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The Money Diaries: The 20-something coupon-clipper

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Today is another post in the Money Diaries series, which is based off New York Magazine’s Sex Diaries. We’ve collected stories from real people about their spending habits over seven days, anonymized them, and posted them here.

clipping coupons

Today’s post is by a 26-year-old who works in television and is engaged to a guy without a job (and a wedding looming). Notice how her costs are extremely low and she’s very conscious about her spending…but is she missing the bigger picture? Let me know in the comments.

* * *

Day 1
10 a.m.: It’s Monday and I just made it to work. My fiancé, T., has recently moved to my area and really needs a job. Unfortunately he just dropped out of school for two reasons: 1) We were four hours apart and 2) The profession he originally wanted to go into — culinary arts — would mean we wouldn’t see each other much.
1:01 p.m.: Drive home to heat up leftovers of pineapple marinated pork and au gratin potatoes. The really beautiful thing about being engaged to a culinary school dropout is that he can cook. T. and I fiddle with some electronic equipment so I can get a work task done.
7:13 p.m.: Get home from work. T. and I cuddle in bed for a while. He makes pork and mushroom dumplings and steams rice for dinner. The meal probably cost about 25 cents per serving. Not too bad for a couple on a budget.
10:47 p.m.: We start watching “Smart People,” starring Sarah Jessica Parker and Dennis Quaid. I fall asleep soon after the movie starts. I’m pretty sure T. played Halo 3 well into the night…Total daily spending: $0.

Day 2
9:51 a.m.: Get to work early and eat strawberry whipped yogurt from Aldi’s (49 cents) While I’m eating, I check my accounts online… 401k is in the tanker, but am I really surprised? (Right now my vested total is $3,200, which is much less than I contributed.) $779.23 in my checking account; $4,252.07 in my online savings with 3% interest; $452 in my Ameritrade account I opened only because it was part of Suze Orman’s Save Yourself plan, which offers $100 if you deposit $50 into the account for one year. Not a bad return.
10:30 a.m.: Peruse over daily newspaper and notice a few jobs T. might be interested in. Long story short, we met four months ago when we were both in a mutual friend’s wedding. Six weeks later we got engaged. My dad still doesn’t know about it because he hasn’t been answering his phone. T. was going to school in a city four hours away, but quit and moved in with me last month. He is now looking for work. I am terrified that he’s going to have a very difficult time, as he now has looming (huge) student loan payments and no degree. He really needs to find a job.
11:15 a.m.: Call a few moving companies. T. and I are moving to a condo less than a mile from where we live now. Rent is $700 for a 680-squre-foot one-bedroom, plus the third month is totally free. I’m quoted $260 for a two-hour move, and the movers provide wardrobe boxes. Not too bad. Another place I called charged $120 an hour, plus an hour charge alone for travel time!
12 p.m.: Check the county web site to find out requirements for getting a marriage license. T. and I want to get married at the courthouse to wed as soon as possible. Apparently it costs $93 for the license and $30 to have a deputy clerk perform a ceremony after a three-day waiting period. Much cheaper than an actual wedding! My mom still has no idea we are planning to elope.
1:47 p.m.: T. picks me up and we go for lunch at a nice steakhouse. We get calamari, prime rib, steak, and sodas for $24.60 including tip. How, you ask? I bought a $25 certificate at Restaurant.com for $2. We saved about 50% and got a luxury meal. I confess, I do eat out with coupons. We are trying not to eat out as much, but if we do it at a discount it’s a little less of a blow.
2:15 p.m.: Talk to T. about getting married, and possible moving and wedding dates. This stuff really stresses me out, and I hate paperwork!
3 p.m.: When I return to work I discover my purchase of a 53-piece flatware set has arrived. I paid $19.99 for it.
4:24 p.m.: Check credit card statement. So far I’ve charged $139.76 worth of items including groceries, Body Shop toner and a facial mask, a prescription for acne medication, that flatware set, and a new 2009 Entertainment book. I’m trying to cut down on spending…However, I just charged $544 for my auto insurance six-month premium and my card is automatically billed for my cell phone plan. That should be about $80. Yikes! If I don’t charge anything until my next statement, the balance will still be at least $763. I’m really hoping visiting my parents for Thanksgiving won’t be too expensive. Luckily, I used credit card rewards points to purchase my flight and already paid for the rental car. Total daily spending: $24.60 (lunch at steakhouse).

