I had a conversation with a friend the other day, and I’m not exactly sure where I stand on my finances now, because of it. So, I’d like to take a moment to post that conversation (well, more of a dramatization of the conversation, since my memory isn’t quite word-for-word) and ask you guys what you think.
(Written in pseudo-script format because, hey, I paid for those script-writing classes, didn’t I?)
Interior, Classroom, Day
STEPHANIE, a gorgeous, intelligent, awesome, amazing college student [hey, it’s my script, I can describe myself however I want] enters the room and sits next to FRIEND, who is completely ambiguous in every way. Stephanie take out her laptop and spends a solid two minutes fiddling with the power cord.
FRIEND: “Uh… Steph? What are you doing?”
STEPH: “My power adapter is… wonky. Broken-like. I’ve gotta wiggle it to make it work.” [Yeah, I really talk like that, in an informal setting]
FRIEND: “Time to buy a new one, maybe?”
STEPH: “Yeah… probably… if I had the money. But I don’t, and wiggling makes it work. Eventually.”
Stephanie’s eyes light up as the indicator light on her laptop lets her know that it is finally receiving power from the cord.
STEPH: “See? Still works!”
FRIEND: “Uh… yeah. Ok. But you should probably get a new adapter, anyway. Don’t you get paid this week?”
STEPH: “True! Except that money is for my insurance. And gas for my car. And, of course, my credit card bill. I’m paying lots and lots to my credit card bill to try and pay it off before November.” [Insert boring explanation of my switch to a 0% APR credit card here]
FRIEND: (waking up from the nap taken while I droned on about credit cards) “That’s great and all, but, won’t you be making more money during the summer? Theoretically? I mean, shouldn’t you pay a little less to your credit card now, buy some stuff you need, and then ramp up your credit card payments in the summer?”
STEPH: “Ok, yes, theoretically, I should be making more this summer, in whatever job I get. But I don’t have that job yet, and I don’t like the idea of relying on ‘future dollars,’ since that’s what got me into this credit card debt in the first place.”
FRIEND: “Yeah, ok, I understand that, but you’re being pretty cheap.”
STEPH: “I think you mean frugal.”
FRIEND: “Nope. Cheap.”
Stephanie and her friend growl at each other and then suddenly appear in the American Gladiators arena, ready to fight. [That totally happened, I swear.]
So, back to you, readers. Am I being cheap? A power adapter for my laptop isn’t the only item on my list of “Things I Really Ought To Buy” – a year of compacting has left me with a laundry list of purchases that I probably should be making.
I’m still not sure I want to drop down my credit card payments at all, but if I did, it wouldn’t be “drop down to just the minimum payment” or anything. I’m paying $160 a month to my credit card on my current plan, and if I did drop it down, it certainly wouldn’t be to anything less than $100 (for reference, my minimum payment is $17).