Hello, peeps. Hope your week is going well and you are doing swell. I have a brand new dear debt letter from Mel at brokeGIRLrich. She writes about stuff like how to survive becoming an adult, paying off $30,000 in student debt, working in the arts, and developing a retirement plan that doesn’t involve a cardboard box under an overpass. You can catch her on Twitter @brokeGIRLrich

Dear Pete ,

It’s been a while since we’ve talked. I don’t miss you though. I saw you the other day when I was in West Elm. I went in to do a mystery shop – you know, one of those skills I picked up so I’d be able to leave you quicker – where I was supposed to pretend to buy a piece of furniture I actually needed. My email with instructions said to think of something you actually plan to replace and pretend to shop for it – fair enough, because I actually do need a couch. I’d never ever heard of West Elm before, but the second I stepped inside, it was clearly a happy place. Our kind of place, Pete, the sort where I could feel the magical side of our relationship coming back to life. I walked around looking at the gorgeous furniture that was all so ridiculously far out of my price range and I found not one, but two sofas I would’ve loved to buy. In the middle of the mystery shop, the guy helping me had to go take a phone call and as I sat down on the couch to wait for him, I swear you were sitting next to me.

We both liked that couch. Besides, for a really good couch $1,100 isn’t unreasonable right? Couches last a long time. At least, that’s what you were trying to tell me. The retail associate returned, I finished my mystery shop and then I… lingered. I thought about my fabulously low balance on my credit card. Seriously, it’s got like a tank of gas and a few groceries on it right now, that leaves like… $9,900 of credit still on it. The couch wouldn’t even make a dent in that. I heard you whisper all those things in my ear.

And then I ran for the door. I’m sure I looked really odd to all the poised folks with their respectable, non-entertainment based earnings, but I booked it. Because I wanted to buy everything in there, from the couch I actually needed to the candles that smelled great to the clever drawer handles that just looked so cool. Finally outside the store, I remember standing there thinking “what the… just happened?” And then I realized how easy it would be for us to get back together. I didn’t see today coming – I’d actually thought today was a great day. I was still side-hustling even when I didn’t really need to! But there you were lurking with all your charm and barely hidden danger and appeal.

Well backsliding has never worked out well in any of my other relationships and I’m not giving you the chance either Pete. We had some good times – not gonna lie, our trip to Peru was unforgettable, and actually worth the extra 6 months of headaches to pay off, so you did teach me that some things are worth doing, but you also taught me a lot of unpleasant lessons too. Like that gross ball of stress in my stomach when I HATED my job for a year and a half but couldn’t just quit because I needed to have a new one lined up with a certain salary level to be able to pay all my bills. Or all the times I would get snippy with my boyfriend (that’s right Pete, there was always someone else) about how much we were spending and that we were eating out too often – I was a 27-year-old shrew, who wants to be that?? Oh, and those good things I wanted to do, like invest in my dad’s cool invention or buy stocks or maybe even own a home? Well thanks for putting the kibosh on all those things.

But mostly you taught me that this will never happen again. We’re through forever Pete. And the couch I buy is going to be reasonably priced and paid for in cash. So suck it.

Love (not),


**If you’d like to participate and write a dear debt letter, please get in touch!*


Melanie is a freelance writer currently living in Portland, Oregon. She is passionate about education, financial literacy, and empowering people to take control of their finances. She writes about breaking up with debt, freelancing, and side hustle adventures at DearDebt.com.

Currently she puts more than 50% of her income towards debt, while living a frugal, fun life. In addition to her love of personal finance, art and music, she is also a karaoke master. Follow the adventure @DearDebtBlog.

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13 responses to “Dear Debt Letter from Mel at Broke Girl Rich”

  1. You go, Mel! Where are you doing your mystery shopping with?
    Michelle @fitisthenewpoor recently posted…Learning Music = More Success?My Profile

  2. anna says:

    Great point about backsliding never being any good – if you break up, it’s most likely for a reason, debt or otherwise!
    anna recently posted…Wedding/ Honeymoon – Bridal Shower and Getting Into the DetailsMy Profile

  3. Love it! Glad you kicked Pete to the curb!
    Brian@ Debt Discipline recently posted…Interview Series: One Cent At A TimeMy Profile

  4. I like how your debt has a name. Pete likes to call me once in awhile too and tell me there are great travel deals on living social or groupon. I tell him to f off! 🙂 It’s very tempting to just plop down that plastic and have a shiny new thing, isn’t it?
    Tonya@Budget and the Beach recently posted…Five Smart Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Tax RefundMy Profile

  5. Haha I really enjoyed this entire letter. Furniture can really kill a budget if you don’t have the savings to pay for it.
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…The Weekly Quick Hits RoundupMy Profile

  6. I love this post. I laughed, I cried, mostly I laughed. I can totally relate to just wanting to take that one extra little step of pulling out the magical card and paying for my latest and greatest love. So great.
    Lindsey @ Cents & Sensibility recently posted…Empire Building Kit: Week 2My Profile

  7. This “Dear Debt” letter was basically my story 6 years ago, minus the mystery shopping.

    I just moved to a new city and really did need new furniture. I was sleeping on an air mattress! My buddy, Pete, convinced me to buy a $4,000 bedroom set when all I needed was a used $250 set.

    If I could go back in time, I would have done what you did. I would run out of that furniture store and leave awkward stares behind me…
    Average Anthony recently posted…How to Get Rid of Debt… Two Different Debt Repayment Strategies!My Profile

    • Hah, glad to know I’m not the only one who gets sucked into the furniture trap. Some reader on my blog actually came across one of my posts where I raved about living in a meth den and the couch I’m dying to get and pointed out that I could probably make that sucker for less than $200. It’s a pretty tempting idea… other than the fact I fear it might fall apart. I’ve never built furniture before really.
      Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Dual Enrollment Saves Money!My Profile

  8. This definitely made me chuckle. I know the feeling, and sometimes my new lifestyle makes me think I can afford things I really can, but shouldn’t. Debt is a tempting mistress (or mister), but one impulse can have weeks, months, or even years of pain!
    Ryan @ Impersonal Finance recently posted…I’m not the CFO of my householdMy Profile

    • Oh my gosh, tell me about it. I just moved because I got a new job, complete with a pretty good salary bump AND I’m not paying off crazy student loans anymore. There’s always a little voice telling me to just go buy it. Whatever it is at the moment. I suspect it’s Pete whispering in my ear again.
      Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted…Dual Enrollment Saves Money!My Profile

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