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Sliding Backwards into Credit Card Debt Again…

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Our credit card WAS paid off. Obvious emphasis on the past tense.

My husband is attending a bachelor party this weekend and the event required one credit card to book the trip for all five attendees (the bill could not be split). Most of our friends know about our recent credit card payoff (maybe shouting that fact from my roof and breaking into song was a clear sign) and naturally suggested that since we ‘had the room’ on our card (as if it were free), that my husband pay for the entire trip and be reimbursed later.

I’m not going to lie. I am upset.

Perhaps I’d be more trusting if this hadn’t happened before with concert and event tickets and in the end, we were always short. People conveniently ‘forget’ to pay or promise to pay later and then get annoyed when reminded. Plus, the credit card will be kept on file in case there are damages to the room or if alcohol is consumed.

When I asked why someone else couldn’t pony up a credit card, he told me it was because everyone is nearly maxed out but us. Um… isn’t that a good reason NOT to loan these people our credit card?

My husband and I rarely fight but this is a sensitive issue for me and I feel like we are opening ourselves up to a lot of potential debt.

Am I overreacting?


42 Comments

  • Reply Maria |

    Hi. I do not mean to be snarky, but I think the lesson here is for you and your husband is to be much more discreet in the future as you reach various milestones in your debt reduction journey. My husband and I have had a longstanding policy of not discussing any details of our finances with anyone outside of our marriage or immediate familes. It means that when things go well you can’t crow, but it also avoids what I think you are dealing with now: the perception that you are so much better off than your peers that you should, in effect, loan them money for this bachelor party.

  • Reply a.nonymous |

    I totally understand that you are upset about this. Maybe you should incorporate some kind of guideline in your anti-debt fight to not have any credit cards on you when you’re going out/away with friends – or at least act as if you’ve don’t even have one.

  • Reply Dollar Bill |

    Well, call me a bitch but I would ensure that every single one of those people paid back every cent. Actually, I’d make them prepay for things….and if they don’t, then cancel the room within the 24-48 hr window. If they didn’t pay back, then honestly…what kind of friends are they?

  • Reply Phaedra |

    Absolutely must be paid before the weekend starts. If you do that there is no chance they will overspend and “pay you back” later. I would collect the cash up front!!!!!

  • Reply Nik |

    No – you’re not over-reacting at all. If they are maxed out, that’s their problem. Let everyone sort out their own room booking if the only alternative is you taking on the burden. It’s their problem (or at least should be) – not yours.

  • Reply Mysti |

    I would be upset too. Not screaming crying, but highly annoyed and hubby would know it.

    I agree with collecting money upfront, and heck, I would even collect a little extra just in case there are damages. You can always give it back if it isn’t needed.

    Parties are a “want” not a “need.” If friends can’t afford it, then they shouldn’t go. I know that stinks because we all want to have a good time, but why should you pay for their irresponsibility?

  • Reply Mysti |

    Also….(sorry, can’t figure out how to edit a comment!)

    Once you open that “golden seal” aka, using your card again, even if it is something little…..it is much easier to keep going and end up back where you were. It happened to us.

  • Reply Donna |

    I agree with what others have said about making people pay upfront or cancel.

    I would be pissed too. It’s not your problem other people are maxed out on their credit cards and you shouldn’t be responsible for any issues that come up with the room because of it. I’d seriously consider canceling the reservations.

  • Reply Qcash |

    It seems to me that “booking the room” is different from “paying for the room”.

    I have often booked rooms on my credit card for groups and boys weekend. When we check in, we talk to the front desk and let them know we will be paying the bill by multiple cards on the way out.

    Often, the hotel company will put a “hold” on the credit card which uses up the available credit room but doesn’t actually charge anything until the bill is paid (pre-authorizes).

    I think if your husband is smart, when it is time to check out, he drags all of his friends down to the front desk (hangovers and all) and make sure the bill is split equally.

    So I fall into the “yes you might be overreacting” category 🙂 But not by much.

