When you live paycheck-to-paycheck but have a secure job, the financial collapse is not such a big deal (source: Mallori). Ultimately, you will continue to live life the same way you do every other week: as a broke ass. Sometimes, when you log onto Chase.com to check your account balance, you feel quite sad, but most of the time, as Tim Gunn, would say, you just make it work. Here are some ways to survive the recession as a broke 23 year old without turning into a complete freegan freak:
- Bring your lunch to work almost every day. A peanut butter sandwich, yogurt, pringles, all of these things go a long way. Lunchables…not out of the question, and Lean Cuisines are preferable if not gourmet.
- Walk anywhere you can. Personally, I dislike getting sweaty and having to throw on a pair of Rainbows, but it’s free, and it gets you where you need to go, and it burns some calories, too.
- Don’t waste your money on stupid bar nights. Seriously, no one night is going to be better than the next at a dumb bar, no matter what people may say. Go out when you have some money, but if you don’t, do something free, like hanging out with friends at home. Or go to a movie and then stay and sneak into another one.
- Don’t waste the rest of your money on trendy clothes from expensive stores. A few key pieces like nice jeans and a solid pair of designer shoes will take you a long way, and Target, Forever21 and H&M can take you the rest.
- Do spend your money on groceries and cook for yourself. Whatever you don’t eat, refrigerate and save to heat up as leftovers. You’ll save so much money this way and it’s kind of fun to cook, too. Cooking will garner you mad street cred with roommates and friends.
- There’s no need to go out to dinner all the time, so don’t. If you want to catch up with someone you haven’t seen in a while, invite them over to your apartment for a home-cooked meal, or some wine or beer. You can catch up just as well with someone over a cheap meal as you can over an over-priced meal.
- Find free things and go to them. Free outdoor movies are a personal favorite, as are free open bars. Book launch parties with free wine are fun, too. In nyc, there’s an entire website dedicated to free shit: http://www.freenyc.net/. If you’re a girl, go to a club with a promoter and you’ll get free bottle service all night. Or if you’re single, see how many drinks you can get a member of the opposite sex to buy you at a bar.