Debt Repayment and Lifestyle Sacrifice Part I

Golf 2011-23

I’m going to stray from my typical posts for a minute and talk about debt repayment.

My wonderful husband and I got married 4 years ago.  We were still in college (I was finishing up my Bachelors degree and he was finishing up his Masters degree) and when we graduated we had a pile of student loans.  We were both glad to have gotten higher education but the loans weighed heavily on both of us.

Hubby got a well paying job directly out of grad school (such a blessing) and we immediately  started making payments on the loans. Of course, when you have one child and another on the way, food expenses, rent in an expensive city, clothing, diapers, medical bills etc., you are only paying on interest.  We were financially stressed knowing we would be paying these loans off for the next 30-40 years.  We were also trying to buy a house (which didn’t work out).  It was an incredibly stressful situation for a newly married couple.

I have always sworn to never be that person that stresses over money. Never be that mom that can’t make a purchase without freaking out about the budget.   I watched my parents fight about finances almost my entire life and I swore that would not be my path.  But as soon as we joined bank accounts after getting married, and I stopped adding any money to the pile, I freaked.  I did not know how to handle spending “my husband’s money.”  I felt like an intruder and the student debt stress multiplied that by about 100.  Every cent I spent at the grocery store “could have gone to student loans,” I’d tell myself constantly.

So finally, we decided not to worry about it.  We could make minimum payments until we felt we could do more.  I needed to be able to cook for the family and clothe the children without feeling guilty about the looming debt.  We left the city a few months later (our new four month old and our 5 year old in tow) and moved into a remote little house in the mountains.

The debt still loomed but our rent was slightly cheaper. I was able to budget more strictly since I had to plan my grocery trips  in advance of the 45 minute drive to the super market and we were less concerned about nice clothes.    Halfway through our stay on the mountain top, we acquired a huge amount of medical debt due to a fraudulent health insurance company.  This crushed us even further and the weight of our debt was now drowning us.  We did not know how we would get out of it.

After a long string of events, our mountain paradise turned out to be too isolating for us and a painful commute for my husband.  This is when we decided to try and buy a house again.  Our rational was that we were so far into debt, it didn’t matter if we added a house to the pile.  We needed stability (after moving 3 times in the last 3 years.) We needed convenience to work, school,  and shopping.  We were ready to settle down.

We put down money on a new build and broke ground on a house in the suburbs.  As our current lease got closer to ending, we found out our new house would be finished about three months later than we had thought it would be.  Oh, and I was 7 months pregnant with our third child.  So we decided to move in with our in-laws for a couple months after our lease ended, and prior to our new house being built.  I would have the baby in their small town and hubby would work remotely.  Then, when the baby was just a couple weeks old, we would move into our new palace.  It was an exciting time full of hope as well as acceptance of our pile of endless debt.  We were living the American dream (debt and all).

More to come….


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