Day 3
9:49 a.m.: Get to work. T. and I had a fight last night stemming from his getting friendly with my roommate, who I’m not on good terms with. Neither of us slept very well and I barely spoke to him. I’ve decided that I’m not going home for lunch to see him. Instead, I’ll run errands!
9:55 a.m.: Re-checked credit card statement… Forgot that T. and I ordered our wedding rings and my card’s been dinged for one of them already. It’s $39.99 off Amazon.com. So much for keeping the bill under $800…
11:04 a.m.: Chat with coworkers about weddings. One woman says wedding planning is the most stressful thing you can ever do. Another agrees with me on a courthouse wedding. In fact, she wanted to do it over Christmas, but since her boyfriend’s family couldn’t come — nixed the idea. Apparently her sister was able to do a wedding with 425 guests for $4,500. That’s amazing!
12:30 p.m.: Get Body Shop facial products and my wedding ring in the mail. The band pretty closely matches my engagement ring and fits perfectly. All for under 40 bucks. Not too bad.
1:56 p.m.: At Target. A few weeks back I received coupons for up to $30 in gift cards if I 1) transfer or bring in a new prescription and have it filled and 2) join Target’s Pharmacy Rewards program (must have Target’s credit card). Did that and walked out with my $9 prescription (paid for with my Health Savings Account card), $30 gift card and a $2.68 hot dog and drink combo. Is it bad that I eat lunch at the Target snack shop?
2:10 p.m.: Text from T. He has a job interview as a cook  at a nursing home. Good news: full time, with benefits. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. It’s been a difficult and stressful month.
7:12 p.m.: Arrive home to roses on the nightstand and a leg of lamb in the oven. T. is trying to get back on my good side with a home cooked meal and flowers! Okay… It works. Total daily spending: $51.67 (wedding ring, prescription, hot dog and soda) T.’s spending: About $30 ($20 lamb, sack of potatoes, roses from grocery store).

Day 4
10:02 a.m.: Drive to work (late) while eating a hot dog and chugging a can of Aldi’s GT Cola.
11:37 a.m.: My 2009 Entertainment book has arrived! I can’t help but look at all the great coupons in there. I see at least five restaurants that we can definitely go to in the near future. The $20 investment is well worth it.
2:15 p.m.: Our photographer brings me two desserts from a shoot. (I work at a TV station.) I drive home quickly and eat banana creme brulee with T., then stick a berry crepe thing in the fridge.
4 p.m.: Stop to fill up my Toyota Matrix after a meeting across the street from my office. Gas is $1.95 a gallon, and my total is only $20.56!!!
10:21 p.m.: Just got home from the Media Battle of the Bands event. My coworker’s wife was singing in one of the bands. There was free sushi there so I definitely took advantage. T. had a couple drinks. Spent $20 on cover, $6 for parking, and T. spent about $15 on drinks. We don’t do this very often. Total spending: $81.56 (Entertainment book, gas, going out) Dinner was free, though.

Day 5
8:46 a.m.: Wake up and immediately check my bank account activity online. It’s payday so there is now close to $2,000 in my account.
9:30 a.m.: I feel guilty about spending so much money last night. Not to mention the fact that we went out for lunch the other day on top of that. I’m really hungry and I brought another dessert to eat from yesterday’s shoot but it’s terrible so I throw it out.
1:55 p.m.: T. found out that they hired someone else for the cook position before looking at his resume. The receptionist told him that the guy who got the job was unqualified and that T. should have gotten hired. I’m really disappointed to hear that, because that would have been a good solution for T. He loves talking to elderly people and making food, so I’m sad. His cooking really is amazing. This is very scary. We need to get married soon so T. can be put on my health insurance plan through work. That doesn’t sound romantic at all, but it’s what we have to do.
2:03 p.m.: Tears well up in my eyes, but I really don’t want to cry in the office. Thank God no one else is around.
2:05 p.m.: Still hungry, but will wait to eat until I get home later.
3:19 p.m.: Go home for lunch. Make a lamb leftover sandwich and chat with T. We agree to have a “no spending” weekend of more leftovers and job-hunting for him. Our plans include Target so he can apply for seasonal work.
4:45 p.m.: T. went over to a swanky bar & restaurant club and they’re interested in having him work in the sushi room. He has worked in a sushi place before, so let’s see what happens…Total daily spending: $0.

Day 6
8:35 p.m.: Have not left the house except to check the mail and find soda left in my car. I’ve had a craving for it all day. We had leftovers for lunch (I think we’re going to have that leg of lamb until we leave for Buffalo.)
9 p.m.: Break down and buy a night guard for my teeth and replacement toothbrush heads on Amazon.com. T. says I grind my teeth really hard. That’s probably why I had a cavity a few months ago. So I realized that the cost of getting a bite plane far outweighs the disaster of having my tooth enamel ground away. Total daily spending: $32

Day 7
11:09 a.m.: Just returned home from CVS’ing while T. is sleeping. He needed more contact solution and I saw the online ad and had to go. With the Extra Care Bucks rewards program, it was FREE. I also got a few other free items: deodorant, soda, Q-Tips, and make-up. Most of the items were free after ECB’s. That means you pay for the items, and get the amount back in Extra Care bucks, which you can spend on on ANYTHING in the store at another time. It’s a great way to rack up free toiletries. My total was $55.78. However, I got $47.95 in ECB’s. That’s my best day yet doing this. I’m not nearly as good as some of the Super Moms, but I’m getting there! I also saw a coupon for a $25 CVS gift card with a transferred prescription. Perfect! (Since I just transferred my prescription to Target, I’ll transfer it back to CVS and get $25 more in free gift cards)
3:13 p.m.: T. and I spend a few hours fishing off an old bridge this fine Sunday afternoon. Spending time with him is priceless, and in this case, doesn’t cost a penny. It makes me think about how the simple things in life really are the most rewarding. Total daily spending: $55.78 (but got $47.95 back to spend).

In sum:
Total weekly spending: $245.61 – $60 in very unusual expenses (wedding ring, night guard) – about $75 in eating/drinking out. Because my fiancee does not have a job, we should not be spending money on that right now and I feel guilty. Most of the expenses were necessary though (gas, groceries, toiletries). However, out of the deal I got $30 in Target gift cards and close to $50 to use at CVS so I’m not doing as bad as I thought. This was a very valuable experience for me, as I got to see where I can cut back and be a smarter consumer.

