(Closed) Did anyone else get into a financial hole right after you got married?

posted 3 years ago in Married Life
Post # 16
1746 posts
Bumble bee

Lots of good advice.  I know you don’t want to lose 300 deposit on the puppy, but as others have said it’s time to make adult decisions.  “I want”  sometimes has to be delayed until “it makes sense”.  

You need to get a job.  Any job.  You can look for a better job while you are working in anything that brings in a paycheck. Since you and your husband will be working you won’t have a lot of time to spend with a new puppy.  You will be saving the known and unknown expenses of puppy “parenthood”.  Puppy needs spayed/neutered, puppy needs emergency surgery because they ate something they shouldn’t and got obstructed, puppy ate something and gets barfy needs a vet visit, puppy ate something and gets diarrhea – needs a vet visit. Dogs are a great addition to home, but please wait until you aren’t living paycheck to paycheck (and you are apparently not even able to make it paycheck to paycheck if your hubby is talking about a bridge type loan.)

No loans.  Those typically have horrid interest rates and just dig the hole deeper.

Track spending … know where each penny goes

Look at some online calculators and see how much those loans are costing.  Once the debt is gone, look at retirement calculators and see how much difference it makes in the account balance if you start saving at 25 vs. 30 yrs of age.  It’s much easier to give up a daily Starbucks if you know saving an extra 100 a month will net you many more $$ when you retire.  

Cook at home.  

It can become a fun challenge to see how frugally you can live. (look at the frugalwoods.com) But it takes altering your mindset asking is this “a want” or “a need” and delaying gratification.  It’s worth it when your see money in the savings account, and don’t feel the pressure that one unexpected expense will ruin you.   


Edit”  I’d look hard at cell phone cable expenses.  My mother has a smartphone from Tracphone.  about 8.00 a month.  Not much data … but a little bit.  I don’t know what you’re spending on cell phones, but they are, other than basic phone/text service more of a want than a need.    

Post # 17
5159 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 2010

Others have given you some good advice but I wanted to stress: do not take the dog.

A dog is not a one time expense. That you think having the supplies already means you are set is scary. There are always more supplies, vet bills including for spay/neuter/checkups/vaccinations/illness/injury/dental, heartworm treatments, feeding requirements (puppies get bigger and need more) and on and on. Do you want to be faced with making a decision between surgery if puppy breaks a leg or putting him down? Do you think that is fair to the puppy?

A friend of mine got a puppy about a year ago and it started showing hip conditions that meant it could not walk – it needed surgery not once, but twice. It is fine now, but that was $5,000 in vet bills and likely he will need surgery again in a couple years when he is out of puppyhood. Stuff like that can happen, or even just having a dog with a sensitive tummy or allergies. But even healthy pets cost lots of money to keep them healthy!


Post # 18
3064 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

r06387 :  if you are going to need a small loan to just pay rent you 100 percent CANNOT AFFORD A PUPPY.

What about his vet appts? Shots? He is going to need to be neutered in a few months. You cannot afford the dog. Repeat: You cannot afford the dog.

Also, get a job NOW- any job- to get your bills paid. I don’t know why you are waiting to find a job thats related to your degree when you may not be able to afford next months rent and have 2 maxed out credit cards!!!!

Sorry for the tough love but I think you are being really indifferent to this situation. My Darling Husband and I struggled after the wedding ( our dog had an emergency surgery that cost 5K) but were never facing maxed out credit cards and unemployment- it was more of we have no money for extras and no money to save…

Get to work, hold off on getting the dog until you are out of credit card debt.

Post # 19
1565 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: May 2016

Also, it couldn’t hurt to explain your situation to the shop/breeder where you’re getting the puppy and see if they’ll hold your deposit and apply it to a pet adoption in the future. Maybe a year from now you guys will be in a better financial sitaution and it’ll be a possibility then. If they’re a responsible seller, they wouldn’t want to give a dog to someone who clearly isn’t in a position to care for it so maybe they’ll work with you. It’s worth a shot!

ETA: Even if they won’t it’s still the smart choice to give up the $300 deposit and skip getting a puppy for now. Just to be clear in case the other posters expressing their extreme concern about this horrible choice weren’t enough. 

Post # 20
702 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: October 2016

Ughh don’t get the dog!!! We had everything all ready for my puppy too…and then we got her home, and she ended up getting very sick. She contracted parvo, likely from a vaccine given too quickly after being spayed which can happen to any dog no matter where they come from (ours happened to be a rescue, but it can happen to dogs from breeders as well). The only way we could help her survive was through supportive care at a vet. Within a week, the cost of keeping her at the vet in quarantine with constant monitoring and IV’s, plus tests and medication was over $2000…just like that, $2000 gone (she did come through, and is very healthy now). We never could’ve anticipated that, but it’s something you absolutely have to be prepared for as a pet owner. 

