Today I have an extra special guest on the Make Money Your Honey Podcast! I’m so psyched to introduce Melissa Thomas, a friend and colleague who quite possibly has one of the best reasons I’ve ever heard for wanting to pay off debt – to meet Elton John!
I’ve heard lots of reasons for people wanting to pay off debt – more freedom, the ability to travel, wanting to start a business – but Melissa is the first person I’ve ever heard say they want to pay off debt so they can meet a celebrity.
In this episode, we’re going to explore why Elton John and the strategies Melissa used to climb out of over $40,000 in debt.
Who is Melissa Thomas?
Melissa is a wife, mother, and entrepreneur based out of Southeastern North Carolina.
Like many Americans, Melissa found herself trying to keep up with the Joneses and racked up $43,544 in consumer debt. Since she was able to get out of it, she now helps other women set a debt pay off goal and reach it.
What made you decide to get out of debt?
Melissa knew for a while that something was wrong. She was paying one credit card by using another and running out of money every month. However, she was living what she calls the “typical American lifestyle” where as long as you were getting approved for credit, it was there to be spent.
Fortunately, Elton John and her children helped her snap out of it. Being a huge fan of Elton John, she was upset when she realized she couldn’t afford to go to Elton John’s 60th birthday concert at Madison Square Garden.
At first, she figured her best bet was to earn more money by working in direct sales. Although she was earning more money, she still hadn’t changed her financial habits and still found herself short on cash.
During the 2009 holiday season, she was online trying to do some holiday shopping for her family when she had a sobering moment. She was using multiple cards to pay for the purchases and she suddenly had an overwhelming feeling of, “This is all wrong.”
She knew the true meaning of Christmas, but she also knew her children who were 4 and 5 were really excited about Santa. She realized she was more concerned with the societal pressure of giving her kids a great Christmas. She also felt a lot of shame because she realized she just couldn’t afford Christmas.
She ended up buying the gifts, but decided that come January she had to learn how to get better with money.
Why Elton John?
Melissa has been a huge fan of Elton John since she was a teenager. She knew from a very young age that she would meet him some day, so she decided to make that one of her goals for paying off debt.
You mention Dave Ramsey on your website as a major influence for helping you pay down debt. How specifically did his work help you?
As a Christian woman, Melissa was intrigued by Dave Ramsey’s biblical approach to managing money. However, before realizing this, she had a friend who was a Dave Ramsey fanatic and was always talking about him.
At first, she had an aversion to Dave Ramsey’s work simply because her friend would not stop talking about him. However, Melissa realized that her friend would eventually find out that she was trying to improve her finances, so she decided to check out Dave Ramsey’s website. As soon as she opened the page, she got an intuitive hit that this was the path she needed to take to improve her finances.
Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps, in particular, were extremely helpful to Melissa because they provided specific instructions for getting out of debt and building a better financial future.
When did the blogging and financial coaching come into play?
Blogging and financial coaching turned into Melissa’s career by accident (as it happens for a lot of us). Melissa started couponing in an effort to save money and would use it at the grocery store.
Eventually, she started teaching coupon classes around town and she realized that people didn’t understand personal financial management. From there, Melissa’s financial coaching company was born.
What are you doing now as a result of being debt free?
Melissa is averaging four Elton John concerts a year and has actually met every member of the band. Although Melissa hasn’t officially met Elton John yet, he does recognize her and know who she is. In addition, Melissa and her family paid for a kitchen remodel and two cars in cash.
What is one tip listeners can implement right away to improve their finances?
Pay attention. The biggest mistake people make is that they don’t pay attention to their spending and savings.
How do you make money your honey?
Melissa has given herself permission to earn money. This was a little hard for her because she would do what she loves for free, but she needs to eat.
Melissa has learned she has a right to earn money and to set her prices according to the value she provides people in their lives.
This is actually a common struggle I see with coaching clients and I teach a class on this in the Make Money Your Honey Academy. You can find out more about the Make Money Your Honey Academy here.