* * *

Brad-PittBook

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88 Comments on "The Money Diaries: The 20-something coupon-clipper"

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JimE
JimE
7 years 1 month ago

Retirement savings, talks to SO about money, lots of work on the little details, all thats missing was the big meeting in the middle of the week about future plans. I’d say move along people nothing to see here.
My one comment if any, do alot of reading about the restaurant business, its harsh. With a Cook for a hubby I wouldn’t be surprised if they go down this road once in the future. Just be prepared.

Tina B
Tina B
7 years 1 month ago

I would say getting married to an unemployed, school drop out is a disaster waiting to happen, financially and personally. Not to mention the fact that they barely know each other. Sad story, makes me feel like crying….

Gnimsh
7 years 1 month ago

This 20 something’s fiancee sounds like a real winner. Dropout, no job… and engaged and eloping after 4 months!?! I hope things work out for them, but it doesn’t sound like the best plan…

hollyhk
hollyhk
7 years 1 month ago

I’m going to echo that this sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. You met 4 months ago and he decided to drop out of school and give up on his studies? What was he planning on doing before then – never have a relationship because he’d be too busy? This just doesn’t sound very good. I hope everything works out for you two, though.

Moneymonk
7 years 1 month ago

“we met four months ago when we were both in a mutual friend’s wedding. Six weeks later we got engaged”

blank stare

Neha
7 years 1 month ago

I think they need to eat more vegetables.

Kimberly
Kimberly
7 years 1 month ago

As someone who in my very early twenties rushed into marriage with an unemployed college drop out, and as someone who is now getting divorced from said unemployed college drop out, I would advise her to RUN FAR AWAY.

Or, at the very least, slow down the pace of the relationship considerably and see how it pans out. There shouldn’t be a rush to spend the rest of your life with someone.

JT
JT
7 years 1 month ago
Getting married and who you marry is such a personal decision that I don’t really want to judge based on this post alone. However I will say that you haven’t planned for (since it seems you got engaged really fast) so why not wait a year or two until fiance gets a job and gets settled, and you both have a chance to save some $$ for the wedding/honeymoon? You are already living together so I fail to see what the big rush is. I understand you want to eloupe but there are still expenses and I keep reading “Oh,… Read more »
Kimmoy
7 years 1 month ago

I must admit that she is pretty savvy when it comes to the coupons and is lucky to be dating to someone that’s great at cooking. However, what is the rush to get married especially when you’ve only known each other for a few short months?

Also, can he use his culinary skills to start a catering business or something similar? He needs a job or some way of bringing in income (i.e. side business) if he plans to provide for a family as a husband. Good luck!

Chad
Chad
7 years 1 month ago

Sounds like another one of those New Yorkers who is too “clever” for her own good. For example, she proudly declares

The meal probably cost about 25 cents per serving.

Does she have a garden in her 400 sq ft New York City Studio ??

Even if you cook, vegetables and other ingredients don’t magically appear on your table for free, unless you are stealing from your kitchen 😉

Holly Hoffman
7 years 1 month ago

He doesn’t need to be looking for a job – he needs to be back in school! Without a degree, he’ll always be looking for a job and spending your money, girl.

Getting married on the cheap = great. Getting married to a guy without a job or a degree + your parents not knowing = NOT SMART.

James
James
7 years 1 month ago
Hey guys, instead of judging their love life, how about their finances? She seems like she’s got a decent income, and long term, it will be difficult to support two people on it. He IS looking for a job, and with some on-the-job experience and a culinary school education, he could be head chef someday, and that’s nothing to sneeze at. She’s conscious of her spending and working to find any kinds of deals she can. I think the courthouse wedding is great, finance-wise. If they’re happy with it, more power to them. She should look into researching that car… Read more »
Courtney
Courtney
7 years 1 month ago
go back to school!! Seriously, dropping out is the worst thing you can do.. most jobs don’t care what kind of degree you have, it is just the fact that you were disciplined and smart enough to complete it in the first place that shows you can be a good employee. I realize that he needs her health insurance, but what is the rush? This bugs me about everyone I know who stresses out about planning a wedding and being in college or trying to find a job, etc. If you are truly in love and want to be together… Read more »
Rt
Rt
7 years 1 month ago

“Is it bad that I eat lunch at the Target snack shop?”

For your health…yes.

