19 May 2011

Full Disclosure: For the Love of Money


Back when I graduated college, I decided to move clear across the country to 1) find my own adventure and 2) be with the guy I was in a relationship with at the time. Sure, that in itself in retrospect was probably not the best of ideas, but I would have never gotten to where I am in life right now if I hadn't - so woo hoo for jumping in with both feet and blinders!

Guy I was in a relationship with at the time – let’s call him C for simplicity – lived in NM, so there I went, and we immediately got an apartment together and me a job doing menial marketing drudgery. Ah, the things we do for “love.”

Well it quickly became apparent that C didn’t really know what he wanted to do with his life and flitted from job to job with (apologetic) abandon. I wasn’t making much with my marketing gig at the time but it was consistent – so it wasn’t long before I was taking pretty much the full brunt of monthly rent, bills and out-of-pocket expenditures (plus I had to buy a new car because my old one died). We didn’t budget and didn’t really know how. Money was definitely flowing out faster than it was coming in.


I think it only took a year or two before I was in serious credit card debt – I think I blanked out a good portion of it, but I believe I topped out near $30,000. And you wonder why I'm even smiling in these pics ...

It was also around that point that I actually started excelling at my job and started having a life outside of C – and with a clearer perspective of things, that was when I decided to end the relationship.

No, money wasn't the only reason I ended things but we won't go into that - let's just say it was amicable. I don’t believe C was purposefully a moocher and didn’t sit back and just “enjoy” not doing anything. He tried to do right and always had a job –unfortunately just not the same one. And there were times where he was in training for a job and no income was coming in on his side.

IMG_4384  IMG_4371

But let’s face it, I totally enabled him too by not truly saying anything about the situation and not holding tight to the expenses split we initially agreed to – I am the first to admit that I was young, na├»ve and “in love” and this was my first time really out in the world by myself.

It’s been a long while now, I am a different place in my life with a different job and different person. It took me a few years but I finally worked myself out of debt by paying it back bit-by-bit, month-by-painful month.

(No worries about C, my dearies, towards the end of our relationship, he had gotten a steady gig working with the government, purchased himself a little starter home and even adopted a pup. Good for him and I bear him no ill will – though for a while I did daydream about sending him a bill for his share of my debt!)


Jacket: Anthropologie Coquille cobbled lanes (worn here before)
Top: Crewcuts ruffle bottom (similar here)
Skirt: Xhiliration by Target smocked ikat (worn here before - similar here)
Necklace: Old Navy ethnic statement (worn here before)
Shoes: Xhiliration by Target teanna (worn here before - similar here, here)


  1. That sounds like my life minus the bad boyfriend. We are trying to pay off our college loans and any other small debt we have. It's painful, but we will make it through.

    BTW, I really love this outfit on you, I think it's the bright colors and that print. You look great!!

  2. Did you date my ex husband????
    Just kidding!
    I took a larger portion of debt when we divorced because I felt bad that divorcing was solely my decision.
    Luckily I sold the house we had owned together and the small profit I made paid off all my debt.

    Look at this ~ your full disclosure posts make me give full disclosure too! ;)
    I love them!

  3. Beautiful! I love the shoes and the blazer, and that printed skirt is adorable. And MAN, I am so glad that you ended things amicably with C, even though you ended up in so much debt. Ugh. I would've totally sent him a bill, haha! Seriously though, I am happy that you were able to get your own life in order out of all that chaos. I'm still learning how to save... it's not easy. I'm in a relationship where I pay for everything too at the moment, and I do hope it doesn't remain that way because I'd love to be able to put aside money for my future, you know? We'll see where the road goes....

  4. i love the bright color with the ikat print skirt. the blazer is just perfection as well layered on top!

  5. I knew I liked you - strong woman who can take care of herself. I am impressed that you got yourself out of so much debt pretty quickly.

    Yes, love can be blind sometimes, right?

  6. $30k- ummm... ouch?! Glad your debt free & totally fabulous. I was just at the landromat thinking about financially forunate I am. Granted it's small battles won by Nathan that help us stay that way. I wanted to take the quilt to the dry cleaner, he wanted to save $ and use the industrial front loading washers & dryers at the mat to do the job. ;)

  7. ...and did you really get that necklace at ON? love!

  8. Lisa, you are definitely a much better person than I could ever hope to be. Ever.

    And can I tell you how loudly I went "UGH!" when I read that C managed to snag a good gov't job and then bought a house when my husband and I are slaving away (well, more him than me ...) and have no chance in hell of ever purchasing property in L.A.?

  9. Money is such a delicate subject (almost taboo to talk about), so KUDOS for you for sharing with us, Lisa. It's easy to talk about it when there are loads flowing in, but so much harder when there are debt. I'm lucky enough to find a bf who share the same values of money with me (we like to joke that we're the cheapest couple out of all our friends), so I've never had to really learn from my mistakes, so to speak. If I were put in the same situation, I would hope I would learn and come out with a new mindset like you did :)

  10. wow - good for you! i mean, not good that you got into debt but good that the fact that you got yourself out of it. props!

