It's occurred to me that while I’ve been shoving tough love and my particularly twisted form of “wisdom” down your throats, I’ve overlooked certain logistics of life off the beaten path, most of them stemming from the fact that – like me – you’re probably broke as a joke. It’s definitely been harder out there as of late, especially for those trying to take risks . . .
The menial part-time jobs that used to keep people like us financially afloat while we put our better energies elsewhere are now mobbed like life rafts; it's a scene straight out of Titanic.
And here you though it was a tough to make ends meet before, right . . . ?
But still, it’s not all that bad.
This isn’t exactly a third world country we’re living in, after all. Your broke is still somebody else’s filthy rich.
Your quality of life doesn’t suck.
Now, having said that . . .
Here are some steps to take when tiptoeing around that exaggerated hole in your pocket:
Shop in your closet
As this first one is mostly – okay, entirely – for you ladies “roughin’ it” in between shopping sprees, I’m just gonna go ahead and get it out of the way.
(Somewhere my boyfriend is rolling his eyes as he reads this, but oh well.)
The urge to splurge can usually be satisfied simply by taking inventory of that which you already have, because there’s probably a few things still in bags or still wearing tags, things you've forgotten about or were saving for a special occasion.
Consider said occasion arrived.
And I don’t just mean eat “healthy,” which can be difficult even when you’re not on a budget. I mean pick when and where carefully.
Familiarize yourself with the best happy hours in your area and eat out accordingly. All those ½ price appetizers and drink specials will add up – in your bank account.
Seem like too much research . . . ? The King of Happy Hour can help :)
And anyways, grocery shopping is where it really gets tricky.
In addition to using coupons and getting a rewards card, you’re actually going to have to look at prices, past the brand name, and pay attention to how much something costs per ounce to get more bang for your buck.
In doing this you’ll probably notice that the cheaper foodstuffs tend to need certain “embellishments,” as in they need to be baked, marinated, sautéed, spiced, and so on.
Learn how to cook
One, because you’re a grown-up (so grow-up already!) and two, because more often than not a cook can MacGyver something palatable from even the sparest of kitchens, where in times of great famine the non-cooks can only pray that their stores of Top Ramen don't run out.
Those who can't even boil water have to eat it dry, like animals . . .
I went to college. I’ve seen the horrors, and trust me when I say that you don’t want that to be you.
Take care of your ride
And I don’t just mean get it detailed. Check your fluids regularly, change your tires, and carpool whenever you can.
A mechanic’s bill is the last thing anyone needs, least of all you.
SAVE YOUR MONEY!
I say this because I’m the worst at it.
I say it also because you never know what’s going to happen, when and where you may be met with an opportunity, and what you might have to put upfront to pursue it.
“You can’t gamble scared,” but you can’t gamble period if there’s nothing to gamble with.
And be grateful . . .
Yeah, there are downsides to your current lifestyle, but there are upsides, too.
I may have to pinch pennies, but on the days I’m writing from home, whether it’s in bed under a pile of dogs (and one cat) or sitting on my parents’ deck with a cup of coffee, it’s worth every penny not spent.
It settles me in a way a steady paycheck earned in a cubicle couldn’t.
It reminds me that all the things that I don’t have are just that:
Things . . .
Remember that and all that you truly “need” will come to the forefront.
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