The Art of Building Wealth

The average person has been led to believe a lie. The average person has been taught that wealthy people can be identified by the clothes they wear, the foods they eat, the home they own, and the cars they drive.

They have been taught that the ones with the most expensive wardrobes, homes, and wardrobes are the wealthiest.

To quote Maury Povich, “that is a lie.”

If you see someone driving a fancy car, you can almost guarantee the person owning it is far from wealthy; if they own a nice car and an expensive home, chances are rather high that they have very little wealth, if not a negative net worth.

The wealthy become wealthy by living beneath their means. Many of them come from rather humble beginnings; in order to build their wealth they learned how to stretch their money as far as they could. This allows them to save as much money as they can to invest in things that will make them more money.

Verna Oller is a prime example of this. She used what she had, stretching her money to the extremes in order to invest. Her goal was to leave enough money behind to help out the small town she lived in.

My hero Verna Oller

This woman is my hero. She has shown me that anyone can become wealthy, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Including me.

When my office supply order arrived the other day, it came in a box that was stuffed with brown wrapping paper. I wadded it up, marched over to the trash can, and paused.

What would Verna do? I asked myself.

Verna would try to find a use for that paper instead of tossing it in the trash. She was fond of recycling things, of using them up completely before she discarded them. Could I do the same?

It dawned on me that I use a lot of paper around this house. As a writer, I am prolific when it comes to jotting down notes, journaling, and drafting out blog posts on paper. I keep a large supply of paper at all times since I go through so much of it.

I realized that if I cut up that long strip of wrapping paper that I could use it for notes. Grinning, I grabbed my scissors and went to work.

To my delight, that long sheet of paper was perforated at regular intervals; intervals that were identical to the width of a standard 8-1/2″ sheet of printer paper. I separated the pieces at the perforation, made a quick guesstimate, and quickly created a small stack of pages that were approximately the same size as a standard page. The scraps were then chopped up, clamped together into a makeshift notepad.

I now have a small stack of paper that I can use for notes and journal entries. A small stack of paper that cost me nothing but time yet allowed me to use an item that I normally throw away.

Even better, this tiny little stack of paper will take me closer to my cherished goal of financial freedom, since every penny I save is a penny more that I can invest towards my dreams.

Verna Oller would be proud.

What have you repurposed in order to save money? Did you realize that frugality can actually help you build wealth? Please share your stories in the comments below.

Making Changes

Life has been a whirlwind since I made the conscious decision to stay in this little house. The past seven years had been a holding pattern so I hadn’t invested much of anything into making this house look more like a home. There wasn’t any point in spending the money if I was planning to move, after all.

Along with the changes my old friend fear has raised its ugly head. Every single time I purchase something it rises, screaming at me to stop. What if you spend too much money? You’ll be broke! and What if you decide to move after all or get flooded there? All of the money you spend will be wasted!

I’m dealing with it. There is no point in shoving it to the side or burying it deep. I have to own it in order to move on. I’ve made the decision to live here, period. At most I’ll end up moving perhaps one or two more times for the rest of my lifespan; there is no sense in doing without the things I love and miss if I can afford them.

The first major task was to reorganize my computer area. It took up far too much space in my living room for the amount of storage it provided. I searched long and hard for a computer desk, one that would serve my small-space needs and be durable enough to last the rest of my life.

That was a bust. The commercially-available computer desks were either made of cheap composite wood that would fail in a few years or die miserably in a flood. The metal options had glass tops that would not hold up to long-term abuse…or my rambunctious grandson.

I decided to get creative. I located a wire metal pull-out shelf that could be mounted on my current wire shelf for sixty dollars and went to work. I pulled everything off of my gigantic shelf, rearranged the shelves, and converted it into a computer desk.

It’s absolutely perfect. My CPU is close at hand but out of danger and I now have space for my router and those annoying piles of paper that I allow to build up until I get around to scanning them for permanent storage.

Even better, I can shove my keyboard and mouse out of the way when I want to write something by hand.

Once that was complete I ordered a corner shelf to make up for the lost storage space. I made a mistake with that one; instead of ordering the heavy-duty NSF shelf that I intended I accidentally ordered a lighter-duty version of the shelf I wanted. It works but it doesn’t match up exactly and definitely doesn’t hold as much weight as I like. Since it was my mistake, I plan to use it until it dies and replace it with the shelf I originally intended to purchase. I see no point in returning something I ordered when it was my fault for not paying attention.

The kid decided she wanted a larger bed so we decided to save a bit of money in that area as well. Instead of the kid buying a full-size bed we just swapped out the sofa sleeper in the living room for her twin-sized bed. She gets to have a larger bed, and I get something new to sleep on. I placed one of my shelves at the head of it and plan to use it as a makeshift daybed/chaise lounge. In time I’ll locate some of those pillows that support you while you sit on a bed, but that will be farther down the road. In the meantime the kid gave me a few of her extra pillows since she has quite a collection. I pile them behind me when I want to sit up and read.

new bed

I’m rather exhausted at all of the changes so I’m currently taking a break. I’ve yet to clear off the table that I had used as a desk for many months. Since the table is smaller than the big plastic table on my front porch I gave the big table away so that I can shift the smaller table out there.

It will be nice to have more space on the front porch.

I’ve one more major purchase that I plan to make in upcoming weeks. I’m going to invest in one more shelf to hold the library of books I am rebuilding. I’ve missed my library so by golly I’m getting it back. I can’t count how many times I’ve kicked myself for eliminating it when when I minimized my possessions. While it made sense at the time (I moved six times in four years, after all) I miss it terribly. Ebooks and Internet sources cannot compete against just pulling a book off of a shelf to look up a word or reference something you’ve read in the past for this old-school girl. While I intend to limit my library to what I can comfortably store in the space I will assign to it, I’m getting it back. Period.

I’m including some pictures on this post to show my current progress. I am so thankful that this place is finally shaping up. I’ll be glad when I finsh with the big purchases, however. Despite the fact that I’m buying for long-term use, I really hate spending the money.

What changes have you made in your home lately? Please share your stories in the commenbs below.