We’re Unapologetically Breaking Bad

That’s right. We’re unapologetically breaking bad. Breaking bad habits, that is. Of course we’re not slipping down a rabbit hole of dark, unlawful acts. What were you thinking? Sounds like someone watched one too many  episodes of a certain show about blue drugs and an ex-chemistry teacher. 😉 In all seriousness, when Mr. MMM and I were enthralled in the series, Breaking Bad, a few winters ago, we were also under contract to purchase a house we couldn’t afford. But that wasn’t all, we were also spending money without much thought to future ramifications. Finally, we hit a wall and had to redefine our expectations and behaviors. Much like Walter White, we broke bad.

A Plethora of Bad Habits

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After we broke bad

Before becoming Mr. and Mrs. MMM, we had a plethora of bad habits that needed breaking. We’re Gen-Xers, and we met when our 20s were well behind us. However, because we started a fresh relationship, we felt like we were super young again. And we acted like it, too! We acted like two college kids just starting out with our entire lives in front of us. Unfortunately, in reality, that wasn’t the case. We weren’t just starting out. We both had past missteps. Big ones. Both financially and emotionally. But boy, were we ever having a blast.

It was at this time that we discovered the series, Breaking Bad. We couldn’t get enough. We binge watched it on Netflix over the course of our first winter together – taking the occasional break because my nerves couldn’t handle it. I mean, when you’re dreaming that you’re in the middle of a drug shoot-out, it’s probably time to take a breather. Nevertheless, we pressed on, ate ice cream, and enjoyed ourselves. Did I mention those nights we were taking a breather, we were going out to eat. Yum!

During that winter, we were also shopping for engagement rings and a bigger house! I had a little girl and we both had animals, all of which would be blended into my small house after marriage. Obviously, a 1300 SF home isn’t capable of handling such a load. So we contracted to buy a much bigger house. That’s what everyone does, right? College, career, starter house, kids, bigger house, etc. But we knew better. Deep down, we knew that Breaking Bad wasn’t the only thing causing us angst. We knew we were spending way too much money. We knew we couldn’t comfortably afford that bigger house. And we knew we were smarter. We finally had a stroke of luck when the house contract fell through and we were able to sleep again. That’s when we had The Talk and got on the right track.

Related: How I Almost Committed Financial Suicide

For entertainment purposes, I have compiled a short list of our former financial inadequacies here:

-Eating out all the time. Cheers! 

-Eating in. Ice cream every night. The bad habits didn’t stop with our purse strings.

-Not tracking our net worth. Net what?

-Not tracking our expenses. We make good money, surely there is plenty for everything.

-Not planning for the future. We’re never going to be old people.

-Not having a plan for our money or our life. We’re perpetual 25-year olds! Yay!

We had cable. On steroids. We’re talkin’ 200 HD channels and a DVR. Uh huh.

The Mother Load – We contracted to buy a house we couldn’t afford. It’ll work out.

Changing Course

I can’t tell you how relieved we felt when we the contract fell through and we decided to stay in our small home. We renovated our house last summer – all cash – and we couldn’t be happier. It’s now a total of 2100 SF and I can’t imagine cleaning something bigger. Probably the best benefit of all is that I don’t have to worry about keeping it warm in the winter or cool in the summer. Because it’s small and super efficient, the utilities are easily managed. Since getting married, we were able to create a huge gap between our income and our expenses, essentially lighting ourselves on FIRE and getting on track to be financially free within a few years.

Related: Frugal Hacks To Live An Awesome Life

“What’s My Name? Say My Name.”

breaking-bad-iiIf you watched Breaking Bad, you definitely get the headline reference. After getting our crap together, we can finally say we broke our bad habits for good. We will no longer be a slave to consumerism. We will pay attention to our money. We will know our net worth. We will not purchase things we don’t need. We will make plans for the future. We will invest with purpose. We will Break Bad.

Now, say my name, bitch.

What are your thoughts? Have you broken bad habits? If so, what were they and what was your breaking point?

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Mad Money Cat – “Say my name.”

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12 comments… add one
  • Dinero Pro (@dinero_pro) Feb 11, 2017, 3:40 pm

    Clever, I love this show also!