    QCash

  • Reply Stephanie |

    I think you have every right to feel upset. The psychological upset of being credit card debt free and then not was unnecessary. I would suggest that you guys no longer carry your credit cards in your wallet and/or purse. Perhaps that will keep future occurrences like this at bay? Being credit card debt free is a huge psychological boost and you probably feel like it has been ripped from you even if it will be paid back. Don’t give the option anymore! Tell people you closed all of your accounts. 🙂

  • Reply Lisbeth Tanz |

    I believe everyone before me has made great points. Not sure I can add anything except, do you know if people can afford the room? If not everyone can and isn’t able to pay upfront, then perhaps they shouldn’t go. I would be very upset as well for many reasons – the unknown of whether payment to you will be made, if the room might be damaged, etc. If the room is too much, then whose house can this party be held at? (Pretty certain that idea won’t go over, either.)

    Good luck – this is a tough one.

    Lis

  • Reply Eddie |

    Bet your spouse will find out which friends are really friends after this one…(I’m guessing at least one, and more likey two, will attempt to stiff him…)

    Look, point blank, my family “economy” is just as rocky as the nation’s, and I’ve trained myself to be hard, firm and sometimes adamant on using our cards. If he reeeeealy wants to go, in this case, he can figure out the split-cost the day of arrival, and GET THE ROOM MONEY UPFRONT from everyone when he checks in. If “the buds” cant handle giving him a hundred or so there and then, they ain’t gonna’ pony up later WITHOUT making him work for it, vis a vis guilt, phone-calls, trade-offs whatever.

    I’m just sayin’…..

  • Reply Crispy |

    Beks, I think you have a right to be upset!

    I recall an instance when I was running a student conference, and one of the four guys used his credit card to book the deposit for the hotel room (even though the conference paid for the rooms). Long story short, there was damage to the room, and the guy who used his card to book the room was stuck with the repair bill. I don’t think he had much luck with recouping the money from the broke student(s) who had actually done the damage.

    Most hotels will accept a cash deposit for the room(s) – if a guys’ weekend is coming up, collect cash (or equivalent) from the guys to book the room. Then as QCash noted, tell the hotel that the room will be split equally on departure.

    My friend recently booked a themed evening at a local farm for an ad-hoc class reunion. Well, most people who said “yeah sure we’ll come” didn’t come, and she was stuck with the $800 deposit.

    I would *never* book things for a group of friends on my card. Nothing ruins a friendship faster than owing someone money (and bugging them to collect).

  • Reply Caitlin |

    I agree with Qcash. That’s what I actually came here to comment about.

    Booking a room is different from paying for a room. If you book a room, they check your credit card to make sure you can afford it, but your card isn’t actually charged until you check out.
    Most hotels won’t allow you to split between multiple cards when booking, but they certainly allow you to split between multiple cards when paying and checking out.

    When the hotel slides the bill under their door on the last morning of their stay, have your husband take all his friends down to the front desk and have each pay their share.
    Make sure he tells his friends that’s how it’s going to work, on the off chance that someone may “forget” to bring their card for the party.

    As an added bit of security, try this: Usually when you check into a hotel, you have to present your credit card at that time to confirm it’s you. Have your husband present his card on check-in, and state “This card is for 1/5 of the bill” (or whatever share is his). His friends will be right there and will have to produce their own cards in order for them to check in as well and be given keys.

    I just shared a hotel room with a friend last weekend. We arrived at different times, and so we had to check in separately (to get keys). I arrived first and told them my card was for 1/2 the bill. When she arrived later, she gave them her card and told them it was for the other half of the bill. There were zero problems with this set up.

  • Reply mywellofwealth |

    I agree with Lisbeth and Mysti. Firstly, this bachelor party is not something that you really have to go to IF you don’t have anything to spend. Secondly, what kind of friends would do this? Covering up for four is too much.

    Perhaps you could talk some sense into your husband. He will understand. And you’re right, them being maxed out is a good enough reason why you shouldn’t loan them your card. My Well Of wealth

  • Reply Carrie...On The Cheap |

    I would be SO irritated. You have every right to be mad! Bachelor/ette parties & weddings can cause SO much financial tension! It’s so annoying. I’m hoping you get repaid by everyone. 🙂

  • Reply Kamantha |

    I would be steaming mad! Just the assumption that “you got this” would have made me go off! I would tell my husband to take his card back from the hotel. What if they dont pay? What if someone goes off on the mini bar? What if there is a fight amongst drunken bachelors? To many variables for this “night out for fun”. That by the way, YOU wont be enjoying but paying for later.

