5 Tips For Developing A “Garage Sale Millionaire” Mindset…John Page Burton

Let me begin by confessing that I am a “garage sale junkie”. I love garage sales! Recently, I found a bottle of wine that had been produced exclusively for the late actor, Dean Martin. The label bears his likeness and the wine is 35 years old. The label also stated that only 850 cases of this wine had been produced. (this could be a good or bad thing?) My cost for this very cool find was a whopping $1. But I digress, this article is not about my love of garage sales, it’s about defining our relationship with money.

MONEY

Money is either a small sheet of paper or a piece of metal, WE attach the meaning to money. Depending largely on our upbringing, we either have a healthy or an unhealthy relationship with money. Many of us are frugal and hunt for bargains. Shopping this way allows us to channel the money we are saving into interest bearing accounts and investments. Over time, this money can become significant and help provide us with a secure retirement. (“garage sale millionaire”) Others find it challenging to exert any type of spending discipline. They habitually make purchases on impulse and tend to pay full retail price for everything they buy. Unfortunately, many wake up one day to find that they are in significant financial trouble due to their lack of discipline. Below are 5 tips for developing a “garage sale millionaire” mindset.

THE “GARAGE SALE MILLIONAIRE” MINDSET….

*Get in the HABIT of spending less than you earn. Let’s face it, we live in a world with a ton of cool toys. Delaying gratification can be extremely hard. The first step on the road to financial freedom is to spend LESS than we earn. You may be saying yeah, yeah, yeah, I already know that. The question is…are you practicing it? This one habit can dramatically change your financial future. Examine your monthly bank statement and determine where can you cut wasteful spending? Make the commitment to this for one year. You will be amazed by how much you save!

*Pay CASH for purchases. I employ 2 strategies that serve me well. If I can’t pay cash for it, I don’t buy it and before I make any significant purchase I ask myself if it is something I NEED or just something I want. Something I NEED will always take precedence over something I want. Paying cash and avoiding impulse buys helps curb wasteful spending. We can then invest this “impulse money” into our future.

*Look for opportunities to create new streams of income rather than new lines of credit. I carry one debit card and one credit card. I focus my energy on looking for opportunities to create new streams of income. This mindset is a proactive wealth building mindset opposed to a “credit” mindset. For example, this past year I wrote a book. My book has become a NEW stream of income in the Burton household. I have not applied for any new lines of credit this year. ***One of the best TAX strategies we can employ is to own a home based business. New stream of income, new TAX savings.

*Avoid paying retail. Turn this concept into a game. Garage sales, consignment shops and services like Craig’s list are great places to find items that are in great condition and many items are brand new. Diana and I have furnished three homes employing this strategy. We have saved thousands of dollars and routinely receive positive feedback on how nicely our home is decorated. For example, we recently purchased a desk for our mountain home. The estimated cost of this desk was $1000. We were able to purchase it for $50 dollars and the seller even threw in a high end desk chair. Our patience paid off! FYI…you are the only ones who know how much we actually paid for this gorgeous desk. Ha, Ha!

*Make financial education a priority. A person doesn’t have to make a lot of money to save a lot of money. However, we must make financial education a priority and we must design a financial strategy and maintain the discipline to see it through. Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman are best selling authors who specialize in providing their readers with great strategies for creating financial freedom. Go to the local library and check out their books. (I just saved you $50 dollars) Make an appointment with a TAX professional to develop a strategy for paying less TAX. Meet with a financial planner to help you maximize your retirement plan. Remember, burying our head in the sand or relying on the government are not proactive financial strategies.

I have been wealthy and I have been broke. I can honestly say that a life free from financial worry is a much easier one to live. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, running out of money before you run out of month or you just want the peace of mind of knowing that your retirement is secure, then I encourage you to begin developing your own “garage sale millionaire” mindset. Here’s to prosperity!

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.

