Structure, Consistency, Accountability
by Mike Dang and Logan Sachon
Mike: So, Logan, you mentioned today that you have to figure out a way to survive for the next two weeks without cash. You are cash poor, as we’ve learned from watching Nashville. What’s the plan?
Logan: Yes, cash poor and also asset poor. But I’m not poor in haircare products! For now. I will be after I go to Target to return some of the things I bought. That will be like, $75. And I do have $40 in cash already. So actually I’m going to be okay.
Mike: That’s a good attitude. It’s not the end of the world, right? You still have your health? You also have friends who will make sure that you never go hungry or end up on the street. If you run out of money for food, I can totally feed you. I’ll make you that asparagus lasagna I baked when you first came to visit me.
Logan: Oh god, that asparagus lasagna is so good. I may take you up on that. But yeah. I totally self-created this problem. This is not a big deal — it was a bigger deal this morning actually just because it was so shocking. Having overdraft protection is a big thing though. I know this is “using a credit card,” which is really bad, but it’s only for bills to keep me from getting more fees. As soon as I get paid, I’ll transfer anything that was transfered from my credit card back over.
But it’s still shocking too, my ability to not do math. Also it’s amazing to me that every time I do this I tell myself, THIS IS THE LAST TIME, THINGS ARE GOING TO CHANGE. And I really mean it! And believe it! What’s that definition of a nutter — a person who does the same thing over and over and expects a different outcome? Ding ding ding.
Mike: As you do. I also owe you $15. So you also have an extra $15.
Logan: You do not owe me $15. I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Mike: During Thanksgiving, we went to that diner, and you insisted on treating me, which I was very thankful for! But a young woman with an overdrawn bank account shouldn’t be treating friends to meals. So just pretend that I paid for myself that day.
Logan: I’m pretty sure I owe’d you at least that much! You’re always super generous with me.
Mike: But the thing is, I can afford it! This is a very important difference.
Logan: Well I could afford it when I did it!
Mike: But beyond figuring out what to return to Target, I think the reason why our readers suggested that you set up your bank alerts and apps is to take some action on some preventive measures so that this doesn’t happen again. Baby steps, right? What sort of things will you do to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
Logan: Yeah I totally already get bank alerts and emails — and I delete them without reading. I am MASTER SELF-SABOTEUR. I make horrible decisions on a regular basis. I make okay big life decisions (“I need to confront my debt. I need to start paying it down. I need to do my taxes. I need to start paying them down.”), but on the day-to-day decisions, I really screw myself. I have tried to do the cash thing — where I figure out my spending money until the next check and then take that out in cash — but that cash goes fast, always.
This is for sure a larger pattern in my life — screwing myself with tiny decisions each day. I have a punctuality problem. I stay up late reading or watching TV or whatever knowing it will make me miserable in the morning. I want to be fit but I’ll always go on a run or do pushups tomorrow. I want to eat better, but right after I have this donut, promise. I’m always late, on everything.
Mike: Do you think that’s because you lack structure? Perhaps we can work on providing more structure in your life. You stay up late because you don’t have a job where if you don’t show up by 9 a.m. or somesuch, you’ll get fired. You aren’t being held accountable for anything. You aren’t limited by anything, basically, and this has bled into your relationship with money. Maybe we need to start injecting some more structure in your life.
Logan: YeahhhahhHhahahha. Structure. What is structure? I really haven’t had it in quite a long time. That was one of the things I liked most about working in a grocery store, when I was a florist, and then later working in the mall. I had a schedule! And a place to be! I was still late a lot — never enough to get fired, but just enough to be stressed out about it all the time. That’s one of the reasons that I know getting a second job would be good for me, and also one of the reasons why I keep putting it off. It would be good for me to have a place to be everyday at a certain time OR ELSE, but …. I really like not having to be anywhere at a certain time OR ELSE. And that goes back to “what’s good for me” and “what’s good for me RIGHT NOW.”
Mike: What if instead of me doing the first post of the morning, you would be in charge of it. How would you feel about that?
Logan: I’d feel like UGH. But that’s a good idea.
Mike: I mean, the reason why I do the first few posts is because you’ve got a little hitch in your git-along in the mornings. Maybe we’ll start with you doing the second post of the morning. Baby steps! Structure!
Logan: You know, Mike, my favorite part of these chats is that each time we do them, I’m one step closer to being totally unhireable. “Oh, you are terrible with money AND you don’t learn lessons AND you’re always late AND you don’t even try to pretend otherwise? WE’D LOVE YOU TO JOIN OUR TEAM,” said nobody.