Ok, so this tagline may be a little bit of an exaggeration, but not by much and we will explain why. And we are not talking about buying a solar roof and electric car and living off grid, although that would be cool. We are also not talking about biking everywhere, although that is cool too!
Coffee with a Millionaire
We recently sat down to have a casual discussion with a friendly gentleman we know in his 80’s. He also happens to be a self made multi-millionaire that never had a fancy job with a 401k, health benefits, high pay or an inheritence. Just average jobs, self employment, frugality and some great investment habits over many years. Now he and his wife are in the the top 10% of wealth in the world. About half way through our coffee talk he said with a twinkle in his eye, “You know, I have not paid for gas for my car for the last 40 years.”
Our jaws dropped and we looked at him in disbelief! Ok, now we are interested in how this guy pulled this off. We were clearly working on obtaining valuable pearls of wisdom that we (40 something Money Vikings) could garner from this Octogenarian Money Viking King!
The Millionaire Next Door, It still works!
First a little background about our good friend that happens to live nearby in our middle class neighborhood. We will call him “Henry.” Henry has lived in the same nice and well kept middle class house he bought 45 years ago with his wife Ann. “It was very stressful when we bought this house, it cost a whole $29,000!” he said excitedly. That was apparently a lot of money to him back then. He explained that he was making $7,000 a year! Needless to say he paid the house off ages ago and has enjoyed mortgage free life for decades. That alone is a wonderful goal to achieve. And good backup since he probably sleeps in an asset worth $700k, nice ROI on that one. They raised their kids there, etc.
Another thing we noticed about this multi-millionaire when we drove up to his house, the basic Toyota Camry in the garage. What, no Mercedes, BMW, or Rolls Royce for this guy? You get the picture, he doesn’t like putting money into depreciating assets and neither should any of us!
Turning other people’s “trash” into gas
So that is a good segway to start talking about gas. His car was a gas powered, not a cool electric which I would love to own. Henry continued on with his explanation:
“Do you realize how much good stuff people throw away in our society? How much stuff goes into the trash that people just assume is broken or is out of style for them or there is a breakup. I have walked these neighborhoods around here for 40 years and I just pick stuff up that people have thrown away. I then fix it and clean it, tools, vacuum cleaners, books, dvd’s, clothes, dishes, etc. Then we have a garage sale a couple times a year and we sell the stuff. The profits go in an envelope in our safe and that is our gas money.”
So, this exact scenario may not be for you. I personally do not have the time with a young family to do this kind of work. Although, I have personally seen what great stuff is routinely thrown away in our country. I once rented an apartment and when neighbors moved out there would be tons of good stuff in the trash! I once picked up a brand new tent, new, never opened, just tossed because they were moving and did not want to take it! I had heard a story a month earlier about a little woman that had gone around the neighborhood for decades collecting people’s bottles and cans to recycle them. She asked permission and they would leave the items out for her. Come to find out she is also worth millions in net worth.
The point being, think about ways you can be truly resourceful with the world around you. Find your own story or side hustle to “Never pay for gas again.” There are probably opportunities like this right under our noses. Maybe you make some kind of craft that would sell on Etsy? Maybe its an E-bay business or Amazon. There are countless other amazing wealth building habits that we can all learn from Henry.