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How NOT to spend your student loan

As a second year, you might expect that maturity would have hit and that I would be an organised, hard-working student. You’d be wrong. I still resent 9am lectures and leave my essays until a few days before they’re due in. And even worse than last year are the hangovers, which result in doing absolutely nothing productive the day after drinking.

The same can be said for my approach to money. Last year I was in catered accommodation, so the last thing on my mind was including a food shop into my weekly budget. This has proved extremely difficult. I was used to my world revolving around tickets, taxis and Topshop; not courgette, chicken and my current balance. 


You might be wondering where I stand with money at the moment? Not great since we still have four weeks of term to go before heading home for Christmas. Especially considering we want to go to the Christmas Markets, go out for a house meal, do Secret Santa- the list is never ending! All sounding particularly lovely to me, just not so lovely to my pocket…

Let me explain to you how I managed to get myself into this sticky situation. It begins with an addiction- a shopping addiction. All of you girls will know, when we’re bored and online, we head over to Topshop, Zara, ASOS, Urban Outfitters and browse to our hearts content. And for all you savvy individuals, this is where it ends. I, however, am not this clever. In my mind life will not be complete without that camel coat, and it becomes a necessity in my eyes. So what do I do? I continue to checkout and I watch my money quickly disappear. 


As second years, my housemates and I have noticed how sparse nights out are becoming, especially successful ones (we usually end up with someone vomiting or in tears, or both). So when all of us are deadline free and not too exhausted we all desperately want to go out and drink our sorrows away. I am usually the first to encourage everyone to buy their tickets by nagging at the boys doors, helping the girls pick an outfit and saying I’ll pay for cabs when people say they can’t afford it. The problem is that I am usually the one who can’t afford it. Yet I put that thought to the back of my mind and hope that my overdraft will be able to cope.


Recently on one of these nights out (after one too many Sambuca shots in Fruity) I staggered home, ending the night in the usual way of ordering Dominoes and falling asleep with a full face of makeup. The following afternoon I woke up and did the standard check for my ID, keys and phone. Immediate panic hit me as I realised I was missing my right hand man: my phone. I had the obvious reaction: call taxi company, club etc. Nothing. No one had my phone. Then, it began to dawn on me, I’d have to buy another one because really who can cope without Snapchat and Instagram? So off I went, returning with a shiny new phone but a few more hundred pounds out of pocket. It hurt. It really hurt.


In an attempt to correct this wrong, I have been trying to cut down on my spending, meaning no more online shopping, eating out or going to the cinema. It all has to stop. So what have I done over the past week? Go out for dinner at TGI’s (who can resist that Jack Daniels sauce?), organised an Otley run (and we all know how expensive these end up being) and booked tickets to go and see Hunger Games: Mockingjay next week! All in all, taking my own advice has proved exceptionally unsuccessful. 


I think the saying ‘do everything, but in moderation’ applies well here. Although, if you are suffering like me, do not fear, that is what the overdraft is there for, up until that wonderful day when the next instalment of Student Finance is transferred…


Megan Williams
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