REVENGE…It just feels good! John Page Burton

For many of us, thoughts of revenge feel pretty darn good! “I’ll get even with that no good jerk, nobody is going to wrong ME and get away with it” is a common utterance of someone immersed in a revenge mindset. Thoughts of getting revenge tend to get our blood pumping and give us a new sense of purpose, one which enables us to summon all of our plotting and planning skills and formulate a misguided strategy to right the “perceived wrong”. We are determined to channel all of our frustration and anger into one big, tightly wound ball of hateful energy and let it fly! It feels GREAT to visualize the misery we will inflict on that no good, scum sucking weasel! Sound familiar?

At one time or another all of us have harbored thoughts of revenge. For some, these thoughts have become all consuming and are clearly effecting a person’s physical and mental health. Fortunately, most of us fail to act on our thoughts of revenge or else our prison system would be more taxed than it currently is. We create a great deal of internal turmoil each and every time we harbor thoughts of revenge. Let’s be honest, people do things to us that make us angry. They may hurt our feelings, cause us financial harm or in many cases they subject us to significant physical and emotional abuse. We want our perpetrator to feel the same degree of pain “they have caused us”. We repeatedly visualize how good it will feel to “give them a heavy dose of their own medicine”. Thoughts of revenge allow us to seemingly regain the power that has been taken away from us. The Ego is LOVING every minute of this drama and is more than willing to add more fuel to an already raging fire. Revenge is a verb. Revenge is action! The Ego unconditionally supports our feelings of anger, rage, hurt, jealousy and disappointment.

Revenge presents itself either explicitly or implicitly. Explicit revenge is action based and immediate. For example, your dog just bit my kid. I am going to load my gun and shoot your dog. Implicit revenge is the most common form of revenge and thankfully for humanity it remains primarily in our mind. We consistently visualize what we will do to the person who “wronged us” and we create imaginary scenarios that depict the suffering and humiliation they will endure from our callous acts of revenge. Explicit revenge is clear and concise with an eye for an eye being the only rule of this game. Implicit revenge is a slow and painful emotional process that causes the person who is immersed in thoughts of revenge to relive their drama over and over. In the end they put themselves through twice as much emotional pain as anything inflicted by the perpetrator. The object of “implicit revenge” is oblivious to how much energy is being devoted to them and therefore the only person continuing to suffer is the person consumed with the thoughts of revenge. “The wheels on the bus go round and round”. Implicit revenge rarely leaves the planning stage. Over time, the intensity usually wears off and the person seeking revenge moves on to their next psychological drama.

3 questions that can help us manage our thoughts of revenge…

Did they really do something significant to us? Asking ourselves this question causes us to pause and ponder. This process can bring us to a more reasonable state of mind. Nobody is worth ruining our physical or mental health over. It is also a good idea to ask ourselves if the object of our anger is really just a trigger for something else that is lurking below the surface? On several occasions I have placed a target in the middle of someones chest for no other reason than they were available in the moment. My anger and frustration from another “perceived wrong” had been lying in wait, impatiently waiting for the perfect moment to strike!

Will I become a better person if I act out my revenge? The answer is always a resounding NO. Revenge never has a positive outcome. Revenge is an unhealed response that fosters more negative energy. The only way can we can truly grow and become better people is to take the high road and move on. If someone steals from us we can press charges and let the legal system take it from there. If our spouse cheats on us we can choose to seek marital counseling or we can hire a divorce attorney. Taking the law into our own hands and dealing out the punishment of our choosing is not a wise option. NEVER ACT OUT REVENGE UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL!!!

What would happen if I simply let it go? We must trust the universal law that says… what goes around will come around. It may not come around the way we want it to but it eventually will come around. Letting go is hard to do because of the Ego’s need to control. As I wrote in my book, Wisdom Through Failure, I experienced issues with a neighbor over the non stop barking of his dogs. Eventually our HOA manager was able to get it to stop. We recently arrived at our mountain home (neighbor with barking dogs) to find that 3 of our upstairs windows had been shot out with a pellet gun. I can’t prove that he was involved, however, none of the other homes in our neighborhood had any pellet holes in their glass. Being that he is the only person who I had any type of conflict with, the odds seem reasonably high that he knows something about it. It’s his Karma. I filed a police report for insurance purposes and released it to the universe. FYI…I am human and had a wealth of vengeful ideas rolling around in my head but chose to not act on them.

