Friday, 7 January 2011

"I've got no money"

What does that phrase mean to you?

It should be straight forward really. It means that you have no money surely? You have no money to spend on anything.

And yet it’s surprising just how many meanings this simple phrase has. You hear it all the time and over the years I have discovered some of its varied meanings.

- There was the friend who always claimed he “had no money” but seemed able to go out drinking every Friday and Saturday night.

- There was the friend who claimed she “had no money” but still managed to go shopping at the weekend and buy a new wardrobe of clothes.

- There’s the person who claimed they “had no money” when what they actually meant was they weren’t adding to their already overflowing savings account.

- There’s the person who says they’ve “got no money” but then reveal that what they mean by that is that they’re approaching the point at which they will go overdrawn. Not reached their overdraft limit, but will go into the red. (This is my personal favourite by the way).

- There’s the person that says they’ve “got no money” but still manages to go for meals out and buy themselves an unbelievable amount of treats.

Those are the most common variations I have come across the past few years. It’s no wonder then that when I say “I’ve got no money” people tend not to take it seriously but just nod and go “Yeah I know what you mean.”

Do you? Do you really get what I’m saying?

Because when I say “I’ve got no money” I mean, I’ve got no money. I mean that I’m at my overdraft limit (I haven’t been in the black since my first year at uni). I mean that I’m worried about buying food. I mean that I can’t afford to get the bus this week. I mean that I feel constantly sick because I’m worried I won’t be able to pay my bills. I mean, I’ve got no money.

I wouldn’t mind if it was because I live a wonderful jam packed lifestyle with nights out every weekend and a wardrobe bursting with clothes and a cupboard stuffed full of yarn and cross-stitched goodness. But I don’t have any of those things. Nights out are few and far between, once a month, if that. My wardrobe is laughable, nothing fits me anymore (something I am aware I should be celebrating) I’m left with a pair of leggings which are now too big for me as well and I can’t do anything about it (and please please please don’t tell me to go to Tescos or Asda or Primark or charity shops, read my lips – I’ve got no money). I’m supposed to be cross-stitching one Christmas card a month to fulfil my new year resolutions but that won’t be happening for long because I’m about to run out of aida.

What does my money go on? Debt. Debt that I accrued getting degrees that haven’t helped me in the slightest. I’m not profligate by any stretch of the imagination, I just do not have a sufficient income to get by on. I earn £16k which I am aware is enough to live on, but people don’t realise that £350 of that goes out on a career development loan and a credit card debt I ran up getting my masters degree. Get rid of those and yes of course I’ll be a happier person.

The people who tend to not get it are more often than not the people in couples. The people who may not consciously think about it, but know deep down inside that they have someone else to lean on if things get a bit rough. Someone else to share the cost of living with. When I was living with my ex I was earning the same amount of money but I was quite the comfortable person, ok I wasn’t loaded but I was managing to save each month. I was aware that when I left, things would be more difficult, I would be paying more out on living costs than I did when we were together and there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room in my budget and I accepted that but had I honestly honestly known how tough things would be I cannot say hand on heart that I would have made the decision to leave.

Because I’m miserable. I’m more miserable now than I ever was with him. I wasn’t even miserable at all with him, that’s the hilarious punchline to this tragic joke.

Of course I know I made the right decision, I didn’t love him and it speaks volumes that the only reason I’m missing my relationship is because of my financial difficulties and the one thing I didn’t want to be was someone who was with somebody just because of the security they offered me.

But right now? At this moment in time?

It’s wearing me down.

(Wait. In this interests of honesty I feel I should tell you that I did deign to spend money on myself this Christmas, I bought two pairs of shoes from Primark for a grand total of £20 - one pair is still in the carrier bag with the receipt so I can take them back next week when things get too bad. Silly me for trying to buy myself something nice.)


  1. Firstly - I really sympathise. Its really tough - and getting tougher. Secondly, some practical speak (I am a Virgo after all!). Do you read ? You can get LOADS of free nights out on here and I mean totally free. Nights out at the cinema, meals etc etc . What about getting a second job for a while? I know that sounds a pain, but if its only short term, it might not be so bad. Saturday job in a shopping centre or bar work on a couple of nights etc. The DQ earns £500 per month working in Primark on Sat and Sun. Clothing - organise a cloths swap party, or advertise on Freecycle. Theres bound to be someone who used to be your size and has now put weight on!You need to adopt a war time attitude and relish the prospect of living on nowt! Something I could write a book about! By the way - top tip! If you send me your email address, i'll send you the Sunday Times meal for a fiver offer (great for this months night out) Up to 4 people can dine out for a fiver each at some really nice places. xxxxxxxx

  2. Oh I really hope this doesn't make you cross but I'm one of those people that say "I've got no money" and mean that I'm approaching going into my overdraft. I know I'm in a fairly fortunate position and I'm honestly not trying to be smug or critical of people who use overdrafts or are in debt, but to my way of thinking, the overdraft is not my money. It, like credit cards, is another form of debt and it's there for absolute emergencies but not for anything else.

