Sunday, March 20, 2011

Financial Bottleneck - Living in tight situations

I've blogged about how much fun studying abroad in London has been but you win some, lose some and face some challenges.

In a previous post, I mentioned that the living costs in England is significantly higher than in the States. The USD is not equal to the GBP, for real. For the past 10 days, I've not had access to cash because my American debit card got stuck in Barclays (British bank ) ATM. Unfortunately, I can't make withdrawals with my American credit card because it does not have the chip, that they always ask for in the UK. Even in places like some restaurants, you cannot foot your bill with an American bank card if it does not have the infamous chip. So, you can imagine the financial crevice that I've been in, for the past 10 days. I've had to top up my oyster(travel) card, my phone, and buy groceries online with my credit card. I borrowed 100 pounds from a friend but had to spend 70 pounds out of it to fix my phone. That left me with 30 pounds, in addition to some 50 pounds that I had.

I was annoyed to be informed that Barclays bank could not give me my debit card back, even if they get it out of the ATM, because it is not a Barclays card. I called my American bank to issue another one but it is not here yet. It has been 10 days and Yinkuslolo has been surviving on 80 pounds cash. That should be a lot of money, right? But this is London, money goes faster than the speed of light. I've tried to be prudent but I end up buying coconut bread, cafeteria breakfast, Arizona Iced tea etc. As of Friday, I had 10 pounds left in my wallet.

Important note - I did not inform my mother about my situation and I have no reliable relatives in London to help me out. Also, I'm not a kid. Thus, I figured that I should be able to handle this by myself. My american bank told me that my new debit card will be here on Friday. Alas, my mail box is devoid of this damn card, up til now . On Friday evening, I finally decided to let my mother know about my problem. Like the very caring person that she is, she wired some money to me via Western Union, within an hour. After visiting thirteen Western Union cash points in East and Central London, I found one that is actually in operation in Leicester Square. I will go there later today, because I didn't have sufficient ID when I went yesterday. To make matters worse, the TFL (Transport for London) disabled my Oyster cards because of God knows what. That's a long story on its own.

Why did it take me a whole week to tell my mother about this money matter? I have always been financially self-sufficient. Don't give me that 'yeah right!' look. I do not know how to ask my mother for 'pocket money' and I was not brought up with any regular allowance. So, I feel very awkward asking my mother for money. Fortunately, she sends me money irregularly and in very random amounts, based on her own instinct, and I'm not complaining. Back at my home university, I had two well-paying part-time jobs, alongside my regular 18-credit courseload, and I always go after deals / student discounts. So, I've been living off my savings, for the most part, in London. I'm not against depending on Central Bank of Mummy and Daddy but I respect adults, who work for their own money.

This past week has made me to think about my desirable financial position for the future. I want to be comfortable enough and not depend on a spouse or inherited returns to cater for myself and dependents. I know this means a lot of work but that's why I'm putting my best into this rigorous education now. This is not to say that a good education assures financial security but it goes a long way with getting there.

What does 'comfortable' in future mean to me? This may sound cheesy. I want to be comfortable enough to own (or co-own with my spouse) a family house, send my children/dependants to very good schools and afford to take annual vacations abroad. Hopefully, I will not have to take any loans in the future, except it is for some grand investment.

Enough with my money talk, the two pictures below have been subjects of twitter jokes and spin offs for TTs (trending topics) on Twitter. Follow me on twitter, @yinkuslolo

Je t'embarasse
This one is just funny. What about Real Housewives of Ebute-Metta and Keeping up with the Igbinedions?

This movie is actually out. You have to see the parts 1 and 2 on youtube. Too hilarious. Babes are stealing Blackberries and leaving a matrimonial home because the husband didn't buy a BB for the wife I just want to believe that it's a satire.

On that note, shout to the best mother in the world, I love her so much and I know she does not how much I do. I will not be who I am and will be, without her. I hope my debit card comes in the mail, soon.


Anonymous said...


I know all about "this"

Glad you're okay sha.


Ginger said...

Pele. Being independent can be such a pain. I am at the stage where i had to swallow a big block of independent rock and ask for help. my only comfort is it wont be long...Amen somebori! Hope your card is sorted now.

p.s. oyster card is the devil.

Lara said...

I am independent, I love getting things with my money but i never fail to run back home to mama if i cannot make do on my own...

I am about to watch Blackberry babes on Youtube.

As for CSI, I think that poster is photoshopped, because i remember it is poster for some nollywood movie.

Clara O said...

I love being independent! I started working full time last August and it's so great to finally have money when making decisions - I started looking after my finances when I turned 11 and went to boarding school...I have very hippy parents :)

thanks to you, I watched BBB with my lil brother. it was hilarious!

Yinkuslolo said...

@chari: Thanks man. Life is still good :)

@ginger: Dear, my bank card is not here :(.

@Lara; i replied you by email yesterday

@Clara O: Similar story, went to boarding school at 9. Independence has not been an option but the only way, since then. BBB is going to be a classic. I see myself "rewatching" it in the near future.

The Corner Shop said...

Amen Ginger! Heh! Being independent in a different town is not beans oh! Please ask for help sometimes (although i know it feels horrible to do so- my folks are always complaining that i never ask, imagine)


Yinkuslolo said...

yeah, my mum told me to ask an uncle for help but I refused. I don't like being a pain or bother to someone.