Believe it or not, being broke does not work wonders for your mental health. In fact, it totally hampers it. It’s not ideal to have more things to worry about; wondering how to pay the bills on time and making the money stretch is something you could definitely do without.
Not having enough money to be social is also another problem. Imagine being isolated at home because you cannot afford to go out, to see your friends and to treat yourself from time to time. As we get older, the number of things we can do for free lessen more and more. As we rely less on our parents and become more independent, we have to face the reality that nothing in life is free! To get a bus; after you turn 16, you have you pay (unless you have the student exemption), to get on the train, you have to pay. To grab a quick lunch outside of your home, you have to pay.
Even if there is food at home, and you make your lunch from that, somebody else has essentially paid for it. Nothing is free. When you get older, your parents may begin to expect a financial contribution to the home, as you will have gotten to the point that you are able to earn a decent wage. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Outside of the home, it’s important to set some money aside to socialise, not only for your wellbeing, but just to get out of the house, get away from work, or take a break from studying. As a student, when going to university the welcoming websites often tell you to set aside some money for joining societies, nights out and other random purchases that add to your social life. Even as a working professional it is still key to find an ideal work/life balance. It’s important to both work hard & play hard. As they say… all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and Jill a dull girl. Companies are now working on making sure that they are not only paying better, but a good culture fit to attract new Graduates to their roles. They often offer after work drinks, free fruit, breakfast, teas, coffees, subsidised travel, gym memberships and extra activities that run during lunch or after work. So if both your institution and your employer want you to have a good work life balance, it really should be top of your list.
So… with that in mind, what can we do to avoid being “broke and bummy”? There are a few options available to you – depending on where you are in life. If you’re at university, you can look for a part-time job, apply for scholarships/bursaries that relate to your course or visit the financial aid centre. The latter are usually able to help, and at the very least can give you a short-term loan to tide you over before your next instalment of Student Finance.
As an “adult”, or rather a Graduate you can try to get a part time job in retail or food service while you look for the perfect role, and this gives you some peace of mind while you search, taking the pressure off a little. Another option is to apply for Universal credit – a benefit set up from your local job centre that aims to support people looking for work and helps them with some day to day expenses while they do so.
There is no shame securing the bag, however you do it!