Author Topic: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?  (Read 9847 times)

lifejoy

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I'm in emergency debt repayment mode, and I've been budgeting for food, transportation, clothing & gifts, etc.

However, I'm finding that even when I've saved up for something (I.e. ankle boots, heh) - I feel guilty for buying it! Like I should've thrown that money at my $10,000 low-interest debt instead...

I think I'm being reasonable, financially, but mentally I'm giving myself the gears for such frivolity!

Make me feel better? :) Or face punch me for my addiction for fashion? Lol

GreenGuava

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2013, 10:06:18 PM »
How low interest is your debt?  Is it or isn't it an emergency?

lifejoy

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2013, 10:14:24 PM »
3-5% interest.

Maybe I'm in wannabe EDRM?

expatartist

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2013, 10:21:14 PM »
Good point, GG. If you've got consumer/credit card debt, fashion purchases should be on hold.

There's a great thread on here about Lady 'Staches that got me inspired. Someone on there wrote about how she only has 4 pairs of shoes, high quality, and she wears them for years! That really got me thinking, it ticks 2 boxes: consuming less, but at higher quality, and keeping life minimalistic:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/ask-a-mustachian/lady-staches/

Of course that may not be your style (literally). But it's good to feel guilty! Says the ex-catholic...

Edit: Ah ok it's student loans, saw the % after you posted. So a lower-grade debt emergency than credit cards. Well, what I do (my only debt is student loans too) is give up a budgeted expense - like dining out - for a month or two, then use that savings for frivolous, potentially guilt-inducing purchases.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2013, 01:10:48 AM by expatartist »

Justaerin

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2013, 10:24:58 PM »
Nah, it's normal (though not badass mustachianism) to relieve some pressure that way.  It's just like a strict diet, a little controlled burn will keep you on track in the long run.  Set yourself some milestones (like every $1k saved) and spend that minuscule amount you're saving away.  Even with that advice, I'd still feel guilty too... but it's better than bingeing on something ridiculous I guess... Did that make you feel better?? 

If not, here's a cat on a unicorn by a rainbow.  Also, flames and guns: http://tinyurl.com/9ebo75f

Another Reader

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2013, 10:33:39 PM »
You are NOT in emergency repayment mode if you are out buying unnecessary fashionable footwear.  Five percent is a lot more than what you would pay on a mortgage and you might or might not achieve that with investing, that is, if you were investing in something other than shoes.  If these are student loans, there is additional risk because they are not bankruptable.  In your shoes, I'd say these loans are interfering with my progress and I would bump them up in importance, definitely over ankle boots.  At 5 percent, I think I might be smelling a little smoke...

sol

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2013, 10:40:59 PM »
In my mind, as long as you have debt for anything other than appreciating assets, anything you buy beyond that required to sustain your life is just adding to your debt problem.

Would you buy those ankle boots on credit?  As long as you still have credit card debt and are buying boots instead of applying that money to the debt, buying the boots is the same as adding to your debt.

lifejoy

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #7 on: April 16, 2013, 10:59:41 PM »
All good points.

I just checked - interest rate is at 3%.

I thank Justaerin, especially, for weighing in - because I think that's where I'm at. If I don't do a little controlled spending, I'll lose my mind!

Sigh. It's hard to commit. I think the fact that my debt is 100% student loans makes me less serious about repayment. Strange psychology, that.


Thanks for the kick in the butt, though! I need it from time to time :)

Justaerin

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #8 on: April 16, 2013, 11:42:41 PM »
Yeah!  Now go kick some money ass!

happy

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #9 on: April 17, 2013, 02:54:50 AM »
Interest at 3% is a bit less of an emergency BUT if you don't pay the debt down fast you should be investing the money to earn you interest at a higher rate than 3%.

If you don't "need" the boots, then invest the money. If you "have" to spend some money go shopping on the stock market. Personally I don't  buy into the emotional thing of "I've just got to spend some money or I'll go crazy" Really? I mean really? Its just something we tell ourselves. First world problem.

Open Disclosure: I am doing a year of "no-spend on clothes". Been going since Jan 1 2013. Its actually not hard to get creative with what you have if you want a new look. All sorts of things can get re-purposed.


expatartist

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #10 on: April 17, 2013, 04:18:47 AM »
Brilliant idea on the year-long clothes fast and repurposing, happy.

