So here we are, newly weds deep in love and already heading deep into debt. Last time in our story, Thrifty Al left you with the day we got married and essentially said our “I Do’s” really turned into “We DO owe $18,500 worth of debt”. Starting off a marriage with $18,500 in debt, no savings and a taste for the “good life” was a recipe for disaster!
If you recall, in just a short few days of being married, while on our honeymoon, we had to get a loan to pay our hotel bill. You would think to yourself that this would be enough to get anyone to seriously consider what they were doing – and how insane they were. We only needed $500 that day to checkout, but the bank gave us $16,500. Why did we take that much? Well…. we said to each other,”we will only use what we absolutely need and it would be nice to have a cushion. Payday is tomorrow and as soon as we get home, we will pay it off and then close it!” No biggie right? That all sounded perfectly reasonable. Right?
That first week of marriage – we were livin’ it up on the West Coast on our once in a lifetime trip. That little reason is why we justified spending so much and needing a loan – we wouldn’t want to taint the memories from lack of funds, now would we?!?!
Finally, we returned to our cute little apartment and excited to “play house” finally. I can still remember how perfectly clear the day was as Thrifty Al carried me over the threshold into our first apartment! It was so exciting! I wanted this to be “our home” as soon as possible. The day I had dreamed of had come and I wanted to be that perfect wife with the perfect home.
As I entered however, I remember thinking to myself – “wow, we are really missing a lot of “stuff” to make this house our new home!”
I look back on that thinking and wonder WHY? We had more than enough things to get us by. Our wedding guests were more than generous with their provisions and gifts. There may have been a few small things we needed, but there certainly was hardly any necessary items! We had all the basics we needed and even many more extras. We were so incredibly thankful for what we were given and I am even more grateful today for the generosity as I could not even imagine how much more trouble we would have gotten into financially without all of the wedding gifts!
With that being said – I noticed what I was “missing” rather than trying to make it work with what we had. I so badly wanted everything to be perfect and in order – that I lost my grasp on reality and necessity!
So here I am, a new bride, with a wonderful new husband and a very lovely quaint bare apartment. I noticed the lack of a kitchen table, a lack of a computer table, lack of an entertainment center, missing China pieces from our registered China set, an “unacceptable” old tiny t.v. from Thrifty Al’s bachelor days, lack of washer and dryer, lack of the kitchen items I wanted, lack of bedding, lack of decor, lack of food, lack of cleaners….
My list of “things we needed” grew and grew.
But…. we didn’t have any money in the bank! Remember we started with $18,500 worth of debt the day we got married. Where were we going to get the money we needed to buy the “stuff ” we needed? Well, we did have access to a recently acquired $16,000 – and it was money we would only use if we absolutely needed it.
At that time, my opinion was – “this was the time to dip into it a little bit to purchase those necessary items.”
Many might look at our list and say that it sounds reasonable in terms of necessities – a kitchen table, food and a washer and dryer for sure! But what was unreasonable was my expectation of what I thought it needed to be. Al went along with my requests as he wanted to make his new bride happy and wanted this to be my domain.
So off we went on a shopping spree… literally.
The first week we were home, I can remember how we walked into Target and began filling our carts with stuff, stuff, and even more stuff. And it was more than 3 carts fulls of stuff. I can’t completely remember what we bought, other than a broom and food (the necessities), but somehow we ended up with a tab of over $1200!
Was that all we needed was 3+ carts full of stuff and another $1200 in the hole to make our home complete?
Not in the least. There was much more that was needed before our home was livable (in my professional housewife opinion).
Next on the list was furniture. For some reason, we couldn’t just try to be reasonable and search for second hand items and buy things here and there as we may have needed them. We did have a couch and chair along with my old bed, but I wanted everything else new. I had this thought that we needed to start off with the right stuff from the very beginning to do this whole marriage/homemaking thing right!
By the third week of our marriage, we had scooted off to the furniture store to grab some necessities and along the way ended up with a new entertainment center, office desk, office chair, extra bedroom furniture and the kitchen table and chairs. With a tab of a couple thousand later (back in those days, we hits “sales” but a furniture sale is the everyday price), we had many of the furnishings we thought we needed.
As I sat at our apartment make all of this “stuff” a home I wondered…………, not what I was thinking, not what I shouldn’t have bought, not a cheaper/affordable alternative to all of this “stuff,” but rather, what was missing still?
We still technically had $13,000 in the bank and only $21,700 in “good and necessary” debt. Besides, this is just how you start off. It is a sacrifice you make now and pay off later. That is just how you do it.
So stay with us until next time when we try to remember what we thought we were still missing?
If you’re new to the series or just want to catch up, we encourage you to check out our whole Deep in Debt to Debt Free series!