Take That, Dave Ramsey!

“Damn” Ramsey

Years ago, at a time I was struggling to maintain a good client base and bring in enough in income with my cleaning business, a cleaning client told me, “Well, I’m really sorry, but we have decided to follow Dave Ramsey’s advice and cut as many expenses out of our budget as possible, so we won’t be having you clean anymore.”

Later, as I provided a potential client with a consult I said, “I have one opening thanks to Damn Ramsey, I mean, Dave Ramsey.”

The guy laughed and ended up becoming my replacement client. But that Freudian slip stuck in my head. I’ve never liked Dave Ramsey, not one bit. I really had liked that client!

A few days ago I saw some link on Pinterest for a list of money-saving tips by Dave Ramsey and decided to check it out. I can’t find the exact link right now, sorry, but I was pleasantly surprised to see I was doing most of what he suggested, and then some.

Instead of an envelope system, I happen to use about 12 different bank accounts, where I park funds for specific needs.

BIG Debt Reduction

The big news, however, is the exciting news about debt reduction. I keep a spreadsheet in Excel that has many different worksheets within it. Multiple budgets (our current one, plus future budgets once we pay off certain debts), as well as savings and debt forecasting.

I updated the Current Debt worksheet and was excited to see that we have managed to reduce our overall debt this year by: $30,725.32

Holy Toledo! That’s a crazy number! This month was the biggest yet. I chose to pay off the back taxes we owed to the state of Missouri instead of making payments on them for another 3-4 months. I just wanted them done and not causing any problems for us as we gear up for 2019 – the year of renovations!

The plan is to obtain a short five-year loan to renovate both of our cottage properties from top to bottom and have them in active service by the end of the summer as Airbnb locations. I’ve already received a pre-approval, and the last paperwork is being completed over Christmas. By late January, we hope to see workers handling first Cottage East and then Cottage West. As each project is completed, I will then list it on Airbnb and VRBO and we will finally see our hard work and scrimping and saving pay off as a steady stream of guests take advantage of our properties.

In five years, we will be almost 100% debt-free and the properties will be earning income for decades to come.

It’s an exciting thought and one we have worked hard on for a very long time to see happen.

The Big Picture and Hopes for 2019 and Beyond

When I say that I have worked hard in my life, I hope you will understand that 1) I’ve worked really hard and 2) Hard work isn’t a bad thing. Cleaning houses isn’t a walk in the park, but heck, it could be worse. I could be mucking out sewers or digging coal or working in a chicken processing plant. As the second half of my 48th year begins, I have been thinking a great deal about what I want to see for the second half of my life.

Frankly, my hopes and dreams have really been working overtime as other opportunities for my husband have sailed in to roost and we wait to see how they shake out.

I was thinking about what my ideal day would be like and I’ll be honest here…I have NO idea what my ideal day is like because it’s been so long of just getting by, just feeding the fire and moving forward and working on all of the little cogs and belts and switches that I’ve forgotten where it was all heading towards.

So I sat down and listed it all out. What I want for 2019 and beyond. I might not get it, not all of it at least. And that’s okay. I’ve got my big girl panties on and I’ve weathered more than my fair share of disappointments in my life. But I figured it would be nice to write it all down and give it some semblance of reality, or possibility.

  1. I want to be successful at my writing – What the hell does that even mean?! For now it is the goal of earning more than I spend, preferably enough “more” that I can stop (drum roll please)…
  2. I want to stop cleaning houses – Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my clients. They are some of the neatest people I know. I love seeing their homes change and grow and new furniture, rugs, or even new pets roll in. I love getting the best decorating ideas from them. Cleaning houses is actually very satisfying. Seeing how it looks after I’m done, makes me feel good about myself and I know my work is appreciated. I would just rather write instead.
  3. I want to go to Europe – Okay so yes, it was really hard to see my 12-year-old go off without me. Especially considering I have wanted to visit Pompeii since I was her age. That I would dearly LOVE to visit castles and imagine what life was like in medieval Europe. It wasn’t any easier to have my mom say in her deprecating way, “Well, you keep collecting reasons not to go.” Yes, like making that super cool kid she took with her to Europe. [Grumble, grumble, grumble] In any case, I realized if I’m going to have a sore ass about it then it is high time I headed that way. This goal isn’t one for 2019, it actually has a very time-sensitive date of May 17th, 2020 – the day of my 50th birthday. So yes, that hope and dream is back on the table, even if it means only going for two weeks. Even if it means GOING BY MYSELF.
  4. I want to have a significant amount of real estate income to weather most financial storms – In other words, Cottage East and Cottage West in some kind of rental capacity, continuing to provide us with income for the rest of our lives. The loan I mentioned above should make that happen, and by late summer if not sooner. That’s super-exciting! Between getting them in action and eliminating our debt, I hope to see us in a position where our investments continue to make us money, month in and month out, very soon. A while back a FB post was circulating, asking what folks would do if they won a million dollars. I said that I would pay for the renovations to the two cottages, put them in action as Airbnbs and divide the rest of the money between savings and improvements on my own house and take a trip to Europe. Someone actually tried to shame me, inferring that my dreams were somehow bad because I couldn’t just be happy with ONE house, I had to have THREE. They got an earful as I explained that I cleaned toilets for a living AND was determined to make our neighborhood a better place by improving the properties. This isn’t greed, folks, it’s an honest business idea, and it’s a good one.

Right now, those are my main goals and wants. I hope to see them unfold over the next 18 months. And if they don’t, if the winds of fate take a sharp left, well, I’ll pick myself up and try again.

Or as this book I just bought at Barnes and Noble says…


Sorry, WordPress is being an asshole and will not let me show it upright. Just turn your head to the left, you’ll get the idea.

Happy Holidays, Everyone!

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