One of my New Year resolutions, or should I say Millennium resolutions, (to stiffen my determination not to break it!) was to manage my money better. I made lists galore of everything it seemed to disappear on and I promised my ever-suffering bank manager that the year 2000 would welcome the arrival of a financially revolutionised Christelle Randall. The problem is, Millennium resolution or not, it cannot be done. I am suffering from a deadly combination of “living and working in London”.
When I left my cushy existence as a student, I thought my years of living in debt would be well and truly over. I entertained high hopes that my student loan debts would be obliterated with the Millennium Bug Crisis and that after graduating I would land a job in PR, and a well paid one at that. Things have not gone quite according to plan…
Although I have an interesting job, it certainly is not well paid and once rent, travel, bills and food money have gone out, it does not leave me with much to play with. So, in order to soften the cruel blow of my monthly paycheck, I have devised ways to minimise my own weekly spending. By day I am suitably armed – shunning all the tasty sandwich places surrounding me – with my packed lunch.
Every Sunday, I buy a variety of tasty ingredients to brighten up my lunch box – Parma ham and nice cheeses – rationing that armed as such I would save money. I fail miserably. My sandwiches always look shriveled by the time I unravel them, leaving me to wonder, as I tuck into an M&S sarnie, why mine are never the same?
By night, Soho is a whole new ball game. Bars, which are inconspicuous by day, suddenly loom up bigger and bolder and it takes more than a packed lunch to avoid them. Of course I could always replace my faithful Ribena with a flask of Absolut Vodka…
The adjustment from student to professional is a hard one. Most people experience a huge sense of relief on leaving school or university, eager for the break into their chosen career field. But it is easy to become disillusioned when you realise that few career paths are immediately paved with gold. In particular the media field is a difficult ladder to climb.
Then pop culture force-feeds us a diet of beautiful accessible things that glamorous young Twentysomethings cannot do without but which we cannot afford. The right clothes, bars, restaurants, any gimmick really. Magazines, aiming to cater for a younger audience, do not always offer a realistic portrayal of life in a city like London and most of us have a fair while to go before we can even begin to enjoy the life advocated by the media.
However there is light at the end of the tunnel, pay rises do happen and I am told you will gradually cease from feeling like you are still 60% student and more like you are 60% professional. And although this may or may not be a good thing, if it means I never have to look at my homemade sandwiches again then I’ll be a happy girl.