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An Extra 10k Would Change My Life...Probably

by James Hawkridge

This year somebody has won a staggering 123 million on the British National Lottery. My mind began to wander. What would I even do with that kind of money?

That’s enough money for multiple peoples’ lifetimes, enough for 123 people to live happily in fact, for a good thirty years, based on if their yearly salary was just over 30k (the average U.K. salary is just short of that, at 29’588 according to a GQ article published in May based on data from the Office For National Statistics).

After an invigorating and, towards the end (impressively) depressing daydream, which involved yachts, hotel empires, country-wide rave regeneration neighbourhoods and at one point, a clone of myself (don’t ask), I came to a morbid conclusion: I’d even suffice for a mere 10k. So, I lay back, and dream of a whole British ten thousand pounds. At the moment that’s just over 1500 Fish and Chips if you go for a large Cod and a medium fries in York, or seven and a half weeks’ membership at my local Golf Club in Harborne if I were feeling particularly fancy.

For a start, when we concoct the realities of being young, working-class, and having money, our minds immediately go to our parents, don’t they? I imagined splashing up home to my mum’s back in Yorkshire with a couple of Selfridges bags, just-full-enough of things she wants but will never buy herself that any raised eyebrows will be overshadowed by the sheer delight that I’ve managed to exist beyond FaceTime. ‘Look at you, big spender, affording a train ticket’ she’d exclaim, clutching the keys to her Toyota as if using them to ensure she too, wasn’t lucidly dreaming. She’d subsequently drop them when I mentioned I’d bought myself a Pret for the train, skipping Boots and its innocent smoothie/three chicken sandwiches combo. I’d pick her keys up, give her another hug, and she’d take a minute sat in the driver’s seat recovering after we got in and I said I’d foot the bill for not just a weekly shop, but a monthly one. ‘Get the cupboards clear’, we’d text my little brother. ‘And what size are you in Nikes now?’.

Goodbye 1500 overdraft, you’re next to go. Thank you for keeping me filled with Greggs breakfast butties (and then baguettes), and always making sure I was easy to sway when those fateful ‘wyd’ texts came through, even when Uber was on surge fare. Credit is a monster, kids if you don’t have the proper education.

So, I’ve fed the fam, and cleared some more debts (goodbye Argos card that’s been sitting at 400 since you persuaded yourself to buy an Xbox of your own in the second year because my brother wanted mine to stay at home after the summer). ‘Don’t add up the interest’ I mumble as you hit ‘pay balance’. Click by click, I feel years of late payment letters, threatening phone calls and cusses at my screen dissipate as if they never existed.
What now? Well, I could put the rest aside for a housing deposit, and save myself from the hell hole of modern-day renting (goodbye, 300-apartments-to-a-building living!), but… it’s not enough. Plus, given that Help To Buy has just been declared an enemy of the state, another corrupt, fat-cat driven millennial trap designed to give us false hope (hello, Starbucks, succulents and strangely expensive sex toys?).

Fine, I guess I could treat myself. There are a few big ones left in the bank, aside from the couple in the various reserve Monzo pots that will last me all of… three months? ‘You’re maybe moving out in a few months’, I tell myself, ‘you need new sofas, and rugs to replace the ones the puppy keeps pissing on’.

In my fantasy, we renewed car insurance (wise), but only for six months (not wise). A weekly shop was on its way to us in the following evening, but we’d only ordered Tesco Finest and far too many on-brand snacks. Catch us eating proper Doritos and glass bottles of coca-cola until Christmas (fuck yes). It turns out we’d enjoyed being in the public eye so much we’d bought one of those Odean Year passes for ourselves, and one for my mum and brother while we were at it. Because being good with money involves committing to eventually spending half your paycheck on popcorn (at least Odeon has those Five Guys drinks machines now though). Oh, and we’re going paintballing every two weeks… indefinitely?

Don’t get me wrong, that part sounds sick, and I’m more than happy to curl up in those recliner seats and watch Detective Pikachu maybe three, four times in a given calendar month… Plus, my LUSH haul reminded me of my teenage days, with my hair smelling of acai honey, and thanks to Invisalign, my teeth have never looked more instagrammable. Maybe I’m almost Love Island ready; now I’ve also committed to personal training sessions for us both at the local fancy gym. We’ve got a great LoveHoney parcel on the way. Life does feel a bit better; the radiator’s on for longer, I’ve started using the dishwasher every day again… but I’m close to running out of cash. I can feel it. Day by day, the cloud grows larger, strangely threatening the coming drought. And then it happens.

I’m back to where I started. If, smelling a bit fresher, and with a more gentlemanly smile. But what has it done for me long-term? How have I got closer to achieving my goals? Perhaps I could have used the money to take a season off my minimum wage job, put my full effort into my dreams, and be running an internet business by now? Should I have used the full whack to fund my property-buying goals, pooling money with my man so that, we can finally invest in something that will bring us stable returns (turns out making your pooch insta-famous is harder than it looks)?. I had a blast in my head, and people were a bit better off, but I didn’t really… do anything. And isn’t that the trap for people like us? As soon as we get our money at the end of every month, we immediately rush to Google to buy those millennial-lifestyle band-aids we’ve been waiting for, whether they be the premium Nespresso pods, new clothes, or a simple text to your mate asking if he’s around to give you ‘the usual’.

So, it’s good that 10k was imaginary, then? Aside from not cutting my own hair for a few months and building some mediocre pecs and custom chompers, is there much to show that will outlive my Instagram feed?

But also, if you want to give me 10k, or any amount, I promise I’ll be more responsible with it than you think. Simulation over.

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