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Thursday, May 19, 2011

If Only Part 2

Yesterday's post got me thinking about 2 things:
1.) Based on a few comments and emails, it seems like a lot of people around my age have some sort of debt they are working to pay off. Eric and I joked that paying off the mountain of debt was like a rite of passage. But in all seriousness, it shouldn't be. The more we talked about it, the more we realized that we, like a lot of our peers, felt some sort of weird sense of entitlement post-college. Entitlement to a lifestyle like the one we had when we were still in our parents' "nest." So we took on car payments and rent payments (in neighborhoods that were desirable and expensive) in addition to our student loan payments, and our paychecks may have covered those expenses, but we felt entitled to clothes and dinners out and movies on weekends, etc. Living in a smaller apartment or a different (cheaper) neighborhood, making the cars we had work for us, and saving up for the clothes, movies, and dinners out instead of charging them would have made our mountain into a molehill. Or maybe it would have made it disappear. Who knows? And yes, I do realize that not everyone gets into debt because they feel they need certain luxuries. Sometimes we accrue debt out of necessity-- because we have medical bills to pay or groceries to buy during a time of unemployment, or other uncontrollable circumstances. I'm talking mostly about debt I chose to take on for no other reason than I wanted certain "things" though. But there is no point in wallowing in regret and instead we go forward and let it be a lesson. Which brings me to the second thing I thought about:

2.) The movie Sliding Doors. If you haven't seen it, the essential premise follows the main character through two realities. In one, she misses her train home and takes a cab instead. In the the other, she catches the train. In one, she catches her husband in the midst of an affair. In the other, she just misses walking in on that. And while I won't tell you exactly what happens as the two realities play out, in the end, she ends up in pretty much the same place. I'm not a "fate" kind of person. But I really do think I probably would be in pretty much the same place I'm in now whether or not I would've fallen for the first credit card offer to come in the mail when I was 18. Maybe we would've made more of a down payment on our house if we didn't have to dedicate a portion of our income to paying off debt. Maybe we wouldn't have a car payment now. Maybe my student loan would be paid off already. Maybe we'd have our kitchen remodeled. Those are nice maybe's, but I'm happy with where I am now. And I'm pretty sure I'd be in pretty much the same place no matter what. A place I wouldn't trade for anything-- even erasing my "if only."

~Melody :-)

Also, if you've ever wondered what happens when you put a top rack item in the bottom rack of the dishwasher, here's what happens:


Tudor Rose said...

I think I definitely suffered that post-college-entitlement and fell into a bad financial situation for awhile. Nothing super scary, I mean I was still able to eat and pay rent, but it was stressful and overwhelming.

Now that I'm out of that place and have a bigger income and able to buy things I want, it's still a weird mental game because for so long I couldn't.

The Riggs Family said...

That's how we were. Nothing super-scary but we rented an apartment that pretty much took up one of my two paychecks each month. Not smart considering Eric was out of work for a couple of months and we had to pay all of our bills + buy gas/groceries with my other check (which is why we used the cc to go out to dinners and movies-- we felt like we still deserved them). But those little dinners and movies out added up quickly. Live and learn. We're more frugal now too even though we have a bigger income as well. I think it's growing up, not weird mental games. :-)

mama marchand said...

I COMPLETELY get what you're saying here, friend. Chris and I left our homes (where we did eat out and were treated to fun trips and such), got married and thought we'd continue living that way, regardless of our income. We were young & foolish, that's for sure.

P.S. YIKES to that bottle! WOWZA!

Tudor Rose said...

Maybe it is growing up :) I just know that now I go through a much different mental process when it comes to buying things: I look at my budget, I weigh the pros and cons, whether or not I *really* need it or if it would be wiser to wait another month.

My impulse buys has gone WAY down, but I love knowing that if I'm at the store and see something, I can open my Mint.com app and see how much I have left in that particular category budget and decide.

Okay, yeah, that sounds like being an adult, haha

Shell said...

Oh, that movie sounds really interesting!