Fast forward 2 years – I am now living on my own and earning a decent salary as a teacher. My car is paid for (thanks Dad!) but is starting to need some minor repairs. I do some research and decide that instead of making the repairs needed, I was just going to buy a new car. I did not see car payments as debt because doesn’t everyone have car payments? So, I signed on the dotted line and began making monthly payments.
A few years passed and I convince my boyfriend (now my husband) that he needs a new car. He had never had a credit card or any type of debt and therefore did not have any credit – not bad credit – just no credit. Therefore, he needed me to co-sign on the loan so that he could buy his truck. So now I have 2 vehicle debts and still think this is completely okay because everyone makes car payments.
We rent a house together and find ourselves needing some major appliances – a refrigerator, washer, and dryer. So we go to Best Buy and apply for a store credit card – 3 years no interest. We buy a new refrigerator and hey – while we’re at it – why not a new TV and TV stand for the living room? Just put it on the store card – I’ll pay it off before it starts accruing interest so it’s not really debt right?
A year later, we buy a house together and add a mortgage to our list of debts that we so conveniently write off as “ok debts” because they are “normal debts.” Later that year, we get married and go on a lavish honeymoon – 3 weeks in Europe. It was the best vacation I have ever been on and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything in the world. However, that trip started our spiral of out of control spending.
Within a 6 month time span we had spent nearly $7,000 on stuff we really wanted and convinced ourselves that we needed:
– Macbook Pro for me
– iPhone 4 for both of us
– iRobot Roomba for me
– Xbox 360 for husband
– Macbook Air for husband
– ski trip to Colorado
We had gotten into this pattern of matching each others purchases. If I bought something expensive, he would be allowed to buy something equally expensive and vice versa. To put it all on paper makes me feel ridiculous! I was raised with a much better concept of personal finance than this! My husband had always sacrificed and avoided debt completely. It is scary to see how quickly we could both disregard our own beliefs on personal finance for the immediate gratification that spending brought.