Stuff I like that you might also enjoy
So in case you were wondering, I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been in a major transition.
Turns out, someone thought I was employable for a big-kid job and now I have to focus on being a grown up (read: I have less time to do fun things like write about myself and pretend people are interested). My parents were thrilled that I finally got a full-time job… so thrilled that they kindly decided to cut me off financially. YAY!
Apparently this is how you learn to be a grown up. You’re not supposed to throw your student loan paperwork in the garbage (oops) or charge a Michael Kors bag to your Amex and hope mom picks up the tab.
And that begs the question: how the hell am I supposed to I continue my low-key princess lifestyle on a “salary” that competes with the poverty line? Top Ramen is not a food and it is certainly not welcome in my diet. I legitimately don’t know what a “buhjet” is beyond a concept that I read about once in a business class. Shy of whoring myself out and stealing, I now have to do everything to make money and save money.
This jarring and unsettling lifestyle change has been a smack in the face (of the 18-wheeler to a smart car variety). However, I am always trying to turn something negative into a positive and as you know I’m a part-time philanthropist and love sharing my brilliant discoveries and wisdom with others.
Below I’ve included some alternatives to things I can no longer afford that are potentially too bougie for your budgette. If you’re sitting at your computer eating Ramen right now, saying “help me I’m poor,” yes… I’m here to help.
I’m not saying you’re going to live like the The Athlete Formerly Known as LeBron or anything, but here are some tips on how to live like a normal person on a shoestring bungent… budgit… bugette……… Whatever that word is.
Eat Things (or Don’t?)
I didn’t realize it at first, but being poor is possibly the best diet plan ever. Since I can’t afford to get a frappuccino at Starbucks every day, I should be dropping pounds faster than Jonah Hill!
Problem: You probably are used to eating out at restaurants a lot. To shirk the crippling humiliation of admitting that you’re suddenly poor and can no longer afford Katsuya five nights a week, just tell people you’re on a really strict diet and that you can’t go out to eat with them.
Literally make anything up. “I’m on the mantra-tanzanian juice cleanse fast Atkins diet.” You’ll sound cool and health conscious and won’t have to worry about spending money at a restaurant. An alternative to this is pretending to develop a trendy allergy, like gluten-intolerance. “I’m a gluten-free vegan and I don’t like vegetables.” That should do the trick.
Sometimes you may want to eat. While there are some things you can go for occasionally at the drive-thru, unless you want to be poor AND fat, you should consider not eating there for every meal. Just a thought. I’m not saying I’m above eating at McDonald’s (trust me, I’m usually that person sitting alone in their car, guilt-crying over a cheeseburger), but it’s all about moderation.
The best way to avoid becoming obese and/or starving to death is to learn to cook. This is a win/win/win because you not only save money and eat healthy, but you also become more attractive to the opposite sex.
Trader Joe’s is awesome for feeding yourself – it’s good, healthy food and it’s reasonably priced. I personally like TJ’s better than Whole Paycheck Foods. You’ll also feel trendy for shopping at Trader Joe’s. All the cool kids are doing it.
If you do find yourself at the golden arches of gluttony, I have a little dessert trick – $1 caramel sundae + $.50 apple pie = caramel apple pie sundae for under $2. Voila, fancy dessert. It’s like one minute you’re scavenging at a drive through and the next you’re some kind of culinary Houdini.
So this one is ladies-only (I think), but let’s be real – girls have to spend a lot more on making sure they look good than boys do (Boys, you can skip to the next section), so we need more help when on a bugjet.
Anyway, I had a really traumatic experience at the salon about 4 years ago that involved a bob and a nervous breakdown in public, so I don’t cut my hair unless it’s painfully necessary. But I usually prefer for my excessively long hair to not resemble a homeless person’s, so I deep condition. In my wealthier days, I used the First Bank of Daddy to buy Fekkai deep conditioning mask, which runs upwards of $40.
Then a friend of mine who works at a pretty bougie salon in Redondo recommended this:
3-minute miracle. I’m not sure if a brand could have named a product more accurately. It takes three minutes, it’s a miracle. Seriously. Way to cut to the chase Aussie! Not only do I love Aussies, but I also love nice hair. And I love only spending $3 on hair products. WIN. If a hair stylist recommends it, it has to be good. Right? I mean, I’m recommending it now so that’s all that really matters. Get this stuff so your hair looks like this:
Do It Yourself
Someone important once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for yourself.” I actually think this was the president of Pinterest who said that. They were referring to DIY. When you’re poor and still want to look cool and have cool things like your rich friends, you have to transform yourself into a DIY demigod. Go-go-gadget CRAFTS!
For example, my roommate and I were looking for dining room sets, and opted to pick one up at the thrift store, deciding we’d fix it up and make it nice. We used a Pinterest picture as inspiration (obviously), picked up some power tools and paint and off we went.
I may write a book about the experience. Power Tools: They look more fun on the internet. Pinterest always has a way of making things look way more fun and simple.
Such was not the case for our crafting endeavors. We spent hours upon hours figuring out how to use/using the power sander, and ended up looking like we were caught in a Saharan sandstorm amidst an anthrax crisis (inch-thick layer of sawdust on our skin, face masks, the works). If looking like you’re in the middle of an anthrax crisis is not something you’re into, you may not like the DIY process.
However, the table and chairs did come out really nicely – our out of pocket cost was under $30. I have several friends who have spent thousands on dining sets, so we’re pretty pleased with our efforts.
Party like a (one-hit-wonder) Rockstar
It’s all about strategy: don’t just throw a house party, throw a housewarming party! It doesn’t matter if you moved in 9 months ago, if you haven’t had a housewarming party yet, it’s fair game. I know, Wikipedia told me so. People will feel obligated to bring you gifts for the new place, and you can go the “BYOB” route, because that seems to be socially appropriate as of late. All you have to do at that point is offer your home as a gathering place for festive libations and good conversation (code for debauchery).
I’m hoping this doesn’t dissuade my friends from bringing me housewarming gifts. I love each and every one of you an… OMG you totally shouldn’t have!!!
Be trendy (but not at work)
I’m assuming you’re reading this because you’re not used to being broke – therefore you probably have nice clothes from before you got cut off.
Be strategic with them. Wear your good clothes when you go out or when you go shopping so the sales reps don’t go all Pretty-Woman on your ass, but maybe don’t wear your suit that costs more than your boss’s car when you’re asking for a raise. They won’t know that your suit is really all you have these days and that you’re actually going home to an air mattress and big bowl of spaghettios in Inglewood.
Aside from this, if you can’t afford new clothes and your old ones are starting to look tattered, just piggyback on the hipster trend. Unfortunately enough (or fortunately in this case), it’s particularly trendy and you can borderline look like you sleep in a shopping cart and be considered stylish. It’s all about how you spin it. If all else fails, blame Mugatu.