MoneyPosted: April 5, 2008
Money can’t do everything. This much we know. There are many things that money can’t do:
- buy unicorns, dragons, or other mythological beasts
- buy love, happiness or other emotions, although it often leads to worry
- make everything better. As everybody knows, only tea can do that.
- buy style or poise, or indeed good fashion sense.
I have been thinking about money a lot recently, both in and out of work.
In work, because one of my bosses is trying to buy me new trousers.
I am resisting this for a variety of reasons. I work four days out of five kneeling on the dirty, dusty floor of the male changing room, sorting laundry. To buy me new (suit) trousers makes very little sense.
Instead, I have appropriated the trousers of a sacked porter. He won’t be needing them, they are sturdy and comfortable, and, rather usefully, they can be washed with our laundry company, so that I don’t have to take them home.
That’s the financial bit.
Of course, my other reason is that I don’t give a flying fuck how loose my stolen trousers are, or if they were designed to accomodate the girth of a really big cock. I don’t care if they aren’t bright black, because by the end of my sorting the laundry, the knees will be dirty and grey anyway. And I don’t care if the trousers don’t flatter me, because I come to work to work, not to seduce people. I spend most of my day on my own in the kitchen office, or in the kitchens themselves. It would be bloody stupid to walk around the kitchen in suit trousers, as anybody in the kitchen is always at risk of airborne food. Or spoons.
But with such good reasons not to buy me trousers, I can’t quite understand why he’d want to throw the money away like that. Surely his budget could be better used for other things?
Outside of work, I have been thinking about money because almost everybody I spend any time with tells me they don’t have any.
Which is bollocks, really.
When you don’t have any form of income, no proper job, no dole money, no gullible relatives or friends – THEN you have no money.
When I was unemployed one summer, relying on babysitting for cash to go looking for a proper job, having to make the decision to spend my last £20 on a Young Person’s Railcard that I then wouldn’t be able to use, not having any money to spend on a train ticket, but knowing it would save money in the long run, that was the closest I’ve got to having “no money”. And evidently I still had some. Just intermittently.
When you’re a student, you get loans. It might not be your money, and you might need to spend it on food to eat, but you still have money.
When you’re working, and getting a steady income, you have money. You might have bills, and things that you want to do, but you still have money.
For goodness’ sake, is it really so hard to budget?
Sit down and work out how much you earn each month.
If you work, look at your payslip, you fool. Somewhere on it will be something like “basic pay”.
Somewhere on it will be “tax” and “NI” or “National Insurance”, with a total.
Take the amount you’ve been taxed away from the basic pay, and you have a very conservative estimate of how much you earn each month (by which I mean, you won’t earn less than this, but you may earn more.)
If you’re a student, find the bit of paper that tells you how much of a loan you get each year. Divide this by 12, for the number of months in a year. That is your conservative estimate (because, if you’re any kind of sensible, you will get yourself a job, or gullible relatives, to supply yourself with extra money.).
Then think about what you actually need to spend. And when I say that, I mean money that is necessary to spend to live:
Rent, and any household bills as applicable.
Any loans, direct debits etc. that keep you alive (including phone bills)
Food (but only to keep you alive. I don’t mean that £50 you eat by sodding off to Pizza Express or wherever. If you were really poor, you’d be in McDonalds to eat out.)
Travel (but only the travel that gets you to work or uni. The money you spend going to see your friends, or a gig – well, if you were that poor, you wouldn’t have the gig ticket anyway, would you?)
When you work these out, make them generous. Round up to the nearest £10. Even if your phone bill’s always £21 – make it £30.
Then take all of that away from what you earn.
The money that’s left is yours. And if you can stick to using only that money for going out, you’ll have money left at the end of the month.
And then you’ve saved money, and you can put it in a savings account and know that it’s your money.
And then you won’t tell me that you have no money, ever again.
And we’ll all be happy.