I’m pretty skint.
That’s the bare-faced truth. I have two credit cards, a student overdraft, a student debt and a list of money I’m owed which I probably won’t see for another 90 days (#SelfEmployedLife). Last month I had to dip into my savings to pay my rent, and although every year I imagine that the next Christmas I will be prepared, flush with cash and most definitely not worrying about what I can and can’t afford to buy people, here I am, yet again, praying some of my invoices get paid before the 20th so I don’t have to rely on the plastic in my purse yet again.
When I’m having one of those moments where I’ve paid off my tax bill and my savings have been decimated, I can’t help but think of other people my age and wonder ‘how the fuck do they have their shit together?’. How did they manage to save a deposit? Is Bali really that expensive, because a lot of people seem to be spending 3+ weeks lounging on the bright white sand there? Should I stop spending £2.90 a day on coffee so I can open an ISA?
Guys, I don’t even know what an ISA is. I mean, I’ll Google it now and find out, but do you know how many conversations I’ve had about opening an ISA without actually knowing what it is? Or how many times I’ve discussed the pitfalls of the help-to-buy-scheme, whilst simultaneously wondering if I’ve misunderstood the whole arrangement and so am missing out on a great opportunity to get onto the property ladder?
Of course, when the right time comes, I’ll educate myself on all of the above and seek the relevant professional help, but sometimes it’s so easy to feel like you’re being left behind. On the one hand I’m reminding myself that I only graduated a year and a half ago, and in that time I’ve quit my job, gone full-time self employed and moved out into our home, but then on the other hand, I feel this overwhelming pressure to have 6 different savings accounts with 6 different banks and to have had my pension sorted yesterday.
Truth is, I’m not good with money. And I’m telling you this in the hopes that if you too are not great with money, you’ll read these words and stop feeling like every person online has their shit together. Because I most definitely don’t. I’m like a financial rollercoaster - sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, and sometimes I go and work in coffee shops so I don’t have to pay for my own heating.
I don’t have health insurance sorted, I don’t have my pension sorted, I have one savings account which is look extremely depressing at the moment and I have 4 years of university debt that rears its ugly head whenever I go to look at my tax return (for a degree I ultimately didn’t need, but you know, I’ll just leave that bitterness there). I’m a real comfort spender, and often if I’m having a bad day, I find myself buying the weirdest of items, just to feel that warm glow of owning something new. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not out of hand to the point that I have bailiffs peering through my windows, but often when I have a little nest egg saved, I feel the temptation burning a hole in my pocket, and before you know it, ~ pow ~, DPD are at the door.
And I’m sure someone will observe: ‘but wait, doesn’t she have designer bags?’ And yes, I have purchased two in my time, plus a pair of shoes. But you know what? When the mountain of single-handedly organising all of your finances - from savings to deposits to pensions to tax returns to credit ratings to whatever the fuck else - seems so gargantuan that, quite honestly, it’s slightly depressing, then fuck yeah, I’m going to get something nice once in a while. It motivates me, it makes me feel like there’s light at the end of the tunnel, and if you need a voice of approval, then here it is: we’re allowed the occasional glimmer of sunshine in an otherwise dreary situation. With that being said, please don’t think that I can often afford items that expensive. Those opportunities are extremely few and far between, so if they ever arise, I seize them with both of my tiny, greedy, grubby hands.
I don’t have anybody in my life that helps me with money. I have no pot of cash stored away for me by my relatives, I have no inheritance, I have no advice on interest rates or how to invest my money wisely - I literally just try to keep myself afloat. For now, at least. In the future, I do want to take better care of my finances, but right this second? I just want to keep my head above water and yes - shoot me - I do want to enjoy my life. Undoubtedly there is a list as long as my arm of the things I’m doing wrong, the mistakes I’m making and how I could be a more responsible adult, but that’s how it is. I’m learning as I go along, and that means that progress is likely going to be slow.
The next time you find yourself elbow-deep in a sharing bag of Doritos Chilli Heatwave, jealousy-watched the latest ‘My Brand New House Tour’ video from some YouTuber in who-knows-where, wondering what the fuck you’re doing with a minus bank balance and with no real clue of where your life is going to go, just know: I got u boo.
I’m there with you. I’m shite with money, I don’t really have any, and my foresight goes as far as knowing where next month’s rent is going to come from. We don’t all have our shit together, as much as it might seem that way online. And that’s not always down to us being wildly irresponsible with cash - sometimes it’s just that we don’t know what the fuck we’re doing, and we’re trying to figure it out along the way whilst maintaining some level of life satisfaction. Maybe we do indulge in a few too many meals out when we could whip up a delicious meal of rice, cheese and mayonnaise at home (you knew I was going to get this in here somewhere), but do you know what? Maybe we just need something to look forward to, because endlessly saving when the final result seems so distant leads to an unhappy existence.
That’s me, that’s my situation, and if it’s yours too, panic ye not. You’re not alone girl.
Until next time lovelies - hey, wait, I really mean I have something for you to do until next time. Pop on SZA '20 something' if you get a spare 3 minutes and enjoy. You’re in good company.