Post # 21
297 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

ugh this makes me so angry for some reason. I’ve started a pet savings fund and I constantly put it off because I don’t think I’m ready with work with money with the space, etc. and people just go get a dog with having to take out loans to pay rent.  don’t get the dog, you won’t be able to afford it. get a job to pay off credit card debt. live frugally until you are out of debt. 

Post # 22
297 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

and for a more constructive advice, i recomment Mint, it’s the best tool out there to track spending, create budget, see it all together to make decisiosns. 

Post # 23
9589 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: September 2015

You need to get a job, any job, today. Literally today. Start selling stuff on craigslist or poshmark. Do not under any circumstances take out a personal loan. You need to squash that debt and learn to live with in your means immediately!!! Mr. Money Mustache’s blog would be a good place for you to start. Or maybe Dave Ramsey (he is truly 101- MMM is more advanced).

I think lots of people are in the hole right after college, marriage or not. You can overcome this but dont compound it!!! You absolutely cannot afford a dog right now.

Post # 24
2747 posts
Sugar bee

I can only reiterate what everyone has said: DO NOT GET THAT DOG.  It would be the height of financial irresponsiblity to take on a dog at this point.


Post # 25
1305 posts
Bumble bee


A puppy is far more than just “supplies”. You will have a series of vaccinations, surgery (spay/neuter) and god forbid something happens (because puppies do get in things) and you have an emergency vet bill. OR a human emergency.

Do not take on an additional loan. You’ll only be digging yourself in deeper. 

Start working for your in-laws or take a part time job even if its not in your field, sit down with your husband and outline all of your expenses including groceries, utility bills, rent, everything (even small things like cosmetics or hair appts). Time to start being frugal and facing reality. I know its hard at first but getting into further debt is not the answer.

Post # 26
8467 posts
Bumble Beekeeper

r06387 :  Please don’t get a dog while you’re having financial difficulties – it’s better to be out $300 now then realize this dog will likely cost at LEAST $1k a year to properly care for it.  That’s assuming it doesn’t get sick or hurt or require a special diet or need professional grooming and you can find a low cost vet for routine stuff. Puppies will eat things they shouldn’t and get blockages or cracked teeth and so many other things that can incur $1k to $3k in a vet bill in seconds (I speak from experience – my dog just needed a tooth extracted…). Do you have an emergency fund? If not wait until you do to get a dog.

First thing first is gather up your statements and receipts and figure out where your money has been going. I use Personal Capital for this myself, but Mint or even just a regular spreadsheet or paper/pen will work. Then figure out what you can cut back on from there – do you have purchases you don’t even remember making? Could you learn to cook to cut back on the food budget? Do you pay for 10 GB of cell phone data but only actually use 4? Look at every line item, don’t just assume “well I need a place to live and food to eat so I don’t need to evaluate those budget items”. Next set up automatic transfers to a savings account and get rid of that credit card debt. It won’t be easy, but you can make it fun (who doesn’t love a good challenge?) and trust me that being debt free and having cash in the bank will make your life SO much easier once you get to that place. I could have a nicer house, another car (DH and I share one), high end clothes, and all sorts of stuff but I don’t because having the ability to pay for an emergency life throws at us in cash is so much better to us. What’s the fun in spending all your money on “fun stuff” for it to then cause you to be stressed when you need the money?

Post # 27
401 posts
Helper bee

I know it’s going to really suck to not get the puppy right now, but I have to agree. Darling Husband and I are struggling a bit with finances right now post marriage, and part of it is due to dog expenses. Things can get out of hand very quickly with a pet, and it always seems like things happen at the worst times.

Darling Husband and I bought a house in May. Sellers didn’t fulfill all of their obligations, screwing us out of $900. Darling Husband is a bit of a pushover and let it go instead of arguing that they were contractually obligated to follow through, and since we got a $950 bonus for the real estate service we used, we figured we were still ahead. Our mortgage and our rent overlapped in the last month, but we had anticipated it, saved for it, the loss of the $900 meant we weren’t as ahead as we hoped, but NBD, we would be fine. Still, $4200 in rent/mortgage expenses were anticipated for July because of last month’s rent/first month’s mortgage/having to pay double mortgage in July because of how DHs pay dates fall.

