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?