Thoughts of revenge are a normal response when we feel we have been wronged. Holding onto these thoughts for any length of time is unhealthy. Carrying out acts of revenge is not only unhealthy but can have dangerous results. When we were children our parents encouraged us to count to ten when we were angry. The purpose of this exercise was to allow us to pause and ponder rather than respond impulsively. I contend that this is still some very solid wisdom each of us should strive to follow.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.
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Celebrating Life’s Greatest Teachers…John Page Burton

When many of us hear the word teacher we conjure up an image of a scholarly looking individual writing furiously at a chalkboard while a room full of students scribble equally fast. When I hear the word teacher, I instinctively begin to take a trip down memory lane where I am reunited with people, experiences and events that have collectively helped shape the person I have become. Life is an amazing educational environment that routinely provides us with the perfect teachers and the exact lessons we need to graduate and move on to the next level.

Let’s take a closer look at life’s natural learning environment…

Trial. We learn by overcoming adversity. Each time we face and break through a life challenge we develop a NEW muscle of confidence. It is important that we view our trials and challenges for what they are… some of life’s greatest teachers.

Error. Error can be a positive thing. Error fosters learning and growth. Error requires us to become better problem solvers and provides us with a better sense of what works and what doesn’t. Error is humbling and often inspires us to become more effective communicators, parents, employees and managers. Error teaches us to live and learn. When we learn to embrace error, we find that it can be one of our most inspiring teachers.

Associations. Some of our greatest life lessons arrive through unfavorable experiences. Employers, business partners, friends and relatives are some of the close associations we have an opportunity to learn from. A business partner who pilfers company funds, an employer who expects us to put in extra time without extra pay, or a friend/relative who borrows money from us and then seemingly enters the witness protection program, all serve as teachers who present us with important life lessons. The 5 people we spend the most time with tend to have the biggest influence on our values and beliefs. We must choose wisely!

Children. Parenting requires that we learn and practice patience, tolerance, understanding, unconditional love and compassion. Children are great teachers. They routinely “test” our will, resolve and logic. Parenting is an amazing classroom and the skills we are required to develop translate nicely into our personal and professional interactions.

History. Revisiting our past only has one purpose and that is to serve as a guide for making current and future decisions. Dwelling on the past is an unhealthy use of our emotional resources. Drawing from the past and using it as a reference point can save us a great deal of time, aggravation and money. The past is one of our greatest teachers provided we apply the lessons we have learned.

Ego. When it comes to teachers, the ego is our Professor Emeritus! The Ego’s primary job is to wreak emotional chaos. All of us have had the experience of knowing that something didn’t feel right and yet we proceeded anyway. Later, we “kicked ourselves” for not listening to our inner voice. The Ego thrives when we learn the hard way and prefers that we never pass the lesson. The Ego is a very dysfunctional teacher.

Relationship partners. Our relationship partners provide us with an extraordinary learning environment. We learn compromise, communication, selfless giving, surrender, negotiation skills, money management, sacrifice, unconditional love, anger management and moderation. Our relationship partners tend to trigger all of our unhealed parts and yet they can also stimulate our most vulnerable emotions. Our relationship partners are lifelong teachers.

Society. When I hear the word “society” I visualize a community made up of a diverse group of individuals. Paying attention to societal behavior helps us establish our own identity, morals, beliefs and values. For example, we determine what is acceptable or unacceptable behavior and we learn to either question authority or simply conform to what we are told is true. Society¬† offers us a variety of unique ideas and concepts but it is left entirely up to us to apply the information. At times society can be a confusing teacher!

Rather than fight life, I have found that is is much more enjoyable to embrace my natural learning environment, gather the lessons, apply what is relevant and keep moving forward.

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback.