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Maxed Out: Debt Threatens to Divide a Couple

This episode of Maxed Out is about Sondra and Ashton, a couple who has been living together for about a year and share careers in counseling but have opposite money habits. Sondra is 28 years old and Ashton is 25, and while he is taking trips with the money he's saved she is tinkering on the edge of bankruptcy.

Ashton's saving ways have put him in a good financial place but Sondra's spending tendencies have put her $56,000 in debt. Find out more about their situation and Sondra's plan to get out of debt when you


Sondra is reliant on her parents who pay her car insurance and some money toward her student loans, contributing about $500-$600 a month and sometimes more when she has trouble making rent. At times, Sondra relies on Ashton to lend her money. Financial guru Alison Griffiths is worried that Sondra is slowly transferring her financial dependence from her parents to Ashton, and that Sondra's envy of Ashton's trips is creating a debt divide.

Allison discovers that Sondra is averaging a monthly $535 shortfall and is spending $600-$1,200 on miscellaneous, unnecessary purchases. At the rate Sondra is going, it will take over eight years and $24,000 in interest to pay off her debt. Allison instructs Sondra and Ashton to open a joint account and use it for all shared expenses, gets Sondra to organize her bills, and tells her to tighten her belt by taking out $100 in cash for the whole month and to leave her debit card at home.

At the end of the show, Sondra's monthly shortfall is down to zero and her new habits will get her debt paid off in a little over six years with $12,000 in interest. She's stopped asking her parents and boyfriend for money and said the biggest lesson she learned was to pay attention to where her money is going.


Xandara Xandara 9 years
Well I'd be pretty darn ticked if my boyfriend was going on trips without me! But her spending just sounds out of control. :(
gemsera gemsera 9 years
CoralAmber, im in the same situation. I want to be debt free (or at least halfway there) before we move into our own place (renting the parents flat at the moment) so i'm not having to mooch. But its difficult, as I have a job but all my money goes on bills, and he doesnt have a job, hence i'm supporting both of us going out wise on like virtually no money. its a stresser in every relationship but you just work through it :)
cvandoorn cvandoorn 9 years
$100 a month?? That is a full tank of gas and a few things at the grocery store for me! Bam, $100 gone in a day.
CoralAmber CoralAmber 9 years
One of the reasons my boyfriend and I are holding off on moving in together is that I want to be more financially stable so I'm not mooching off him.
ilanac13 ilanac13 9 years
i can definitely see how spending habits could be the end to a relationship. my fiance and i always say that $$ is the number one reason that couples argue/break up. his spending and my spending are very different. i don't have enough $$ to spend on frivolous things, and yet i still don't save what i should - and well...he doesn't have the same types of expenses - and he shops. we're both making a positive change in our debt - so we're not as 'maxed out' as this couple, but i really can relate and understand.
zabrow zabrow 9 years
MAAAYBE i could do it if it was just $100 spending money for misc stuff, but not if that's supposed to include gas & groceries & bills. there's no possible way.
imcs imcs 9 years
what city does she live in? i am in miami, and it's nearly impossible (if not completely)to live a normal life on $100/month, as much as i'd like to.
hithatsmybike hithatsmybike 9 years
$56 000! Holy shit!! And $500 from her parents every month! And up to $1200 on "miscellaneous" things? HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT?! I don't think I could survive on $100/mo either =\ I do abide by the same method though -- taking cash and leaving the plastic at home -- but I allow myself $100/week. I've only been doing it for the past month or two, but it really put my spending in check without making me feel restricted from going out or buying nice things for myself.
zabrow zabrow 9 years
i don't know if i could survive on $100 cash per month...
TidalWave TidalWave 9 years
"taking out $100 in cash for the whole month and to leave her debit card at home." -- that's an interesting method
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 9 years
Oh wow. This could be me in a couple of years. :oops: I currently have no debt right now thanks to scholarships, my parents, and my boyfriend but whatever money I do get from my paycheck I spend it on vacations and shopping (clothes, shoes, bags etc.) I need to learn to stop being so dependent. *sigh* easier said than done..
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