I’m working for a cash machine…

Ah, money, money, money. Not my favourite topic of conversation, it must be said. Not enough can make you feel depressed but too much can (supposedly) ruin your life. Remember Callie Rogers? She won the National Lottery at the tender age of 16 and has been chronicled in the papers ever since. By last year, she’d almost run out of money thanks to spending sprees, cocaine and plastic surgery (apparently). There’s no shortage of lotto winners out there who’ve since said that their win has made them miserable and it’s not hard to see why. Old ‘friends’ and family creeping out of the woodwork expecting a handout, not to mention the tough decisions about just what to do with your hard won cash. Fortunately for me, (or unfortunately), the chances of this kind of stress invading my life are minimal. That said, a bit of dollar wouldn’t go amiss right now.

I’m crap with money. I’ll put my hands up. I’ve been working now for 12 years and have no savings to speak of. It flows through my hands like water. Now that I’m single, it seems to have got even worse, given that I actually have a social life now. Add to the fact that I’ve had to help my sister out and well, let’s just say I’m waiting for payday to roll back around. I have to say that I’ve saved an awful lot of money this month by switching from cigarettes to roll ups (yes, I smoke…please don’t judge me *rolls eyes*) so that’s got to be a plus, although, I can’t actually see where this saved money has gone. Mojitos, probably. Drawing out a tenner a day for cigarettes and lunch is probably the quickest way to drain a bank balance. But now that I’ve come to a decision about my travelling plans, I’ll have to make a concerted effort to put money away.

This is where I’ll be this time next year. I was planning on going anyway and I will, all being well, be there for around 4 weeks. Now that I’ve found out I can sneakily carry over more than the stipulated 5 days of leave into next year, I’ll be able to spend a month in Rio de Janeiro AND take a second trip without having to take a break in my salary. I’ve been delving into research and my plan is to volunteer for 2 weeks and use the other 2 weeks to generally just be. I’ve called a few agents to get a ballpark figure on flights and it looks like I can get out there for under £600. Add to that the volunteering cost (which includes accommodation and meals) of around £800, plus hostel accommodation for the remaining two weeks and I’ll need to shell out £2.5k at least. It’s doable. I’ve already started adjusting my (slightly anal) Excel budget spreadsheet and it can be done. Nay, it WILL be done. I’ll get out there if it kills me.

Now, I may be being ambitious, but there is another destination I’m looking at for May next year, again, volunteering but this time for a month. Again, it’s doable. I’ve checked around on flights (based on this years prices), volunteering costs etc and that’s another £2.5 to £3k. My sensible head is saying I could use this money to put towards a deposit for a flat or something, but that would only further tie me down. I’d rather have life experiences to look back on than money in the bank and feel that niggling sense of ‘if only’.

Money, and the lack of, can be a bitch. It can depress even the lightest of souls, but while I might not have much, there are people out there in much worse situations than I am. I can give myself a weekend off in a month and save myself around £50. It will all add up to what will be, for me anyway, the trip of a lifetime. I’ll still be working for a cash machine, but at least my cash will be spent doing something fun and worthwhile.

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