By Eric on May 24, 2011 9

Stupid Tax: First Paid on Our Honeymoon

Dave Ramsey uses the term stupid tax to describe the price you pay for making bad financial decisions. You chalk them up as lessons learned in the game of life, hoping to never have to pay that “tax” again. For the next few weeks, we’ll share with you some of the lessons we learned the hard way. We really hope you learn from our mistakes and save yourselves from paying the same tax.

It all started on our honeymoon, or probably even before, with our lack of financial planning.

We went on our honeymoon without a spending plan or a care in the world. Basically, we did whatever we wanted and spent money on frivolous things without putting a thought to how it was being paid for. Why not? We just got married, we certainly deserved to have anything we wanted on our honeymoon, right?

Looking back, we don’t think so. This was the start of our poor financial planning and decisions that would eventually cost us thousands of dollars through the first two years of our marriage, or B.D., as I like to call it (Before Dave). Taking Dave’s Financial Peace University course transformed the way we think about money. It’s still a work in progress, but it changed our lives and helped us become debt-free.

We honeymooned in Santa Monica in October 2006. We found the nicest hotel on the water and booked it. It wasn’t an all-inclusive deal, so unlike couples who choose that option, we spent even more money once we got there.

The ocean wasn’t warm enough to swim in, and we laid on the beach one day but it was a bit chilly. So we spent most of our time eating out and shopping. At this point in our lives, we both had good jobs back home and were living in an apartment, so we had the income to support this week-long spending binge.

But what it did was start us out on a marriage filled with frivoulous spending and a feeling of entitlement.

Entitlement to live how our parents live currently–except it took them 30 years to get where they are. We wanted that lifestyle instantly. And so began our marriage, happily ever after–as long as happiness could be purchased with a Visa card. We paid off our credit card every month, but we didn’t have a budget and we weren’t putting any money into savings.

Have you learned any lessons about money the hard way?


Other posts in this series:


Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. I saw on the Today Show this morning that 60% of Baby Boomer’s are financially supporting their adult children in some way! They partly blamed it on the entitlement attitude you talk about above. Wanting to live, now, how their parents currently live.

    That is just crazy!

  2. Want to know what Evan and I did for our “honeymoon”? We bought a MacBook Pro! Hahahha. Our honeymoon would have been long gone with only photos to show for it (and priceless memories, of course) but that laptop…well…I’m typing on it right now two years later and use it to run my business every day!! No regrets there! Once he gets a good job and we save for a bit, we’re totally going to take a nice trip together (probably to Europe). I think by then we’ll spend so much more wisely, and won’t overindulge, as we would if it was our honeymoon. Modest hotel, minimal shopping, and focus on the experiences around us. A different way of doing it than the traditional honeymoon most young couples do these days, but I feel so much more comfortable doing it this way!

    • There is a lot of wisdom in your choice. You are delaying the pleasure of the traditional honeymoon and it will be that much better when you take your trip to Europe. We were so young and didn’t put a whole lot of thought into where we were going and ended up spending a lot more than we should have or needed to.

  3. Probably the greatest and hardest money lessons I’ve learnt were during the time I spent working in the Philippines and Cambodia. I had no idea of how blessed I was until then, and used to think of money as simply my own, to waste as I wanted.
    Living WITH families in poverty, experiencing life as they did really opened my eyes to the necessity of using our money for good, to share with those in need and for God’s glory.

  4. Growing up in an economic bubble, instant gratification was/is a way of life. If I wanted it, I had to have it, and I had to have it NOW. No one ever tells you how to live if/when the bubble bursts.

    But burst it did. All in one weekend my car broke down (had to rebuild the engine), I moved into my first apartment (deposits, furniture, everything you need to live on your own), and I did not get paid due to an accounting mix up. I had no idea how I was going to make it.

    However, the Lord is gracious, and through his guidance (and a Financial Peace book study with amazing friends)I am learning to let go of my sense of entitlement/addiction to instant gratification and to produce the fruits of paitence and self-discipline.

  5. We try really hard to curb that entitlement too. It’s just so easy to get caught up in what our parents have (or even friends!) and start spending like crazy. We recently made the decision to stop putting stuff on credit, and just save up for the stuff we want. It’s actually really nice to get something and pay for it up front instead of worrying about another monthly payment. Right now, we just want to live as debt-free as possible so that when we do have a big expenditure (hello wedding) we’re financially ready for it.

  6. I think the entitlement thing is HUGE. We did Financial Peace, as well…we call him BFF Dave. It’s made a big difference in our lives and our marriage. We had already started budgeting and paying off debt, but it reinforced that we were making the right choices.

    As for the Honeymoon–it was really important to me (much more than the wedding…). I’d traveled a fair amount before I met my husband, so we wanted to go somewhere neither of us had been. So, we went to Greece. But, we followed the budget we’d set up ahead of time. We had a blast–definitely a trip of a lifetime!

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