When my husband and I said, "I do" I had a healthy cornicopia of debt. Car loan, student loan, a couple of credit cards; nothing out of control, but debt nonetheless. My husband had none. Yes, I said none. Zero. Zip. Nada!
We grew up with completely different spending examples. My parents were consumers. They would buy now and pay later. My in-laws did not believe in debt. Yes, they had had a mortgage once upon a time, but those days had long passed.
The merging of our finances was an exercise in education. I learned to avoid debt. From that day on, I have never purchased something (other than a house or car) that required taking on debt. If we want something, we save up first and then buy it. It was tough at first, but now it is a way of life.
Believe it or not, my husband had a thing or two to learn about money as well. First of all, I taught him that debt was not necessarily evil, as long as you are careful. He had never opened any kind of credit card, so he had a very low credit score. It took a little bit of work to fix that. The second lesson I taught him was to buy quality. I don't mean "top of the line" but I do mean buying reliable, quality stuff (especially when shopping for appliances). After the washing machine he had purchased before we married walked out the garage door under its own power mere days after its warrenty expired, I didn't have to make that argument again.
We just celebrated our 10th anniversary. We still have a mortgage and a car loan. We also have several credit cards that we pay off monthly (love those rewards cards). We have 529's for both of our kids and we are saving for our retirement. When we need to buy something, we do our homework and buy the least expensive one that has all the features and quality we need (and sometimes just a little more). Life is good.
Have you paid off your debt? Managed to save for your dream home? Had an awesome investment pan out? Share your personal finance success stories here.
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