Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tips: How To Survive With No Cash In NYC

So lately I've been broke as fuck. Mostly because I invest way too much cash into my social actives (i.e. bars, parties, shows, takeout food, etc...) and not considering how soon my rent is due until it's too late. I felt like this has to be a situation that many people my age living in the city have encountered, so I did some research into the matter. What I found was mostly garbage. The only way that most of these advice columns could ever be useful is if you were physically attractive enough to get away with almost anything or willing to sell every personal belonging and dignity you possess. Having none of these options truly at my disposal, I decided to take my own route in finding ways to get by until my next paycheck. Below is a series of tips that I have found actually work when it comes to having nothing and still wanting to live like a functioning human.

Note: This is kind of an ongoing process (as this is a situation I'm currently engaged in), so I'm not sure if these tips apply to everyone or is meant for long-term use. They work for me at the moment and hopefully will be even more useful to those who are more financially responsible than me.

  1. Eat for cheap. Most people think this refers to fast food chains (which are still a decent option). I tried this for a while and as satisfying as the immediate result is, this doesn't really work out in the long run. You gotta dig deeper and invest in some cost effective grocery stuff. Rice, bread, pasta, meats, soup, PB&J, etc... are life savers when you have only a few dollars to your name. There are some very useful online forums that explain what you need to buy based on your current budget. The mundane nature of your meals may piss you off at first, but I find that hot sauce makes every dull eating experience more enjoyable. 
  2. Avoid Seamless, Grub Hub and other food delivery options. Even though it seems like best option when your feeling lazy, the delivery minimums stealthily murder your wallet in the end. Maybe if you execute your food situation right, you'll actually be able to eat out every once in a while.
  3. Take anything that you can. I'm not encouraging people to start shoplifting like the crazy bag lady down on the corner, rather take the items that are available and not noticeable  I'm talking about the toilet paper stacked in your dorm's utility closet or the napkins and  plastic utensils at your local Chipotle (which is a poor man's gold mine if you know whats up). 
  4. Make the most of what is already available to you. You don't need to spend cash on franchise coffees with exotic names when your job provides you with a freaking Kurig machine. Your suffering bank account doesn't care if you hate the taste of the office coffee brew. If you need a morning wake-up, go with the free option or nothing. Apply this principle to all of your avoidable expenses. 
  5. Do favors for people. Don't go into it acting like people are going to reward you for your services (you come off as a mooch). Although, if you consistently clean the entire apartment, do the dishes, and take out the trash when it's your roommates' turn, they're are probably more inclined to buy you a drink than if you didn't. Doing favors also occupies some of your time and distracts you from the nothingness that is the contents of your wallet. 
  6. The internet is fucking awesome. It provides so many opportunities for you to make cash doing the simplest (and sometimes weirdest) services. Some of you are immediately going to assume I'm referring to web cam porn or something creepy. I haven't gotten to that level yet, but whatever floats your boat. Websites like Craigslist and Fiverr are more my thing. Paying gigs on these sites can range from moving some dude's couch to drawing a logo for some lame brand. The important thing is making sure you actually get paid...and not tricked into some sort of sex dungeon scenario.
  7. Make friends with those who are also desperate for cash. It's important to have comrades to help support you during your financial struggles, especially when they know exactly what your going through. Some of these people have been through this before, and can be great sources for knowledge on how to get by. 
  8. Make friends with people who have lots of money (especially when you want to go out). Just as important as tip number 6 in the sense that these people are very important to surround yourself with when you're on the brink of poverty. Rich kids tend to over-indulge on the their night's out in my experience, and part of that includes flaunting how much they are willing to spend. I don't think it's mooching if you conveniently find yourself in the company of someone who is going to buy the bar a round of shots. 
  9. Change. It's your new best friend. Pick it up, save it, spend it. I don't think a lot of my generation realizes how much real/spendable money is at their disposal you actually tally up all the small currency possess. It may seem absurd sometimes, but using change to it's fullest potential is one of your best options when you have nothing else. Just to give you fair warning, using change to purchase certain items will result in in you pissing people off. Sometimes you just need to suck it up and roll with the punches. You'll be less upset about this ordeal when your debit card is declined at the MTA machine, but luckily your pockets full of change allowed you to catch the next train. This train hopefully got you to your job on time and further helped you not be such a broke ass. (Collect discarded Metro-Cards too. People leave money on those all the time, and getting around is key in the city.)
Hopefully one of you found these tips useful. If not, oh well. 

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