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Blogging about gardening in zone 4, marriage, our golden retriever and life in general.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Money Money

Fingers crossed, and pending our tax return, DJ and I will pay off our wedding sometime in the next week. It's been riding on my credit card since July. 

Yep. Since July we've had what feels like a guillotine over our heads from wedding debt. We kept making big payments on it, but ultimately it was going to take until we got our tax return to pay the damn thing off. I can't wait for the sense of relief we'll feel with all of our credit cards at a zero balance. 

I'm not sure if we made a mistake or not in building a new house and paying for our wedding mostly on our own within nine months of each other. If we'd really looked the elephant in the eye, we'd have probably waited until 2011 to get married and pay for it all in cash. The house purchase made sense, and the wedding was gonna happen, so we just went for it. But in reality, it's been since about June of 2009 since we've been true DINKs (Dual Income No Kids). 

We've had a lot of conversations lately about our finances and how they effect the expectations we have for our life together. We both grew up middle-class kids of parents who are still pretty conservative with their finances. We both dislike carrying a credit card balance, and believe the only "good" debts are mortgages and school loans. Car loans seem to be an unavoidable evil, though both of our vehicles are currently paid off. We vacillate between running monthly expenses on a credit card (to earn points/ airlines miles/ cash back) or paying for it in cash. 

With the end of wedding debt in sight, we're starting to to think ahead. We want to travel; Europe and somewhere tropical next spring. We need to complete the purchase of bedroom furniture, and probably will need new couches soon enough. We both need new vehicles in the next 3 years or so; in fact the -27 degree wind chill killed the battery and starter in my car last week. Nothing like being thisclose to paying off the credit card, only to have to turn around and drop $300 on car repairs. That was after $400 in new tires in November. Of course, we'd like to avoid having two car payments at once, but it seems like we'll both need to get into new vehicles faster than we can pay one of them off. We could afford two car payments right now, but add $700/month in daycare costs towards the end of those car payments in 2013 or 2014 and that we can't do.

I'll put it this way. I spent Friday night running the budget spreadsheet. We make good money; we're both professionals with college and graduate degrees. We have relatively small mortgage payments and living expenses. And yet... there just doesn't seem to be enough money to do the things we want to do. It makes me wonder how our parents afforded this. It makes me doubt that we'll be able to give our kids the same quality of life we grew up with. 

Damn. What happened to the American dream?


  1. Of course I can't find it now, but I read an article a few weeks back about how things really do cost MUCH MORE than they did a generation ago. Like, college education for example. Parents who huff and puff and say "I paid for my college by WORKING" to their kids don't realize that a kid these days needs a much higher comparable income level than they would have had.

    I do have one suggestion for you. I'm not gonna be all "why don't you buy a used car" because it's not something I'd do either unless I had to. But what about trading in BOTH of your current vehicles on one new car? That would equate to a much larger loan on that vehicle, which you could then pay off quickly. (The other vehicle you buy would have a larger loan, but then you'd only have one car loan instead of two, in a shorter amount of time. See what I mean?)

  2. Hmmm! That's an interesting idea. We carpooled this week until my car was fixed, and although we work in the same building, our schedules are so different it was kind of tough. I think the only way it would work was if we traded both vehicles in sometime in the spring, and one of us could bike back and forth through the spring and summer as needed... But, we COULD then make gigantic payments...