    What size are you at now by the way? I've got a mountain of stuff about to go off to the charity shop and I'll happily send it your way if it'll fit you. Ditto cross stitching supplies - the house is overflowing with threads and material!

  3. I'm really sorry to hear this. I dom#'t earn a huge amount either, despite getting postgrad qualifications so I can empathise to some extent. I have some bits of white 14 count Aida that I'd like to send you so you can get stitching your Xmas cards. I'm going to email you at the contact address on your blog.

  4. You've been in my reader for a while, but I'm not sure if I've commented before. (Hi!) My heart is breaking for you right now, me and my partner are in exactly the same position. When we say we have no money, WE HAVE NO MONEY. It's frustrating when friends expect you to still 'go out.' I can't remember the last time I bought clothes or shoes, we can hardly even afford shampoo. I never thought I'd have to ration shampoo. All I buy is craft supplies to try and sell the things I make. Sorry this is turning into a rant... I just want you to know that you're not alone!

  5. I earn £11k a year. I could not exist if it weren't for Andy paying half of everything.

    Another irritating usage of "I've got no money" is "I don't want to do whatever you're suggesting, so I'll say I've got no money."

    In the interim, why don't you look at putting Google Ads on your blog? That could get you a few squids anyway.

    I had a look on various supermarket websites but none of them seem to do a voucher in the way that Amazon do. I know full well that getting donations was NOt the point of your blog post but I hate to think of you struggling so much, particularly with food. I would like to give you a tenner or something (not a tenor as I just typed, they're not *quite* so useful... spose you could pimp him out for money though?) if it would get you some food.

    Oh and I'm going home next week, what type of Aida do you need (specifics pls) because my mum has a chest full of stuff like that, she used to cross stitch but her fingers are too bad now. Let me know and I'll have a rummage for you xxxxxxx

  6. I have been where you are and it is horrific. When you know you can either buy a bag of pasta to at least have something to eat in the evening or a loaf of bread so you can have toast for breakfast cos you can't afford milk as well for your cereal. Oh and bus journeys well they were a thing long forgotten about.

    All I can say is that you will get there eventually. I am paying back my debt gained through profligate years with a spendy ex. 10 years of debt on things I didn't get to keep HAH! I contacted Consumer Credit Counselling Service (or CCCS) which is a charity that helps you get your debt in order. I highly recommend it. That's all the help I can offer. I hope it gets better soon.

  7. oh no, poor u, it's horrible when things get so close to the wire money-wise. I tend to worry a lot about money and it keeps me awake many-a-night. Is there anything you can sell on ebay or car boot sales to get some money? Anything that u can make that people would buy?? Or maybe we will both share the jackpot on 2moro night's lottery?!! x

  8. Oh poo. I am rubbish RUBBISH at advice, and don't know what to say, just that I sat here reading with one hand to my mouth and saying "OH NO" in a useless kind of way.
    Thinking of you though and please let me know if there is anything you need apart from a blank cheque...I would be very happy to help.x

  9. the clothes that are too big - get them on ebay (fat girl clothes sell really well) (and i say that as someone who buys *and* sells fat girl clothes).

    or, have a clothes swap "party" with friends - loads of new stuff, zero cost.

    hope things get better, it's a shitty situation to be in

  10. I wish I had the answer! I now more than ever appreciate the much-loved fiance, without whom (though I hate to admit how dependent I am on him) I would be living a very different life. Like other commenters, I have x-stitch supplies in need of a better home... I'll have a rummage.

  11. Can't believe that's all you earn after 2 degrees.... my best advice would be to really get your skates on trying to get a better job - yeah great one, but honestly, you deserve more! Now that's obviously not going to help you in the meantime, so i'm really sorry for that - guess having the other person living down south isn't helping either... hmmm i'm sure it's just one of these tough things you have to battle through and soon enough you'll be on the other side, laughing about it - you've already proved to everyone that you're very brave, you left the ex and you got over it, I'm sure you can do this same with this situation
    (sorry I can't offer to send any aida, don't really have much either, but seems like you got a few offers anyway - think i'll be expecting a christmas card myself at that rate!! x)

  12. Oh Honey, i'm crossing my fingers for you. Kx
    I'm almost in the same boat, but I have husband to share the boring dinners with.
    He hasn't woked for 4 months, and my wages do not cover, I am barly paying the morgage.
    Its the begining of the month and we have £3 to our name, luckly i have £20 from craft sales on Monday! And that keeps us going.
    Tommorow I am selling our DVDs at one of those shops. look up the price on amazon and you get approx a 3rd as they then resell at approx a third again. This goes for anything. Kxxxx

  13. I really sympathise. If I didn't have my OH I'd be totally stuffed, homeless and stranded. But I agree with Petit Filoux, sounds like you are earning far far too little - you need to go job hunting (and be prepared to move).

