It sucks your soul clean. It’s exhausting, hair-pulling, and embarrassing. Debt is responsible for broken marriages and strained relationships. It can break friendships if you owe/borrow money from each other. Debt can keep you up at night worrying about which bills are the most important.
Embarrassing Debt: How to Not Let it Get You Down
I won’t go into the details of our Debt Journey right now, but you can check them out here! Today, I want to share a portion of our experience. Let me just start off by saying, I can’t believe I’m about to tell you this. But since you have been such awesome, supportive readers, I know I can let you in on our secret.
The Hubby and I lived with his parents for 10 whole months after we married because we had so much debt we couldn’t afford our own place…
It’s so embarrassing. Who moves in with their parents after they get married?
As you have noticed, we only paid $2300 on our wedding, so we didn’t go into debt because of that. It was all student loans that came out of deferment at the wrong right time.
Why might it be the right timing? It sounds pretty awful to move in with the in-laws, right? Well, if we had moved out, spent a ton on apartment costs, setting up our household and such, and then the loans came rolling in, we would have broken our contract and moved in with the parents anyway.
Why We Moved in with the Parents
We owed $94,000 when we got married. Almost $100,000 in college loans!!! (Neither of us use our specific degrees either.) Our minimum payments were around $1200-1300/month! Each month, the interest rates cost us $500! It was an outrageous and embarrassing problem.
We lived in Colorado at the time; in the Denver Metro area. The apartment situation was/is bleak. Too many people are moving to Colorado and housing is short. It is common for people to rent out their basements to make extra income and offer affordable living. So, for us, rent would be expensive anyway, even if we chose to live in a dump. We basically had a rent payment in the form of student loans! There was no way we could afford “rent” twice.
Life with the In-laws
Now, let me just say, I have amazing in-laws. It wasn’t such a big deal to live with them. It wasn’t my first choice, of course, but it was fairly easy. We did pay a rent as well: $200/month. I’m glad that they asked us for rent. I would have felt obligated to do other things to make up for the lack of payment. I didn’t feel comfortable using their space, utilities, and sometimes their food without any sort of repayment. Maybe I shouldn’t have felt that way since it was family, but I don’t like to be a moocher or feel like we are living off of someone. It was enough that we were living in their house.
Matthew loved his mother’s cooking, but without feeling like we should pay more rent, I didn’t want to be mooching off their meals. We often ate with the family, and it helped our grocery budget, but I did make an effort to meal plan and cook with Matthew.
There were certain problems, of course. We had to pack up all our wedding presents and store them. Most of my things ended up in the garage and I routinely had to search for things that I needed. We lived in a bedroom. It wasn’t big either. Somehow we stuffed a king-sized bed, bookcase, TV, desk & computer system, and a dresser in there. We also had a wall of shoe racks used black bins to hold our clothes. We had a small closet that held everything that needed to be hung and the shelves were stuffed. I also made use of the real estate on the closet floor. Regretfully, I do not have a picture of the room! Such a shame.
Some of you might just be aghast at the fact that we lived with our parents for 10 months as a newly married couple. I get it, I would have looked at you a little weird too. But here’s some of the things we learned and accomplished in those 10 months.
- We paid off $64,204.39!!!!! Seriously.
- We learned how to work through problems while living in a house where you can hear everything.
- I got to know my in-laws a lot better than I ever would have. And I think we developed a much deeper relationship because of it.
- We defined and refined our budget over and over without major consequences or other large expenses to pay.
- We learned how to work together and be a unified front. A lot of our friends and family just didn’t understand why we were so strict with ourselves and allowed ourselves to live with the parents. We had to learn how to defend our actions without feeling too
Tips for Others Who Might be in the Same Situation
I don’t pretend to be the only one who has ever had to move in with their parents or in-laws. I’m sure a lot of people have it worse than I did. (I am very thankful for my in-laws; they are truly great people.) So, if you are in the same situation, or worse, here are somethings I want to share with you:
- You are not alone
- Know that its only for the time-being, not forever
- Don’t be too embarrassed-though a little embarrassment is good for motivation! 😉
- Work hard, make sacrifices, and get out of debt as fast as you can.
- Try to get to know the family that you are staying with better than ever. Do random acts of kindness for them to show your appreciation.
- Don’t overstay your welcome.
Our parents never made any suggestions that we move out soon, or made us feel unwelcome in any way. They knew our goals, saw us working hard towards them, and encouraged us with love and support along the way. They did celebrate when we moved out… Not in a rude way, of course. And I was actually a little surprised with how excited that they were to see us leave, but they were getting a large part of their house back (and garage space.) I don’t blame them for being excited! But be sure that you are working towards your debt free goal and allowing your family to see that. They will support you if they see you working hard.
Our Debt Free Journey
I am writing this months after we moved out of our parent’s house and into our own apartment, first in Colorado, and now in Virginia. I have so many conflicting thoughts about this whole process but I’ll try to lay some of it out for you.
In our Debt Free Journey, we made many sacrifices. I would consider moving in with the parents one of those sacrifices-we gained a huge leg up on our debt repayment, but we sacrificed privacy and those first months as a married couple. When we moved out, I consider that both a sacrifice and a reward…
Let me explain. As I said above, we paid off over $64,000 in those 10 months living with the in-laws. If we had stayed until the end of the summer, we would have been able to finish paying off all of our debt. We could be debt free right now. Instead, we chose to move out. I think it was the right decision, but now we have at least another year of paying off loans until we are finished. We could have been completely done in a total of 11-12 months, now we are looking at 30 months or more.
When you are desperately trying to get out of debt, 30 months is a long time! And it’s even harder to look at when you know you could have been done already. But, as I said, it was far better for us to move out on our own. It’s just bittersweet.
I will be going more into depth about our Debt Free Journey in the future. If you follow me on Instagram, you can see my many updates of our Debt Free Puzzle. I will be adding those pictures and tiny updates on the blog in the near future!
Last word to you all, if you are attempting to become debt free, DON’T GIVE UP! You can do this.
Share some of your embarrassing debt details so we can commiserate with you! Safe places, I promise.
Debt Free Posts