Happy Monday morning to you! Let’s talk money today. Money Monday—has a nice ring to it. I’m always mentioning that Steve (My Love) and I are on a strict budget, so it’s about time I tell you what led to our strict ways.
I’ll start by saying we were young and foolish. We both went to undergraduate and graduate school and we both borrowed too much money in student loans. The loans—that’s the foolish part. I think, like most, we assumed it’d be no big deal to pay back the money we borrowed. We didn't take into consideration the amount we were borrowing, the interest rate, or that repaying the loans would consume most all of our money. We all-around didn't consider any of this. We just moved through life with blinders.
After I graduated from undergraduate school, my parent PLUS loan went into repayment. I moved to Brooklyn, NY two months after graduation to start graduate school, and I didn't work, so I had to put my parent PLUS loan on forbearance. The interest continued to accrue making the loan balloon. Again, I just turned a blind eye and kept on taking out loans to pay for my education. All the while, Steve was accruing debt while making his way through a Ph.D. program. This was on top of the debt he already had from undergrad—his loans and his parent PLUS loan. Unbeknownst to us, we were digging a huge hole we were going to have to climb out of.
Steve and I aren't city people, so it was very difficult for us to live in Brooklyn. This played into our next unwise decision—unwise at that time anyway. We visited Washington, DC in April 2009, and when it came time for me to search for a job, we decided it’d be a good idea to search in the DC area. I did just that and by the end of July 2009 we were living in Maryland. I started my first real job, and Steve was in the 3rd year of his Ph.D. program and working on his dissertation. Needless to say, we moved having only 1 minuscule income.
In order to increase our income a bit, Steve began working. More money = more problems. We moved from Brooklyn to Maryland without a car because we didn't have one, nor did we need one in the city. Wait, I lied—we would've given anything to have a car in Brooklyn, but neither of us brought our car along when we moved. So, my parents very generously let us borrow their car for a few months when we first moved to Maryland. We really, really wanted cars of our own though. Sooo…you guessed it! We went and made another foolish decision. Um, 2 actually. We bought 2 BRAND NEW cars. Once we added up all of our expenses for the month we had only $200 leftover and somehow we didn't see that as a problem.
I know this may all sound so normal, but it’s not our normal anymore. We've drastically changed our ways, which I will continue to discuss in future Money Monday posts.