A couple of weeks ago I had the urge to buy some clothes/shoes...we live just blocks from Beijing's biggest shoe/clothing/tourist market. But I held back and bought $5 of decorative 'silver' brooches and thread instead, with the idea of transforming some of the clothes that aren't quite right into something more interesting, or turn scarves/fabrics into summer tops or skirts. Still haven't done anything with the brooches yet. But I've got loads of clothes & shoes already - definitely don't need any more!

Any unwanted habit - like buying clothes/unhealthy & expensive food etc. is like quitting smoking. You've got to substitute something else for it (for me, I quit using diet coke & lots of menthol inhalers). Also a great idea mentioned above - of shopping for investments.

plainjane

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #11 on: April 17, 2013, 07:21:45 AM »
How much time between now and when you'll have that debt paid off?  How many weeks/days does that shoe purchase put between now and that day?

How much have all your splurges added between now and that day?

Only you can say whether that extra time is worth those shoes.  The main thing for me is the third question.  A pair of shoes won't do it.  It's the pattern.  If you make sure there is sufficient time between each splurge, or if you time them to be rewards at hitting a certain % or round number, then it makes a lot of sense.

Also, if you've been saving for a certain thing for a while, it gives you a better chance of hitting some sales :)

Starstuff

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #12 on: April 17, 2013, 07:26:40 AM »
Can I ask how you all would apply these ideas to buying a bike rather than boots? I still have a hefty amount of debt, and I'm struggling to put out the money to buy a decent bike. Since I'll be quitting my job and going back to school in a year, I don't want to buy anything that would require more money in it within four or five years, but I feel guilty using that money towards bike stuff rather than debt....

daverobev

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #13 on: April 17, 2013, 08:51:02 AM »
I think MMM himself allows bike purchases in emergency situations!

Just... buy a decent second hand one (check it's not stolen).

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #14 on: April 17, 2013, 08:54:20 AM »
And @OP - if you have SAVED for it, ie put a little aside each paycheque for the express purpose of buying this thing, go for it.

Just be SUPER careful you don't buy that shiny pair of boots... and feel bad AFTERWARDS. Because then, really, what's the point.

If you already have footwear (...), can you find something more meaningful than fashion to "splurge" on, like supporting local farmers. If you've never donated to charity, there is some oddball donation credit in Canada this year I believe, where you'll get a huge percentage back as a tax credit.

Alternatively, have a look at DRIPping - its a fun way of buying stocks (if you're a geek only, maybe, like me).

Villanelle

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #15 on: April 17, 2013, 09:28:07 AM »
Give yourself a frivolity budget, and stick to it unwaveringly.  Allow $30 a month for boots or Starbucks, and allow yourself to save it up if you want to make a larger purchase.  If you have a specific dollar amount, then you will likely feel less guilty and it will prevent you from letting "just one pair of boots" turn into Emelda Marco's closet.

Someone asked how long I'd apply this logic.  For me, the only debt that is ever okay is mortgage debt (on a residence or rental property).  So I'd apply emergency or near emergency budgeting until all other debt was wiped out and I had built up a savings cushion.

However, spending money to save money, as long as the math works out, is a different animal.  Buying a soild used bike can save you money in the long run, so that wouldn't be treated at all the same.  However, if I was drowning in serious debt that threatened to overwhelm me, I still wouldn't fork out much cash at all for a bike.  I'd find whatever I could on freecycle or for very, very cheap elsewhere, and ride that until my head was well above water, and then upgrade.   Saving $10/mo on gas does you little good of the $500 you spend on a bike means you can't pay your electric bill.

lifejoy

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2013, 09:35:57 AM »
I think I'm just not willing to make concessions across the board just yet.

I don't own many pairs of shoes - so new boots is not the height of frivolity, it's just not a "need". It's a want. But I'm saying no to so many other wants - and I've been working hard to do so. I also did extra tutoring to save the money for the boots, and paid for them in cash.

If I get the new job I'm applying for, I'll be debt free in about 4 months.

Haha I'm trapped between judging myself for not being a better Mustachian, and simply wanting to be able to pay for things I want because I feel like I'm working hard and should get to have some fun. Ah, life. It's hard to break old habits. Kudos to Happy! Good luck on your buying-no-clothes year. Might I suggest you host a clothing swap and refresh your wardrobe that way? I've been to three of these in the past year, and they are FANTASTIC!

Thanks for all the thoughts here! You guys always help me see both sides of a situation.

