By Rebecca Hodson
One of the wonderful aspects of university is the endless amount of social activities you can participate in. Yet, along with fun, comes funds, and at times we all struggle to afford our ideal student life.
As students we have to not just think about our time table and assignment schedules, but also consider how much we can actually justify spending at Juice this weekend. Now, that is a challenge in itself, but then add the fabulous addition of friendship.
We’ve all been there when we didn’t bring enough cash to pay for a taxi back as well as a cheeky stop at Family Fish so your friends spot you so can have the carbs needed to make your 9am. Yet, what should we do when we have lent our mate a tenner three weeks ago and we begin to get closer and closer to our overdraft? Why do we feel rude asking for our own money back?
The fear of putting our pals into their overdraft causes far more fear than the thought of calling the bank and seeing if you can have a loan. This is why we normally end up in a ‘oh you brought me food, so I’ll get the taxi’ cycle. Not that this is a bad system, this is one that suits my housemates and I well, but it definitely doesn’t suit everyone.
Some people prefer getting there £6.77 back so they are fully on top of their finances, the same as some people hate owning their friends money so you know you’ll get your money back within 24 hours. Either way, whether prefer doing bank transfers or getting the first round of drinks in, it is important to see what you friends prefer first. Money is a difficult subject, but it’s the same as all difficult subjects, the more openly you discuss it the more normal it becomes.
If your friend owe you all money, sit them down and tell them, and expect them to do the same to you. It is important for us to all help prepare each other for the real world. Discuss your budgets as you catch up over a cuppa, talk about your student loan when your walking to the shops, normalise the student discussion of money. This is new to all of us, whether we get funded by our parents or work 40 hours a week, the majority of us have never given managing finances much thought.
And obviously, don’t judge your friends if they are financially funded a completely different way to you, but do talk about how you can help each other. While it’s never enjoyable to ask for money from our friends, or confessing we can’t afford to join our housemates down the pub, it’ll get easier each time you do. So, go tell your friend you need that fiver back by the weekend, or ask them if they are coping this week after they went a bit overboard at the SU. Just make sure you talk about it, normalise it, and enjoy it (albeit sensibly).