Hello debt reduction, do you make people selfish?

I’m not really sure “selfish” is the right word. But bear with me.

I’ve got a real life friend (shocking I know!) who is also on the journey of cleaning up her debt. She doesn’t know abot this blog and I’m in two minds about introducing her to the world of PF blogging, cause well for one she would read this post and then crash tackle me. While she’s a small girl, the woman can hit.

Now we were having a discussion (which was inspired by Kevin’s post, I’m not saying HE’S being selfish, if you read the post he’s clearly not, the selfish thing came from my friend)  about paying off debt and she said something that really hit home:

“You know, I think being single is so much better for my debt. I don’t have to worry about pissing someone off because I’m trying to save money and if don’t want to do something because its going to cost money, I don’t have to feel guilty about it. And you do feel guilty, no matter what the other person says.”‘

I cleaned up the language a little (the girl has the mouth of a sailor) but that’s pretty much word for word what she said. And she actually did break it off with her boyfriend because she wanted to concentrate on her debt. That was her reason, the relationship was brilliant she said, she just got sick of being the one to say “no” to everything and feeling like a douche because of it.

And that got me into thinking. If you’re in a couple, and you concentrate a very large portion of your income into paying off YOUR debt (not talking about joint debt) does that make you selfish? Or is it being wise? Does the other half have to pay for your past mistakes? Or can/should you (as Kevin does) budget for your significant other? I’m sure most people would understand if you told them that you’re paying off debt, but surely there’s only so many times someone can say “Let’s stay in tonight – I want to save”, before it gets old.

Now this friends budget is crazy (I think we’ll call her “Myfanwy”, pronounced me-fan-wee, its Welsh. And if you know what show I took this name from you get a gold star!). Now Myfanwy pays 80% of her take home pay on debt, 5% on rent (she’s currently boarding with her sister and only pays a small amount) and the remaining 15% goes to petrol and food. If she has anything left over from that 15% thats her entertainment money for the week (which was why when we were talking about this, we were sitting in her car drinking coffee I got her from my work). She’s been doing it for roughly the same time I have, since I got my head out of my ass, and started budgeting again. We have roughly the same debt, but she will have her debt paid off by the middle of next year. I have to wait till the end of next year.

And I kind of admire her for her utter devotion to paying off her debt. But at the same time, I wonder if met with the same circumstances  whether I would do the same as her, or try work out a way we could have a life as well as maintaining my debt repayments.

I would like to think I would do the latter. But I played around with my budget numbers again. And if I budgeted for relationship stuff I would nearly double the length of time it would take to pay off my debt.

And I balk at this.

Double the time, means double the interest.


So, is it “selfish” or does it just make sense?


10 responses to “Hello debt reduction, do you make people selfish?

  1. If the significant other wasn’t marriage material in the eyes of the debtor, then the “paying off debt” excuse was the easy way out of the relationship. That’s what it was in my case, anyway. Why drag it out and continue to spend money on the relationship if I think it’s going nowhere?

    If I did meet “the one” (or “the seven-eighths”) then extending my pay off date would be so worth it. Benefits would include but not limited to: personal chef, someone to make sure I didn’t die all by myself if I became sick or fell down and couldn’t get up and stop my cat from eating me alive, foot massages, and splitting of rent. That amount of savings could offset the cost of a relationship. Maybe.

    P.S. Just wanted to point out it’s Monday where you are, but it’s still Sunday where I am. Nee-ner-nee-ner-nee-ner!

    • LOL. But I thought that’s why people get cats/dogs so if they die their pet would survive not being bought pet food until their body was discovered 😛
      I guess “the one” would be worth it. You know the weird thing is, I don’t like getting foot massages (I’m ticklish, shaddup) but apparently I give good ones. I like getting shoulder massages… I really should find a masseuse.

      P.S. – I hope your cat treats you with aloofness until its meal time and then meows constantly and then after its done eating goes back to aloofness. HA! 😛

      • She used to do that. But I’m now the proud owner of the best thing since sliced bread with a bit of vegemite (ew, you folks eat that?): the automatic cat feeder. She knows I don’t control the food anymore. “Human is USELESS!” she’s probably thinking. Now she leaves me alone. Winning!

      • She probably is thinking that… as well as “Hey I can look up her polka dot dress when I try and trip her over by weaving in and out of her legs when she’s walking down stairs… then I shall be the prettiest kitty in the land… meow meow meow meow” And no I actually do not like vegemite… I’m a peanut butter man. Yes this causes looks of outrage to be thrown at me from other australians. Stop making it uneven! Thats it youre getting a comment! HA! How do you like them apples? 😉

  2. the broke sensualist

    It depends on the relationship.

    A friend of mine is in a relationship and has a huge debt that she’s currently paying off; her boyfriend is debt free. They’re saving up for a house and for the next 2 years, she’s going to be putting down tons of money towards her debt so that she can also contribute towards their home. They still manage to do couple outings but she admitted to me yesterday that she can’t help but feel guilty for bringing a debt into their relationship. She feels that they would be in a house right now if it wasn’t for her past mistakes.

    While her boyfriend is very understanding about her situation and does not make her guilty for her debt, it’s a feeling that she’s still struggling with. Perhaps if she had a less understanding boyfriend, things might be different. It all depends on the person.

    • See its that feeling of guilt that sucks. Maybe thats why my friend couldnt handle being in a relationship whil head over heels in debt. If you already feel guilty for having debt, feeling guilty for paying it off must make it a nightmare. Now you have me thinking of the other side of the story… another post inspired! Wow… so many PF muses…

  3. I don’t think it’s selfish at all. As my recent divorce has proven to me, significant other’s can be expensive. I was worried about making it on my own but I’ve found that if I’m in complete control of where the money is spent, I actually am better off financially than when I had a husband. Had my ex been a saver not a spender, that might have been different. And I might still be married.

    Also, the Torchwood reference is awesome. Probably best not to let your friend know you named her after a pterodactyl.

    • Gold star! 🙂
      Sorry to hear about the divorce. I’m never quite too sure whether or not to offer congratulations or commiserations for splits like these. So commisulations. 😛

      See complete control over ones finances is the key I think. If you have control of your finances in a relationship, if youre in debt or youre the partner who’s debt free or youre both in debt, then it really doesnt matter does it. The other person will understand. I guess its just a matter of finding someone who has their finances in order. Great. So now I have to find someone smart, sexy, funny, gets my weird sense of humour, likes to read, is able to get the random pop culture references I throw out there, will be understanding of my addiction to computer games (god forbid join me!) gives great massages AND good with money… -_-
      Yeeeaaahhh I’m suuuuuuuure she exists *sarcasm overload… too much sarcasm… KA-BOOM*

  4. the broke sensualist

    True, the guilt is tough to deal with but it has helped my friend to create a budget and a debt repayment plan. She did admit that she struggled a lot with the guilt but she’s gotten over it. She’s now determined to pay off her debt ASAP so that she and her BF can buy a home sooner. Again, it depends on the situation.

    • See, I wish I could do that… but I’m a wallower… I like to roll myself in the filth and putrid effluent that is guilt, sorrow, sadness and pain. See! I’m making guilt-sorrow-sadness-pain angels! *lies in his own mental filth and makes starfish like gestures with arms and legs*

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