I Can't Afford To Do That

19 December 2017


Hello!

How are you doing today? I hope you're well! And I'm really sorry that this post is likely to sound a bit like a rant, this has been something that's been building up for a little while, and it's just little comments that have been getting me down and now seems like a really good time to talk about it, considering I only have £50 in my bank account, £10 in my purse and another £50 in my savings, and I'm trying not to spend any of it. It's going well. Not.

Anyway.

So, I have no money. (We've established that I do have some money, but it's not a lot). I do, however have a job. I work as a supervisor in a retail sports clothing store, best and most vague description I can provide when I don't want to name who I work for. As a supervisor, I earn £7.25 an hour, which isn't the worst, and I fully appreciate that it would be a lot less if I was younger, but I feel this is all vital to what I'm going to write about. Because I work in retail, I don't really have 'set shifts', and the rota can change on a weekly basis. Luckily, I work with a really strong team of people and the fact we all work so well together has really shown in how our customers, as a whole, talk to us and how they leave the store. We really try. I'm also really lucky that my manager also happens to be one of my best friends, and he always tries to do what is right by everyone, and tries to make sure we all get a decent amount of hours. I probably average slightly over 20 hours a week, mostly being weekend work and the odd week day here and there. Which is all fine. But I do complain a lot about having no money, and this is something other people make comments to me about that just end up annoying me.

This post isn't aimed at anyone, and it's one that, like I've said already, has just been constantly building up in my mind for a little while now that I need to get off my chest.

I don't earn enough to be able to move out into my own flat. I know, I know, I'm really privileged that I'm able to live with family and that they're able to open their doors to me so that I have a roof over my head and food to eat, but I also really need my own space. I've experienced life living basically on my own last year when I lived in student accommodation, but the cost of my rent there was paid for with my student loan, and everything I earned from my work was extra money that I put towards food, clothes or travelling to see my friends, from both online and at home. Now, I live on the west coast of Scotland and I don't really have any friends that I can frequently meet up with, because they all live on the other side of Scotland. I have travelled a few times since my student loans stopped to see some of my online friends, but afterwards, I don't have the money to waste until my next wage comes through. I want to be able to meet up with my friends more often, because it's making me feel really alone, so I spend my time doing nothing and it's having a negative impact on my mental health. Which brings me to my next gripe.

"Why don't you just do some driving lessons?" I see the logic behind this one. I really do. But driving is really expensive. There's the cost of the lessons, then the cost of both your theory test and your practical test. The fact my address has changed means I need to find the money to get my provisional license updated. Then, whenever I pass and decide I want a car, I have to find more money to pay for a car, pay for petrol and pay for insurance. I just can't afford to do that just now. Plus, public transport is cleaner for the environment. Maybe I'm salty over this because I failed my driving test 4 or 5 times due to the anxiety I felt when I was in my teenage years. I've not given up on driving, but it's just not practical for me right now, unless somebody kindly wants to pay for my lessons and tests...

"But, Gail... You spend a lot of money on clothes/build a bears/a PS4/etc". I hold my hands up to this one, and it's something I'm doing less and less. In the past few months, most of my money as of late has been spent on other people in the form of 'care packages' (ie they're sad so I create a parcel filled with little things to try and make them happy), or it's been on flights. A few months ago I bought myself a PS4, which, admittedly, is a really big purchase to make when I have nothing in my bank, so why did I do this?

The PS4 was purchased at a time when I was doing like 35+ hours, and I earned a much bigger wage than I'd had before. I was going to save it, but I needed euros for Lanzarote, and I decided that the PS4 would give me a new way to talk to, and hang out, in a way, with some of my friends. Which has worked a treat! I've been in a few 'parties' with some of my friends while we've been playing games and providing moral support while we're stuck in whatever game we happen to be playing, so it's definitely been a worthwhile investment! Sure, you can do the same over a phone call, but it would be a different kind of experience where conversation may run dry. (Case in point, I get really frustrated when I play some games, and it amuses my friend on the other end. If I was on a phone call, I wouldn't be able to play a game at the same time on account of using one of my hands to hold the phone.)

Basically, what I do with my money is my business. Obviously, and I appreciate when people try to make suggestions to help me out, but it doesn't always help me, sometimes it just makes me feel like crap. Things like driving I know will help me in the long run, but in the short term, it's better for me to do things 'in the now' because they help me with my mental health, or they create a sense of purpose for me, however small that might be. There are things that I know I need that I also know I can't splash out on, like I most likely need to get a new laptop so I can edit videos again (because goddamn do I miss making youtube videos and the memory on this laptop is bloody awful!) I also need the microsoft office package so I can use word again, now that I've graduated university.... Help me, I'm poor and I need microsoft word so I can write out my CVs!

I hope this post made sense, it feels very rambley and ranty but I really hope you understand what I mean. I am trying to save money, and I am in the process of trying to find a new job that will make me happy, and have advancement opportunities that appeal to me. I'd love a job in the travel industry, which I'm qualified to do, so I'm really trying to make that become a reality!

So, until next time, be excellent to each other.