  • Reply Jen |

    I don’t blame you for being annoyed, and if I were in your husband’s position I’d be majorly annoyed with the friends!! The nerve!!!

    If this is the same group of friends that hosed you before with the concert tickets, then your husband can make the point that you’ve been stiffed before and he doesn’t want to be in the situation again. Ever.

  • Reply Michelle |

    Make sure to keep us posted Beks. I’ll be sending positive thoughts your way.

    And just a knee jerk reaction to Maria’s comment – she writes a personal financial blog. What’s the point of writing a blog about REDUCING DEBT if you don’t tell people about your milestones? Just because Beks is putting herself out there doesn’t give her friends an excuse to mooch off her success.

  • Reply PonyRyd |

    I think ever one above covered the how not to get stiffed details.

    But from a male point of view, I just wanted to sympathize with your husband for a moment. Many a times I have been caught between my wife and “friends” on financial matters. I am certain that he feels bad about the whole deal, but instead of lecturing him with all of the above information please make sure he knows you are both on the same team and you want to make sure you don’t get stuck on this deal.

    Give him a break and love him through this! Where else are you going to find a quality construction guy that works for room and board?

    😉

  • Reply Maria |

    Follow up comment to Michelle: Mine is a common enough name and I am NOT the Maria who writes a personal finance blog! My only point was that what a person announces on their blog (and Beks’ work is great) does not necessarily have to be repeated to each and every friend and acquaintance…If Beks and her husband had not shouted this information from their rooftop (her language) then she might have avoided this irritating situation.

  • Reply Tony V |

    I have been stiffed enough times when “splitting” a restaurant bill — amazing how people start leaving the table early and leave $$ for the meal, omitting tax, tips and perhaps a drink or two — that I know your pain and concern.

    Friends are not friends, they are moochers at least, if they seek to exploit the fruits of the hard work of others.

    Beks and her husband did not come into a major inheritance or win the lottery and become flush with cash. There is a difference.

    The friends should not go if they cannot afford it. Also, Beks said that her friends want her husband to pay for the trip and be reimbursed later. He better communicate to his friends a possible change in the repayment schedule before departing.

    Money is the great polarizer in family and friendships. If I did not have the money, I simply would not go, or I might speak privately to my friend about payment arrangements.

    I certainly would not band together in a classless peer pressure stunt to have my friend fund a trip for 4 others.

  • Reply E.D. |

    Try to get the money at the start of the trip. If that fails, definitely ask the hotel to split the bill X ways. If his friends get annoyed when you remind them (often until they pay up), that’s their problem.

    When DH goes on trips to MTG events, he and some of his friends alternate who puts the room on the card. It’s less likely that someone will “forget” to pay when they know their turn to pay is coming.

  • Reply Joy Smith |

    I worked as a desk clerk for a hotel and while your hubby may have had to book the room with his card, his friends should be able to put the charges on their cards once they arrive. But the problem with this is, if someone doesn’t fork up a card or as you said doesn’t have the money to put it on their card, then your hubby is still stuck with the bill.

    Find out with the hotel what the allowed time is for cancellation of the room. I’m guessing it’s a cheaper (group rate) rate at 5 and that’s why it’s booked that way. I don’t however know any hotel that won’t put the fees seperate on each member’s card or take cash unless it’s one room only that they’re staying in. If that’s the case, make sure they fork up the cash before he books that room.

    If they can’t afford to give him cash at the very least, then obviously they can’t afford the weekend. Hubby needs to put his foot down and say NO if his buddies think that he’s paying the bill. And to be honest, you have every right to be a part of the NO saying process since you are his spouse.

  • Reply Nadia |

    Ugh, you are right to be bugged by this.
    I had a real tightwad roommate who would bill me for the 16 cents for the stamp of the utility bill (which is fine) but when I fronted the money for something she would always be short or say she would pick up the slack next time.
    I never used to carry much cash, but if I am going out with friends I remember to bring a mix of bank notes so I can cover my exact share and not worry about using my card. (Someone always ends up being short in the group, no fun)

  • Reply Nadia |

    PS: You having no cc debt is the strangest reason as to why your husband should use his card. I am concerned that they all seem to be maxed out.

