Debt-Free Relationships

piggy bankNo one talks about their money issues when dating. Everyone’s preoccupied with How Do I Know If He Likes Me? And when it comes to online dating, we’ve all seen profiles with income level highlighted on them but I’ve yet to see the same money brackets listed with you checking off the amount of debt you own. And there’s a reason for that, no one wants to talk about their money problems in today’s recession, online daters just want to snatch a date. But that changes when you enter a relationship, the topic of finances cannot be ignored. When you’re making out your dream guy/girl dating criteria, I can’t help but wonder, “Will dating someone who’s debt-free mean funds in the bank of love?

As my boyfriend and I celebrate 6 months together this month; we reached a point a few weeks ago when we entered the “I don’t have any money, you’re gonna have to pay for the movie if you wanna go so bad” talk. My own personal finances were killing me and that put a strain on the relationship. As supporting as my boyfriend was (buying me a metro card here and there, providing me lunch more times that I can count–those small or HUGE favors were actually bringing his own finances down, cause I can eat a mean lunch, just saying! What were two Mexicans with no financial savvy to do? We did what any normal Gay couple would do, we turned to my ex.

My ex is a financial guru who works on Wall Street and took one look at our finances and set us straight–no pun intended. After he worked out our budgets, and wiggled some money around and looked deep inside our “debt zone” he showed us the light at the end of the tunnel, no it wasn’t a disco ball! He gave us a weekly breakdown of what needed to be paid and how much we needed to put away into savings. The ex was always into saving money which explains why his savings account wasn’t just an account with a $0 balance, like two Mexicans I know. Don’t judge.

Today, I’m one payment away from paying off my credit card in full and my boyfriend is only 1 month away from paying off his own $2,500 credit debt. We’re not deprived, yet we’re on a strict budget–no wiggle room–but we’re both sleeping better at night because it gave us back a sense of security. Having no money while dating someone isn’t sexy, there’s no way around it and no matter how much you love someone or how much they mean to you, it’s a struggle when one person carries the financial burden on their shoulders. We’ve all heard that money problems are divorce-related issues, but no one ever made the connection to the dating crowd.

Having someone else look at your debt and see the numbers in order to crunch them to help restructure your finances will improve your way of life and it can quickly turn around your dating game. As for us, we’re two Mexicans working together to reach our individual goals. So as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough get in touch with someone who can save their brown butts. Ah, financial freedom, feels and smells good.

Has money ever been an issue when you’re dating? Men, are you expected to always pay? Ladies, how do you approach the check when it comes? Leave a comment and let’s discuss.

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11 thoughts on “Debt-Free Relationships

  • August 5, 2010 at 8:17 pm
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    Oh man, this hit home. I am nearly debt-free myself, and would be 100% debt-free if it weren’t for my EX!!!

    Because we were married, his debt became my debt. And I took out some loans while we were married to pay off some of his debt. God, big mistake.

    If I am ever in another partnership, I won’t combine our finances because it really bit me in the ass last time.

    Going to see a financial advisor is a great idea. Some people just don’t know what to do or where to start to get their finances in order. It is daunting, that is for sure.

    Keep it up, Nando – just one more payment! You will feel so liberated! I pay off my CC balance every month so I don’t have to worry about it. And I HATE being charged extra fees for carrying a balance.

    Great post, my friend. 🙂
    .-= singlegirlie´s last blog ..The Teeniest Weenie of All Time =-.

    Reply
    • August 10, 2010 at 11:38 am
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      you know, another plus into working together (but this is after you’re in a relationship) is that it brings you closer–if you allow it to. For us–we see it as an exclusive “Mexican’s Only” poor club–and we’re keeping our eye on the prize! To be debt-free and works towards a common goal.

      It’s brought us closer.

      Reply
  • August 10, 2010 at 5:58 am
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    YES! YES! YAS! Definitely a few months in, financial talk does come about. The “I just paid the mortgage so do u want me to make u some mac and cheese tonight?” Yah, I responded with a huge smile…I LOVE mac and cheese. It’s very important to keep your financial house in order when dating esp. when one takes on more of the financial burden. It’s also important for both partners to be realistic,practical, reasonable and remember why you’re with the person. Money DEF comes and goes. And you cope and adapt. A good guy is priceless.

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    • August 10, 2010 at 11:39 am
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      It’s a must, yeah. Cause eventually–all those nights out and credit card bills start pilling up and then what? Then you’ll be looking crazy like–WTF?

