Trying to Pay Off Debt and Falling Off the Wagon (As We Do Sometimes)

by Mike Dang and Logan Sachon

Mike: We’re going to do a monthly debt check-in later today. Let me know what your new balance is.

Logan: It’s gone up.

Mike: Do you want to chat with me now to explain why? Is it stuff you’re waiting to expense? Ubers you’ve taken?

Logan: Well $200 of it was last night. I bought 2 new coats on sale at Nordstrom Rack, and I should have just put them on hold until I get paid on Thursday, but I didn’t want to go back. So I used the card with a vague promise to myself that I’d pay it back.

Mike: I think that’s what you’ve said before too, when the balance increased. You were paying it down pretty regularly when you didn’t have the card in your possession. Do you think you’ll try to go without it again to try to pay it all down? I know that’s harder to do this time because you need the card for work expenses.

Logan: I just got like in a bad habittttt. And am not really interested in changing my behaviorrrrr. Because it’s harddddddd.

Mike: I mean, you figured that out before right? You’re the kind of person where changing your behavior is not something that’s easy for you to do, and so your solution was, “I can’t change my behavior and I need to address this debt, so here, take my credit cards from me so I have don’t have that option.”

Logan: Right. Right. It’s really sad actually, that even after years of not using them, that having this one again, I can’t handle it. It’s really sad.

Mike: It happens, though. People fall off the wagon. And I think your “journey” of paying off this debt is one of the more realistic things that is being published on the internet when it comes to how people address debt. Paying off debt isn’t easy for a lot of people who have struggled with it for so long.

And I don’t think this is an impossible situation. You handed over your cards to me two years ago, and paid off a few cards with balances on them. I mean, you’re still better off now than you were then!

I don’t know, I can tell you’re not happy right now, and I feel like you’re being really hard on yourself.

Logan: Well I’m just not doing a great job at money right now. I’m literally making TWICE what I was six months ago. And still somehow spending it all and then some.

Mike: Lifestyle creep.

Logan: Yes.

Mike: Do you think that having to reveal your balance to me every month and have it publicly posted is helping you? Maybe as a motivating factor to not let it get out of control.

Logan: I don’t think so. I think it used to. Mostly because my parents don’t read about it anymore, hah.

Mike: Was that your motivation? Like, not getting out of debt for yourself, but because you wanted to demonstrate something to your parents?

Logan: Well I def want to get out of debt. It’s my number one stresssssssssss — but yeah, I also don’t want to disappoint my parents.

Mike: Hah, maybe you should email your balance to them every month as a motivating factor.

Logan: That makes me so nervous. I started sweating just thinking about that.

Mike: A sign of some good motivation to not see that balance go up!

Logan: It’ll be down by next month how about THAT.

Mike: I believe in you!

Support The Billfold

The Billfold continues to exist thanks to support from our readers. Help us continue to do our work by making a monthly pledge on Patreon or a one-time-only contribution through PayPal.