Life after payday

One of the trademarks of every twenty-something is our toxic and confusing relationship with money. A bit like that song; Love the way you lie by Eminem and Rihanna.

Every payday we walk around like Tony Soprano making it rain at a strip joint, before spending three weeks stumbling through the perpetual hangover of our own terrible budgeting skills – only to vow to not let the next month be the same. It always is though, isn’t it. We have the unique ability to drop £400 in twenty minutes, then live off £30 for 2 weeks – a skill that I think more employers should recognise to be honest.

This is the breakdown of life after payday:

Week 1

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You’ve been refreshing your online banking since midnight until, finally, you’ve crawled out of your overdraft like a financial Shawshank Redemption. Amnesia quickly sets in as you transition from local hermit to lottery winner within the space of a few seconds.

Despite a third of your paycheck going on debts you acquired during your poverty stint, you book all those treatments you’ve been angling for, in between arranging nights out for the next month. You panic buy a new outfit on your dinner hour and leave your sad little butty in the fridge in favour of a a £6 M&S meal deal.

Yesterday you gingerly ate half a tin of already-open beans for tea, today you go out for 3 courses and drinks with your mates, ending the night semi-aggressively waving your card around slurring “I’ll get this”. You don’t give a shit, you’re a god among mortals.

Week 2

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The weekend was good while it lasted, but the familiar stomach wrenching reality sets in as your rent and other direct debits seem to hemorrhage out of your account. As usual, you spent a bit more than you thought, so you stock the fridge with Prosecco to take your mind off it – after all, you’re still quite rich by your own bleak standards.

You plan a quiet weekend to repair some of the damage – just a couple somewhere local, nothing too heavy – and recommence spending £6 a day on meal deals now you’re a bit calmer about the situation. It’s just a numbers game, after all.

But the “quiet one” doesn’t quite go to plan. You weren’t too bothered at the time, it’s not until you spend another Sunday, (£100 skinter thank to Uber and your fucking degenerate friends) mulling over our poor life choices, that the guilt really starts to set in.

Week 3

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You’re dangerously close to your overdraft, again, and so the dedicated penny pinching begins.

You swap your artisan lunches for cling-filmed butties – and yesterday you took your bag to the toilet with the sole purpose of raiding the office stash of Tesco own-brand loo roll. Every little fucking helps.

The pressure is officially on, but not quite ‘on’ enough to stop you from fucking up. You astonish yourself, actually, with your unique ability to fuck up a perfectly simple budget. You spend 89p on soup for dinner, yet decide it’s financially viable to spend £20 on a litre of vodka – because it “works out cheaper”.

You hate yourself, there’s not two ways about it. But you show no signs of stopping, you’re still finding ways to go for drinks after work on a Friday – albeit with a plastic bottle of vodka stashed in your handbag. You momentarily feel like you’ve clawed back some control, then you spend £18 for a 4 person meal deal from the chippy on your way home.

Week 4

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Panic has officially landed in camp.

You’ve emptied the slummy jar onto the kitchen table in a desperate attempt to scrape together  enough 20p’s to actually get to work for the rest of the week. At one point your heart nearly falls out of your arsehole when you find a shiny new pound coin the mix – but the euphoria is short lived when you realise it’s just a rogue euro from your last holiday.

How did you afford holidays? How did you afford food? Why are you like this? You’re so sick of your own incompetence to adult. You Google payday loans and ugly cry.

Next month will be different. Next month you will be a real adult. Next month you will live within your means.

Finally payday rolls round again, as it always does. You reinstall the Uber app.

Until next time… x

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