21 blog posts series ease eleven

21 blog posts series ease eleven

Eleven “Managing your money”

We’re always told about saving for that “rainy day” occurrence. It’s something that’s planted into our minds from an early age from pocket money to cashing in for brithdays or special events. I agree with saving for the rainy day and rightly considering that you might not have an influx of money in the near future. But sometimes, with the money demands that come with being a student, it can feel like it’s constantly overcast and the rainy day is happening constantly, just above our heads.

Never fear, these challenges can be tackled with a small bit of planning and some self control. Before I get into this I will say that it isn’t very good to live your life in fear of spending. What I’ve learned is that with each purchase or investment we make, we must decide on the how worthwhile the action is that we’re taking. Start with devising in your mind whether the thing is a want or a need, like a form of pro or con list. At the end of the day, every time we make a purchase we are making a choice whether something is worth it or not in terms of parting with your money.

However it is you get your income, money comes with responsibility attached. It can easily enough become something scarce when not handled or managed properly. A smart way to go about spending less is to get yourself well set up to deal with the unexpected. There are some great apps out there for money management which are worth a try for sure. But what I’ve found most useful is having two accounts to work off one as a spending and one as a saving account.

It’s not really that much of a hassle, it just divides your funds more fairly so you can attempt to stay on top of things, having something to fall back on if you really need it. I think there’s something built in us to love spending money, I don’t really know of anybody who doesn’t partake in the act. But I think surrounding yourself with people who you know may entice you to spend can sometimes be an act of harm. But this doesn’t have to be a thing you avoid if you put a bit of planning into it.

If you’ve arranged to meet a friend out somewhere, say a café or restaurant – familiarise yourself beforehand with the price range of the place. How much are you willing to spend here? What’s your budget? For me, budgets and weekly expenses can fluctuate. I’ll have more money in if I get more hours at work but I won’t if that doesn’t come together.

So what do I do? Lock myself away from the world if there isn’t a certain amount in my account? No. I would say, always do the thing if at all possible, but think ahead of what you might need to draw in on and make sure you keep your wits to do that. Plan out what the likely expenses will be and see if there are alternatives to these in the situation. This can be applied to any sort of social event when you really give it some thought.

Student life can bring with it huge pressures, from money to exams and really the balance is sometimes impossible to get right. Should you get more hours at work or in the library this week? It’s hard to know. So I’d say if you’re really stuck, don’t be afraid to go for the student loan option, be that from a bank or another source. We all place value on our degrees and if a loan is what you need to get that done, so be it. Grants are great things and should be thoroughly appreciated but when it’s a tough time financially, do what you have to do.

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

21 blog posts series take three

21 blog posts series take three

Three: “Attend the events that mean something to you”

Tickets went on sale today for the highly anticipated Electric Picnic 2017. I’m sure we all knew about this due to the huge presence of social media in our lives, seeing live the backlash via the online polls, radio hotlines and live tweets taking over.

I understand totally the upset of the people due to the secret line up only announced once tickets were already sold out. A little bit unfair to say the least. In some ways I feel people buy tickets to these big gigs just to rave on about going for the next few months in attempt at bettering their peers for winning this ticket war. But that’s just an opinion.

My friend and I had a different idea to tackle this by signing up via the volunteering route in order to catch the festival, but that’s neither here nor there.

In summer of last year, I think it was that Electric Picnic was recorded for TV for the catch up services. I watched it back with a slightly tear stained face looking at what I was missing out on. The whole FOMO excuse we use to do the radical act of spending, I totally get. Honestly thinking back, there is really nothing worse than sitting home knowing something is happening without you being there.

On that note I’ve come to realise that we should always try our fullest to attend these events that mean something to us. Whether it be a concert, a sporting game or comedy gig – whatever. If it’s something that you feel you need to be at, don’t delay yourself in foolishness like going through the pro’s and con’s list or wait for your friend to reply to the excited message.

You’re really not doing any harm buying a ticket first and foremost. Sure, circumstances at the time can be different but often worked around for the sake of a great time. Sometimes it’s more important to have a good story to tell about something reckless you did than to tell the sensible story of how you sat home and saved your money.

These events like games or gigs, they’re special. They don’t happen close to us every day and sometimes sacrifices need to be made in order to satisfy that craving we have – with no guilt felt whatsoever.

In these situations, sometimes you have to put yourself first. If you really love the team or artist, if you’re a really big fan and you know you’ll enjoy it – you simply have to try your best to get there.

(Unless we’re talking about Ed Sheeran, that’s a little bit tougher I admit).

I’ll give you an example. A few Christmases ago, I knew my father wanted a ticket to see Joe Jackson play in Dublin. What I didn’t know was that tickets would sell out crazy fast and there would only be one left (legit one ticket) when I went to buy.

So what did we decide? Screw the concert and wait for another opportunity for him/his band to play again? No.

My dad attended, alone – and ended up having an amazing time just being there appreciating the music with fellow fans around him.

Some may see that as a brave thing to do but I see it as totally understandable. Really, nothing should stop you from being in those incredible situations that you’ll always remember and enjoy thinking back on.

Never be ashamed about the teams or artists you admire and if they’re playing – go see them – I really don’t think it’s something you could possible regret. And, sure isn’t that all what being a fan is about?

