Laptop dilemma

Lisa and her husband have just started Dave's plan. Previously, they told their nephews they would buy them laptop computers for college. Now, this would mean postponing the Baby Steps or taking on more debt. Dave sets them straight, and reminds Lisa it's difficult to be generous when you're broke.

QUESTION: Lisa and her husband have decided to get control of their finances, and have just started Baby Step 1 of Dave’s plan. Before this, they told their nephews they would buy them laptop computers for college. To honor this commitment now, they would have to postpone beginning work on their starter emergency fund or take on more debt. Lisa asks Dave what they should do.

ANSWER: It’s difficult to be generous when you’re broke. You don’t even have $1,000 to your names, and you’re going to buy two laptops? I don’t know what your household income is, but I do know neither of you have managed your money very well.

If you make $40,000 a year, and you have $50,000 in debt, you should apologize, tell them you just don’t have the money, and bow out. If you make $250,000 a year, but you’ve been incredibly silly and lazy with your money, you should buy the laptops and then get your tails in gear when it comes to getting control of your finances.

Don’t make promises, financial or otherwise, you can’t keep.