    For us it was eating out. Although we still slip up here and there, there has been an improvement! Fortunately, we stopped ourselves from buying a home before we were ready.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 12, 2017, 8:40 am

      Congrats on not buying the home prematurely! That can sink your finances in a flash. We also LOVE eating out in restaurants. It took a bit of training, but we have finally reached a good balance of only going out for special occasions. There are more special occasions than you realize. I shudder to think of all the money we wasted in the past. We could probably be retired already 🙂

  • Jennifer Connolly Feb 9, 2017, 12:07 pm

    Loved that show …especially Jesse! Our biggest bad habit we broke was the “we deserve it” mentality, dinner out, something pretty for the house, vacations, etc. No more of that here!

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 9, 2017, 12:19 pm

      Yeah, it’s hilarious – you might as well just say “I deserve debt and to work longer.” Not to worry, we’ve all been there!
      And, Jesse was awesome! He was the perfect complement to Walter. Best. Show. Ever.

  • MustardSeedMoney Feb 8, 2017, 9:31 pm

    I may be the only person in the US that hasn’t watched Breaking Bad. I would love to watch it but don’t have Netflix and was late to the game when it was on the TV.

    I have to admit though that in my 20s I had no emergency fund and it wasn’t until I couldn’t afford to buy a new (used) car when my old car’s engine blew up. I knew at that point I needed to make some significant changes and get my ducks in a row. It took me awhile but I finally got there 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 9, 2017, 8:11 am

      It’s funny how we all reach a point and we finally throw our hands in the air and say, “That’s it! I’m getting serious about this money crap now!” Ours was the mold house we almost bought. Phew.

      On a side note: You need to watch Breaking Bad. Maybe someone has the DVD collection. It is unforgettable.

  • Mrs Groovy Feb 8, 2017, 7:28 pm

    Love the title and tying in the show to “Bad” habits. We binged watched it too and even went through “Better Call Saul”. Now we’re looking for new Netflix material.

    The one bad habit I’ve broken is due to the fact that we no longer have regular cable. So I cut my ties with all the “Housewives”.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 9, 2017, 8:06 am

      Ha! I used to get sucked into the Housewives shows when we had cable, too! We never could get hooked on Better Call Saul. It just wasn’t Breaking Bad enough for us 🙂

  • Miss Mazuma Feb 8, 2017, 1:34 pm

    Love all the references! And, hey, I’ve been there with contracts and that feeling of sheer joy when they fell through! Like, someone else saw this might not be the best course for me and fate stepped in…then again, where were they when I got my ass handed to me in the housing crash?? Haha – you win some you lose some…literally! 🙂 Glad you guys are on track and over your downward spending spiral. Your daughter will never know what missing that big home will feel like but she will know what having her parents home feels like. What a better outcome for all!!

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 8, 2017, 7:15 pm

      Yes! I agree. I hope she is able to look back on the small home she grew up in with fond memories – fond memories of fun and not of worry and anxiety over a huge house payment and utility bills. Ha! It does feel so much better to be on the “right” track these days. Sounds like you traveled the same path we did 😉

  • Erik @ The Mastermind Within Feb 8, 2017, 6:26 am

    You 2 love your TV shows!! 🙂

    Congrats on getting your financial life under control. It’s so simple yet so difficult to take charge! One of my roommates is a financial advisor at an investment company… he said he doesn’t have an emergency fund that would cover him for even 3 weeks if something went wrong!

    I’m constantly trying to try new things and shake things up. One habit I’ve gotten rid of is wasting time in the mornings. I used to wake up about 30 minutes before work, hop in the shower, and get on the bus. Now I try to wake up extra early, do some blogging, workout, shower, and then go to work. It has shown in my blog’s progress, my physical abilities, and my mindset!

    Thanks for sharing.

    • Mad Money Monster Feb 8, 2017, 7:34 am

      Hahaha…we do like enjoying series together. I hesitated wrapping this post up with another TV series but, ultimately, I felt, what the hell! 🙂

      That is an “wow” story about your roommate. That’s the very reason I don’t think it’s vital to have an adviser for your financial health.

      Good job on getting into a new morning routine. Sounds like it’s paying off professionally and personally. I look forward to hearing more from you this year!

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