      So how do you think one should go about bringing this topic up? And how serious does the relationship have to be? I know, it’s so unsexy–but the conversation needs to be brought up–right?

      Reply
      • August 18, 2010 at 5:49 pm
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        I don’t think it has to necessarily be “brought up” as huge formality, this is part of free flowing communication. If your bf’s funds are getting low and he needs to cut back your relationship should be honest enough so that he feels comfy saying hey babe uhhhh maybe we need to use that 2 for 1 coupon tonite. The discussion could only practically happen after a few months after ur resources have been drained from wining dining and winning over your partner…and by then you’re knee deep in all the sappy lovey dove stuff that you’ll let a 2 for one coupon at five guys fly. (maybe hehehehehe)
        .-= Dash´s last blog ..“Only about 3 percent of the 4-000 mammal species are monogamous and Homo sapiens isn’t one of them” =-.

        Reply
  • August 10, 2010 at 11:54 am
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    This was a great post, and something that people seem to be more uncomfortable talking about than the number of people they’ve slept with. A few months into my relationship (with my now husband) he wondered outloud why I didn’t have more cash on hand when I was making a decent salary. I had to come clean and confess my outstanding student loan / credit cards that were eating my disposable income alive. I was so nervous about the conversation but he confessed that he’d been there not too many years before and gave me good suggestions on how to fix it faster. This is one of those talks you dread but will make you SO much closer as a couple.

    Reply
    • August 10, 2010 at 1:38 pm
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      That’s the same thing i did with my beau–I was like–where is your money?
      And he still doesn’t know! But now–this just happened this morning,
      He was firing off his weekly budget and his spending amount.

      I was so proud of him. And since we ate both doing our individual budgets–because we are together–it affects us both.

      Wanna share some debt-free secrets? What’s one thing you’re applying now?

      Reply
  • August 10, 2010 at 1:33 pm
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    We keep our finances separate except for a single, joint account we use for paying the mortgage and other joint bills.

    Keeping separate finances means we don’t argue about how we spend our money. We also worked hard to eliminate our debts and now we only have a mortgage left to pay off.

    Being upfront about our financial situation and both of us committing to becoming debt-free were the best things we could have done for our relationship, in my opinion.

    We’ve been together seven years and we’re still going strong.

    Reply
  • January 23, 2011 at 5:48 pm
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    This is very near and dear to my heart. The idea of credit score and amount of debt always has had implications for me in my long-term relationships. Whenever I’ve allowed myself to entertain the idea of possible marriage, I also acknowledge that the other person’s financial history will merge with and impact mine. Of course, the inverse is also true. I’ve worked hard my whole life to keep a close watch on that sort of thing (my parents have always been very fiscally conscious people), so I have to say that bad credit or mountains of debt would probably be a deal breaker for me in terms of wedded bliss. (Which doesn’t mean I wouldn’t still date someone.) Call it cold. I call it practical. (Do I get any points for the fact that Suze Orman would totally back me up?) That’s far more important to me than having spare money for lavish dates. I honestly am the sorta gal who can make due with a cheap or free date (picnics in Central and/or Bryan Park anyone? I’ve had ’em and they’re usually pretty great!) Which leads me to the whole paying for the date issue…

    …I am by no means a traditionalist when it comes to male/female roles. I was always taught that while it’s certainly nice for a guy to pay, it’s unacceptable to always expect that. Because money issues can be so uncomfortable in the initial stages of dating, I always ALWAYS offer to pay (at least go dutch) and actually pull my wallet out so that the guy knows I’m not just saying it to be polite. I’ll make good on the offer for sure. I’ve found that the whole keeping it even thing is always a safe bet, whether it’s early on or later in the relationship when things are more comfortable. If a guy pays for the first date, I try to ALWAYS pay for the next. (I did have a super uncomfortable situation with a guy once where on our second date, I asked him if he wanted to go to a restaurant that I had chosen and said I would pay. His response? “Well, yeah. You should. I paid last time and this is you asking me out on a date.” Talk about unclassy and awkward! ) Anywho – a relationship is a partnership, and I think it’s only fair to share the financial burden of dating no matter what stage you’re in. I think the conversations just get easier the longer you’re together. In my last long-term relationship, we would discuss it before we even went out. “Where are we going? Should I stop and get cash?”

    I have to say – being single yet again, I’m not looking forward to this aspect of dating yet another time around. It’s enough stress to make me want to stay single forever!

    Reply

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