Lisa
7 years 1 month ago
Stop. Please don’t get married to someone with debilitating debt. If you’re really in love, and if it’s really meant to last, you can wait until he has a solid job, has significant savings and is well on his way to paying down his debt. Why does this woman think she is responsible for her fiance’s health insurance? I doubt that as many men would think it their responsibility and choose to get married because of this. This guy needs to take serious action towards getting a job, earning money and paying down his debt. If he doesn’t, this woman… Read more »
GloriaWandrous
GloriaWandrous
7 years 1 month ago
Everything sounds WAY too extreme. Money and Marriage are 2 matters that deserve deliberation. Slashing spending is good, but is this a change that you will be able to handle for the long term? Why is she trying to keep costs so low? Saving? Retirement Account? Too much rent? That would be useful to know why she is forcing herself to stay in on weekends and buy a $30 wedding ring. If she is scrimping to offset the cost of an unemployed boyfriend, well, that will get old real fast. And I hate be part of the rain-on-the-parade gang, but… Read more »
Jess
Jess
7 years 1 month ago
This si going to sounds extremely pessimistisc but, why the rush on getting married? T hasn’t shown to be a true partner in this relationship yet as far as I can see. Everyone gets down on their luck, totally understandable, but let him find a job so he can get health insurance… that’s not a reason to get married! (Was there a reason he didn’t land a job before he came out?) And while it’s very romantic that he quit school and work “for her”, I’m hoping that they have some sort of foundation to build from. Even the best… Read more »
CentsInTheCity
7 years 1 month ago
Overall I think on her own, she is a very responsible spender. If her fiancé can get a job, I think financially they’ll be ok. Meeting and getting married in a 6 month time period is her own business, however, I don’t think it’s a good idea to drop out of school just to go move in with someone…especially if it’s a new relationship. Yes 4 hours is a bit of distance, but it’s not impossible to maintain a long distance relationship. In the long run it would be best for their finances for her fiancé to finish school. Why… Read more »
Lesley Denford
7 years 1 month ago

Dear 20-something coupon clipper,
Please do not rush to get married right now. I fully agree with everyone else’s comments about waiting until careers and finances are more stable. Health insurance is important (and I understand wanting to marry to get better/more benefits) but it is not a reason to marry someone! Eek.
Just looking out for your best interests,
Lesley.

Kuhle Kitchen
7 years 1 month ago

I think she focuses way too much on the “value” of coupons and totally misses the fact that she is still spending money that she didn’t need to spend. $25 eating out, even with a nice coupon, is still $25 eating out.

Do not use coupons for anything that you would not purchase otherwise. The whole marketing “gimmick” behind coupons is exactly what she has fallen for.

Stephen T
Stephen T
7 years 1 month ago

Sounds like she should be budgeting more so she can qualify what should constitute as guilt free spending. The online savings account can be subdivided into however many categories she wants. A little more automation might make the odd evening out not seem like so big a deal.

lbg
lbg
7 years 1 month ago

maybe I’m stating the obvious, but I don’t think she has money problems.

I think her fiance has money problems and she’s about to make his problems her problems.

Bad move.

Justin
Justin
7 years 1 month ago
My first thought is “how much time does finding those $25 gift cards, credits, etc. and taking advantage of them take her?” She’s good at keeping monetary costs low, but certainly her time is worth something too, no? (Not to mention the gas involved in running around.) It’s weird to me that she’s OK/happy with paying someone $260 to move her stuff less than a mile, but will go to extremes to save $30 at CVS. Granted, I don’t know if she or T have friends who could help them move in exchange for a case of beer/bottle of wine… Read more »
Georgie
Georgie
7 years 1 month ago
To answer Ramit’s question, she should: Tomorrow: Postpone the wedding until they are both employed, debt free, and have at least a 3-month savings cushion. She should also shop around for better auto insurance (I pay $371 every 6 months and that’s with no deductible) and cell phone plan (I got a 15% discount through my work’s corporate partnership with Sprint, I discovered). 1 Month From Now: Sit down with T and evaluate where money’s been going and long-term plans for financial solvency. Why does this girl have a bunch of money sitting in savings acocunts but she’s charging things… Read more »
JimE
JimE
7 years 1 month ago
@ lbg Nice way to put it concisely, I disagree though, she’s fully aware of his debts, she’s getting married for “legal” reasons meaning she better know that debt will be her debt. If she hasn’t fully recognized this I agree, bad move, but it seems as though she’s done her homework so let her go take her risk. If 2 people are ready for marriage and want to be married thats pretty much all you need, there’s no reason to wait 5 years to be sure. My wife and I figured it out pretty quick, wedding took longer than… Read more »
Matthew
Matthew
7 years 1 month ago

As a pharmacist, I cringe at those $25 gift card offers and people transferring back and forth between pharmacies. You get a $25 gift card, but could be stuck with a hospital bill or worse if you have a medication interaction that is missed because your RXs are spread out at different places. I wish people would just one place with people they trust and respect then stick with it, just like they wouldn’t go to multiple primary care doctors.

Deb Danforth
Deb Danforth
7 years 1 month ago
First, it’s good that she has savings, but at that interest rate it might make more sense for her to take out enough to pay off the credit card, which must have a higher interest rate than she’s currently earning on the savings. Then make sure that if she continues to use the credit card, she pays it off in full every month. Or if that’s something that’s hard for her to do, consider ditching the credit card and obtaining a debit card instead. Second, why are they moving? Will it save money overall? If not, why do it? If… Read more »
Jenni
Jenni
7 years 1 month ago
1) Tomorrow: Tell your parents you’re engaged! If you’re hiding it from them, perhaps it’s your subconscious realizing it’s not the best idea and trying to hide from your loved ones who will tell you as much. 1.5) Next Week: Definite your goals. I see a lot of “we can’t afford this” without a mention as to what you’re saving for. Clearly it’s not for wedding costs. Is it for an emergency fund while DF is jobless? Is it for money for DF to take classes at a community college and finish up his degree? A house? Kids? What timeframe… Read more »
rodrigot
rodrigot
7 years 1 month ago
Excuse my ignorance, but if u love to cook, have some formal training and desperatelly need some income is it that hard of a problem to solve? Can’t u think about baking to sell b2b (like pies, cakes, bread, or small candies) or on street (fast food, dessert, candies). Start the business, work out the social network, give away some freebies on neighboring workplaces, etc… I dunno really… and I hope not to sound arrogant but I’d probly start at that, I’m not an american and have no idea if it would work this way in US, but for me… Read more »
Jess
Jess
7 years 1 month ago
Tomorrow: Postpone the wedding indefinately until he has a job and has been working steadily. Plan out a payment schedule for his debt and a monthly budget to work from so there is bill money and play money and no need to feel guilty over going to lunch. Determine if T is going to work or going back to school to finish his education so that 1) he is able to complete his degree and 2) his loan payments can be postponed since he’s back in school and 3) so he can show he’s contributing/being a partner by handling his… Read more »
John K
John K
7 years 1 month ago

