Friday, 10 May 2013 11:57

Date Night Budget and Paying Forgiven Debt

Written by  Dave Ramsey
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Q.  My husband and I have a baby and are trying to live on a budget and pay off about $14,000 in debt. He wants to spend $100 a month for a date night, but I think this is too much under the circumstances. I’m a stay-at-home mom right now, and after taxes he makes about $3,200 a month. What do you think?

 

 

A.  You win on this one. If you’d told me you guys make $150,000 a year, then I’d say he was being completely reasonable. But with your income and a lot of debt to boot, it sounds like he’s just looking for an outlet to spend some money. The good thing is you’re working together and beginning to take this personal finance thing seriously. You’re just a little bit apart on the particulars in this area.

 

I think you back this amount down to $40 or $50 for now. That’s plenty for a reasonable dinner and perhaps a baby sitter for a couple of hours. If you have family or friends nearby, you might not have to figure baby-sitting expenses into the equation at all. Keep in mind, too, that going out on a date doesn’t have to mean spending money. Years ago, when my wife and I were broke, we did tons of stuff that didn’t cost a dime. Picnics in the park or a pretty hike through the woods are great ways to spend time together while keeping the pocketbook in your pocket.

 

Be creative and make sure you find ways to have “us” time on a regular basis. But you’re right on this one. You can go out and have plenty of fun together without spending a lot of money!

 

 

Q.  I have some old debts that have been forgiven. Should I still pay these if and when I have the money?

 

 

A.  First, you need to double-check and make sure the debts have been officially forgiven. Commercial debts, such as old credit card debt, are almost never forgiven. They might be in default, or it may be that the company has written it off, but that’s not the same as being forgiven.

 

Years ago, my grandfather loaned me money when I was in college to pay for part of my tuition. He forgave that debt not long after, so I didn’t owe him the money morally, legally or in any other way. But in a commercial setting, meaning you’re dealing with a bank or other lender, that doesn’t happen.

 

If a credit card company decides to take less than the original amount owed, that’s a business decision that has changed the terms of the deal, both morally and legally. Sometimes they’d rather have a bird in the hand rather than promises in the bush. You don’t have an obligation to pay the original amount because the terms of the deal have been altered.

 

Forgiven is forgiven. That means the deal and any obligation is completely wiped out and gone. But chances are, Chase or MasterCard aren’t going to call you up and forgive the debt.

 

 

Last modified on Friday, 10 May 2013 12:00
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