Mike: Logan, it’s Friday!
Logan: Which makes me sing that SONG, Friday Fridayyyy. What happened before that? What would we sing on Friday?
Mike: The TGIF song from the ’90s.
Logan: YES. Can you sing it to me?
Mike: Um. I just remember it being like, “TGIF!”
So, something happened this week, I think, that sort of showed me how much you’ve been growing when it comes to this getting-in-control-of-your-debt-and-spending thing.
You wrote this post about how you’d usually reward yourself with a dinner and a drink at a bar and restaurant after work, but have been going for an ice cream cone instead.
And yesterday, we went out for drinks after work to meet your friends, and because it was blazing hot outside. You said you really wanted to buy a round of drinks for everyone, but you didn’t—you just paid for yourself.
I mean, this isn’t the old Logan. Obviously you are still Logan, because you must have your treat and your drinks with friends, but it’s something important I think.
The reason why I made such a big deal last week about wanting you to believe that you could pay off your debt on your own was because: A) I totally believe you can do this on your own, and B) By doing this yourself, you’re making important changes. This is more about paying off your credit card debt down to zero.
Because you’ve paid down your debt to zero before. Multiple times—with either help from your parents, or by making quick fixes by refinancing your car loan. But in those instances, I don’t think you ever made the necessary changes to make sure you wouldn’t rack up that debt again.
And this time, it’s different. And this time, I’m seeing something turn around a little bit. And that matters so, so much.
Logan: That’s really nice, Mike. I think you have way more faith in me than I have in myself, actually! I mean, it’s become increasingly clear to me this week that the only way I’m going to be able to do this—okay, not the only way, but the way that will cause the least amount of emotional STRIFE—is going to be to automate everything and set it up so I do not have access to my money. I joked last week that the easiest way to not spend money was to not have money, but it’s actually totally, totally true.
This week I got a check, and for the past few months, I’ve been broke in the three or four days ahead of that. Having no dollars kind of broke.
But this week because of the freelancing stuff, and because this was the first month without my car payment, I had a few hundred bucks instead of no bucks. And the plan of course is to set up automatic payments for credit cards, blahhh blah.
But I hadn’t done that yet. And so even though that money was technically earmarked, I knew it was going to get snatched out of my account, and so I was a little more spendy this week. And that just means like, I went to Pret A Manger for lunch twice even though I have a loaf of bread and some peanut butter here at the office. And then one day I went to No. 7 Sub and spent $9 on a sandwich that had potato chips on it, because I wanted it. The other night I accidentally spent $22 on dinner.
Mike: Hey, it’s okay. You’re not going to just suddenly turn your life around, just like that. But you’ve been making the small necessary changes to go in the right direction.
Logan: I had been at this party (FOR THE SOLSTICE) and I had only eaten pound cake and lemon curd and many glasses of rose, and when I got home at 11, I wanted food, but didn’t have cash, so I went to the pizza place and got a salad and then I was nervous that keeping them open when they wanted to be closed wasn’t worth it to them for a salad, so I also ordered a pizza. None of it was very good. I spent $24, actually, because I left a $2 tip. On carryout. Which is probably too much? But I don’t want anyone to think I’m cheap, or to think I don’t value them as humans doing a hard job. So: TIPS.
Mike: Well, that’s you, Logan! I remember how you once asked, “Oh god, if I became responsible with my money, would I still be me?” Yes. You’re still going to be you.
Logan: Well, I think that’s the thing. I’m never going to not want to buy everyone’s drinks or tip a zillion dollars or buy all the ice cream cones. But I can figure out how to cut off access to my money! Save myself from myself.
Kind of schizophrenic actually. That’s the wrong word. But, there are TWO ME’S.
And the me that likes stuff and life and no thoughts is in a fight with the me that is like, ugggh stop stressing out, what if we actually get old one day and have money?
(I just we’d myself.)
Mike: Oh gosh, I hope there aren’t two me’s.
Logan: No you are the most consistent person I’ve ever met. Never moody. Just: Mike Dang!
Mike Dang I feel like we don’t talk enough about your money, when it’s actually much more fascinating because it’s much more RARE. Like: How did you decide to allow yourself to have another beer last night? Did you think that maybe you should have transferred that $6 to you student loan?
(It sounds like I’m making fun of you but I’m not, I just don’t know what it’s like to be responsible!) (Or have balance.)
Mike: Well, you know, every time I get a check, I shuttle some of it into savings, and the rest goes into my checking. And most of my bills are at the beginning of the month, and I pay them instantly. And then I’m checking my bank balances on my phone twice a day, which means I’m always aware of how much money I have, and how much I can spend.
Do you remember what I said to you before I left the office last night? I asked you if I could hit the ATM, because I wanted to pull out $40, because I told you that I don’t like using credit cards at bars. This was all premeditated, you see.
I was aware of how much I was going to spend the entire time. It wasn’t ever a question of whether or not I’d have one or two drinks. I had planned that before I had even gotten to the bar.
Logan: So there was no way you would have had a third drink. Not an option. PREMEDITATED.
Mike: Right! Exactly. Which makes me sound, I don’t know, uptight? But this is how I live!
Logan: No, I think it makes you sound like a Person Who Has His Shit Together. When is the last time you spent money and regretted it? Do you make monetary mistakes?
Mike: Hmmmm. I mean, I’ve been disappointed in a lot of things. I don’t know. I actually don’t spend a lot of money. And I try to make my dollars count, so even if I am disappointed in something, it’s okay—that money is gone. It’s just money. Everyone is okay. My bank account is still okay. Gosh, how boring would my life be without regrets or mistakes?
Logan: Okay. Let’s guess how much money we’re going to spend this weekend. I took $100 out of the ATM today and I already spent $8 on food and $26 paying you back for last night (which: was that enough?).
My hope is to make that last the rest of the weekend I guess? Which I might be able to just barely do. I’m going to brunch tomorrow, but it’s not expensive brunch but I still will probably have a bloody marry and then be like, yes, I will have one more.
And then Sunday I’m getting my haircut from a girl in her house and she is charging $40.
Mike: Reasonable weekend spending!
I’m guessing I’ll spend around $100. I have a housewarming to go to, which means a housewarming gift, and a bottle of something nice for the party. And then Sunday, I’m planning on staying in and catching up on work. I guess we’ll check in on Monday, and reveal what we spent!
Logan: REVELATIONS. Can I say one more thing? The phrase “catching up with work” stresses me out and I think we should stop using it in favor of something more positive.
Like: Do some work! Get down with some work! Work on some things! Because do we ever really catch up? Can we ever really be done?
Mike: Gosh, I hope so.
Previously: Minus One Car, Plus One Laptop