I give this marriage one year tops.

FB @ FabulouslyBroke.com
7 years 1 month ago

The quick, fast marriage thing is pretty silly esp since you JUST met 4 months ago. You probably don’t even know what his favourite colour is!!!

I usually give relationships a hard assessment at 1 year …

AS for the “free dinner” bit.. nothing is free if you had to pay to get the food ($81!?!?!?)

David M
David M
7 years 1 month ago
When it comes to the marriage, just stay on the same page and know what you’re doing financially. Waiting isn’t going to do any good financially, it’s just love advice from those that disagree with getting married quickly. Tomorrow – work hard to help T find a job – ask him what you can do to help. Talk about starting a catering business or something similar. Next month – build a business, work hard at your job, and get married if you want to. Next year – pay off those debts, max retirement, etc. Why she hasn’t done it? I… Read more »
J
J
7 years 1 month ago
It seems that this is the reverse of many of these diaries. The writer seems to be pretty cognizant of money and seeks out bargains/coupons. Sure, it may take time from her schedule. The far more worrying aspect is the hurried wedding plans. I’ll speak not to the financial/emotional side so much, but to the financial side. The first most glaring yellow flag is the “getting friendly with my roommate” comment made. That would worry me personally. Now onto the financial bits — marriage is not only a celebration of love, but a financial instrument, as well. It’s entirely possible… Read more »
Georgie
Georgie
7 years 1 month ago
I disagree that people’s advice to wait is purely love advice. They will be co-responsible for debts after that – it is worth waiting to get a better idea not only of each others’ complete financial situation, but so they can get married with either no debts at all or at least with nothing but student loan debt (that should NEVER EVER be co-consolidated). I have a friend who got married very quickly so a friend could keep his visa and he stole TENS of THOUSANDS of dollars – not out of malice, but because he had horrible financial habits,… Read more »
Erica Douglass
7 years 1 month ago
I’m not going to criticize since I know full well most of us have some sort of problems with money. What I will say is that she needs to look into whether she can get the boyfriend covered on her health insurance under a domestic partnership agreement. I’m covered under my boyfriend’s insurance (since he prefers to work a regular job and I’m Ms. Crazy Entrepreneur.) California requires that domestic partnership insurance be available. You have to have lived together at least 6 months and sign a notarized sheet of paper stating that you are domestic partners. You do not… Read more »
David M
David M
7 years 1 month ago
@Georgie – you bring up a good point about waiting, I hadn’t thought of that. Make sure he isn’t taking advantage of you. A serious talk won’t always get through that, so waiting until you’re sure that both of you are serious about taking this on does sound like good advice. However, to others, it doesn’t have to be 5 years from now. Just long enough to make sure no one is being taken advantage of financially in the relationship. Just remember, the financial relationship can work as long as both of you are on the same page financially.
Georgie
Georgie
7 years 1 month ago

@David – yes, I don’t think they have to wait 5 years or anything, but certainly a year or so – long enough to figure out where the other is coming from financially. Also, if he’s only ever been a student before, it’s going to be quite an adjustment for him. I got a PhD and so was in school straight through age 18 to 28. I had NO IDEA how to function as an adult, financially speaking.

Hannah
Hannah
7 years 1 month ago
OK No one else has commented on the fact that this girl’s fiance bought her roses with her own money. Kinda funny. It’s easy to be like “that guy is a loser” but we are probably just seeing one rough patch in his otherwise perfectly responsible life. Picking up and moving somewhere new to be with someone you love is pretty romantic. I would suggest tomorrow give up coupons and just don’t spend money at all. Don’t pat yourself on the back for saving a lot, because you had to spend to save. Next month, remain financially independent (single)! It… Read more »
Ian
Ian
7 years 1 month ago
I haven’t read any comments- so not sure if I’m repeating someone. I don’t see any real issue other than she is jumping into marriage a little quickly. I’m not going to question their love, committments, etc. I know plenty of a few couples that have married very quickly after meeting and are still together and happy. It sounds like she is pretty frugal with her money and has some investments started. That’s good. I’m not going to rip on T for not having a job or whatever. In fact I’m going to give him props for rolling the dice… Read more »
MoneyFunk
7 years 1 month ago

LOL. I am with MoneyMonk’s (#5) comment.

