what happens when you earn less than your friends

As Christmas creeps up on us, an aspect of my life that I try my hardest to keep in check, rears its head all too frequently.


And although at times I can be quite Kate Winslet when it comes to talking money, I’m noticing more and more the disparity between salaries amongst friendships groups. As a 27 year old, I’m slap bang in the middle of everyones first mortgage, weddings, kids. It’s all happening around me, to me in some cases, and it all costs money.

When I was younger, I used to get the hump when my group of girlfriends would discuss what pill they were on. My line was, everyone’s body is diferent and everyone has different experiences. Something what works for me, might not be your experience. And now, as a late twenties full time worker with bills to pay, it’s exactly the same for salaries. My situation, is not your situation. Public sector, private sector. International firm, start up. Accountant, Teacher. Everyone has taken different paths, routes to where they are now and the twists and turns that come with life have meant that finally, after all those years of being at school together on the same track, we’re all at very different stages of our lives.

I for one, have taken a fairly unique route through my twenties. As has my boyfriend, and although we now have our own place via the Government’s Shared Ownership scheme (which I wrote about here), it’s not all plain sailing. We live comfortably, we’re clothed, fed, watered, wifi-ed, cleaned and we can even afford a cat. We socialise, a fair amount. But not without concern and planning – we don’t go out and spend £40 on a meal lightly. It’s considered, and often comes with guilt. Which whether rightly or wrongly, we feel. In a normal month, we’re fine. But throw in hen parties, weddings, weekends away, spa trips and of course, Christmas – things get a bit tight. We do our best to live life, and to keep up, but sometimes, it all gets too much. At this point, I start to feel the strain of earning less than a lot of my friends. And I’m not for one second feeling sorry for myself – my career route is most definitely my own choice.

I often struggle when it comes to priorities. I’d say mine are socialising – I like to be there for every birthday, meal, drink at the pub. I like to give thoughtful presents, and unexpected surprises. I also want a nice home with nice things, that I can admire. And I also want the energy bill to come in, without it sending us into a blind panic. Learning that your priorities are different to others, and perhaps need to alter the more you step into the adult world, is something I struggle with. I struggle to accept it myself, and I struggle when others don’t respect yours. We might look like we have a great life on the outside, and we do – we’re comfortable, in a lovely house, with jobs we both enjoy, but there are so many things we go without to make ends meet. I chose not to have a wine, and to share my dish, so I could afford to attend. Telling me to split the bill, will only ever leave me feeling angry and disappointed. We should respect one another’s priorities – and this works both ways. I deem the majority of my friends to earn quite a lot more than me (we’re talking £10k+ per year more, minimum), and I’ll admit I struggle when they tell me they have no money for certain things. I wish I could respect their priorities and not get het up on how they can class themselves as ‘skint’ when they earn so much more. It’s hard to think like that but we all make our own choices, and no matter how many times someone tells you they ‘get’ it – they never really do until they’ve walked a mile in your shoes.

I suppose I’m writing today to garner a sense of similarity from others. More and more recently I’m feeling the disparity and I’m doing everything I can to avoid it causing problems socially! Do you ever feel like this? Perhaps you earn more than your friends, and feel frustrated? I’d love to know!

Tell me more about Katherine-Louise

If you’ve landed here, you’re probably looking to find out more about Katherine-Louise. Run by me, Kat - put simply I'm a 30 year old who is decidedly normal. My blog is a destination for women just like me - the same interests and aspirations, working our way through the same twists and turns of life. Katherine-Louise is designed to inspire and inform; to give you a break from the norm as well identify with the beauty of routine. A fifteen minute recoup, or an hours vacation, it’s the go-to for Everyday-Joe’s, just like me, who want a few minutes off the radar.