The American Dream of improving your life, of having the ability to own your own home and change your circumstances is alive and well.
It is hidden in plain sight, crouching among the waves of advertising and manufactured needs we have been indoctrinated with; one simple sentence that so many choose to ignore:
Spend less than you earn.
You cannot afford a champagne life on a Budweiser budget. You cannot afford a new iPhone each year making minimum wage. You cannot spend money you haven’t earned yet to keep up with your neighbors.
It just doesn’t work that way.
If you want to succeed you have to live beneath your means. Find some way to make the money you save earn more money. Hustle to make even more money if you don’t have enough because it’s not the government’s job to support you if you don’t want to work.
The only one responsible for you is you.
It’s not always fun to do without when everyone around you is spending like mad. I feel that pain every single time my coworkers waltz in with their takeout for lunch and I’m sitting in the corner eating crackers.
My mouth waters, my stomach growls but I have to face the cold, hard fact of my life:
I will never be able to improve my circumstances if I spend every penny on stupid shit.
It’s not fun to walk to work in the rain and the snow and the mud. It’s not fun to pass up the opportunity to go shopping with my friends.
But you know what is fun about my life?
Paying all of my bills in one fell swoop at the first of every month. Having money to spare when those bills are done. Going home each night knowing that the lights will be on and the water will be running hot. Knowing I’ve got food in the pantry, clothes on my back, and money in the bank for when I need it.
I can sleep at night knowing that I’ve got more than enough to meet my needs. I can smile in the morning because I know that there will be money left over each payday to add to my investments. Watching those investments earn dividends that increase my income even more.
I have achieved my version of the American Dream on a minimum wage income simply by accepting my current financial limitations and living within them.
And day by day, simply by changing my mindset from survival to growth I am actively improving my circumstances. The day will come when I no longer need to work a public job in order to survive. I’ve done it before and I’ll do it again, only this time I’ll hedge my bets.
I am the daughter of an ex-con and a stripper. I barely have a high-school education. I had kids way too soon and ended up raising those kids on my own. I’ve got so many strikes against me I stopped counting but you know what? I’ve achieved what many believe to be impossible and I’m still moving forward.
If I can achieve the American Dream despite my challenges, you can do it too.
Now get to work.