A Dialog Between You, and Future You

Written by Jesse Mecham  |  on


Some time during my teens I learned about the stock market. By “learned about” I mean learned that if I had invested in Microsoft…I’d be a millionaire. High-level learning like that. So I’d often dream of having my future self come back to visit my present self to give me stock tips. No, this was not an original idea. I’m sure I got it from watching Back to the Future II (remember the Sports Almanac?)

Then, in November of 2002 I proposed to Julie. Since that day, I’ve wished that I could travel back to my Past Self and not share stock tips, but rather, popping-the-question tips. Honestly, if I could do one thing over that I’ve done in my life, it would be to grab my Past Self by the collar and hogtie him until I (Present I) could talk some sense into myself (Past Self).

But I can’t talk to my past self. So I try and make up for that every February with our anniversary. Oh my word. It’s in two weeks.

I can talk to my Future Self. And you can talk to Future You.

A Dialog with Future You

future you calling

When you’re budgeting, you’re having a chat with Future You. This can get confusing, because if you’re budgeting with your spouse, you’re going to really be dialoging with four people.

You: “Let’s plan on $150 for eating out…$950 for rent…and a bajillion dollars for diapers.

Future You: “Um, the tire’s going to blow out.”

You: “Oh yeah, when?”

Future You: “Eventually.”

You: “Right. No need to get snarky.”

Future You: “Don’t make me purse my lips at you (again). It’s not comfortable for either of us.”

You: “Right. So… $80 for eating out, $70 into car repairs for the next couple months.”

Future You: “You mean, $70 into car repairs for the next infinity months.”

You: *sigh* “I think we’re done!”

Future You: “What about Christmas?”

You: “What about it? It was 30 days ago!”

Future You: “Well, it’s coming (again). It’s recurring, even though it’s really, really far away.”

You: “We’ll deal with it when we get there.”

Future You: “Ha! Like the last time? Where you were stressed about not having any money for gifts? So instead of hiding in a cave, as I suggested, you just gave up, and started charging stuff on the card?”

You: “Your cave idea was so unbelievably dumb.”

Future You: “I got excited at the prospect of a debt-free Christmas. So sue me. How much do you want to spend on Christmas this year?”

You: “Maybe $600?”

Future You: “Really? Because last year you spent $1,200. What makes you think this year will be any different?”

You: “Okay, $1,200.”

Future You: “I like it.”

You: “You like that I’m going to spend more on Christmas?”

Future You: “I just like that you’re being realistic. $1,200 saved for Christmas means $100 per month goes to the Christmas category.”

You: “Hrm. There’s not a lot of wiggle room just with the month-to-month stuff.”

Future You: “This is reality though. These are real expenses that you can’t put off. What do you want to do?”

You: “I’ll stop eating out.”

Future You: “No you won’t.”

You: “Yes. I will. Cold turkey.”

Future You: “You won’t. You’ll last three days and then end up binging on waffle fries at Chick-Fil-A.”

You: “I’ll eat out less.”

Future You: “How much less? You already took $70 from your eating out budget to pay for eventual car repairs.”

You: “I’ll cut the cable.”

Future You: “I admire your spunk. But come on…”

You: “I’ll cut $20 from miscellaneous, $40 from groceries, $10 from entertainment, and $30 from furniture.”

Future You: “You cutting $30 from furniture means you’ll get that new coffee table three months later than you were shooting for.”

You: “Yeah, I know. That’s not a big deal though.”

Future You: “And you can realistically swing the deductions from miscellaneous, groceries, and entertainment?”

You: “Entertainment, for sure. One less movie. Easy. Groceries, no problem there as well. I felt like I already had some cushion in there anyway. Same with miscellaneous. I usually end up with $30 or so left in that category at the end of each month anyway.”

Future You: “I like it! You’ve covered eventual car repairs, and you’ll have a Merry Christmas.”

You: “Yeah. Doesn’t actually feel as bad as I thought it would.”

Future You: “Hey, I gotta jet. Something BIG is going down her—”

You: “What? Hello?! What?! Whaaaaat?!”

Rule Two

Rule Two is all about Future You. You bicker, compromise, and eventually come to a consensus on what should be done now so you don’t have to be stressing about things later.

Your Next Step

Budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. So what do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress?