Young and broke

There is a young woman at work in my office who is the kind who spends a lot around payday but has no money at all for the last week of the month. She is making the classic mistakes most of us probably made at her age. 

For the first two weeks she comes in with a Costa coffee every morning and maybe a glossy magazine. She spends her lunch hour buying clothes and make up online whilst she eats her ready made sandwich or Macdonalds. She arrives bleary eyed on Monday morning after a couple of heavy nights pubbing and clubbing.

What’s wrong with that, I hear you ask? She is a young working girl having fun! Well, nothing. It’s not my business what she spends her cash on. Except that at about halfway through the month she starts panicking. She has only £xx to last her for the next two weeks and her phone bill is due. She starts eating biscuits from the team tin for her breakfast and 10p noodles for her lunch. She moves from packet cigarettes to roll ups and finally has no money at all for cigarettes and gets very grumpy. She can’t afford to get the bus in and either takes holiday or changes her shifts so that she can beg lifts with friends.

By the end of the month she looks pale, hungry and anxious! It’s not actual FUN. She also forgot to pay her council tax so has a nice big bill to find the money for. 

The girl needs a budget. I have bigged up in the hope she will get on there and get some advice. I won’t hold my breath though!

I made all these mistakes at her age too. I really believe that financial education should be on every school curriculum, especially these days of high rents and massive mortgage deposits. It would have helped me!

7 thoughts on “Young and broke

  1. Aaah. I wasn’t the best with money when I lived on my own working and living in London. I didn’t over spend all the time but I just couldn’t catch up to be able to save anything. My niece is in the same postition and has many of the same habits. Now, as an older laydee and married mum I HATE the idea of wasting money; it really upsets me. Me and hubs do our best to instill in our boys about how money works and they are 9 and 10. They understand why dad has to go to work, why we sometimes have to not do something straight away because we have to save for it. I totally agree about money management being on the school syllabus. I hope your hints about Martin Lewis helps the young girl.

  2. I completely understand what you’re saying. I wrote a post about it a couple of weeks ago. What really gets to me is that it is not only young, inexperienced, people who get in this situation. I have seen a few people in their late 30s and 40s who still repeat the same mistakes. They don’t seem to understand that by simply reducing – not completely stopping – their spending, they would have enough money to last the month.
    I have tried breaking it down, giving them MSE website, even offering to give them a (blank) copy of my budgeting excel sheet, but with no result. Their answer is that they need a raise – like that’s going to happen in this economy! They can’t seem to get that, if you can’t earn more, you need to spend less!

    • It’s the culture I think. People expect it all and it’s still easy to borrow. Frugality is a dirty word as people equate it with austerity and meanness, but needs must!

  3. Totally agree. I was taught by my parents. You pay your bills first. Then put some to save. Then lastly spend.

  4. People today want it all. They believe they should and deserve an ‘ Hello’ lifestyle without paying for it. Also, I believe its the way parents bring up there kids. You must have the latest phone, the most expensive clothes just to give the illusion you have more money than you really have. I once knew a boy who brought up in very poor conditions. He once said to me all he wanted was a warm quilt. He is now very successful and no doubt frugal.

  5. It’s not just “youngsters these days”, I’m 57 and I did the same thing when I was a youngster. Party now and worry later, until it clicked that I could do things better. Poor lass, hope things click into place for her soon. 🙂

  6. Hi. I don’t know how friendly you are with her, would she take offence if you suggested a solution. Perhaps she could sort out what she has to pay, bills etc, on a monthly basis, giving her a sum of money left over for spends. Then she could divide that by four giving her a weekly allowance. It might be worth a try to mention it to her. She can always say, mind your own business, but at least you tried.

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