  • Reply laughing808 |

    if I were in that situation, I’d promptly tell my friends either pay up front or supply a creditcard of their own. You shouldn’t have to pick up the slack because you paid off your debt.

    And particularly since this has happened (or something like it) in the past, that is more reason for this situation to be handled differently.

    And as far as telling your friends that you are now debt free, if these so called friends can’t be happy for you and not burden you with taking on new debt then maybe those relationships should be re-evaulated.

  • Reply David@DINKS Finance |

    I side with you for sure. When people are short on cash or a bill needs to be split/etc. Sometimes I let people pay me back later. But here’s the thing – they WILL pay. They know even if its $1 that I will keep it on record and whenever I see them with cash I make them pay.

    In the case of your husband, I wouldn’t mind ponying up the credit card. But I would refuse to use my card until everyone paid me. In other words – sure I’ll put up my credit card, but you better all give me your share of the payment BEFORE I “file” my credit card!

    You are upset because you KNOW what will happen. You KNOW some of the people won’t pay. You can’t escape reality, and I would be upset if I were you too!

  • Reply John DeFlumeri Jr |

    Beks, of course you’re not wrong. Bachelor parties are terrible places for husbands to go anyway; I went to enough of them to know. I hope you don’t get stuck with a lot of new debt.

    John DeFlumeri Jr, Clearwater, Fla

  • Reply Kamantha |

    Also I would have a “talk” with my husband about using the card without discussing it with me first. Esp over a certain amount of money. Or maybe that was the point!

  • Reply Stina |

    Hi! I just began a similar blogging and financial journey about six weeks ago. I’m so excited to find someone else with a similar point of view. Unfortunately, we have far, far to go to get to the point you’ve just achieved.

    I totally understand how you feel about this situation. I would be like if you lost sixty pounds and suddenly all your friends wanted you to finish their plate. Just because they may not have won the same battle you have doesn’t mean they can sabbotage your success.

    I can’t wait to read more of your blog. I’ve got to go pay attention to my kids now though.

  • Reply mapgirl |

    Who is organizing this outing? Is your husband the best man, or is he the only one with good credit? Perhaps your husband should suggest that no one do this outing if they cannot afford it. Was that even considered?

    Yes, he booked the room on a credit card. Lots of people do. But that’s not what’s really bugging you. What I read is that you have friends who renege on paying their fair share. Exactly why are these people friends you want to have? They’re his friends? Your friends? A combination thereof? How bad have you been burned before? It sounds like possibly hundreds of dollars.

    I would say:

    1. You need to let your husband handle the debt collection.

    2. You need to not worry about this till after he gets charged the full amount.

    3. You need to let go of this because your husband has to deal with who left him holding the bag with his own friends.

    Your husband is a big boy here. If he’s understanding of his friends’ financial shortcomings, it’s really not for you to yell at him about it. He’s probably aware of it already without you being upset. So clam up till everyone’s ponied up and he knows who he will talk to again or not.

    Did you overreact? Possibly. Is it justified in some way, again possibly.

    Good luck. I hope his friends have the stones to do the right thing. Otherwise I’d stop talking to them.

  • Reply aklugiii |

    Beks,

    Its only a problem if your husband agreed to it without your knowledge, and then its only a problem if his friends dont pay him. Basically, its nobody’s problem until its a problem, so dont make it one until it has to be. Just come up with a plan and lots of good options have already been presented. If it still backfires chalk it up to a learning experience, write off your deadbeat friends and move on. But for god’s sake dont jump to conclusions and beat up your poor husband for it.

    BTW, blogs are better when the blogger actually responds to the comments and my perspective (purely anecdotal, since my RSS reader doesnt show comments and I dont look unless its intersting) is that you dont do that consistently.

  • Reply CanadianKate |

    Rather than have the friends split up the bill on the last day, I’d have them each pay something towards the room on check in. You can prepay a hotel room and they will accept multiple cards at that point.

