Our next story is from a reader in Northern California.. about how she fell in love (and the credit debt trap), and what she’s doing about it right now.
Have I got a money story for you.
It started when I was in high school. My boyfriend came from a family that wasn’t very well off and he didn’t have a lot of money, and I came from a family that was very financially sound. Of course, being young and naive, I thought that in order to keep him, I should buy him everything under the sun.
A couple years went by and I eventually opened a couple of credit cards, with him as an authorized buyer, so that he could have and build some credit. We racked up some debt, but it was nothing compared to what was coming. A couple more years passed, and we decided to move in together. All this took place before I got wise to the game and began to really read about financial health.
During our first year together, we stupidly decided to buy some new furniture for the house, which meant that we spent almost $1000 on the credit card. Then his car broke down, which cost $800 to fix, also on the credit card. Then the car was towed; the woman who worked there gave us some wrong information and long story short, we needed to pay about $600 in towing storage fees, in cash. Of course, we didn’t have that type of money so where did we go? To the *good* old credit card. Needless to say, we are now over our heads in debt.
I am a twenty-something working professional that makes pretty good money, and my boyfriend is working as a sales associate. We live in Oakland but work in San Francisco. We are both attending school (I am in graduate school for psychology and he is getting his degree), which means that in addition to the ugly credit card debt, we also have major school loans.
I can’t tell you how stressful it is to have overwhelming debt and I kick myself everyday about making those unfortunate decisions. It also brings a lot of stress into our relationship because our budget is so tight. We’ll fight because he’ll go and spend money that I’ve budgeted for a credit card payment on something trivial.
I throw as much as we can at the debt, but it just seems to never go away. Reading your blog, as well as blogs of other people who have been there, gives me a source of inspiration to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. We definitely have made a commitment to slay the beast together, so it helps our relationship that we’re on the same page about that. My boyfriend is trying to get a job that will start off at around 50k, and I am hoping that we can bring the monster down significantly before I have to leave my job or work part time during my internship / postdoc years. We’re working on it, slowly but surely.
Anyway, I just wanted to share my story as a warning to others about how easy it is to rack up a ginormous amount of debt in a small amount of time. Please be careful with those credit cards and live within your means!!
-Thanks for listening / reading.
MsBusyVee, thanks for sharing! Going into debt for a significant other (unless it’s “good debt” and you two are very committed, i.e., married) is rarely a good idea in my book.
Has any readers experienced something similar?