Ron: Uh, could I borrow a few bucks until payday? I'm a little strapped for cash.
Nancy: Uh, yeah, I guess, but I'm pinching pennies myself, and you still owe me $20 from last week. And mom and your friend Ron said you borrowed money from them this past week. [Oh, yeah.] How ARE things going anyway?
Ron: Well, not very well. To be honest, I'm really in the hole, and I can't seem to make ends meet these days.
Nancy: What do you mean? I thought you landed a great job recently, so you must be loaded.
Ron: Well, I do have a job, but I've used my credit cards to pay off a lot of things recently, but now, I can't seem to pay the money off.
Nancy: Uh, do you have a budget? I mean, how do you keep track of your income and expenses?
Ron: Well, when my money runs out, I come to you. Of course. [Great!] No, but I guess I should have some financial plan.
Nancy: Well, let me see if I can help you. How much money do you spend on your apartment?
Ron: Uh, I pay $890 on rent for the studio apartment downtown . . . not including utilities and cable TV. But the place has an awesome view of the city.
Nancy: Uh, $890! Why are you paying through the nose for such a small place when you could find a cheaper one somewhere outside of the downtown area?
Ron: Yeah, I guess.
Nancy: Okay. How much money do you spend on food a month?
Ron: Hmmm. I'm not really sure. I think I spend around $600. [$600?!] Well, I go out to eat at least four times a week, so those expenses add up. I just don't enjoy eating alone, and I don't have a knack for cooking like you do.
Nancy: Well, I can understand that, but perhaps you ought to buy some microwaveable meals you could prepare at home.
Ron: Well, I guess I could.
Nancy: And entertainment?
Ron: Well, I spend a few dollars here and there on basketball and movie tickets, a concert or two, and ballroom dance lessons.
Nancy: Uh, exactly how much do you spend on all of these? Just a "few" dollars?
Ron: Well, oh . . . about $400 or so.
Nancy: Or so? No wonder you're having money problems. You can't just blow your money on things like that! And what about transportation?
Ron: Oh, I commute to work everyday in my new sports car, but I got a great deal, and my monthly payments are only $450. Come outside and take a look. We can go for a spin!
Nancy: No, I've heard enough. You've got to curb your spending, or you'll end up broke. I suggest you get rid of your credit cards, cut back on your entertainment expenses, and sell your car. Take public transportation from now on.
Ron: Sell my car?! I can't date without a car. What am I going to say? "Uh, could you meet me downtown at the bus stop at 7:00?" Come on!
Nancy: And you need to create a budget for yourself and stick to it, and start with paying off your bills, starting with me. You owe me $50 dollars.
Ron: Fifty dollars! Wait, I only borrowed $20 from you last week. How did you come up with $50?
Nancy: Financial consulting fees. My advice is at least worth $30!