Furniture Or Debt?

Rachel and her husband are on Baby Step 2, and they still haven't bought furniture for their home. Should they continue plowing ahead with their debt snowball or split it between furniture and the debt?

QUESTION: Rachel in Dallas and her husband purchased a house a year and a half ago. They’re on Baby Step 2, and they still haven’t bought furniture for their home. Should they continue plowing ahead with their debt snowball or split it between furniture and the debt?

ANSWER: Would you borrow money to buy furniture? By not paying down on the debt and buying furniture before you pay down on the debt, is that not using money that would’ve reduced the debt? Is that not like going into debt to buy the furniture? I think, too, we need to say out loud that you do have furniture. It’s just not nice furniture.

I think you used the right phrase. You used the word “luxuries.” The thing about this whole deciding to get control of our lives and working the Total Money Makeover Baby Steps or working Financial Peace University or whatever it is you’re doing is learning to look at money and debt and your life through a different lens. Your life doesn’t consist of the abundance of the things you own. It’s okay to own some things, but you need to own them. You guys make a lot of money, and you’re broke. And you’re worrying about a buffet. I’m going to get the wet noodle out, and that’s about as hard as I’m going to hit you with it because I don’t think it’s going to take much. I’m not trying to guilt you into this. What I do want to challenge you to do is step back from the buffet and the emotions of that. This is what I had to learn to do when I went broke and when I started handling money different because I’m the spender at my house, in case you didn’t know. Sharon is the natural saver. God makes me teach this every day because you people are my AA group. My name is Dave, and I like stuff. I can relate to exactly where you are. I remember those exact same emotions, only it wasn’t furniture with me. It was cars. What I backed up and figured out was if I’ll live like no one else, later I’ll get to live like no one else. If I’ll have furniture like no one else, later I’ll have furniture like no one else. If I’ll drive like no one else, later I’ll be able to drive like no one else forever and ever amen. And I won’t care. The first time I went to Costco or Sam’s without spending any money, it was a victory. That was a spiritual thing with me. I had to decide I was going to pay a price to win. That’s what you’re doing.

We’re not talking about long. You make $150,000 a year. You’d better be done in 18 months. Go ahead and do the best you can do with what you’ve got. That’s like saying, “I’m not going to put on makeup just because I don’t have the right brand.” Go ahead and make it as nice as you can. You’ve got 18 months. Listen, your husband does not get this conversation because guys don’t get it. I’ve only learned to get it as a counselor. I didn’t get it as a guy. We would live under a bridge. We don’t care. You need to make your nest. Do it with what you’ve got and get your debt paid off so you can live like no one else later.

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