  14. Oh Girl :(

    I'm with Alex I have to say - I worked really hard to pay of my debts a few years ago and the thought of going back into the red is not one I'm prepared to consider.

    I do really sympathise with you though - I'm comfortable but unhappy at the minute living at Dad's, and if I were to move out I'd be in your shoes, *just* making ends meet each month with things like train fares to London and even petrol to York to see friends would have to be serious consideratons.

    I'm surprised more people haven't mentioned - if you're not on there already GET YOURSELF ON THERE - everyone's so friendly and helpful esp on the debt-free wannabe board, and there are so many ideas for free and cheap things to do.

    Get all your old stuff on ebay - EVERYTHING SELLS - last year I was having a lean patch and sold all sorts of old rubbish including a battery I found for an old 'film' camera still in its packet. Sell all the clothes that don't fit and keep that money spare as 'treats' money if you can.

    I also have spare Aida etc, just let me know where to send and it's there xxx

  15. I know EXACTLY what you mean. Thanks to no job + insane debts + unexpected extended holidays away, I literally have just whats in my purse (about £25 I think) It drives me insane when the boyfriend then says "I have no money" but then buys a £1200 sound system.
    I know I am lucky enough to have an understanding boy who is covering the rent, etc, at the moment, but at the same time, I feel so useless. Anyway. Blah. Ramble over!

  16. You have my sympathies, it is tough living on a low wage and being on your own. At least couples have potentially two incomes, or even if they lose one they have someone there to help them share the worries.
    Apart from winning the lottery or finding a better paid job, which is likely to be tough in the current market, there is no quick fix sadly. As others have suggested, have you got anything to sell on ebay or at a carboot when the weather improves? Are you making good use of the library for your literary fix? I don't know about Hull, but the libraries here are great. A second job would be tiring, but one or two evenings a week in a bar or even a supermarket would provide some spending money, that's what I had to do when I got my first flat.

  17. Can you move back in with your mum and save rent? I am living with my dad for that reason at the moment...
    What about a new job -even if it takes you out of Hull? Just ideas which I'm sure you've considered but just thought I'd ask just in case...there must be a way... to be earning £16K after your masters is not funny...What to do you for a job? Have you ever considered just going for the less fun but better paid job for a little while? Questions, questions I bet have gone through your mind...

    I did see an article in the Guardian like two days ago about single people struggling more than true...though I never lived with my ex-boyf but it does help a little (drinks wise etc)...

    Anyway...surely we can think of a solution?! xxx

  18. Hi, I've been reading your blog for a while now and feel like I'm getting to know you a bit, sortof (sorry if that sounds a bit creepy). I read this post on Friday and have been thinking about it ever since.

    Firstly, can I say you are very brave for saying all these thoughts outloud. I know how scary it can be to admit the reality of the situation sometimes. I was unemployed for 9 months last year and had it not been for my hubby I would be homeless, penniless and who knows what else. So I understand the misery of having very few pennies to count.

    If you don't mind, please email me your address as I have a few things I would like to send you. princesskerry83AThotmailDOTcom

    Also, definately investigate as it has all sorts of amazing information on it. I also had an idea- you could advertise yourself as a cat sitter. You could visit people's houses when they are away and feed the cats and keep them company for a bit. You could put an add in your local vets/post office and charge £5 a day or something. Just an idea.

    If you are interested, I would like to pay to advertise my etsy shop on your blog. Let me know what you think.

    I hope all our posts help you and have given you some ideas you might not have thought of.

    Kerry xx

  19. I am sorry you find yourself in this position. Could the citizens advice bureau help? It looks like you have a lot of sound advice given to you by other bloggers. Keep your chin up! x

  20. Sorry I've not commented in a while. I blummin hate January and have been in hibernation.
    Unfortunately, I can offer no words of wisdom as I'm not feeling overly wise at present. Though I'm feeling genuine sympathy for your current predicament.
    When I left my husband I moved back in with my mum - could this be an option for you?
    Though I know next to nothing regarding student loans etc, I have heard of them being deferred - is this something that you could do?
    I'm sorry, I'm probably suggesting really stupid things here. I'll shut up now.
    Take care
    Jill x

  21. Oh dear, what a pickle you're in. At least you know not to add to your debt - it's so easy just to put it on a credit card. I hate January with a vengance. At least you are honest with yourself (and us) and that's a great starting point. You may have been better off with your ex but you would not have been happy. I think you are right to look for another job - maybe even futher afield. Take hun. S x x x


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