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

“The dust and sweep of the city” (2014)

“The dust and sweep of the city” A Descriptive Essay about twenty-four hours in the life of a city:

Have you ever felt irrelevant within the goings on in the world around you? As if it wouldn’t make much difference if you were present or not. Well, most would say that’s what being part of a city is like. I however disagree. You see I’m the square-shaped clock with the discoloured face that perches above the Eason’s bookstore in Dublin’s city centre. I see your apparent irrelevance every day. I see everything really: the 4am silence and the junkie that phases out beneath me, the early morning rush hour as you all frantically attempt to get to where you’re going to, right up until the eccentric nightlife in our capital city. Maybe I’m the one who is irrelevant because, to me, it is the life in it that makes the city what it is.

The contrast I witness in this city in twenty-four hours is something extraordinary. For example, it’s 9am and the city has life again. It’s Friday so everybody has that ‘Friday feeling’ they all seem to strive to get. I notice a man and woman walking happily together. They are dressed in suits and discussing the business headlines. The man stands out for me. He is dignified sure, but I notice the trickle of the ink of a tiger tattoo running from the back of his neck downwards as they pass. Next comes a young schoolgirl. Her body is weighed down from the weight of her schoolbag. She takes out a cigarette and lights it before checking me for confirmation of the time I provide her with. She is satisfied now but stressed. I constantly see the tension of the youths as they cope with the pressure of exams. I don’t know whether I pity or envy them, as sadly an old clock never gets educated. She stubbed the cigarette into the brick wall and I watched it fall to add to the dust and sweep of the city floor.

The usual morning hours passed with lack of any definite level of busy intensity. Buses came and left again, tourists snapped photographs of the Spire and one even stood beneath me for a photograph. I noticed the bland and vibrant colours that differed from person to person, styles and fashions clustered together into one city blur. The collection of people really accumulated at about 12:30pm. The midday sun beamed as people surrendered to their bodily needs and swarmed the city in search of nourishment. It really is a time of rush when everyone is hungry. The food differs from the savage ‘BigMac’ to the petite garden salad. The name of the game seems to be to eat your daily catch as quick as possible, while on the move to the next thing on your agenda. One must wonder ‘while there’s a breath of life in our bodies, we are determined to rush to see the sun the other way around?’

There comes a time in the city day when the clouds dim and evening appears to roll in. Everyone I see is on edge as they attempt to flee from the city chaos, all at once in want for their weekends to start. The public transport systems are compact and clogged, filled tight with indifferent people thinking of their own destination alone. The fumes of exhaust unravel from these moving boxes and I notice the discomfort of the surrounding city people. Those in cars drag themselves slowly, hardly moving, through the packed streets. The traffic warnings boom loudly from the car radios and although each person is to their own, there seems to be a sense of commuting community as everyone is stuck together, trying to break free from the city hold up. This finally dies down at a time close to 7pm. There is a sense of ease and calm as doors of shops are shut and the sun disappears to its final resting place after the working day.

What surprises me really again is the contrast. The hours drift into night until finally the second world of the city is upon us. At about 10:30pm, that’s when the city begins to flourish again. The demand to be here in the ‘in-scene’ is huge. The nightlife is peculiar to me. People surround themselves in the dark atmosphere of a pub or nightclub and light up, chug down or snort some awful concoction and tell themselves they’re having a good time. I hear the high-heeled shoes click by me again and wonder how girls are immune to the cold night temperatures. Some fall and skip and trip below me but laugh it off like its all part of the fun. This is a new life form than the daytime one. I see the same humans but there is a definite difference. Like the chameleon who can change colour but remain the same creature. I, the clock, am disregarded as these few hours of the Friday night drunken slander roll into one combination of a ‘good time’.

Ice forms above me on the roof of the building I’m attached to. As the night turns to morning of approximately 3:30am, I recognise the man. The tiger tattoo printed on the back of his neck. He is still being the man of business at this hour, but I feel it’s probably a different line of work than his daytime regime. He pushes the girl around a bit as she doesn’t seem to take him seriously enough. She appears dazzling in a short sparkling dress but more dazed as I notice her distant eyes.  A black car pulls up in front of us. The woman smiles as she is rushed into the car. Money exchanges hands and our pimp walks away with the lout. The car turns and vanishes as I see the obliviousness of the woman, as the man rests his hand on her thigh.

It’s a rare time when I experience silence. I can actually hear myself tick. It never does last long, but it’s a time I treasure. See, I don’t get to embrace the beauty of the flowers in St. Stephens Green or the treasures of the libraries or museums. I rely on the views of the life of the city. Twenty-four hours goes by quickly to me, maybe it does for you too I don’t know. The life starts again for me at about that time just before the sun rises. The woman who was earlier sold returns to shoot heroin under the shelter I provide to her. Her face is tear-stained and desperate. I watch for the few minutes it takes for her to gain her desired feeling. Her pimp returns momentarily to provide her with some damp cardboard and a sleeping bag – he needs to keep her alive at least. She finally loses all sense of this city we’re all a part of and passes out below my place of stance. The sun comes up and the man clears away, not before spitting on the helpless girl and mumbling an insult. I savour the final moments of quiet before my twenty-four hours begin again.

You see, they say the city never sleeps but here, I’m the only one who can’t rest. The injustice I witness in daily life is something of strangeness that I can’t help but notice about the human lives in the city. The man goes to work at the beginning of the day discussing business headlines and ends it spitting on a prostitute he sells for profit. If you look deeper into the hustle and bustle of the dust and sweep of the city, you may not see the twenty-four hour detail I see, but the fact of what the reality means in our beautiful, yet tainted, capital city. Time is the essence, I as a clock would know, but a lot can change in a little over twenty-four hours.