I Have This Extra Money But It Keeps Disappearing

TO: Logan
FROM: Vanessa

I recently got a raise — I’m making about $500 more each paycheck. Before I got the raise, I had all these ideas about what I’d do with that extra $1,000 a month — pay off my credit card; save; finally make some travel plans; see some concerts. But: It’s been two months and I’ve done nothing with it! I mean, I’ve spent it, but on nothing. Dinners and clothes and movie tickets. I haven’t saved one dollar. I suck.

TO: Vanessa
FROM: Logan
SUBJECT: Re: Raise

Lifestyle creep. Liiifestyyle creeeeep. That’s what’s going on with you. That’s the diagnosis. You had more money so you spent more money. Don’t feel bad about this. So easy to do. Everyone does this. Not everyone. Lots of people. Me. I do this.

The way this has to work is, if you want to not spend that money, you’ve got to make it so you still feel like you have no money. Right now you’re out in the world and all you’re thinking is, I got an extra thousand to blow this month. But you don’t! Because you keep spending it. And anyway, it’s spoken for. For your Visa. For your savings. For that plane ticket to wherever. The best thing to do, one best thing to do, is to pay all of your bills as soon as you get paid, and to include transferring money to a savings account into this ritual. Maybe two savings accounts. One for general savings, one for something you’re saving for. Automatically increase the payment on your Visa. What else. I don’t know.

I don’t know the answer for you. You are a smart person and can figure out a system that will work with your lifestyle. I believe in you. But you’ve got to start doing something with that money, because obviously when it just sits there, you spend it. Which is one thing to do with it. But maybe not the one you really want. Or maybe it is. Maybe you don’t want to save or pay off your Visa quicker than you are. Maybe you don’t actually want to travel and you’re just saying that because that’s a thing we’re supposed to say, that we want to travel. Maybe what you really want to do is go out to eat every night and buy your friends cocktails, in which case: You’re doing a great job, embrace it, let’s never talk of wasting that money ever again. You’re doing just what you want to be doing. Fantastic.

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