Jemma de Blanche, 28, a freelance journalist from London struggles to keep up with her friends' spending habits.
Every month I smugly log into my online banking thinking “This month is different; this month will be the beans-on-toast-free month!” Every month I have to repeat my mantra “Love is patient, love is kind, it is never resentful”. How is it still 2 weeks before payday and I only have £20 to my name?
And then I look at my diary.
Wednesday the 22nd: Melanie’s Hen do. Friday the 24th. Ireland for Sarah’s wedding. Sunday the 1st: Karen’s baby shower.
Now, I know that I don’t have to attend every invitation extended, but a combination of FOMO (fear of missing out) and guilt at saying no ensures that I am shortly planning a new outfit/present/mode of transport or accommodation for the upcoming weekend. When did I become this busy? You should note here, reader, that I’m not standing on a rooftop shouting to all that will listen “Look at me: Miss popular! I am swimming in the sea of friends!” because let’s be honest, who will listen? It’s just that, at this stage of my life, all of my good friends are going through life altering changes that require the appropriate celebration. A wedding can cost a guest anything in the region of £100 to £1000 depending on gift list, location and dress code, and although I know my friends aren’t sitting there thinking “how can I make this wallet draining-ly expensive for my nearest and dearest?” I know that they want to (and rightly so) have the day they dreamed of since they clipped a towel into their hair like a veil. It is for that reason that I happily spend the money on the perfect gift that says something about me and something about them as a couple, and a night in the advised accommodation so their favourites can all be in one place. But with that expense come a myriad of other things. Sending the bride-to-be off in the style she deserves, even if it’s just a one day hen party, still means dinners, drinks, at least one activity and the suitable paraphernalia brought along for no other reason than to embarrass your much loved BFF.
'I know my friends aren’t sitting there thinking “how can I make this wallet draining-ly expensive for my nearest and dearest?"'
I am hearing myself. I know that my life choices; namely travelling after university and my indecision in choosing a career, mean I’m still at the bottom of the ladder, but accepting my own shortfalls doesn’t subtract from the fact that my ambitious career focused friends (the same ones that are costing me a fortune) are comfortably ensconced in the cashmere blankets of life. I also know that said wonderfully understanding friends would not even bat an eyelid if I apologetically gave my pound shaped (or shapeless as the case may be) excuses. They would move mountains to try and make it more affordable for me and the likes, but why should they? Why should I provide unnecessary stress to what is supposed to be a magical time but in reality provides all sorts of terror inducing breakdowns, including family rifts, hives and chocolate ice-cream and wine at 3am after the 50th and favourite venue turned out to have a rat infestation.
It has to be said though, I am ecstatically happy for my family of choice, the ones that dry my tears and bring me metaphorical soup when I am sick. I have also never had as many good times as I am having at this time in my life, so as much as I want to be resentful, “Love is patient, love is kind”. Let’s just thank my lucky stars that I love beans on toast.
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