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Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger

by Leonora Watkins 3 months ago in advice

Everything costs money and you have none left

Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Younger
Photo by Josh Appel on Unsplash

Being a kid is great, financially speaking. You don’t have to worry about paying the rent or bills, buying medicines, or anything like that. Life’s a sweet free ride until that fateful day when you decide in all of your grown-up wisdom that you want to move out. And I know what you’re thinking, “plenty of people who live at home pay towards household bills.”

And yes, I was one of them, I paid a share of the rent every month and even bought my own food. So I thought I had an idea of the money it would take to run a house.

It turns out I was an idiot, a naive moron who thought I had a clue. I moved out of my mum's house at 17, I literally couldn’t wait to get out of there.

I got a flat in a shithole area of a town 138 miles away, I wanted to put as much distance as I could between me and that house.

And the day I moved out, I went broke almost immediately. I had a job in an independent shop. It was full-time and they paid me the going rate, but I was still broke. My rent was £345 per month and I was still broke as fuck. For those who don’t live in the UK, the average rent for a one-bedroom flat like mine is £500. My rent was £155 below the national average and still, I had no money left.

By Micheile Henderson on Unsplash

There’s a good reason I had no money left, and that reason is that every single thing in your adult life costs money. Don’t believe me? These are the things that you have to pay for when you leave home.

  • Rent
  • Council tax (or property tax, but renters in the USA don’t have to pay this)
  • Gas
  • Electric
  • Water
  • Internet
  • TV license
  • Prescriptions
  • Insurance
  • Food
  • Clothes
  • Car related bills (insurance, tax, petrol, etc)
  • Cleaning products
  • Toilet paper (I think you resent this one the most)

And these are just the essentials! The things you can’t run a home or have a car without. Factor in things like TV subscriptions and having an occasional drink and you can crank that bill up as high as Rhianna.

And let’s talk about unexpected bills because they happen and nobody tells you to prepare for them! But I’m telling you to prepare for them. Start saving as much as you can even if it’s just £5 a month, put it in an account, and leave it for emergencies. Because they happen, and they happen more often than you think and you never get a warning.

By Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Car repairs and vet bills are probably the 2 most common unexpected expenses that people in the UK come across.

The average car repair bill costs around £603

The average emergency vet bill is around £800

And before anyone says “don’t get a pet if you can’t afford vet bills!” Fuck off. The wife and I could afford the dog and cat when we got them but thanks to Covid, furlough, and long-term unemployment, we can’t afford vet bills.

And don’t say that “money shouldn’t matter” because it does. A. We can’t pull £800 out of our arses and B. It’s no good paying the vet bill if we end up homeless because we haven’t paid the rent.

People always say you should have enough money to cover your bills for 3 months. But thanks to Covid, most people barely have enough money to cover the bills for one. So before you take the leap and live by yourself, save as much money as you possibly can.

advice

Leonora Watkins

A qualified counsellor and an even more qualified queer. I specialise in victims of rape and sexual assault. I also have a degree in behaviour analysis.

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