I’m really getting fed up of money ruling my life.
It’s 00:37 (twenty to one in the morning for any of you who don’t speak military) and I’m sat here in my PJs and sheltering under my pink throw. I should be in bed. In fact, I was and have been for the past few hours. I stayed up to read a little on my Kindle Fire, watched the final episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix and then it set in- the worry. Specifically, money worries.
Which is kind of odd since I get paid in a few hours.
But I have literally gotten to the point of panic. Currently, I have minimal to get me through to my January grant cheque, and by minimal I mean less than £20 a week kind of minimal. I daren’t look at it any more closely than that. Currently, my options seem to be:
- Dropping out of university and moving home
- Moving home and sailing in for the two days of lectures I have
- Staying on and not eating, drinking, buying anything
- Finding someway of selling my life for a reasonable price
… Or I guess I can become an extreme budget-er?
Honestly, I never thought I would get to the point I would be considering dropping out of university. The main reason I am here is for the investment, my time and money in exchange for a career and financial stability. But it is ironic how many students will find themselves anything but stable throughout their university lives.
I was lucky,
I managed to get a job in my first year at university. First, I worked at my local pub back home over the holidays which paid well. Then I was lucky enough to be hired as a Student Ambassador which gave me a job over the summer. My job at the pharmacy, which I got at the start of my second year, was purely due to my previous experience working for the same company during my time in sixth form- which led to a lovely couple of years of having money. Then I got a casual position on the university switchboard before being offered a job in the Student Union’s Atrium- I was actually juggling three jobs for a few months.
Then I applied for the STEP program back home. It’s a program which assigns you to a specific job, depending on your skills, for an eight week period over the summer. It was paid, but it did mean I had to take a long break from my current jobs. The pharmacy was my main one at that point and my position looked unstable. The switchboard and Atrium were mainly term time so that didn’t worry me.
Eight weeks later and I was back- and in fact, lucky enough to be offered more hours at the pharmacy to cover a maternity leave. Brilliant.
Then I went to America and came back to only one job, the switchboard. Obviously, no-one can expect to leave for three months and come back to find their job waiting for them, especially not in this climate and it was a risk I’d fully accepted. Anyway, working in America was much more relevant to my career plans so it was an investment in itself.
But that leaves me here.
I guess suddenly having no income is a shock to the system to say the least, and since they cut my overdraft unexpectedly I’m suddenly at a loss. I’ve had to make a few tough decisions, to find cash quickly. Though, don’t worry, I’m not talking illegal! I mean as in finding all my spare dollars to get them exchanged (for the little that they’re worth now) and selling my phone to get a cheaper contract or PAYG deal. I’ve cancelled my Netflix (I have about a week left on this month before it’s gone) and my Spotify Premium. I’ve gone out once in the past three odd weeks, and even then I only bought a single drink and I’ve set myself the rule of not paying on my card- it’s far too easy to lose track that way.
Despite this, I can see how skint students can get dragged into credit cards and exciting payday loans.
The stress and worry that keeps me up every night may not quite be overtaking my common sense, but I’m lucky enough to have a slim amount of money coming in and a helpful landlord who’s willing to give me a bit of leeway for a couple of months. I dread to think how I would react if people weren’t so nice to me.