Darling Husband and I saved for our June wedding–paid for ourselves, no wedding debt. Our 1 year old English Bulldog was sickly before the wedding, the vet thought it was a GI issue, we paid the bill, canceled one extra item from the wedding to cover the cost, and since he was feeling much better before we left, we went on our Destination Wedding. Most wedding expenses were paid already over the past six months, but we still had travel/entertainment/food expenses for the wedding and honeymoon. All came out of dedicated wedding savings. About $3000.

We come home, our dog gets sick again. Multiple vet visits to try to figure out what is causing it. By the end of it all (and about $2500 in vet bills) we discovered it was a toy he had eaten. We are VERY vigilant about his toys because he is a hard chewer. We buy special toys for him. We watch him at other people’s houses. We are dedicated, good pet parents. But he still got something, somehow, in some second when we turned our heads or missed that he could actually chew one of his toys up. He had to have surgery.

So in the space of two months, with new house, wedding and pet expenses, we spent $9700. All of this–ALL OF IT, except for maybe $600 or so of the vet expenses, came from savings. If we hadn’t had this money, what would have happened? We had already paid for and gone on the wedding, thinking our pet was better. We can’t not pay the last month’s rent, we will be sued or have it sent to collections. We can’t not pay our mortgage, we will lose the house that we hadn’t even fully moved into yet. We would have either had to go into a large amount of debt, or had to put our dog to sleep. That’s not a choice anyone wants to have to make. 

I know that’s a novel, but I want you to really understand how fast this stuff can add up, and how quickly you can get into a deep pit if you don’t have savings. Pets are like children, except they are ALWAYS in the toddler stage, and like children they always seem to have problems at the most inconvenient time. If you absolutely insist on getting this dog, you MUST get pet insurance, which is something we didn’t do and had we done it, we would have been able to skip the $2500 loss from our savings. But in your current financial situation, I don’t think adding the $70 payment for full coverage is going to be an option.

Post # 28
401 posts
Helper bee

I will add to this that I REALLY want a second dog, and time-wise it would make sense now because I work from home and am out of school for the summer. But while we could afford the fee for the puppy/supplies, the cost of pet insurance for an extra dog and any emergency vet bills would be a huge strain, and so we are putting it off, who knows how long. I get wanting a puppy, I really do, but you have to do what is financially feasible.

Post # 29
751 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: November 2015

-Don’t get the puppy

-Forfeit the deposit

-Take the job with in-laws

-Do not get a loan

-Start a budget, ASAP

The situation you are in is why I am such a proponent of people living outside of their parents’ home for at least 1 year prior to marriage, preferably on their own if at all possible. That experience teaches you how to budget and survive and save.

So, since you don’t own a time machine, you need to make good decisions going forward. Dogs are expensive. Even a dog with no health problems still needs monthly meds for fleas/ticks/heartworm prevention, they need food, they need supplies, they need routine vet visits. It’s not cheap, and frankly my opinion of anyone who BUYS a dog, and then doesn’t have the financial means to care for it, thus resulting in the dog being surrendered to a shelter or being unable to receive proper care should it need it, is pretty damn low. 

Loans are for big purchases or possibly a dire situation. Taking out a loan to pay wedding debt is like taking an inch off the top of the blanket to add it to the bottom. It does nothing to help. Plus, best outcome on that is you take your loan out and you pay off the credit cards. Great. You still have monthly payments on a loan, plus the interest THAT is accruing…granted, it probably won’t be the interest that credit companies would give you, but it won’t be low either. On top of that, you are assuming you’d even GET a loan or one with reasonable rates; you do have 2 credit cards and are taking a loan out to cover living expenses. That’s not a good sign of responsible borrowing.

Finally, and it’s a moot point now, you shouldn’t have had a wedding you couldn’t afford. That’s over and done, but now you need to stop trying to have a life you can’t afford yet. Suck it up, be an adult, and let the dog go and take the job. Put all of you guys’ extra income (meaning anything besides rent, bills, groceries) into paying aggressively on your debt, and putting some into savings. Other Bees have given you some great resources for budgeting and financial planning.

I think you’re taking this all very lightly, when it’s not. It is very serious to be in debt enough that you’re thinking of taking on more debt to pay for your monthly expenses…not to mention at what I assume is a young age (under 30?). It’s time to turn it around.

Post # 30
849 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2014

I second all PP’s advice, the Dave Ramsey stuff, etc. and also check out http://www.savingthecrumbs.com for some tips for living frugally! They eat for literally like $60 a month. I’m not saying you have to eat that cheap, but if you did even half of what they suggest, it would make a big difference! It is amazing and inspirational, and they tell you exactly what they pay and how much they make and everything. They paid off their home in 2 years. Yup. And, she now stays at home with their baby.

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