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #17 on: April 17, 2013, 09:43:43 AM »
I can't relate to buying shoes, because shoes are not my "thing." But I can relate to the idea of the "slow burn" or little changes over the long term. Going "cold turkey" often leads to bigger relapses. I've found that for me it works to set a specific budget for the things I enjoy and temporarily giving things up that I know I can go without. An example would be that I love taking yoga classes, but for now I'm just doing yoga in my home for free. I also enjoy socializing with friends, so I set aside a specific amount of money for that. Once I've run out, I don't spend any more that month on going out with friends. And if I happen to have money left over in my discretionary spending budget, it goes to my debt repayment. I can't give up all forms of things that make me happy. With yoga, I've found a way to do it for free, and with socializing with friends I've found ways to make it cheaper (eating beforehand, ordering drinks on special, only have one drink, etc...).

DoubleDown

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #18 on: April 17, 2013, 09:53:14 AM »
Give yourself a frivolity budget, and stick to it unwaveringly. 

Great advice IMO. I always feel this is the way to go. Give yourself a reasonably small and limited monthly budget for any kinds of "discretionary" purchases, that you can use for whatever frivolous reason (shoes, coffee, ski trip, ...). But stick to it, and force yourself to save it up if you want to buy something that costs more than the monthly allowance. Once you're meeting your overall savings (or debt repayment) goal -- say, 50 - 70% of your take-home pay or whatever you can manage -- then you won't have to feel any guilt about spending that monthly discretionary budget and can buy those shoes or whatever knowing that you are within your overall debt repayment goal.

But really, with debt hanging over you, then the amount of frivolity must be kept low, because it really is just like buying on credit. There will be time for more frivolous purchases, once the debt is gone and you've saved up a bunch of money.

the fixer

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #19 on: April 17, 2013, 09:56:50 AM »
Maybe you need a new hobby other than fashion? Find a cheaper way to enjoy life. If you can, you'll stop craving.

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #20 on: April 17, 2013, 11:13:13 AM »
How much time between now and when you'll have that debt paid off?  How many weeks/days does that shoe purchase put between now and that day?

How much have all your splurges added between now and that day?

Only you can say whether that extra time is worth those shoes.  The main thing for me is the third question.  A pair of shoes won't do it.  It's the pattern.  If you make sure there is sufficient time between each splurge, or if you time them to be rewards at hitting a certain % or round number, then it makes a lot of sense.

Also, if you've been saving for a certain thing for a while, it gives you a better chance of hitting some sales :)
This is what I would repeat. For me, it's about goal driven decision making.

Paying off my debt is not my goal. I'm not even especially interested in the sort of early retirement discussed here. The "fuck you money" opportunities that I'll have with $200k, $400k, $600k in savings are my goal.

I would suggest specifying your own end goals and then seeking to understand how a habit of fashion splurges will affect those goals. If you feel that the boots outweigh the compromise to your goals, then you have absolutely nothing to feel guilty about. If you're happier leaving your goals uncompromised than buying the boots, then you'll have no reason to buy the boots.

WhatMomWears

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #21 on: April 17, 2013, 11:25:55 AM »
I have a pair of ankle boots that I bought years ago. Probably close to 8, maybe more. They're comfortable and stylish. If the boots you bought (saved up for, paid with cash, bravo) make you happy and will last you a long time then release that guilt. I'm the same way, if I don't spend a little something here and there, I am miserable.

freelancerNfulltimer

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #22 on: April 17, 2013, 11:56:36 AM »
If you're interviewing for jobs, or if you have an office job, people judge you on how you look. You don't need to go overboard in the fashion arena, but you should dress professionally and invest in as nice pieces as you can afford that makes sense for your job. If it comes down to it at my work place, all things being equal they go with the better looking, better dressed person for a job. (I've overheard conversations about potential hires).

Just something to keep in mind when it comes to clothes. I've been slowly spending some (saved) money on upgrading my warddrobe so I can dress nicer at work. When I am walking around the office I want my bosses to notice I dress to impress and when I have a meeting with a client, I want them to think that I look put together.

Rollin

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #23 on: April 17, 2013, 12:40:33 PM »
I don't want to assume that you read this (it may help get you to a better place):

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/03/19/a-lifetime-of-riches-is-it-as-simple-as-a-few-habits/

It's the pattern.

lifejoy

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #24 on: April 17, 2013, 07:25:08 PM »
Ok! So I returned the boots, and am $74 closer to being debt-free :)

Fabulous input from everyone. I love how the mustachians here really help me see all sides of an issue.

In the end, I decided that I have 9 pairs of shoes (including sandals, hiking boots, and running shoes). Which is more than enough, especially when in EDRM.

Many of my friends in real life encourage me to "reward myself" etc, so it's nice to have some alternative opinions. Thanks!!

