I was raised on strong values of frugality and thriftiness, but my husband was not. So, when we got married more than four years ago, we brought starkly differing backgrounds to the table. While I had no debt and some savings, he had a car loan with a 15 percent interest rate, student loans that were in default as well as some other bills that were in collections. In addition, I chose to move for our wedding and did not have a job, which led me to rack up some credit card debt when I used a long-term low-interest “balance transfer” to my checking account to cover bills.
Since that time we have sold the car (for a loss) and paid off the debt, and are steadily working at the student loans. The collections accounts are erased and we are working on the credit card debt slowly but surely. My parents bought our new(er) van to fit our growing family, and we are making payments every month to them (at their Money Market interest rate) rather than to a bank.
We've got an emergency savings account and plan to continue making payments on everything regularly, and increasing them when extra money comes in.
The hardest thing thus far in our marriage has been teaching my husband better methods of spending and learning how to work together on our money. It is still hard for him sometimes to wait on big purchases and to forego “wants,” but he is doing great and I’m very proud of him. My husband is going back to school and now I’m the main earner in our family, so we pinch our pennies in every way possible, including shopping at Aldi for basics and eating whatever meat is on sale, shopping at thrift shops and garage sales for most of our clothes, and walking to the store and other places whenever possible instead of driving.
A side benefit of all the walking (plus dieting) is that I’ve lost nearly 40 pounds this summer!