    And if someone is paying with cash, they won’t have a chance to spend the room money on stripper tips or poker during the weekend and then be ‘short’ at the end.

    Sure, you dh will know all weekend who planned to stiff him from the start (obviously if they don’t have the cash or room on the credit card on Friday night, they won’t on Sunday morning) and that might put a damper on his weekend but at least he’ll know he’ll have to rein in spending in order to cover the shortfall of the others.

  • Reply emmi |

    I would ease up on hubby too, since you need him on the team. He’s probably already got the message and repeating it isn’t necessary. I would work on damage control now. Suggest like others do above, that hubby collect for the room upon checking in.

    Also, since it has not been mentioned by others: ASK for a room with NO MINIBAR. You can do that. In fact, he can be sneaky and call ahead and have the reservation adjusted. He might be able to have the pay per view locked out ahead of time too. If anyone complains about these things, he can just suggest that the room reservation be put on someone else’s card. That he and the wife agreed on that as part of the card being used for the room.

    Ongoing, if keeping these potentially deadbeat friends is important (and it may be, they may always be there to carry boxes when you move, or something…) I’d suggest lying. Tell your friends that you cancelled the card and don’t have one. OR that your card has a low limit ($500? $200?), even though it is paid off. Or something. Whatever the lie is, you and hubby need to have it straight and stick to it.

  • Reply a.b. |

    I hate to say it, but one of the reasons I got into debt was “helping” friends out like this. It reached point break, and actually cost me a friend, when someone told me I could pay for them to go to a concert. I would have your husband tell your friends that you don’t have the limit to cover it and even if he did it defeats the point of paying off a credit card to ring it up again, and (jokingly) he’s not willing to pay the interest on this for the next few months.

    @PonyRyd That just seems odd to me. My husband has never been caught between his friends and his wife. Maybe it’s mutual respect and maybe it’s priorities, but he has no problem telling his friends know when they’re out of line, and I trust him to know when they are.

  • Reply John |

    You are not over reacting at all. My wife and I get stuck in that situation all the time. Especially, when we go out to diner with friends. Some how, some way after everyone puts their money in, the bill still comes up short. They either leave out taxes or a tip. It just never comes out right. People should be inspired to do the same and pay of their credit cards. Instead it just seems like they want to take advantage. Stick to your guns. Don’t start charging up that card again.

  • Reply Suzanne Muusers |

    I would definately be upset about this. You achieved a wonderful milestone and then to have a new debt piled on top of a “clean” credit card when you don’t know for sure if you’ll be reimbursed, that would make me angry too!!!

  • Reply Margot |

    I’d be pissed. Hubby needs to get some boundaries as well as the ability to say no. And both of you need to draw a line in the sand regarding credit cards. Had you cut up your credit cards, this wouldn’t even have been an option. If you don’t say no to credit card debt forever as a pro-active choice, you’ll always find new reasons and justifications for going back into debt.

    Second, why be so open with your finances? Often, if people find out you’re out of debt, they will associate this with being “rich” and will ask you for money and won’t accept “no” for an answer when they ask you to go out to dinner, host something for them, take a trip, etc. If you can’t be honest with friends and maintain boundaries that are comfortable for both of you, then tell small lies. Tell your friends that you canceled the credit card and one of them will have to reserve the room. Or whatever.

    Finally, it’s unclear to me why hubby is going to bachelor parties when you’re on a get-out-of-debt mission. Just a couple of decades ago, weddings were generally modest, there weren’t a dozen related events, and bachelor parties involved a modest night out. Now people act like it’s mandatory to attend every wedding invite and all of the related events. I regularly turn down weddings and related parties if I cannot afford to attend. Or I budget to only attend the wedding and to skip the endless parties and showers.

  • Reply mewithoutdebt |

    I believe it really depends on how much you trust your (or his) friends. Since they already know you have room in your credit card (you told them), I understand it can be socially awkward. I cannot tell you do anything but if I was in this situation , I will email all friends (group email) stating charges, responsibilities with deposit/fee etc,and also when you expect payment with request for email reply agreeing to terms. I will then again send the reminder right after email. If there’s a problem, it’s a price I paid to know my friends.

So, what do you think ?