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Budgeting and Debt

June 22nd, 2011 at 08:46 pm

Still plucking along with our budget spreadsheet...we started using a rigorous budget in January of this year and it has made a world of difference in our money management process. I was never really against a budget but I've never been taught to use one or even how to use one so I just assumed I was budgeting by balancing a checkbook and 'seeing' where my money was going. LOL -- that was clearly a massive failure b/c I was only 'seeing' my money fly out the window! Anyway, we are doing good and I am proud of our progress. We've been able to get serious about paying off debt and we've paid off everything except the cars and house. I am hoping to have 2 of the cars gone by next year but this topic keeps me on the fence. I am all for selling my car but my husband is not sold on the idea. He did drive the beater car for a couple of years and was sick of the 'issues' that come with a beater car. We aren't the type of people who need to have 'nice' cars but he would rather pay for them if we can, and not buy new again. Sigh....I'm more interested in getting that debt gone quicker so we continue to go back and forth on this topic.

Anyway, I am the planner and worrier of the family so this is something that throws a wrench in my budgeting plans. The fact of the matter is we could be getting our 6 month EM in place much sooner and begin saving/investing for retirement much sooner as well if the cars were gone now. I am 34 so I feel like I have to have these things firmly in place by the time I'm 35 and that just isn't going to happen until I'm closer to 36. I feel 'behind' and that is what is unsettling. He hasn't said "NO" don't sell your car but he is more concerned with us having to come up with the negative balance to pay off the loan (it is upside down) and find/buy an older car...and then deal with the older car issues that are inveitable. We would still have to get a loan to do that and while that is not ideal, we would be trading a higher car loan for a much smaller loan. I would be willing to do it - the new loan would probably be around $10-$12K (including buying a replacement car) and I could probably pay that off in a couple months.

I'm going to keep 'gently' discussing the topic -- but not nag him about it. He gets annoyed with me for worrying about our finances. He is onboard with doing the right thing with our money but he thinks I'm hyper-sensitive about the situation and impatient....which is true. I do need to relax and be patient...find more peacefulness and tranquility in my life. Stop worrying about 'stuff' and the future and whether or not we will be 'saving & investing' by the time I'm 35 LOL. These are normal things that I should be concerned about but I can't let them dominate my life and thoughts.

So I've already started making 'people edits' in my life and now I'm going to start making 'thought edits' as well. I will spend a small amount of time each day tending to our finances but I will no longer keep it on the brain and harass my husband about it regularly! :-) He loves me -- he knows it!!

And by the way -- I'm a relatively new blogger on this website and I was under the impression it was supposed to be about saving money, reducing debt, paying stuff off, etc., etc. Why are people on here talking about applying for credit cards and buying stuff using their credit cards? That is just strange to me...? Not judging -- to each his own, but it is strange given the context of this website...? agreed?

6 Responses to “Budgeting and Debt”

  1. laura Says:

    Your phrase being the solo planner/worrier saddens me. I had a spouse whose mentality was "I make the money, you manage it" and I was miserable for quite some time. Two years ago we (DH and I) attened a money management seminar at our parish and it improved our communication immensely, brought him into the mix, made me relinquish some of my perceived control. I think you and your spouse need to do something like this. If you have a shared vision, a meeting of the mind, a compromise on finances, then your situation will improve. Its just my opinion that three car payments with balances like those will definitely hinder the progress you want to make.

  2. CB in the City Says:

    I think the credit card discussions you are talking about evolved because people are getting bonuses for using a certain card, and are making planned purchases on it in order to get the bonus savings. I didn't see it as splurging at all.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    Great job on your progress so far!

    Yes. These are personal finance blogs. We all have different ways of handling our finances and are at different stages in life. And not everyone here is opposed to credit cards or debt. Many still use credit cards, but pay them off monthly. As a result, you see some applying for cards to earn rewards or cash. So given that it is a personal finance blog I don't see an issue with it at all.

  4. snafu Says:

    1st give yourself a giant 'way to go,' gal pat on the back for how far you've come in so short a time. You have taken a deep look at your financial picture and are aware of things you need to do to improve that area. You're way ahead the the vast majority! There is no 'rule' that demands a retirement plan by age 34, 35, 36 etc. The fact that your looking at that issue speaks volumes. Perhaps use the time to figure out which retirement program/holding suit you best. Most people don't know some 401Ks are fraught with fees and expenses that are hidden in the small print. What benefits/issues are available in your particular circumstances?

    If car loans are 0%, you may be better off on a different route; you've already taken the depreciation hit, it's sunk money, it will not put the lost sums back to re-deploy. It's important to run the numbers before making changes that have potential to go wrong.

    It helps results if DKs 'have skin in the game.' There are scholarships, grants, awards and all manner of free money but it takes effort/research to find them. Students who work summer jobs and part time during the academic year statistically are more successful academically. Is it because they must be more focused and organized? While we pay for a lot of expenses, we require our DSs to pay tuition so that they don't get caught up in excess social aspects and fritter opportunities.

  5. Ima saver Says:

    We have a chase mastercard that we pay off in full every month. This month, I earned 2 $50 cash rewards checks. My dh charges his building materials at home depot to the card and I pay the card off in full every month.

  6. MonkeyMama Says:

    As far as the vehicles - remember that there is middle ground. The options are not ONLY "$80k in car debt" or "driving expensive beaters." I am sure you can trade down for a perfectly NICE vehicle without sacrificing much reliability.

    A lot of the times just setting a long-term example sways people. Maybe doing so with your car (smartly) will eventually sway your husband.

    "Why are people on here talking about applying for credit cards and buying stuff using their credit cards?"

    I personally utilize credit cards for convenience and rewards, but have never carried a credit card balance in my life. Of course, there are many who come here that are struggling to get/stay out of debt. I don't think there is any one person here who thinks carrying credit card balances is a good idea.

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