Would you be here if you had one?

A couple of months ago, a friend of mine came on msn and was telling me about her problems with not being able to pay her rent.  I did know her in person, but we only really talked properly on the internet.  I was unemployed at the time.  She said she needed a lodger for £50 per week, food and bills included, so I told her that as soon as I had found a job I could help her out.  I had joined an agency and a few weeks later they had found me a job in a factory earning at least £200 per week.  I was due to start in a couple of weeks, so she said I could move in straight away and just start paying her from whenever I got paid. I moved in a few days later and it was fine at first, until a week or so later, I got a phone call.  It turned out I was too young for the factory job, being only 17, but my friend said not to worry and to just look for something else.  I job hunted like mad and eventually found something, but it was minimum wage - which for my age is £3.40 - and only 20 hours per week. However, knowing how much (or how little) I was going to be earning and knowing how difficult I was going to find it, she still wanted me to stay.  I suppose I should have said no, but at the time I really felt bad for her and I wanted to help her out. I started the job halfway through the pay period, so the first month I got paid £180.  My friend wanted £150 from me, so that left me with £30.  I couldn't buy any Christmas presents.  Food was supposedly included, but I needed something to take to work with me because I work in the evenings and my friend said she just couldn't afford it.  I needed shampoo and conditioner, all of my shoes were falling apart and generally unsuitable for winter but I was completely skint.  £30 really doesn't go far. This would have all been fine... I was helping out a friend... but I started to notice how much money she was wasting.  £5 here, £5 there, bargains, bargains, bargains.  I don't care how much of a bargain something is; if you don't have any money, you can't afford even the cheapest of unnecessary purchases.  That, plus the fact that she was ordering kebabs, getting McDonalds, fish and chips etc etc (regardless of the fact that she's supposed to be dieting) when there was perfectly good food in the house that she could have cooked. "I just didn't fancy it, not tonight..." If you really are skint, no matter how much you don't fancy the food you already have, there is no way you can afford to buy fast food every few days. And £30 each on all of your friends at Christmas, plus God knows how much extra for her fiancé and her son. She wanted £50 a week off me, but I bet she was spending at least that every week on complete crap.  The whole time she was making me feel awful about the fact that where I work closes for 2 weeks over Christmas, so I wasn't quite sure if I was quite going to make £200 in December. "I just don't know how I'm going to afford the bills!" It just didn't make sense to me that she was buying all these things, but worrying about the bills while I was working every hour my boss could give me just to give her almost every penny I earnt.  No, I don't have bills to pay, but there are things I need.  I can't turn up at work unwashed because I can't afford shower gel and shampoo, I can't walk around in winter with holes in the bottom of my shoes. I didn't like to moan about it all the time though.  Even when I did say anything, she would say "it's ok, I'm skint too, I dunno how I'm gonna cope."  Someone who can still afford to treat themselves is quite clearly not skint. My money, to her, is just pocket money.  She seems to think that because I'm not old enough to have been in a position where I have ever had to pay bills, that I have no actual 'need' for money, and that I'm going to completely sympathise with her struggling and not notice the money she's wasting.  I've had enough of it.  I can't talk to her about it... whenever it looks like she might not get every precious penny I get the dramatic "I don't know how I'm going to cope!  I'm so depressed!" La la la. So I've come back to my parents tonight and in the morning when she's out, I'm going to go and collect my things and leave.  It's not the mot adult way of doing it in the slightest, but to be honest, I am only 17.  What does it matter anyway?  She's hardly being the responsible adult with her money.  Or my money... My only problem is, I'm not sure how to go on once I've left.  In two days I get paid.  I'll only get about £200 because of Christmas and I owe her £200.  I know I have to drop some through the letterbox, but I really do begrudge giving her the full £200.  She may genuinely not be able to afford the bills this month if I don't give her it, but at the same time I know it's completely her fault, because I'm pretty sure she could have saved getting on for £200 this month without me.  I feel like the pressure's completely on me.  I could really do with some advice...
posted to life by Dana, Manager of Musclebeasts (4 comments)

Peyton, Accountant of Darkness,
You're very young.  Time to learn one major huge life-lesson.  YOU MUST TAKE CARE OF YOU FIRST!!  No one else is going to once you're over 18.  It sounds like you've already paid that woman more than the living situation warrented, especiallly if she wouldn't provide you with the proper groceries you needed, and yet your food was supposed to be included in the 50/week.  there's NO need to lie to her or magnify something to get out of paying.  telling the truth is always a lot simpler.  If you dare not tell her by telephone or in person, send her a nice email and truthfully tell her you cannot pay her anymore money because she broke your origional agreement which was supposed to provide you with food and rent for 50/week, and she failed to provide the food you needed in order to bring your meal to work.  which means you OVERPAID her for every week that you were with her and that you worked.  heck, she may owe you a little money by the time you're through with it. Don't worry about making her angry or losing a computer friend.  a real friend does NOT take  financial advantage of a friend who's struggling to keep their head above water.  in your situation with her, a real friend would have told you to only pay 45/week cause you're making so little.  because you like her fiance and her baby does NOT mean anything about your financial arangement with her.  if she has a man and his baby, it's his job as a man to take care of his woman and her baby,  NOT  you as a 17 year old kid. I think she found someone she could take advantage of and she did it.  Don't let her take any more from you.   and p.s.  loose her email address  after you let her know you have no more money for her.  stop all communication with her and move on with your own life. lots of luck in the future, and good blessings for you!
Addison, Butcher of the Wildlands,
Maybe things didn't work out as you planned, and only got a 100 pounds instead of 200? The boss was a jerk, told you he couldn't pay you the full 200 now, maybe in a few months. How does that sound? There are very few times I'll advocate lying, but this is one of them. You're only 17, and as an adult she should know better than to be a parasite and essentially suck you dry. You've earned the money -- keep as much as you can.
Taylor, Funeral Director of the craft table,
Yeah, it's just a really difficul situation. I'm not one for confronting people about things, especially people who are blatently going to blow things completely out of proportion and make me feel like I'm to blame for everything. But unfortunately I'm probably a bit too much the other way.  I run away from things. The temptation to just bugger off without paying her anything is there.  But she does have a fiancé who is a genuinely decent guy, and a little 1 year old boy who I love to bits. She knows that my mum pays my phone bill for me (shameful really, but she likes me to have a phone, and I couldn't afford it myself) and she knows that my network bugger me about and the phone bills always too high. I might say my mum needs the money for my phone bill. If she doesn't understand me putting my mum before her, then what will she understand? I dunno, I'm sure I'll think of something Thanks for the comment anyway :)
Addison, Hunter of Evil,
Well... Good-luck!