Financial independence – the two words no twenty something year old wants to hear. You’ve made the decision to fly the nest, become the adult you’re meant to be and live the way you want too, filling your time with restaurant lunches and daily shopping trips -but SHIT, does that mean we have to pay for it all too?!?
The thought of the task is daunting. How the hell are you supposed to make one pay check (which never weighs up to having to go to work EVERY. SINGLE. DAY) going to last you a month. Four whole Mondays. Four, sometimes even the dreaded five, drunk and hilarious weekends? It just doesn’t seem to add up yet you are faced with the daunting prospect from this moment on. No longer do you have to endure the parents with the classic ‘not whilst your living under my roof’, because you are no longer under that roof. You have your own special roof and under that you can do whatever the hell you like. Eat candyfloss for tea if it really takes your fancy.
I like to think I’m quite good with money. But saying that how can you really compare yourself to others at your age, really? It’s not like you have access to everyone’s online banking or people go around with hats stating the amount of debt they’re in (how horrendous would that be). But compared to the millennials that you hear about getting in £10,000 worth of debt and the TV shows based around young people and how fabulously poor they are – I think I’m doing okay. Obviously, this is subject to huge change. After just moving to London there’s a massive probability that my finances are going to take a nose dive. As before I was living at home, getting fed by my lovely Mum and paying the minimal £75 a month board (oh, how I miss double figured bills) I was getting it pretty easy. Damn, I was getting it so easy! But I ended up still being pretty skint at the end of every month. Not quite overdraft level but still, I wasn’t having Topshop hauls every weekend. Cry.
So how to tackle money in the adult world? What gets priority – a vital trip to Sainsbury’s or the new dress you’ve just discovered on ASOS? Financial responsibility is something that comes with time, experience and a bit of maturity doesn’t hurt either. It’s okay to have a wine every night and go as mental as you want on the weekends but it’s important to keep an eye on your finances; keep control of in and outs and budget as much as you can. Money is so so easy to lose track of; we’ve all had the mini-panic attack on Monday morning when you check your pending transactions from the weekend. If it’s ever what you think it’s going to be then your weekend wasn’t as fun as it should be! There’s always a few odd transactions that make you truly believe your card has been nicked and your identity has been stolen. ‘WHAT! I did not spend £30 in somewhere called HAPPY HOSTEL!’ (Yep, Jacqui I’m looking at you love.) Oh, wait shit is that what that bar was called where we had tequila?’ Welcome to the Monday hangover – physically and financially.
But that’s what is fun about independence too – that it’s all on you. There’s no-one to answer too if you screw up. No-one to explain your recent purchases when you should have been saving, cos hell you can do what you like. Well, until you get hitched and ‘what’s mine is yours’… but that’s another decade and blog post all together. For now, as a early (ish) twenty something life is got living and credit cards are to be used. Just keep an eye on those pesky statements and do yourself a favour and don’t just pay the minimal amount each month. It’s a bottomless pit and you’ll get nowhere. Make yourself pay off a decent chunk each month, it’ll help you make a dent in the number but also the credit card people will love you and probably higher your card limit (don’t know if that’s good or bad…) A good idea is to get comparing credit cards, there’s a million of them out there that will allow you 0% interest for months and months… which is the dream. Guilt free spending! Balance your finances just like you do your diet; if you splurge on that dress on ASOS for the party this weekend then maybe swap your M&S swap this week for a trip to Aldi. Unless your in triple figures you can’t have it all I’m afraid – but you can have a little bit of everything if you’re clever about it.
So, welcome to the real world! I hope your new, independant life is full of prosecco, new experiences and discounted food – because at the end of the day that’s what gets everyone excited really.