1 How to acquaint yourself with your bank balance
“Oh my God,” I gasped.
“What?!” said Maddie, my best friend, bracing anxiously for the worst. “What’s happened?”
“Babe, I’m rich! Look at my balance. I have two-and-a-half grand in my account! What the hell?”
Maddie looks over my shoulder, the little green numbers reflecting back on to her big, wide eyes. It’s Friday night and we’re at the cashpoint on our university campus. Our heels are high, and we’re not wearing coats despite the cold winter weather, because we don’t want to part with the £2 that the student union charges to use the cloakroom.
My best friend squints, processes the information and pauses for a moment. “Actually, babe,” she says with a look of concern mixed with amusement, “you see that little ‘DR’ after the number? That means you’re overdrawn.”
There are certain home truths that only a best friend can deliver, and at the same time elicit laughter rather than a panic attack in response. The first step to getting on top of my money was knowing what I was dealing with.
2 How to live within a budget
In our early 20s, Maddie and I were full of aspirations: we’d be rich, famous and adored by the time we hit 30. 지금, we’re much more grateful for contentment, stability and the understated: good friends, peace of mind and drama-free living.
Our friendship provides us both with a lot of comfort, and forces us to confront truths we’d perhaps be more comfortable burying deep. My best friend makes me accountable. How many people in your life can reference – in an attempt to help you make better financial choices as an adult – a time when you racked up a load of debt taking out a store card so you could buy a sparkly top for dinner with a man whose name you can no longer remember?
We assumed, 나는 생각한다, by this age we’d be regularly treating each other to day-long spa visits and eating in only the finest restaurants. But even though things haven’t turned out this way, we’ve discovered that real friendship is about helping each other live with a budget. When I have my friend at my side, my best days are still spent much as they were at uni: Maddie and me talking over the TV, with a cup of tea in one hand and half of a family-size chocolate bar in the other. Living with a budget doesn’t mean missing out, because I don’t have to go it alone.
3 How to ask for financial help
Radical honesty and an ability to know exactly when to take each other seriously – and when not to – has got me and my best friend this far. So I’m taking that approach with my finances too. NatWest offers a Financial Health Check where one of its senior personal bankers will listen to your money situation and talk you through what you could do to make things better, so you could make your goals a reality.
So just like how I’ll moan to Maddie about the patchiness of payments coming in (I’m a freelance writer) and debate how I’m going to afford the new sofa I absolutely have to buy when really, I should be focusing on paying off my credit cards, NatWest could help you take steps today to build the life you want.
또 뭔데, it frees up that precious time with my best friend so that I’m not complaining that I should have taken out a pension the moment I started my first proper job. Because we’ve got more pressing things to discuss, like how much bleach my hair can take and where we’re going to go this weekend.
So are you ready for your Financial Health Check? It’s totally painless. And the findings might just make your day – and your tomorrow. Get started here