Fuzz

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2013, 08:04:48 PM »
Interesting that you feel that student loans are not quite an emergency. And honestly, at 3.5% and you can pay them off in 4 months(!), you sound like you're in great shape. At my current income, I think it will take 5 years of sacrifice to pay off my student loans. So I often catch myself thinking that 5 years is too long to go without a nice pair of speakers or whatever.

Good luck on your job prospects! I'm inspired that you returned the shoes.


lifejoy

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2013, 11:22:04 PM »
If the shoes were more practical than they were fashionable, I may have kept them.

Also, I could pay off my student loans in about 4 months if I landed a full-time gig. My current position is halftime, leaving less monies for loan-repayment. I also have a second part-time job, but it pays minimum wage.

I guess I don't always view my student loan debt as an emergency because I don't feel as guilty about it as I would consumer debt. *shrug* The mind works in mysterious ways!

expatartist

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #27 on: April 18, 2013, 12:16:55 AM »
Congrats on your Mustachianism, LibraryJoy! It was actually through you that I found MMM (via a posting you made on Penelope Trunk).

I hear you on SLoan debt being less guilt-inspiring than consumer/etc. Debt for a degree is to be avoided but beats consumer debt hands-down. My BFA may not be considered terribly valuable by some, but it's the only way to get a working visa in many places I've lived.

Bigote

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #28 on: April 18, 2013, 01:01:13 AM »
You should retitle the thread "How to stop feeling guilty about buying boots on credit" because that is what you are doing.    It may also help you realize that the guilt feeling is spot on.

Edit: just saw the post about the return.  Good on you!
« Last Edit: April 18, 2013, 01:02:55 AM by Bigote »

psychomoustache

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #29 on: April 18, 2013, 03:57:19 AM »
Hey Library
Thanks for this thread. I've totally been where you were with your boots. I can get pretty worked up over shoes (make-up, clothes etc.) too.

The Lady Stache thread was inspirational for me as well.

As far as replacing the fashion addiction with "hobbies" I can only speak for myself that this really didn't work. The issue with fashion and clothes, for me, was tied up in identity/appearance stuff, narcissism, and that whole caboodle. Ain't no hobby" going to calm that mess down... It took Time and Thinking. Again YMMV, this is just my experience.

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #30 on: April 18, 2013, 01:40:36 PM »
There's a really sweet pair of Wolverine boots I've been wanting, high-quality will last forever, but I don't NEED them right now.

Don't know if this will help, but I've been trying to channel my 'I want to buy something' energy into things that will save me money. So I'm buying a Costco membership, freezer for bigger Costco / organic farm grocery purchases, and things of that nature. So I'm spending money on things that will save money over time.

The other things I've been doing is identifying where I'm going wayy over in discretionary spending. In my case it's food. Eating out / alcohol was taking a massive portion of my budget and not helping me eat healthier either. So I'm really trying to target the parts of my budget where I'm being wasteful. For you it may be shoes, it may not. But I think identifying problem areas might be more useful.

In this case you did, because you returned the boots.

I'm one of those people that thinks about something a million times before purchasing it though. Lately I'm just thinking.. I feel I'd rather have $100 less debt than ______.

Possible exception will be some camping / hiking gear in the coming months, but right now I'm pretty happy with how it's going.



Rollin

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Re: How to stop feeling guilty while in emergency debt repayment mode?
« Reply #31 on: April 24, 2013, 02:40:33 PM »
Last year I was going out for a pint (or 2) with friends about twice a month.  This year I've gone twice all together.  I miss the buds but they can come over to sit by the pool while we sip on great local beer, but pay less than $1.50/bottle vs. $5-7/cheater pint (i.e., 14oz. vs 16oz.).  A evening with the friends usually runs about $15.  Now that will last for two months.  $180/year vs. a bit over $80/year.

Might seem inconsequential, but as I always say - it all adds up.

The other things I've been doing is identifying where I'm going wayy over in discretionary spending. In my case it's food. Eating out / alcohol was taking a massive portion of my budget and not helping me eat healthier either. So I'm really trying to target the parts of my budget where I'm being wasteful. For you it may be shoes, it may not. But I think identifying problem areas might be more useful.

In this case you did, because you returned the boots.

I'm one of those people that thinks about something a million times before purchasing it though. Lately I'm just thinking.. I feel I'd rather have $100 less debt than ______.

Possible exception will be some camping / hiking gear in the coming months, but right now I'm pretty happy with how it's going.