I’ve been thru that road… and from experience…not a good plan. Postpone the wedding for 2-3 years. What is the hurry? Lets see if the couple plays worthy to eachother in that time.

Battra92
Battra92
7 years 1 month ago

Eloping is bad news. Your families will never let you live it down and you’ll start the marriage with a black spot. Good news if you want to alienate all of your family.

Congrats on traveling the road to ruin. Still, you’re young and can correct those mistakes later. Just never have kids.

SP
SP
7 years 1 month ago

Is this girl for real? Seems sensible with her money, totally crazy when it comes to the relationship. How could you not at least question it? Health insurance is not a good reason to get married quickly. Postphone the wedding! PLEASE!

sherif
sherif
7 years 1 month ago

1- Postpone the wedding until he gets a job
2- Postpone the move together until he gets a job
3- 3 month after getting a job start planning the wedding

melissa
melissa
7 years 1 month ago

@Erica’s comment is really useful! I didn’t realize that–I bet it isn’t taken advantage of very often.

Tomorrow, she should call up a few health insurance companies (or better yet, have T do it) and price out an interim health plan for him. If you have to pay for it out of your savings, do it. Have you looked into this at all? It seems like insurance is putting some pressure on speeding up the marriage, but T seems to be healthy, young, and employable–I don’t see a reason not to do this. It’s a smart money and relationship decision!

JimE
JimE
7 years 1 month ago

@ Erica
Wow I did not know about that one at all regarding the domestic partner health insurance. Neato! Nice tip which I’m sure can be useful for lots of people.

Ben
Ben
7 years 1 month ago

– Latched onto a successful, responsible young woman
– Dropped out of school
– Huge school loans (with no degree)
– Doesn’t have a job
– “I’m pretty sure T. played Halo 3 well into the night…”
Sorry, but this pretty much summed it up for me. I know this type of person…well. Don’t complain about judging either, because unless your readers are missing something HUGE, this sounds like an emotional and financial whirlpool about to suck you down the drain. Good luck…..

Dee
Dee
7 years 1 month ago

Question: Will she be responsible for his student loans once they get married?

Zack
Zack
7 years 1 month ago
First off, I’m not here to bash, I just want to add my opinion/logic/advice. Getting engaged and married shortly after meeting…at a wedding…sounds like an almost purely emotional decision. My advice is to slow it down. If you two are meant to be, it will still happen later on, so why not wait until the odds are in more your favor (i.e. statistically the later you get married the higher likelihood of staying together). And why are you doing this all secretly, without your parents knowing. Are you afraid they would not approve/understand? If anything, most parents know and understand… Read more »
Vonny
Vonny
7 years 1 month ago
“$60 in very unusual expenses (wedding ring, night guard) – about $75 in eating/drinking out” You must watch out for “unusual” expenses. My experience is that every week/month you will have unusual expenses so in the end, it is not really unusual. Yes they are one offs, but next week/month you will have a different one off. It is far better to add up your spending for a couple of months and average it out to find out really how much you are spending. The “daily spending” tally is also deceptive. There are things which you pay for in advance… Read more »
hustler
7 years 1 month ago

I think it’s very helpful if couples sit down and discuss financial goals, where they are now, where they want to be, and work together towards those goals. Both of these people sound like they have potential, T. could have a great career if he pursued it, and she is great at saving money. I suggest they not rush into a marriage just for the insurance. Create a budget, find T. some type of a job, and work towards removing debt and start saving.

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LT
LT
7 years 1 month ago
just want to tune in on the unemployed finacee situation- went through a similar one myself. thought i was oodles in love, parents kept pushing for a wedding, but the dude wasn’t gonna be able to bag a job (philosophy major, lazy ass), plus i didn’t know him as well as i thought (yes he dates guys now). in any case, i kicked him to the curb and a few years later am with a guy i adore with an awesome job that my parents love. i’ve known him for 10 years (old friendship turned saucy), and while we were… Read more »
Doctor S
7 years 1 month ago
Def red flags flying up with this one. Moving into a new place together and only one present source of income? They are definitely living in a smaller city if rent is only $700. they do a good job of spending wisely when it comes to food and everything, but I just can not get past the fact that this dude T is unemployed. People drop out of school b/c they do not have their head on right OR they need to spend more time on a potentially successful business. Thats it, not to be closer to your female. You… Read more »
Steve O
Steve O
7 years 1 month ago
It’s really sad that people are so worried about this guy being unemployed. He dropped out of college, moved four hours away, and rearranged his whole life so he could be with the woman he loves. And you want him to have a job lined up before he gets there?? He’s obviously applying to places–what more do you want? Bottom line: their priorities were relationship first, money second. That doesn’t mean they don’t care about supporting themselves, but they just care about their marriage more. I think they’re doing great, saving money when they can while he’s trying to find… Read more »
David
David
7 years 1 month ago
I’m amazed at how shallow some of these comments are. Many people are suggesting waiting to get married, but more so for their own moral beliefs rather than for any financial reasons. I say this because the girl obviously seems very aware of her own finances, as well as her fiancee’s debt. Also, seeing as how they’re going to the courthouse to get married, it doesn’t seem like they’ll have a big wedding to pay for. Just because you wait a year – or two or three or four – will not guarentee that the marriage will be any more… Read more »
Gime
Gime
7 years 1 month ago
This person and I have so much in common. I am a professional who makes a good living, I am engaged to a cook/chef, and we just finished his third job search in 1 year. Also, we got engaged about 1 or 2 months after we met and have lived together for 3 years since. We plan on getting married, but we dare not elope for fear of our mothers. And that is my main advice on that. Don’t elope, your family might never forgive you. On the catering business…DO NOT under any circumstance attempt it at this point in… Read more »
Paul
Paul
7 years 1 month ago

Following up with Vonny’s comment:

All this coupon cutting seems to add to her expenses. It appears that she’s buying stuff that’s otherwise unnecessary/excessive just because it’s on sale.

