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.)