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February 2013
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So Close to Spending Foolishly

I’m the owner and operator of this personal finance website, so I should be the perfect model of a financially wise individual that always makes the right money decisions, right? Ha, I wish. While I do typically think things through financially, I still have plenty of temptations when it comes to spending my money. Any person at any point in time can find themselves spending foolishly.

Many of you know that my wife (now ex-wife) left me last year. Well since the divorce was made final, I found myself without bedroom furniture and living room furniture. Yep, the bedroom was completely empty except for a mattress on the floor, and the living room was 100% bare. As if this weren’t bad enough, I owed her half of our current net worth, which equated to over $20k.

As with any debts, I make it my mission to pay them off immediately. I had some furniture in the basement that I could sit on and the floor-bound mattress wasn’t really all that bad to sleep on, so right from the beginning I put my head down and started making money to pay down these new, unexpected debts. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy any furniture until these debts were completely paid off.

Almost There…

At the beginning of February, I realized that I was getting close. I had only $5,000 to go and my bank account was creeping up toward that magic number. However, there was one hiccup… taxes. Most people look forward to tax time because they get thousands of dollars back from the government. Not me. Since I have a pretty decent side income, I typically have to pay in when tax time rolls around. Because of the divorce last year, I have absolutely no idea how the numbers are going to shape up. I figure I could owe as much as $3,000.

With this uncertainty, I knew that I couldn’t pay off my debts for a while – probably not until the end of April. Discouraged and upset, I started looking for furniture on Craigslist. “Screw paying off this debt so fast, I just want my house to look normal with some furniture” I thought to myself. Then I stumbled upon the mother load: A full living room set: a leather couch, love seat, 2 end tables, 2 lamps, a coffee table, a TV stand, and a 55″ TV for $850! Everything was in perfect condition and the colors would go perfectly in my living room. I was 100% ready to gather up some cash and make the purchase (I’m still fighting it today actually)…

My Friend That Understands

My friend is actively pursuing debt freedom as well. She works 2 jobs and puts all of her extra income toward her debts. By sticking to her current plan, she’ll be done with a large chunk of her debt by October. Since we are in a similar situation, I told her what I was planning to do. After all, I really deserve to have furniture don’t I?! Her immediate response (to my dismay) was, “Derek, you know you really don’t need that furniture. Save your money for your debts. You know you’ll be glad you did.” She was absolutely right.

My living room furniture is not a necessity. Plus, I’m so busy that I’m hardly ever home these days anyway, so what the heck do I need living room furniture for? Not to mention the TV. I don’t even watch TV! I really needed that slap back to reality.

Find Your Accountability Partner!

If you’re single like me, you know how hard it can be to pay off debts and save money for the future. You could spend money foolishly, but no one would ever know. Plus, you’d look super successful with your new car, new house, and that boat in your driveway. If you want to be truly successful though, you know that you should pay down those student loans and pay for your car with cash. The best way to stay on track is with an accountability partner! Mine recently talked me out of buying furniture because that wasn’t my ultimate goal. In the near future, I might talk her out of buying a new vehicle. Who knows! But, by having this accountability partner you’ll make much fewer decisions based on your emotions, and you’ll ultimately have a more successful financial future!

Do you have a financial accountability partner? Have they ever talked you out of a purchase?

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