Amy
Amy
7 years 1 month ago
Haha – love the readers that talk about how “smart” she is and “in tune” with her finances. ARE YOU ACTUALLY READING THE BLOG YOU’RE COMMENTING ON? This chicadee has ZERO ability to plan long term. Hence the obsession with coupons, hence the short engagement, quick marriage, hence the adding up WHAT IT COST her TODAY to make a meal she already had groceries for. This is all indicative of ZERO long term planning. This is going to sound really lame but I’m going for it – Tomorrow: Spend $12 to buy Ramit’s book and do the 6 weeks worth… Read more »
mcara
mcara
7 years 1 month ago

You need to stop! Take a deep breath. Take another one. Now read these posts as if they weren’t from you. What would you say to this girl? What would you say about her boyfriend? If it’s go for it, then okay, it’s your life. If it’s what the…???!!! Then you need to rethink everything.

One extra thing. You only think he has student loans, but you need to check deeper to make sure there isn’t more.

J
J
7 years 1 month ago

@Amy — wow. just wow.

Deb
Deb
7 years 1 month ago
At the age of 47, I may well be the oldest poster here. Why is someone my age following Ramit’s blog? Because you are *never* too old to learn, ever. Take it from one who has been down this path – WHO YOU MARRY IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT FINANCIAL DECISIONS OF YOUR LIFE. If you two do not share the same goals financially, if you do not share similar values in regards to money management, your union will be extremely rocky and may be doomed. And that, my friends, could result in an ugly financial setback right in… Read more »
Kevin M
Kevin M
7 years 1 month ago
She’s in OK shape financially from the limited info given, but her impending divorce from this guy in a couple years could ruin her for a long time. Trust me, I speak from experience. After 5 years of working (and spending, partially my fault) I had little to show for my efforts. I basically had to hit “restart” on my life at 28. At least I was still young, but all the missed opportunity from 23 on still kills me. 1) Tomorrow I would sit down and really discuss where this is going and why the need to rush –… Read more »
rsenwood
rsenwood
7 years 1 month ago
I agree with Deb, who you marry is the most important financial and emotional life decision you will ever make. I am concerned that this fellow is taking advantage of her. spending her money, and she’s running errands to pick up his contact solution while he sleeps? He needs to be busting his ass to find a job, anything to pay the bills. At the concert “T had $15 in cocktails”, when he couldn’t been focusing on meeting people to network for work. tomorrow: Schedule a time to sit down with T and review your financial situation. how much he… Read more »
xmasy
xmasy
7 years 1 month ago

T is a lucky son of a gun…..but u know what, T wll someday know that if he plays Halo 3 well into the night, the only booty he will ever see is his own

xmasy
xmasy
7 years 1 month ago

about being jobless and marrying someone jobless….c’mon guys….we can marry a woman who is jobless but why cant it be the other way around?

I was jobless when the wife married me. Today I make over $200K a year. The economy sucks…and it sucked when we got married as well. (9/11 happened)

imelda
imelda
7 years 1 month ago
@xmasy: Thank you! If the comments on this post aren’t indicative of a double standard–one coming from the women, not the men–than nothing is. I can’t believe people are bashing him and criticizing him for not contributing when he moved his whole life around and changed cities for her. He’s cooking meals from scratch and job-hunting pretty intensely (2 interviews in 1 week?), which is a great start. I don’t want to dismiss everything that above commenters have said, though–there are other warning signs in this relationship (parents don’t know? Rushing to get married? Flirting with roommate?) that I wish… Read more »
Vonny
Vonny
7 years 1 month ago
Steve O – I think it is very important that this guy is unemployed. If he was intelligent with money, he would have saved enough to support himself during his unemployed stage rather than sponge off his gf. When I moved in with my bf, he was between jobs but he was fully supporting himself with his saved money. If T doesn’t have any money saved, he shouldn’t be moving in with her until he does. Of course, this assumes a stable home life (assuming he moved out of his parents’ home) which he might not have had so I… Read more »
J
J
7 years 1 month ago
My financial advice: Get a pre-nuptual agreement! That’s NOT to say that their relationship is doomed — I just think everyone should get a pre-nup. I think it’s especially important when there’s a financial imbalance in the relationship, as there is here. By the way, a pre-nup is not an unromantic document. It’s a commitment to act in the future based on the love and respect you have for your spouse now, not based on how you may feel about each other down the road if things get tough. It helps you be fair to each other even in a… Read more »
Journey
7 years 1 month ago

I thought this post was very useful as I am a 20 something. It makes me reflect on my food spending habits. I am certain I will be back here for more.

