By: Revanche

Lingering side effects of Debt

May 17, 2010

Crystal of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff and Simple Life in France recently imagined their lives without debt. Having spent a full quarter of my life in the state of debt repayment, I’d like to point out some potential lingering effects you might observe after you bid adieu to your personal interest-sucking leech.

Facial tics: when people who brag about taking on unnecessary debt. As witness, Jersey Mom’s overheard conversation by the Woman Who Wants to Wear Her House.
More severe side effects may include the barely suppressed urge to slap the person in question, or a totally reasonable rage.

Ulcers: when a loved one reveals plans to embark on a fantastic unfunded business venture. Without funding. Or a business plan. Or an exit plan. Or anything except blind optimism.


Migraines: when you discover someone deep in debt or without sufficient cash flow has purchased Yet Another Gadget.

I take a few pills of Mind Yer Own Derned Business every morning now, to offset those ingrained reactions.  That and a pair of earplugs means much less stress and (verbal) slappin’ all around, at least for the people I’m not related to. 

Do these sound familiar to anyone or is it just me?

14 Responses to “Lingering side effects of Debt”

  1. Jersey Mom says:

    It’s tough to suppress the urge to knock some sense into some people. *sigh*

    A friend of mine recently told me that she’s thinking about buying a new house, as it’s a great time to buy. However, she has a house that she’ll need to sell. I completely understand that she wants a better school district for her future kids (yes, she doesn’t have kids yet) so I of course I just had to say something… yes, I know I’m a little nosy sometimes. I told her that she really should sell her current place “before” purchasing a new house therefore won’t be stuck with 2 mortgages. Hope she takes my advice.

  2. Mrs. Micah says:

    Yep, I mostly take those pills and try to stay out of it. I try to enjoy the positive moments when friends tell me they got useful info from my blog.

    Thanks for linking to the “debt boobs” post. There was much horror and then muffled laughter!

  3. Jenna says:

    Ha! I feel that way every time a friend buys a brand new car right after getting a new job. You’ve been there for a week and you think it’s worth it? Or when my friends are in a hurry to get married and end up living with one set of parents. Really? Was that worth it? I agree with Mrs. Micah, just stay out of it.

  4. As I wrote in response to a post of Budgeting in the Fun Stuff–you can’t make or help other people be frugal. I start getting chest pains when I hear of such things! I’m not kidding–I have a physical response. But I’ve learned to bite my tongue.

  5. Oh, much-needed lolz. Thanks.

  6. Matt says:

    Unfortunately there are more times than I’d like to count for when those pills would be useful (not only when it comes to the debt but life in general)

    Cute post thanks for putting the smile on my face.

  7. You all are way better than me at staying quiet. I almost always ask questions to get them thinking…sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve stayed quiet a few times (like when I don’t know them at all), but it HURTS!

  8. I’m not too good at keeping my comments to myself when it comes to loved ones.

    But if I overheard a debt boob conversation, I’d stay out of it and just shake my head (on the inside).

  9. Abigail says:

    Oh yeah. I’m not so good with the minding of my own business. Or at least the “letting it go” part.

    And I imagine, given our health conditions, I’ll be continuously enraged when people take their health and finances for granted by overspending/assuming they’ll work forever/getting into unnecessary debt.

    But I’m also very uptight. I’m working on it. I promise.

  10. I don’t say anything unless specifically asked for an opinion…But ohhhhhh, baby, do I want to do some butt-whuppin’.
    Most recent example: A couple I know has zero cash saved, a car that keeps acting up, he just got laid off, she hasn’t worked full time in years. She recently posted on Facebook how lousy a time they had at a RESTAURANT! They’re not even sure they can pay their bills and they’re going out to eat? (At a semi-swanky place, no less?) When both of them are home all day and could, you know, COOK SOMETHING???
    Another friend has three kids, trashed credit (bought way too many non-essentials back when times were good), aging vehicles, credit cards that she’s stopped paying (hence the trashed credit) and other bad debts, is regularly late on mortgage and other bills (think: their water gets turned off), has to spend many hundreds of dollars on gas per month due to a horrific commute. Yet she has a Blackberry and a text plan, and cable TV in several rooms of her home. She often gets drinks from the vending machine at work, and frequently stops for a sandwich on her way home (at a place that’s only a few blocks from her home!). From what she’s said, I guesstimate that she spends at least $10 a week ($500-plus a year) on Cokes and at least $20 a week ($1,000-plus a year) on sandwiches. You’ve got $1,500 to throw around when your WATER IS GETTING TURNED OFF??? Couldn’t you take your own drinks to work and maybe drive the extra few blocks home to MAKE a sandwich?
    Please don’t think I’m unfeeling. I’ve gone through some darned tough times myself — but that was before easy credit and a societal shift that says it’s OK to be late with bills and to charge stuff you have no way of paying off. So I ate a lot of dry beans and did without new toys and trinkets. There was no choice.
    Now, apparently, there’s a choice — and people like the ones I mentioned never stopped buying stuff until they HAD to, i.e., when the fertilizer hit the ventilator.
    But the important thing is that I’m not bitter about things that are none of my business. Well, until they MAKE it my business by complaining to me about money.

  11. @Donna, I feel your pain. I have friends in their 50’s that are missing mortgage payments and are thousands of dollars in credit card debt. BUT, they buy fifteen 12 packs of Diet Coke a month and she refuses to drink anything except that or two specific brands of bottled water. They spend 2-3 times what we do on groceries even though he is only working part-time and she’s a glorified cubicle monkey like me. SHEESH

  12. Revanche says:

    @Jersey Mom: The urge might be more honed after years of trying to do so with my own family. Perhaps I’d be less stabby if it were just an exercise in theory.

    Oy, hope your friend makes the right choice there ….

    @Mrs. Micah: You’re welcome! 🙂 That’s one drawback of going anon, no one I know benefits from my writing.

    @Jenna: Oy! The new job/new car is a classic, isn’t it?

    @Frugal Scholar: Very true, hence my pills. 🙂

    @Dogfood Provider, Matt: You’re welcome!

    @Crystal: It actually might be that we’ve just gotten burned more often, not that we’re better, just crispier!

    @aspiringminimalist: perhaps you’re blessed with more sensible relatives. That’d be nice 🙂

    @Abigail: We (I assume) take those things more to heart because we’ve BTDT.

    @Donna: Welcome! And thanks for the tweet!

    SMH at your examples. It’s just so difficult to imagine what’s going on in their heads to make those decisions.

    And if they complain to you about their money problems? Totally within your rights to smack some sense into them. Maybe not terribly effective but at least you’ll have had the satisfaction 😛

    @Crystal: LOL @ cubicle monkey. I feel the same way – WTF are you people spending when I know you make less than me? And then complaining you’re not paid enough? AUGH.

  13. Jenna says:

    @Jenna: Oy! The new job/new car is a classic, isn’t it? / No joke! I think I’ve heard it like 5 times this year already! If anyone needs a new car it’s me, because of my gas guzzler. But I’m saying “not yet” for a little while longer. But I might turn into the new house/new car combo…oh boy!

  14. These are oh so familiar…just this morning I heard my cube neighbor at work going back and forth with her husband about his spending.

    I just wanted to yell “Get a plan” and talk about this at home.

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