  11. Actually, you were fairly lucky with C. It could have been so much worse. But I won't go there.

    You certainly have all your Lisa hats in a row now. A great job with travel ops. A BF that works with you instead of against. A sweet little dog that's mildly into chewing up stuff. A great style blog that everyone adores. And a keen sense of style that never fails.

    Lisa! You are a huge success because you learned how to deal.

  12. 1. That necklace is beautiful. I saw the one yesterday as well and checked it out. Lovely!

    2. Jealous that you can wear crewcuts.

    3. The whole outfit makes me smile. Just love the whole thing...


    5. re: debt- terrified of it! hubs and I put off buying our home because I couldn't stand the thought of being in debt HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS. But in retrospect, our mortgage is just rent...which we'd have to pay anyway!

    6. Thanks for sharing. The only thing that shuts down a party more than talking about $$ is race! So brave and honest and, quite frankly, amazing. Go, you!

  13. I dated a "C" muself.. the best thing I did was get out of that relationship because he had a sick psychotic spending problem. In fact, In addition to that "C" I also dated another guy who filed for bankruptcy. Leading me to today... I married a tightwad :) I love a guy who is fiscally responsible.. romantic, right?

    This outfit is so put together and professional looking- it must be the jacket. Skirt is great, is it a recent purchase?

  14. YIKES. But you're clear of all that debt now, right??? :)

  15. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Your story sounds very familiar. It hasnt happened to me, but I know someone who can relate to this (and they're going through it right now - with kids in tow). I don't know how she has managed to stay so long in the relationship. I guess it's one of those things people do for love, yes.
    Anyway,great outfit, and i love that close up shot of you...it's kinda cheeky :-)

  16. Good for you Lisa! Sounds like a hard life lesson but you were able to use it as a stepping stone ;)

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  18. I love that skirt Lisa! And how to wash that man right outta your hair sister.


  19. Love the bright colors in your skirt!

  20. you got out from under $30,000? That's amazing- I mean, the interest alone must have been...shudder...

    This outfit is like a total advertisement for smart shopping!

  21. wow that's amazing you were able to do that, support both of you pretty much and now turn things around for yourself. such a strong responsible independent woman! really think you should have sent him a bill hmph!

  22. It's healthier and much better to let go, forgive, move on, etc. But man don't we ALL have those moments where we want to SEND HIM A BILL?
    I have mostly forgiven my exes but there are those rare moments where revenge just sounds so dang sweet.

  23. I second what Laura said. You're your own woman now because of you. You're in such a good place now and you have yourself to thank for. Some woman would've just stayed w C and languished away. But not you Lisa! I tip my hat off to you.

  24. I started following your blog recently and I'm really enjoying it. Thanks so much for sharing this story. I can sort of relate - I came out of grad school with $20K of debt. I spent the first 2 years of my career paying it off. I am glad to hear you came out of it with no bitterness or regrets. And great outfit!!

  25. Awww Lisa. You are beautiful in and out! What a nice read this was and I'm glad you're also where you are now. I've been in relationships as well where I tried best to make the situation fit, but rather than thinking it was a waste of time, I truly embrace it as a growing experience that helped me get to where I am now. Thanks for sharing!

  26. I love your outfit! Especially that jacket - just gorgeous.

    Regarding the debt - wow, you are so incredibly kind. I totally would have sent him a bill.

  27. I love the ruffle detail on your top - so pretty!!! This outfit looks great and so well put together! I'm glad you were able to pay off the debt and get to the secure place you are today - you are a tough (and disciplined!) cookie.

  28. Thanks for sharing this story with us, Lisa. It's so admirable that you were able to work down your debt so quickly; color me completely impressed. It seems like you have really learned from both the relationsip struggles and the financial ones. And it is wonderful that both you and C have both moved on and are flourishing in your lives. Kudos!

    And I love the print on your skirt, BTW. I love the bright splashes of color combined with the structured shapes in this outfit. Professional and fun at the same time!

  29. Beautful printed skirt!

    Vogue & Vintage


  30. Cute outfits Lisa. I think it's a different situation when you're married to the person though. With this nasty economy, I know all too many people where one spouse has been carrying all or most of the load for 2 years while the other spouse is frantically trying to find work and keeps getting told they're overqualified, too old, etc (well, they don't get directly told they're too old, just someone younger or less qualified gets hired). I know situations where it has taken people 5 or 6 years of temp and crap jobs to get to where they need to be in life, especially with this economy. And, I know people who have had to work in a job they hate (and not contributing a whole lot to joint expenses - literally very little) because that's all that was available.


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