ISSUE #8 FEB 06

Geoff

Debt

1st September 2005

Ok so I have finished Uni and gotten a job; now I am faced with the unenviable task of paying for my years of irresponsibility. I always thought I was pretty much on top of my money situation. I had enough coming in to pay the bills and in my placement year, through scrimping on everything, managed to make some encouraging dents in my various debts. Then the final year came and I was lucky enough to have acquired a part-time job that didn't consume all my time and kept money coming in.

The moment Uni finished I carried on with my job full-time and took out a graduate loan to cover the cost of a car and insurance, and to pay off my remaining credit card debts. Ok it didn't quite cover all of this but now I was getting a proper salary I was confident the remaining debts would be dealt with soon enough. Of course, like most recent graduates I had the ever-present Student Loans Company hovering in the background waiting to start nibbling at my salary to pay back their generosity through my four-year course.

Somehow my first year of employment didn't seem to be paying off the debts as quickly as I had anticipated. In fact quite the opposite seemed to be happening as council tax, the luxury of cable television and broadband internet added to my outgoings for rent, food, water, gas and electricity. With the freedom granted by the car came bills for road tax, insurance and fuel and 10,000 miles after buying it the car was booked in for a service, because things like that are important you know.

I should have realised sooner that the money going out was greater than the money coming in. I could have cancelled subscriptions earlier and survived on soup more days of the week. I had fallen into the credit card trap and couldn't do anything about it. The debt pushed me to find better paid work, but even that hasn't solved all my problems. Looking back maybe my first job went to my head too much: did I really need that widescreen TV, the surround sound system and all those DVDs? Did my computer really need upgrading again?

I am now consigned to my fate of paying off my credit cards and loans and once more am starting to make a difference. I just hope this time I can stick to it and that my experience can serve as a warning to the younger 'limbers just starting their university years, especially with the temptation of Xbox 360 looming…