As we launch our new goals update, we thought this would be a great opportunity to share a story from our community. A twenty-something woman who used Chip goals to stop feeling left out from her friends’ big plans tells us her story.
I love my friends, but it’s hard being the poorest one in the group.
Well, no, I’m not poor. Not by national standards. I have a good job in London, in an industry I love working in. Like any twenty something over half my salary gets sucked up to rent a place (and no, I don’t live in anywhere fancy, I live in a houseshare on the outskirts of Zone 3). Basically, I get by, but keeping up with my friends is hard.
I hope mine is a story a few people out there can relate to! I was a bright kid from a normal comprehensive school, and made it into a good university.
I have a thoroughly ‘normal’ middle-England suburban background; i.e. my parents always made sure we were fed, clothed and got something nice for Christmas and birthdays. But we definitely weren’t well-off; we never really went on holidays, or had anything like the latest iPhones, and my brothers shared a bedroom.
I made some great friends at university who I’ve stayed close with now I’ve graduated and moved to London for work, they’ve been great at helping me settle into what can be a tough town. But as we grow up I’m starting to feel our different backgrounds and income more and more.
Back when we met as students, I didn’t really notice being much less well-off than my friends, as we were all (apparently) scraping by in student digs.
Admittedly, I spent my summers waitressing back in my hometown, whilst my friends generally did high-flying internships or went travelling. And yes, they did come across as a bit posh.
But during term time it just felt like we were all in it together. Especially since we were generally just out drinking cider-black in the student union, or going to house parties.
It was only really when we all graduated and started working that I began to realise there must be a dramatic difference in our incomes, or either that, all my friends are just running up huge credit card bills.
They regularly organise ski trips, city breaks, nice meals, big nights out, west-end shows, and festivals together. And have now started organising extravagant hen do’s. And basically, I just can’t afford to join in 90% of the things they all do together. I try my best to keep up, but I can’t really justify the expense.
I’m aware I should count myself lucky. They’re a great bunch of friends, they’re fun and kind, and we’re all very close. We’re very good at helping each other through break-ups and life’s little struggles. But I just don’t think they really understand what it’s like to need to be careful with your money.
And it’s crap and a bit embarrassing. I don’t really know how to bring it up, and I don’t want to snub them, or spoil the fun. But no-one wants to be that person at the group big boozey meal, who carefully orders the cheapest thing on the menu and only has one drink, and doesn’t want to just split the bill.
I was at a bit of a loss. I thought it’d be a bit extreme to try and get new friends. And avoiding them just seemed ridiculous.
For a while I considered getting a credit card, but I didn’t really like the idea of spending beyond my means for essentially frivolous things.
Then I stumbled across Chip (thanks to the journalist Laura Whately). As my friends are quite organised, and give plenty of notice on their plans, I use Chip’s goals feature to save up for something we’re doing together and now can join in on the fun every couple of months.
I was terrible at having spare money aside for things before, but now it’s just done for me. I genuinely I love Chip, I don’t really notice the money leaving my bank account, as I leave Chip just ticking along on the lowest setting.
I’m hoping to join my squad on something big this year! Hopefully a holiday or a hen do.
I’m aware I need a long term plan (other than winning the lottery, or getting a lovely rich partner), but I’m hoping I’ll get a pay rise in the next few years and start put money aside for my future.
We love hearing from our community and we think your stories can help inspire other Chip savers to hit their goals. We’ll even give you an extra bonus.
Just drop an email to the editor (Tom@getchip.uk) with the subject line ‘My Story’.
Join our online community and have your say in the future of Chip.