Being broke is manageable with these tips, or at least slightly more manageable. Or you could just play the lottery every day, that probably works, you’ll be rich in no time!
1. Fuck it, just put your hand wash/dry clean clothes in the laundry.
My mother will probably be very disappointed if she reads this tip, but I’ve found it to be true. I think dry cleaning/hand-washing instructions are just a scam. Ok, maybe if you have something really, really nice, you should dry clean it, but if you’re as broke as I am, you don’t own anything that nice anyway. I wash every single dry-clean only/hand-wash only item in the laundry with my regular clothes. I don’t even put the washer on the delicate cycle, because I’m an arrogant asshole. Nothing bad has happened to my supposedly dry-clean only clothes yet.
2. Ask for what you need.
We all have stuff we’re trying to get rid of, and we all like helping out our friends. When my coffee maker broke, I posted on facebook and quickly had three friends offer me their old coffee makers. Lean on your community if you need something, and let folks know if you have something to spare, too. There is no need to spend money when we all have junk lying around that we want to get rid of. And we all love each other and love helping out, et cetera, et cetera, you know, sappie hippie stuff.
3. Make coffee at home.
I know, we all like fancy coffee. This advice makes me a total hypocrite because I go to Philz for $4 Ecstatic Iced Coffees somewhere between one and six times per week. But I am trying to cut down! So I compromise by purchasing Philz beans to have at home. They’re more expensive than crappy grocery store coffee, but it’s still much cheaper than going to the shop every day. Every month they have a blend on sale for $12 a pound, instead of the usual $16. You can still have your fancy coffee, Philz, Blue Bottle, whatever, just get the beans and have it at home, and treat yourself in the shop once a week.
4. Join a wireless family plan with a friend/share internet with a neighbor.
Smartphone plans are ridiculously expensive, but it’s hard to get by without a fancy phone these days. Join forces with another broke friend and get on a family plan. This can reduce your wireless bill by 30-50%. I recommend friends over lovers, because lovers come and go, unless you’re like, married or uber-partnered or whatever. Good for you if you’re that committed. Internet is also expensive, so before you call Comcast, knock on your neighbor’s door and see if you can split the cost. Just test to make sure their wi-fi reaches your apartment first.
5. Take advantage of free and volunteer events.
The Bay Area is a magical place full of free and cheap events. Check out SF FunCheap, it’s an invaluable resource for cheap/free events all over the Bay Area. Oftentimes, fun/expensive events in the Bay Area offer volunteer opportunities so you can get in free. For example, Velvet is a queer play party in San Francisco that costs $25, or nothing if you volunteer for an hour or two. It is worth it to get in on the sexy party for free. If you see something you want to attend but can’t afford, reach out to the organizer and see if you can volunteer your way in.