Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Debt and the Single Girl

This summer I dated this guy. On paper, he was exactly what I had been praying for. 
Loves Jesus. Thoughtful. Quirky.  And he's debt free. 

My sister has been telling me for years that my debt would be a problem when it came to dating relationships. I didn't believe her. After all, I had embraced the lie that everyone has debt, that debt is normal, and that debt is even expected. 

But, it's not. My debt was a huge concern for him--and rightfully so. We didn't date long and there were other reasons it didn't work, but I'm very thankful for those couple of months this summer because it woke me up to debt's effect on my entire life--including dating relationships.

1. Being single and in debt is hard. There's no one to go over your budget, bring up issues, and hold you accountable. Find someone to be your Budget Buddy (or something a little more clever). Someone who can ask you questions, go over numbers with you, encourage you. And listen to them. There were people who tried to hold me accountable in this area before, and I shrugged off their advice. But there's such encouragement when we allow people to speak bold truth into our lives for our good...even if it hurts to hear it. 

2. Recognize debt for what it is. My friend Lauren described it to me as "tangible gluttony," and that's so true. We get into debt because we want more than we can afford and often because our desires overrule our common sense. We can get out of debt, but if our hearts don't change, we'll find ourselves right back where we started. Like with other sins, to overcome tangible gluttony, our hearts have to be transformed by the power of Christ to crave the things He wants us to crave more than we want another cardigan or tickets to a Rockets game. And it's really hard to die to our selfishness. But, it's for our good and His glory. 

3. "They" say that money is the number one reason couples get divorced. So, why would we want to carry debt into our marriages? Singlehood can be a time to focus on getting out of debt and becoming financially secure on our own. 

Any other advice or encouragement for us single girls struggling with debt? 


Mary L. Hamilton said...

So proud of you, Laura, for your honesty and determination to get out of debt. It's so freeing! When I got out of college, I worked for a year in a program similar to the Peace Corps but within the US. Lived on $300/mo. plus $50 in food stamps. Granted, that was 40 years ago, but I learned very quickly the difference between my needs and my wants. You can do this! Keep going!

Joyce said...

This is a great post, Laura. I have been debt free for many years, after raising my four children alone. My ex-husband entered our marriage with much debt, some incurred on our honeymoon. I had student loans which my mother kindly paid off. After a half dozen years of marriage we filed bankruptcy, so when I started out on my own I determined to have good credit again. I don't have much, but I a good credit score has been a blessing. The only debt I've had is two car loans which I paid off early by making double payments (they were low).

Now I find myself in a new situation, going to share an apartment with my single adult daughter. Your post is good for helping me think this through, managing household finances with another single person.

Hope you've found success in paying yours off, or down at least. I agree, debt does not have to be normal. Sometimes it can't be helped, but getting out as quickly as possible makes sense to me. Thanks for helping me think this through.