Wednesday, Nov 26, 2014
Dorothy Harris

No coffee on the road to financial peace

Published:

So much for that Financial Peace I spoke of last week. It looks like it’s going to be a long, austere road to travel with few stops for refreshments.

Mr. Harris declared he’s going to give the Starbucks drive-through a photo of my vehicle with “do not sell” transcribed over it. “I’m going to tell them if you aren’t using cash, no coffee for you. Oh, wait, that’s not going to work either,” he insists, knowing me far too well. “You’ll probably use your gas money to buy the coffee.”

I simply avoid his eyes and laugh, realizing we’ve been married so long he’s learned all my tricks. “What are you going to do for gas once you drink up all your gas money?” “Why, I’ll just drive your truck,” I replied sweetly. “Oh no,” he mocks, “You’ll go get that Schwinn in the backyard. We’re not going to go hungry just so you can get your coffee fix.” Is our spending plan going to be this tight? My friends, it is getting ugly around here.

Being denied the opportunity to funnel budgeted funds to provide for those little niceties in life is seriously putting a damper on my personal peace, financial or otherwise.

“I’m really sorry,” I declared. “You’ve got to remember I’ve been doing this money stuff for 20 years, mostly on my own. I’m just burned out on all of it.”

“Well, we’ve got to do something,” he declares. “We’re getting behind every month.”

“I thought you liked my behind,” I joked. “Besides, I really like living just above my means.”

“Well, you sure are good at it,” he agreed. All the one-liners aside, we both know we aren’t where we want to be and it is incredibly frustrating.

The key to the Financial Peace plan is to pay out your debt as fast as possible. We spent most of this past weekend constructing and deconstructing various plans to do so. If we are willing to live lean we could possibly pay off all debts but our home in about two years. This would mean no Starbucks, shopping, vet bills or other unexpected, but certainly likely to happen, expenses. It’s just not realistic to me.

Mr. Harris sees the prize, however, and wants to reach it as fast as possible. I, on the other hand, remember doing this twice before, and prefer to stop for lunch and coffee along the way. If we add six extra months to our plan, so be it. I just don’t want to forgo little pleasures in life. So much for me being the money nerd. Like I said, we flip flop according to where we are in the process.

Mr. Harris, the money free-spirit, seems ready to exist on rice, beans and no electricity in order to make this thing hum and get us to where we want to be now. It’s kind of like those long cross-country trips when you were a kid, when dad wouldn’t stop to let the kids use the bathroom because he wanted to make good time. My husband married a gal who prefers to stop for a restroom, buy everyone snacks and drinks, then make plans for dinner so we enjoy the journey because that’s what life is all about, right?

So, as usual, two opposites attract and sometimes create sparks. Mr. Harris is absolutely correct about our miscellaneous spending. The sooner we rein it in, the sooner we are out of debt, which is what we both really want. I just wish I could stop for coffee along the way.

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