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Sally Lehtinen: Dreams Do Come True

Photo of Sally LehtinenWhen I had taken several classes with New Ventures Maine, I wanted to run my own business. I also wanted to get out of debt and straighten out my credit rating because I had goals that I wanted to achieve.

I was struggling to cope with life after the tragic loss of my beloved daughter who died at six months old. I was always coming up short with paying my bills, not making enough money and going through major depression, anxiety, and ongoing grief (I had also lost three sisters in childhood before the age of 18).

Having previously worked in salons in Southern Maine, I had the experience needed to build a home-based salon business, providing massage therapy and European spa services.

My treasured vision was to see the Swiss Alps, which had been on my bucket list since I saw “The Sound of Music” when I was six years old. I vowed that I would go there one day.

Miraculously, my dream came true!

I traveled to Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Prague in May of 2023. My goal was to have $2,000 in spending money to go on my trip and I had over $3,000 in the bank.

I was finally out of debt, and I raised my credit rating from 500 to 735. Everything was paid off—including my car—and if I charged something I paid it off. I keep an excel spreadsheet and I account for every penny. I keep current on bills and put money in my savings as well, and I keep a percentage for ‘fun money.’

My goal now is to help others who have lost a child. I’m writing a book about my daughter Sarina and the impact she had on me–she was a huge blessing. She has taught me many lessons; most importantly, to live in the moment and to cherish my loved ones. The book is titled “To Sarina With Love.”

Currently I am also training to become a photographer. It is a passion of mine to take photographs of shelter animals to help place them in their forever homes, as well as gardens, sunrises, and sunsets, to name a few subjects.

I have spent a lot of time and hard work in counseling to get where I am today.I feel that I live a blessed life. I am very grateful for all that I have, especially friends and family.

If I was to give advice to others about managing money and getting out of debt, it would be to believe in yourself–you are worth it—and do the work necessary to accomplish your goals. And, I would say that dreams do come true. You just have to believe that they will.