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Try It On and Let Me See

Being married for 20 years has been the best thing that has happened to me. It has given me stability in my spending habits for one. As a young person in the military credit was a plenty. Located right outside of the military base they had anything and everything you could purchase on credit. At one time in my life, I owned a mustang, a truck, and two motorcycles. Yes, before you read that again, I owned all four at one time. I essentially ran out of stuff to buy. I had no money in a savings account anywhere, but I had things. Now, before I spend and or charge things on credit I have to check in with my wife. We hold each other accountable for spending and always sit down and plan major purchases.

I remember a few years into our marriage we had a serious falling out over spending and credit purchases. My wife would always tell me that it was on sale so she had to get it. My response was “It’s only on sale for people who have cash to buy it at that time.” She said well I did, I just charged it. I would eventually lose the arguments at that time, because, well I just did. What I mean is I knew it was wrong, but I had nothing to come back with at that time. I was young, uneducated, and unlearned in the area in finances. In addition, the words of my now late uncle Frenchie would always come up in my head. Son, to stay married for a long time, when you feel you and your wife are having intense fellowship (a very heated argument) that may lead to a disagreement, you only need to respond with, “Yes Dear.”

After taking, several finance and budgeting classes one day my wife came home from a long day of shopping. Well, I did not know that she had been shopping until I checked the trunk of the car. (there is another blog in there somewhere) Nevertheless, she had been shopping and I knew that at that time of the month we did not have any surplus funds available. My question to her was where did all of these clothes and shoes come from? She said, honey it was a sale that you would not believe if I told you. She said I know what you are going to say, “It’s only on sale for people who have cash to buy it at that time.” I said, so you basically charged it because we do not have any spending money this time of the month. She then said again, but it was way too many sales and deals to pass up. Instead of “yes dear” this time, I asked her to go and get her credit card statement from the top left drawer where she had been hiding it.

I said honey they only have sales in the middle or in between pay periods. I said there are never retail sales on the first or by monthly pay periods when you actually have cash. Do you want to know why? I said because they make more money by having you charge it, when you don’t have cash. I said let me guess, when you arrived at the cash register they asked you “will this be on your (insert department store name here) today?” I then asked her to get two of her last dresses that she purchased the prior year out of the closet and try them on. She said why, I said just do it. Try it on and let me see. She tried the dress on and while one fit snug, the other had faded in color so she no longer wore either one of them anymore. My point to her was she was running up a charge card that would have a balance far after we had paid off our home.* I said honey you can’t even fit some of those clothes anymore, yet you are still paying on them. I have to put your credit card bills in my Financial Grinder® She said “Yes Dear” The next blog in this series “That Makes Cents” -The Debt Grinder

* $5,000 credit card balance with an 18% interest rate paying only the 2% minimum monthly payment would take you approximately 46.1 years to pay off.