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May 26, 2014 | by  | in Features Online Only |
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Cash Money

I just broke up with my boyfriend. When we were together we used to have issues about money. Basically, he didn’t give a shit about it. His philosophy was “you can’t take it with you, why the fuck should we worry about it?” whereas my attitude was far more anal, refusing to take out my overdraft and treating any purchase at the supermarket that was not Budget brand as an untold luxury.

I don’t know if it’s just because I’m fresh out of the relationship, and am thus seeing everything he used to do through rose tinted glasses but looking back, his way of thinking seems a lot better than mine.

I mean, yes, it sucks that we are all in bajillions of dollars of debt, and yes, probably all the money that we do have should go on important shit like text books and paying off our credit cards and stuff, but sometimes I can’t help getting a little bit YOLO about it.  Life is for living, money is for spending, maybe happiness is more important than financial security?

We can’t change the fact that we have huge, and growing, student loans. That’s the way it is and it’s not a reality that’s going to change, so why should we continually beat ourselves up about it? Why shouldn’t money be a source of joy for once, rather than one of worry and stress?

As students, this period in our lives may be the last period in our lives where our only responsibility is ourselves. Most of us don’t need to provide for children and have no mortgages to pay off, so maybe this is the one time where we should just use the little extra money we have to just enjoy ourselves.

Obviously, this can only work if you’ve got your shit together to a degree. Money is always going to be stressful if not enough is put aside for the shit that can’t be avoided such as rent and bills. But once that boring stuff is covered, if there remains a little left over, why not use it for something that’s a little less serious perhaps, but just as important; fun.

Consult any number of public documents regarding mental health (ie. biff it into Google), and you will find that one of the most common causes of stress and anxiety is money. Essentially, money sucks. For an inanimate object, it brings about a disproportionate amount of pretty negative things. As students, we are in a position where it needn’t necessarily be such a cause for despair.

We don’t need to worry about money, mostly because we haven’t got any and at the end of the day, there’s not exactly much that can go wrong. It seems to me that worry seems to rise proportionate to our bank balance and most of us are dead skint; we are not hoarding investments or savings that we need to worry about or add to or protect. If we do choose to throw our spare cash on what we think is going to make us happy, or bring a little bit of extra comfort to our lives, it’s unlikely to be anything drastic. Upgrading to an $18 sav for a BYO rather than the rat piss that they call ‘Fat Bird’ isn’t exactly huge cause for financial alarm. It might mean that you are $8 more broke than you were on Thursday, but at least you enjoyed the wine as it went down, rather than just enjoying the drunken stupor it put you in.

I don’t really buy into the oft-quoted platitude that ‘money can’t buy happiness.’ Call me materialistic, but I’m pretty sure that if I had enough money to move out of the damp shit hole that I currently reside in, and could afford to eat something more substantial than soup most nights, I’d be a lot fucking happier.

However, I’d wager that the likelihood of someone throwing the requisite sack of money at me in order to bring about those pleasant little changes is pretty unlikely. So, I plan on using the meagre funds that I do have to make my life a little bit nicer wherever possible. It could be as small as buying a dress before it goes on sale, or splurging on salmon one week, but those little treats can go a long way.

Money and how it is spent is the entirely personal, private choice of whoever said money belongs to. I do not consider myself (or my ex-boyfriend) a financial expert, and I would be very hesitant to ever tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do with their own finances. However, I do think that people should do whatever they can to enhance their happiness and the happiness of those they care about, and sometimes the choices people make regarding money can have an impact on this.

So, now that you have reached the end of this article (well done you, what a trooper), and have been inspired to use your leftover pennies to bring a little more sparkle into your life, here are the top three ways in which the internet thinks you can do so:

  1. Buy Experiences: Cliched but true. When you’re on your death bed, I doubt you’ll give much of a shit about the Ferrari parked outside or the super yacht in the marina. I dare say that the memories you have made, sights you have seen and people you have met will be of a lot more importance.

  2. Buy time: I thought this was weird when I first read it but it makes sense – use the money you have to make the sucky things you have to do in your life a little bit easier, so that you have more time for the fun stuff.*

  3. Give it away: Again, thought this was odd and the greedy little princess inside of me stomped her foot, enraged. But it’s true – bringing joy to other people is pretty fucking special and rewarding, so don’t spend all your cash munz on yourself; use it to brighten someone else’s day too.

*So taking this as an excuse to buy every infomercial product I’ve seen advertised ever.


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