Since November, I find that I keep having to remind myself that I’m married. Getting married was something that, up until recently, I didn’t think was necessary in life. It seemed kind of unrealistic that I would be with one person forever. Forever….seems dramatic. I liked living for myself and making my own decisions. I liked that I had the freedom to say goodbye to people when they got on my nerves. I liked the fact that I could order $50 worth of sushi at 3am for myself and no one would know about it to judge me. I was pretty happy with that control and although I thought about meeting someone that would change my views, I just thought it was very unlikely.
This next part sounds very gross so I will keep the details brief. When I meant Tom, I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. I couldn’t believe how much I wanted to be with this person. It was sickening actually. I would wait for his text messages and count the days until the weekend when I would see him. My stomach would hurt from laughing when I was with him and my face would get irritated from how much making out we did. I knew way too quickly that this was going to be the guy I was going to be with.
Tom has his shit together. He is smart, talented and the most frugal person I’ve ever met. We are talking about a guy that buys maybe a shirt a year. He was raised to save his money and make wise decisions when having to buy anything. I’m in no way a gold digger but it was very impressive how well he had a hold on his finances. Being responsible is sexy AF and I dig that about Tom. He also has great hair – but that’s for another post.
I’m, however, a different story. I have student loan debt like many people but after college I made some questionable decisions with credit. When you are young it’s hard to really comprehend what you are doing when you are charging things to a credit card. You know, in the far back of your brain, you eventually have to pay it back but you don’t really understand how hard it is to do that. I was charging everything and taking out cash advances like that was my part time job in life. Long story way short, by 2008 I was living back here in Chicago and I had $35,000 racked up on credit cards. Now add about a 24-29% interest rate on that and you got a lot of debt. I was drowning in it because my minimum payments were barely covering the interest I was being charged monthly. That was my huge mistake but the other mistakes I made involved loaning money out to people who, to this day, have not paid me back. One person moved out of the state and stopped talking to me after I loaned her $5000. Yes, haha, I loaned money that I will never see again and lost my friend in the process, over just trying to help her out of a miserable situation. Cool!
Anyway – 5 years ago, I was sick of seeing basically no change in my account balances and living paycheck to paycheck. I needed to get out of this huge hole I had dug myself into. I got a job at the bar and for the next few years I worked 5-6 days a week, on top of my day job, to pay off my debt. This was a hellish schedule that may have contributed to some slight alcoholic tendencies I had at this time. But guess what?! I DID IT! Yes, I did it. I paid off about $40K when it all was said and done and today I owe nothing on a credit card.
(You can applaud and cheer for me at this time)
Now, back to the point of this post. I have almost been married now 4 months and, last week, Tom and I had the talk about finances. He basically wanted to know what the details of mine were. I’ve never told him. I feel like that stuff is private and when we were dating I did not like to disclose that information. Now, I do have a lot to be proud about – which was paying off the Mt Fuji amount of debt in credit cards. But there was one thing I wasn’t proud of: I had almost no savings. Telling someone who has a HUGE savings that you have no savings is not something I was dying to do.
There was a lot of crying (from me) and a lot of questions (from him). He wasn’t mad and I was happy about that but he wanted to know what I was going to do to improve the situation. He wanted to know what I spend my money on and what my actual expenses were every month. When you are forced to disclose this stuff it’s just really really hard. I’m an adult woman who has taken care of myself for so long and to have someone (albeit someone you love a lot) tell you how you need to change your habits – it can just be a lot. I got married because I love Tom but I don’t think I realized that I had to think about Tom now too. That was just a foolish and very selfish thing for me to think. I need to get out of the mindset that I only have myself to worry about.
Now, a week later, I’m happy we had the talk. We needed to have it and come up with a game plan for the future. We took care of a huge expense, which was the wedding but now we have an even bigger one, a house. A quick Google search will show you houses are not cheap here in Chicago.
I am now monitoring throughout the month my expenses and so far so good. When I had to look at last month and break it down for Tom, I was so embarrassed. The things I was spending my money on were just ridiculous. I think if I’m more conscious about my spending and not just swiping my credit card all over the place, I will be able to save more. No Money Mo Problems.