up in a different culture. What you see is what you get. No sugar coating.

My point is I just don’t like it when someone gives me a gift and it gets put it in the corner because I don’t use it (maybe because it’s not my taste or color or for so many other reasons). I think that’s the most wasteful type spending you can engage in. I’d rather not get a gift than just abandon someone’s gift.  Or vice versa I’d rather get $1 cash than $50 worth of unwanted gifts. I can use my $1 to buy something better than $50 worth of gifts which I later donate to goodwill.

What do you think about my view on birthday gifts? Are you like me? I’d love to hear a different point of view from you.