Six months ago Pete and I would often say to ourselves, "We may have a tight budget, but at least we're not in debt!" It was a mantra, and like most mantras, it helped.
Then we borrowed money from parents to buy a car. I took a closer look at the loan that I had taken out for one semester of school. Pete had dental surgery sans dental insurance. Then he fell over playing frisbee, and after receiving the hospital bill, doctor's bill and radiologist's bill, we took a gander at our deductible. High.
Yesterday Pete found out that it's going to cost over four hundred dollars to register our car in Michigan. He came home and said, "I need you to say something nice. I'm discouraged about money." I thought about it a moment and then said, "At least only half of our debt is stuff that we're paying interest on." This mantra didn't end with an exclamation point like our last one did, so I don't think we'll be repeating it frequently or with the same level of snobbery.
I tried again. "Hey, listen. Either we'll pay off our debts, or we'll die first and it won't matter." I felt immediately depressed by this, but Pete seemed oddly consoled. "I never thought about it that way," he said.
"OR!" I said, "How about this: we don't have money, but I love you."
He smiled. "How about we just stop worrying about money and become hobos."
"How do you become a hobo?"
"Well," he sid, "You put some of your things in a sack, tie it to a stick, and then walk around."
"That sounds easy enough," I said. "Can we have a baby and strap it to our backs?"
"No, just us."
"Okay. Just us."