Erin
Erin
7 years 1 month ago
I think it’s very odd that her fiance dropped out of school in the middle of the semester. Why not finish the semester or even the school year and then transfer to a school near her? Financially he lost all the money he spent on credits for that semester. I think the spending on these diaries needs more context. At the beginning of each diary I would include the region of the country they live in (so readers have an idea of whether their cost of living is realistic for their area), their salary, and maybe a mention of how… Read more »
BTDT
BTDT
7 years 1 month ago

Why are you doing personal tasks, including T.’s (job search, pricing moving expenses), at work? Shouldn’t you focus on the job you have?

The 20-something coupon-clipper
The 20-something coupon-clipper
7 years 1 month ago
Hi there, thanks for all your comments on my Money Diary. It’s been awhile since I kept track of my spending (that was 8 months ago) and I was pretty shocked to see that my diary was published. I figured that it was rejected or something, but apparently not! The last time I visited IWillTeachYouToBeRich.com was about three weeks ago. Wow. Some of the comments are supportive, and others seem a bit critical. Many of you seem to want some background information or an update on my situation. 1) My former roommate was a dude 2) We did elope in… Read more »
The 20-something coupon-clipper
The 20-something coupon-clipper
7 years 1 month ago

One more thing: we pay off both of our credit cards in full every month. I have NEVER had a balance carry over. The rewards programs are great, and using the cards helps build up our credit score.

Not My Mother
7 years 1 month ago
I don’t understand. He drops out of school because pursuing “culinary arts” would mean you don’t spend much time together but then he starts looking for cook jobs? How is that different, apart from him starting at the bottom? I’m not going to comment on the relationship or finance stuff other than to say she is letting her emotions and ‘love’ for this guy make decisions that should be made with her head, and justifying it all up the wazoo. I met a guy and had a whirlwind romance, moved in together within a couple of months and everything. He… Read more »
David
David
7 years 1 month ago

@ JM (the original poster) –

Congrats all around! I am very happy for you and your husband. It seems like you guys are really on the right path.

If I were you, I’d ignore all the harsh criticism you’ve seen on here. I’m all for getting advice from others, but a lot of it was baseless, and not constructive (or based on facts) in any way.

Also, I am jealous of your house – only a block from the water!

David
David
7 years 1 month ago

@ Erin –

Saying he wasted the money he spent on school by dropping out is an example of sunk cost fallacy. No matter what he did, that money was spent.

If he no longer felt that school was helping him reach his goals, then there is no reason to continue. Spending more money on it won’t bring back the money he had already spent, nor would it make school any more useful to him.

The 20-something coupon-clipper
The 20-something coupon-clipper
7 years 1 month ago
David, thank you for the nice notes. I agree with you on the college costs being a sunk cost. My husband T did not expect to meet anyone or get married. Actually, he was quite set on that. His plan was to go to culinary school and work 24/7 the rest of his life. Then he met me and that changed. If he continued with his culinary degree (which would be another two years) it would cost infinitely a lot more money (culinary school runs about $30,000 per year for tuition ALONE) and he would have ended up with a… Read more »
Vonny
Vonny
7 years 1 month ago

@JM

I’m glad you posted the update. Sounds like things are going alot better than they had when you posted the original diary entry. I am happy to hear that T got a job, your eloping was ok with your families and you are discussing how to handle his debt together. Now that you both have jobs I think it will be much easier and less stressful on the money side of things. Sounds like you are back on track 🙂

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JimE
JimE
7 years 1 month ago

@JM
Glad to see you followed up on this. Since everything appears in order you seem good to go. Nice to see what appeared to be a success story in the making actually become one (contrary to all the naysayers). Now about those kids you won’t have……
🙂

aaron 8 Pillars
7 years 1 month ago

I have found that a successful marriage is founded upon similar goals and values. 8 Pillars offers a financial education course that really helped me and my wife get on the same page. I am very passionate about financial literacy.
I think coupon clipping and budgeting are good when they are inline with you and your partners financial goals. Budgeting isn’t an end in itself.

Oz
Oz
7 years 1 month ago
Jumping on the bandwagon a little late, here. I find the plethora of “postpone the wedding several years” comments to be more than a tad annoying. I’m young myself, but I know many couples who married “too early” and are doing about as well as any other married couple. I will say that this sort of relationship-impatience (I loathe to use the phrase “rush to the altar”) is characteristic of new relationships. If you mesh well together, that will fade away and simply being next to each other is more than enough. That’s about the time when the prospect of… Read more »
Kayla
Kayla
7 years 1 month ago

Time to find an employed man who can make his own phone calls and buy his own contact solution!

NorthernGirl
NorthernGirl
7 years 1 month ago
I didn’t think I’d read all 85 of these comments – but I did. Wow. I was happy about the update too… good luck & congrats with all. I guess the only other response I have is to the person who suggested holding out for a bigger diamond – as insurance. It’s obvious to me that you’ve never bought, owned or tried to sell diamonds. They are not the hot commodity they once were. I am the proud owner of a $10k (yes, appraised) hunk of a rock that I cannot sell (we’re divorced and I’d rather use the cash… Read more »
Inspired
7 years 28 days ago

I just started my own blog inspired by The Money Diary series on this site because I know that tracking my family’s spending will help us realize what we need to cut back on and change. I will try to track my spending constantly instead of one week, and we’ll see how things improve a few weeks, months or a year from now. Thanks for the inspiration, Ramit!

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