A couple of months ago, a friend of mine came on msn and was telling me about her problems with not being able to pay her rent. I did know her in person, but we only really talked properly on the internet. I was unemployed at the time. She said she needed a lodger for £50 per week, food and bills included, so I told her that as soon as I had found a job I could help her out. I had joined an agency and a few weeks later they had found me a job in a factory earning at least £200 per week. I was due to start in a couple of weeks, so she said I could move in straight away and just start paying her from whenever I got paid. I moved in a few days later and it was fine at first, until a week or so later, I got a phone call. It turned out I was too young for the factory job, being only 17, but my friend said not to worry and to just look for something else. I job hunted like mad and eventually found something, but it was minimum wage - which for my age is £3.40 - and only 20 hours per week. However, knowing how much (or how little) I was going to be earning and knowing how difficult I was going to find it, she still wanted me to stay. I suppose I should have said no, but at the time I really felt bad for her and I wanted to help her out. I started the job halfway through the pay period, so the first month I got paid £180. My friend wanted £150 from me, so that left me with £30. I couldn't buy any Christmas presents. Food was supposedly included, but I needed something to take to work with me because I work in the evenings and my friend said she just couldn't afford it. I needed shampoo and conditioner, all of my shoes were falling apart and generally unsuitable for winter but I was completely skint. £30 really doesn't go far. This would have all been fine... I was helping out a friend... but I started to notice how much money she was wasting. £5 here, £5 there, bargains, bargains, bargains. I don't care how much of a bargain something is; if you don't have any money, you can't afford even the cheapest of unnecessary purchases. That, plus the fact that she was ordering kebabs, getting McDonalds, fish and chips etc etc (regardless of the fact that she's supposed to be dieting) when there was perfectly good food in the house that she could have cooked. "I just didn't fancy it, not tonight..." If you really are skint, no matter how much you don't fancy the food you already have, there is no way you can afford to buy fast food every few days. And £30 each on all of your friends at Christmas, plus God knows how much extra for her fiancé and her son. She wanted £50 a week off me, but I bet she was spending at least that every week on complete crap. The whole time she was making me feel awful about the fact that where I work closes for 2 weeks over Christmas, so I wasn't quite sure if I was quite going to make £200 in December. "I just don't know how I'm going to afford the bills!" It just didn't make sense to me that she was buying all these things, but worrying about the bills while I was working every hour my boss could give me just to give her almost every penny I earnt. No, I don't have bills to pay, but there are things I need. I can't turn up at work unwashed because I can't afford shower gel and shampoo, I can't walk around in winter with holes in the bottom of my shoes. I didn't like to moan about it all the time though. Even when I did say anything, she would say "it's ok, I'm skint too, I dunno how I'm gonna cope." Someone who can still afford to treat themselves is quite clearly not skint. My money, to her, is just pocket money. She seems to think that because I'm not old enough to have been in a position where I have ever had to pay bills, that I have no actual 'need' for money, and that I'm going to completely sympathise with her struggling and not notice the money she's wasting. I've had enough of it. I can't talk to her about it... whenever it looks like she might not get every precious penny I get the dramatic "I don't know how I'm going to cope! I'm so depressed!" La la la. So I've come back to my parents tonight and in the morning when she's out, I'm going to go and collect my things and leave. It's not the mot adult way of doing it in the slightest, but to be honest, I am only 17. What does it matter anyway? She's hardly being the responsible adult with her money. Or my money... My only problem is, I'm not sure how to go on once I've left. In two days I get paid. I'll only get about £200 because of Christmas and I owe her £200. I know I have to drop some through the letterbox, but I really do begrudge giving her the full £200. She may genuinely not be able to afford the bills this month if I don't give her it, but at the same time I know it's completely her fault, because I'm pretty sure she could have saved getting on for £200 this month without me. I feel like the pressure's completely on me. I could really do with some advice...
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