House and Home

Something Borrowed: An In-Debt Bridesmaid Finds Financial Freedom


Four years ago, I made the decision to move out of my parents' house to the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Part of it was to be closer to the office and to my friends, but the biggest factor in my decision was the chance to be independent.

I created a strict budget for myself so that I would be able to add to the $2,000 that was in my savings account. But soon I realized that sitting in my apartment trying to save money was no way to live in New York City. I felt like I had to say yes to every social event, work outing and dinner that I was invited to. 

On top of that, many of my friends were getting married, which meant that I was asked to be a bridesmaid in no less than nine weddings.  That meant nine bridal showers, nine engagement parties, nine bridesmaid dresses, nine bachelorette parties and nine wedding gifts.

My money disappeared before I knew it. 

My credit card bill, now totaling near $10,000, made me seriously consider having to move back home. It was depressing, but spending money on stupid things was my fault. And it had to stop.

It's been a year since I moved home. I would love to be able to say that I'm better off financially, but I've barely put any dent in my debt. I found that in addition to catching up on all my old bills, there were new expenses to add to the list, such as my monthly $254 commuter train pass, and a calendar filled with even more weddings, bridal and baby showers. 

My plan didn't pan out the way I thought it would, but starting this month, I'm dedicating the next year to paying off my bill. I'm going to learn to say "no" to my friends more often and "yes" to meeting with a financial planner.

Think I can do it?  Check back next month to find out.