Debt filled or fancy free?

marriage compromise

Before I met Jon I was a non-tax paying, debt-filled, care-free individual. Investments were something grown-ups did and retirement policies were something I’d never given much thought to at all for a number of reasons, almost all of them came down to total ignorance, actually.

Once I was gainfully employed with a salary that had more than two zeros at the end of it, I figured it was time to stop posing as a Joburg yuppie and actually put my money where my mouth was, and so I signed on with a financial advisor and put together a bit of a fall-back retirement plan and a few investment portfolios (read more on how I did that here). But that wasn’t enough – because I soon found that come pay-day I would get excited with the bank clearance SMS and then five hours later get depressed with the debit order summary SMS telling me I had a few hundred Rand left for the month.

After complaining enough to Jon, he then sat me down and took me through my monthly expenses and helped me with a financial plan and budget to work towards. This helped plenty, because I suddenly became aware of where I was wasting my hard-earned money, which immediately made me think twice before throwing it against the wind on yet another pair of pumps that I really didn’t need.  Of course, bringing a baby human into the world has curbed a lot of my frivolous spending since, but I still have my moments of temptation.

Such as a most incredible deal that fell into my WhatsApp lap on Friday afternoon: a seven-day stay at a beautiful bush lodge including 14 game drives and a self-catering unit that sleeps 6, all under R10k. If we split this with friends, we could get away with a family holiday, in December, at a beautiful lodge, for a really, really incredible deal. Immediately I wanted to pay for it and secure the booking. Because we so need a break away from the norm, because we deserve nice things, because I have the money in my account right now, because it’s in December peak season and why should we stay in the city yet again, because I want it and if we compare to retail value we would never get this offer again.

Yet, my ever-sensible Jon reminds me that I’ve only just started up my consultancy, that I might have the money now but what if I have a few bad months between now and then, surely the money could go towards more responsible things. He’s right, of course he is – he generally always is. I can’t argue with his logic, or his reasons, but emotionally I just couldn’t let it go. I just feel that life is short.

We have just been rocked by the news of a friend who has passed away in the prime of his life – he lived by all of the good life’s rules; he ate right, exercised, prayed, gave back to charity, provided for his family, was nice to people – and still he died young. I don’t want to die young obviously, but I certainly don’t want to die old not having lived my life to its fullest. On my death-bed I certainly won’t look back and say “I wished I’d saved more money”. In that spirit, why not go away? Why not spend quality times in the bush with my family and teach my son about Africa and its beauty? Why not pay for it now when I can and worry about potentially not getting income in the next few months, later? Why the hell not! Life is so short, too short.

I want to live and love and embrace everything that appeals to me.

And so in situations like this we fall back on our premarital counselling where I need to come down from cloud 9 to cloud 4, Jon has to step up from cloud 1 to cloud 4, and we need to compromise to get to a place that makes us both comfortable.

It’s harder than it seems because I’m all about emotion and Jon is all about logic. Finding a balance between the two takes time, several conversations, a little bargaining, and a bit of sacrifice. In the end, we came to a fair decision that we both liked.

But I’m curious, where would you have landed in this situation?


  1. MeeA says:

    I tend to frivolously blow cash on little things, usually edible ones. But man, they can add up! David doesn’t spend frivolously but every once in a while, he’ll splurge on something bigger than I’m comfortable with.
    Most of the time, though, we discuss where our money’s going. We do a monthly financial planning session and generally more or less stick to it…

  2. Angel says:

    I’m a sucker for shiny, and new… those aisles full of crap at the tills – I’m the target market, and before I know it I’ve wasted a fortune.
    I’m a lot more hesitant about spending on big things, especially the “split with the family” kind because I have repeatedly been let down by them when I’ve already paid.
    Like Jon, my Glugs is the more careful one, especially now as we don’t have all the credit cards and accounts anymore.
    That said, it SUCKS not being able to buy anything just ‘coz, or eat out or go to tge movies, or spoil people like we used to…
    Angel recently posted…Get to @Mugg_and_Bean for #SmokyFlavours!My Profile

  3. Guy McLaren says:

    I am pretty much debt free because I don’t trust banks anymore, They have screwed me over a few times. I however also don’t trust Insewerants companies because my family got screwed by them more than once as well

Comments are closed.