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So Close to Spending Foolishly

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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?

Money

AUTHOR Derek

My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

21 Comments

  1. My husband is a great accountability partner. We’re both savers so we help each other budget for fun as well as playing devil’s advocate when we want something we don’t need. I avoid the Groupon app on my phone because it makes me want to get something I don’t need just because there’s a great deal!

    • That’s awesome that you and your husband are on the same page with saving. That is a huge deal!

  2. I think you should buy it. The deal is too good and you know you will eventually need furniture, so why overpay a few years down the road? Heck, buy the room and sell everything individually if you feel you’ve made a mistake.

    • Ha. Why must you tempt me Marianne??? I seriously am still considering it. My website revenew has been picking up lately, so it might just be possible.

  3. I think it’s key that we accept that we’re human and that temptation can be a hard pull to ignore no matter how good we are with our money. I say kudos to you for ignoring the urge to spend-I bet an even better deal will materialize when you’re fully prepared to buy something!

    • I bet you’re right THH. Whenever I’ve held off on a purchase in the past, an even better deal landed right in front of my face! 😉 Hopefully that’s the case with this too!

  4. Yes and it is me! I never spend money until I think it through. If it is more than a few hundred, I discuss it with my wife and then make a decision. It usually delays making a foolish decision.

    • Haha. Sounds like a good plan though krantcents. That method would keep you from spending foolishly 99% of the time.

  5. It’s always great to have a partner to keep you in check, whether it be in finances or working out and eating right. My girlfriend fits the bill in both cases. She is extremely debt adverse, so as I would get excited telling her I paid off a credit card, she would be equally excited, adding to my excitement.

    • Very true! I’m very glad to have one, and I’m sure you are too!

  6. I am just learning recently how to balance. I think you should get the furniture, but it depends if waiting an extra month to get your debt paid off is a way you want to do it. You have made amazing progress! Great job..and wishing you the best.

    • Thanks for the compliments Jules. Assuming my tax payment is minimal, I’ll be able to unload this debt pretty soon. I really do want to get rid of it moreso than I want the furniture, so I’m glad I waited.

  7. I applaud your tax strategy! I myself see my end of year tax bill as a badge of honor. I’d much rather owe than to get a massive check back.

    • Very true! Thanks for the compliments Wayne.

  8. I was pretty bad at managing my money in college and my roommate tried his best at helping me. I remember him yelling at me pretty heatedly over a dumb $45 purchase I made off ebay.

    • Haha. Sounds like you’ve got a good friend there – he made you realize that you weren’t managing your money as you should be! Sometimes that’s not an easy thing to talk about.

    • Thanks Amanda! Yeah, I’m wondering too. I’ll know soon enough though! 🙂

  9. I always have to pay taxes as well, so we are trying really hard not to buy anything right now that isn’t necessary. I did catch myself looking at couches the other day,but I was able to snap out of it before it got serious. We all want nice things. Sometimes you need a good reminder of you goals to pull you out of the need to spend.

    • Yep. There are plenty of distractions in life, but we need to act not on our emotions, but on our logic and future goals. 🙂


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