Somewhere along the line, my wife took over the finances. I’m not sure when it happened exactly; it used to be entirely my responsibility. Currently, she brings in more than 3 times what I do (thank you economy for setting back my paycheck 5 years), and I feel with that kind of earning power, she is entitled to pay the bills, etc. Unfortunately, my wife has no appreciation whatsoever for interest rates. If I notice a bill with an absurd interest rate, I know it is in my best interest to pay that mother off with a quickness; my wife seems content to pay slightly above the minimum payment and go about her merry way. This is a bad idea. Knowing how much money we make on an annual basis, I figured we would be by this point in time, if not entirely debt-free, very close to it (excluding the house payment). I noticed 2 days ago that we still owe a furniture store more than 4,000 dollars for a pair of table and chair sets we purchased over 2 years ago. I thought this bill would have been paid off more than 6 months ago, but shame on me for making assumptions. I don’t have all the bills in front of me, but I’m sure the total debt we owe on credit cards and their equivalents is, in a word, unacceptable. My wife has made it clear that she has no intention of reducing the amount of money she spends. She feels she works hard for the money, and has the privilege of spending it as she sees fit. She is of course wrong, and we need to get these bills paid off. Once again, it is up to me to take one for the team, and to lead by example, so here are the rules I have laid forth for myself, and hopefully with the powers of guilt and shame, my wife will begin to abide by the rules too. As mentioned in the post title, not only do I hope to reduce debt, but also to lose those 35 pounds I’ve managed to put on these past few years. So here are the ground rules.
1. Don’t go out to eat. This one seems like a no-brainer and is a surefire way to save money and reduce calories.
2. Don’t eat after 6 pm. We typically eat dinner around 4:30 because of our schedules, so this one should be easy to adhere to. No point in taking in calories you can’t burn off before bed.
3. No soda, no fried food, no candy/cake/icecream, ever. Let’s face it, there is no good reason to eat any of this stuff.
4. I’m giving myself $10 dollars a week to spend on frivolous things. Hopefully my only non-bill expenses will be gas, groceries, and the extra $10. I bought a magazine yesterday for 7 dollars, and that 3 dollars in my wallet looks mighty lonely.
5. Don’t eat anything with high-fructose corn syrup. My Dad believes this is the major cause of the obesity epidemic, and I believe him. We’ve been eating sugar for generations, but only eating corn syrup for the last 30 or so years. Something is amiss.
6. Talk to my creditors and get those assholes to lower my interest rates. Again, a no-brainer.
7. Only consume alcoholic beverages on the weekend, and limit myself to 6 beverages for the weekend. Alcohol, particularly beer, is majestic and praiseworthy, and according to Benjamin Frankilin, “is proof that God loves us.” However, it is also empty calories, and even though it is delicious, I do always feel kind of pathetic drinking by myself on a Tuesday. And it is ridiculously over-priced if you got to a bar, so it’s a money saver too.
8. Lastly, no caffeine after 10 am. Screw you afternoon Starbucks runs to get a $4 coffee. If I don’t make my own coffee that day, I will exclusively get mine from the 7-11 on my way to work. I cannot endorse 7-11 coffee enough; it only costs $1 to refill your own cup, and it tastes great. Accordingly, coffee will come out of my $10 allowance, so hopefully I haven’t spent it all if I’m running late on a Thursday or Friday.
9. Write down every expense/purchase I make and track where the money goes so I can eliminate wastful spending.
So there’s the plan. I estimate that I should be debt-free and skinny after 6-8 months, which will make turning 30 next year not sting as much. We’ll see.