The #BrokeAF feels you’ll experience if you’re living on a Youth Allowance budget
Showering in free fortnightly moolah from the Centrelink gods is great – you’re being paid to study full-time. But boy do the perks end there. As a former Youth Allowance survivor, I’ve experienced the struggle. If you have too, read this and weep – these are the feels you’ll understand if you have a budget tighter than your skinny jeans.
Living on a measly income is basically an Australian horror story
Your fortnightly dosh goes towards food, glorious food and topping your travel card on the reg. No joke. Your bank account says you’ve got ten buckaroos to last for the next 13 days, and you’re already looking forward to the next pay. Speaking of which, Centrelink may give you extra dollarydoos or slash your pay in half, for no apparent reason. What is this – Survivor? More money may solve all 99 problems, but it’s still not enough unforch.
Your thoughts are like the Aussie weather – moody AF
Take this scenario: You’re currently frothing over a jacket. You see the price tag. Thoughts? “$100?! One hundred freaking dollars?! I could buy 10 packs of 24 nuggets from Macca’s with that money.”
You’re torn at first, but then it doesn’t take you long to say “It’s a yes from me!” á la The X Factor. Then you’re at the sales counter with not just THE jacket, but a basket full of clothes, ignoring the fact you have a ~budget~ to stick to. Thank God for Afterpay, right? Suddenly, the instant pang of regret kicks in. Look what you’ve done, Evil Kermit!
You go to great lengths to save and earn moolah
Home brand items, the Macca’s loose change menu and any place with free Wi-Fi are your friends, and so are your actual friends – you can’t live without their Netflix subscription TBH.
At times you do a job hunt sesh because you’re done living the #BrokeWithExpensiveTaste life. The idea of doing extra labour ticks you off though, so you look to online surveys, your ma and pa, maybe even a scholarship. Shoot, you even think about doing the Sunrise Cash Cow comp ‘cause you’re that despo for cash. Don’t say “I wake up with Today”.
You don't need dollar bills when you've got cheap thrills
Living that #YouthAllowanceLife is a struggle and a half, sure, but look at it this way: you jump in glee when you see coinage (or, even better, notes) in your jacket pockets. You love it when your faves compliment your outfit while you twirl and say “This thing? It’s thrifted!” – hair flip optional. All hell breaks loose when you see a five cent coin on the ground, and you have no shame picking it up for keeps. Heck, you find it thrilling when you’re on campus and there’s a free sausage sizzles up for grabs. What can I say, your favourite word is free, right?
And remember you’re not broke, you’re pre-rich
The #YouthAllowanceLife is not forevs fam. Tell them “Boy, bye!” and you won’t have to remember your Customer Reference Number, and the answers to your secret questions off by heart. Plus, trips to the Centrelink abode are no more! How bow dah.
Ryan is an Arts (Media, Culture and Technology) student at the University of New South Wales. Don’t @ him but pineapple belongs on pizza.