|>>|| No. 16461
Picking up the phone to call my dad, I felt sick. I’d just been hit with a £300 bill for my car’s MOT and, with over a week to go until I was paid, there was no way I could afford it myself.
With no credit card and already into my overdraft, I had no choice but to turn to my parents yet again for a handout. I knew Dad would agree – he’s always reassured me that if I need help, he and Mum are there for me. But that doesn’t make it any less demoralising to be 30, earning what many people would think is a decent salary, and still being bailed out. I wish I could say this was a one-off, but the truth is rarely a month goes by where I don’t ask them for money. I’m an account director at a digital marketing agency in Bournemouth, and my salary is £30-40k (a monthly average take-home pay of about £2,200), depending on how much commission I earn.
I know many people would look at that income and consider me well off, especially when the average UK salary is around £27,000. But the reality is that even earning that much, it can be hard nowadays to lead a normal, and in no way extravagant, 30-something lifestyle. It’s embarrassing, but not unusual. On average, Mum and Dad give me between £100 and £500 a month. It might be because of an unexpected expense, like that garage bill, or it could be for something as mundane as buying my lunches at work, because I literally don’t have a penny to my name until payday.
A few months ago, I needed their help paying the £100 excess on my phone insurance when it broke. I’ve even been known to ask for £20 just to afford to sit in with a friend and get a bottle of wine and a takeaway. Pathetic, right?
Eighteen months ago, I moved from London to my hometown of Bournemouth, to try and save for a deposit for a property of my own. The cost of living in the capital had got so high I was finding myself turning to my parents more and more, and believed moving home was the solution. However, faced with high rents in Bournemouth, I moved back into my childhood home, and pay my parents a reduced rent, another way in which they’re helping me. Back in my teenage bedroom, this isn’t where I pictured I’d be when I was 30. By now, my 20-year-old self assumed, I’d have my own flat, savings in the bank and be able to look after myself. The reality is I'm not even close to being in that position.
By the time I’ve paid rent, done some food shopping (I want to pay my way as much as I can), settled my phone bill and insured, taxed and put petrol in my car, there’s not a great deal left. I don’t have a credit card because I’m too worried about ending up in debt and making a bad situation worse.
I work in a very sociable industry and there’s an unspoken pressure to join in with Friday night drinks, and I do need to buy clothes for work. Apart from that, I don’t splash out on luxuries. I don’t have a gym membership, I do my own nails, I colour my own hair, and fancy holidays abroad are a pipe-dream. The odd mini-break with friends is as much as I can afford right now. Even so, there’s rarely anything left in my account as the end of the month approaches. If there is, I save it towards a deposit, but that’s very sporadic and more often than not I find myself turning to my parents.
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