Many years (Four) have passed since I could go, on a weekly basis or if I am going to be honest, a three daily basis to one of the three girl-friends houses I have for wine, and chatter.
So with my educational purgatory complete (I've been at University) I returned home and one of the first things on my 'To Do' list was to meet up with them and fill them in on all the diabolical misadventures I have had, and hear theirs. Essentially we needed to set the World to rights.
Amidst all the tales told (and believe me, there were MANY) one thing was cripplingly clear. As graduates we were broke. More broke than we had ever concieved we would be when we were young, idealistic and working on the tills at Tesco using our wages to buy whiskey, vintage and vinyl.
We weren't totally ignorant, we knew this debt was coming and we took it on with open eyes and optimism that what we were doing was going to lead us into a brighter future. I know I have no regrets. I even prepared for this poverty by working my way through a gap year. It seems that this and the generosity of debtless parents has been my saving grace, I have emerged almost but not completely unscathed moneywise.
I say this, but I know that in it is a lie. Im not unscathed. I am overdrawn. I owe the bank money. My lovelies are in a similar state, and they are worse off than I am, and I am unemployed.
With the recession thrust down our throats, graduate employment is obviously, and unsurprisingly down. The jobs those of us have been successful in attaining appear to do nothing but feed earnings into empty pits. Trapped in a vicious cycle where we never climb out of the red into the black, as overdraft fees charge us into an oblivion that we cannot seem to escape from.
Charging us for exceeding overdrafts that they promised could be extended, but then refuse us when we hit the line.
Dont get me wrong, I am not angry that they refuse to extend our overdrafts. More debt is the last thing on our minds. BUT...
In the beginning I had the opportunity of a £2000 overdraft, I turned it down and opted for a £200 limit with a £150 reserve. I then had personal and financial trouble in my second year, work were failing to pay me so I rang up and extended my overdraft to £700 in order to pay my rent. The bank REFUSED to extend it any further than that, regardless of my promise that a large pay was impending, that my parents were going to transfer money, and that I was worried that Id be unable to live. (I left the branch in tears, hysterically standing outside costa sobbing at the reality I couldnt afford bread.) When my rent came out, it clipped the £700 mark by mere pence, and I was charged £22 for the pleasure, thus thrusting me deeper into my reserve costing me more money. There was nothing I could do, I just sat and watched the charges mount until I recieved my pay. It was a lovely Christmas.
That is just my story, the others are not ones I am in a position to tell, but believe me they are worse. They include branch negligence with regard to personal information, accounts and tranfers.
To add insult to injury I remember that my bank offered me credit cards to keep me afloat as I started my degree. MORE debt they know we cannot repay. I am still offered credit cards now, as an unemployed graduate.
In future I am going to keep my money in my mattress because it is quite clear to me that The banks have buggered us well and truly...
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