Stuff your plastic surgery – I spent my student loan on a pug

I make really bad financial decisions but I have no regrets


When I read last week’s Tab story about Katerina Christodoulou, the student who spent all of her student loan on cosmetic surgery to become a model, I was sympathetic. Not because I’ve spent any of mine on plastic surgery (although I’ve definitely thought about it) but because I’m no stranger to blowing my loan on less than sensible purchases myself.

Because my family home is close enough to uni, and Belfast is a small city, I managed to live at home for the first two years of my degree and keep a part time job.

This meant that, as well as moving out in my third year and making really poor life choices in going mad in the year you’re supposed to settle down and study for finals, I also had a bit of money to waste when I wasn’t spending it on rent.

Can’t put a price on fun.

I like to think I’m usually pretty sensible with money, although I have spent it on some stupid shit in the past. In first year I bought a ridiculously expensive outfit with my first loan, and justified it to myself by saying that ‘price per wear’ it actually wasn’t that expensive. I later fell in a pool of what I hope was beer at SU during freshers week and have worn it only a handful of times since.

$4,000 on underwear? Yeah, fuck it, sounds like a bargain.

I don’t count extra money spent on cute costumes, of course.

But without a doubt the worst and best way I’ve wasted my student loan was in second year, when, casually looking through the cute puppies on Gumtree, I spotted a tiny fat little pug and fell in love.

The Tab t-shirt was free so it all works out really.

Given that a) I wasn’t saving up for a big holiday that year b) my part time job let me pay for nights out whenever I wanted and c) a cute puppy would surely make my rent-free hungover presence at home a lot easier for my mum to stand, it didn’t seem like a bad decision at all to fork out £600 the next day and bring home a chunky adorable puppy.

It sounds worse than it is. There’s a lot worse you can spend £600 on I’m sure, and having had a pug when I was a kid, it seemed only right to get another as an adult out of my own money.

People thought I was mad, yeah, but soon softened up when they got to come to mine (or my mum’s, at least) to play with a cute puppy in between lectures. And it wasn’t as if I missed out on the things I was supposed to spend my loan on. I still had the books and materials I needed for my course, and I still managed to actually have fun.

While my nights-out-and-festivals fund was impaired by buying my overpriced-but-adorable dog, it meant that at least I had a cute pal to take the edge of checking my bank balance with a terrible hangover the next day.

Let’s be honest, there are worse things to wake up to after a night out.

Of course the reality of owning a puppy as a student is less than glamorous during exams, essays and struggling through hungover morning walks.

And of course, there were times when I was skint and I looked at my dog’s flat ugly mug thinking ‘what the fuck have I done’, but I don’t regret my purchase.

Look at this face and tell me what I did was wrong.

Plenty of people waste hundreds on extravagant nights out, or expensive clothes, or plastic surgery, or funding their gap yahs: I bought a cute dog, so what?

Of course, moving away to live in the student ghetto beside QUB in final year I did miss Hogan (the pug’s name is Hogan), but coming home at the weekends meant I still saw him almost-often enough. And moving out has made me a lot more sensible with money seeing as I you know, actually have to be an adult and budget my spending now.

Raking in dem Instagram likes

After graduation, I moved to London for work and unfortunately Hogan had to stay at home in Ireland. I would have loved to have taken him with me, but it would have broken his tiny little pug heart to separate him from my mum and dad, who he loves as much as I love him. Now we do weekly Skypes and I travel home as often as possible to visit him (and you know, the rest of my family). I’ll never regret spending so much money on him, despite what I might say, having a little best friend, even one I don’t get to see as often as I’d like, is priceless.