We are collectively broke. Even if we make a fair amount of money, we have no idea how to budget that money. If we do know how to budget that money, we are making little to nothing. We have student loans, rent, grocery bills, car payments, the list could go on – forever. And yet, we shell out big bucks (or little dollars repeatedly) for unnecessary items all the time. This needs to stop.
1) Taxis The night begins when you’re all gathered around a kitchen table sipping on drinks (smart! you’re not paying for those $8 drinks out!), preparing yourselves for the night ahead. And someone goes “when does the next train leave?” – because the metro stop is 2 blocks away and it is only 4 stops from your normal bar scene. “10 minutes” is the response. Oh shit, we only have 2 minutes to finish our drinks, 2 minutes to gather up all of our belongings, get in the elevator, and then only 6 minutes to walk there. We’re not going to make it!!! So someone suggests “Let’s take a taxi this one time.” And poof – everyone is taking a taxi and you’re shelling out $10 because your friend doesn’t have cash (on the ride in and out – how does that happen?) when it should have cost you $2.
2) $10 dollar drinks You know how I said you weren’t buying those $8 dollar drinks? Well, now “happy hour” is over and those drinks are $10. You’re getting drunker, and $10 per drink seems like a BARGAIN! Slow your roll moneybags, your bank account knows $10 is a heap of money, so lay off the LITs or lemon drop shotz and grab a beer – that will only cost $4.
3) Starbucks or Dunkin’ or Seattle’s Best or that cute coffee shop down the street that makes awesome lattes. STOP. YOU CAN’T AFFORD IT!
4) Shipping God, how lazy are we? Most of us live in a city, or relatively close to a shopping mall. From personal experience, there are 4 shopping malls within 10 miles. I think all the stores I need are near me. And yet, I’m cruising through sales online, piling things in my shopping bag and feeling like I just hit the lottery because there are SO MANY SALES. Turns out, $2 off doesn’t equal the $10 shipping you will pay. And if it’s not in stores or you live in Bumblef**k America, at least Google a code for free shipping.
5) Internet Granted, this one is not our fault. But why do we all agree to pay $30 or $45 extra dollars per month for internet on our phones? Who came up with that idea, and why are we all agreeing?
6) Parking If you don’t live in a city, this may not apply to you. However, I do live in a city, and I need to stop paying for parking. I drive to lunch, and pay for parking. My office building is 6 blocks away – why do I do this to myself?
7) Eating Out Going with the above statement… I need to stop paying for lunch out at restaurants. Dinner and breakfast can hop on that bandwagon too. Yes, chipotle, starbucks, Cosi and 5 other restaurants are 6 blocks away. But $10 there could equal 4 meals at home. That extra 3 minutes of prep time does not equal 3 other meals. Why why why.
8) Cover Charge There are plenty of other bars that don’t charge cover charge. Why do we insist on going to the ones with the $5 or $10 cover? They aren’t that cool and if we collectively move to a non-cover charge bar, we’d be much happier. Or we could show up at 10:50 instead of 11:04 and not pay cover either way.
9) Living Social/Groupon Deals OHHH wine tasting for 2! Weekend getaway for only $1,000! Fix your iphone screen for only $45?! OKAY! ….You can’t afford these. You’re iphone isn’t broken if you can still use the touch screen and since when do we enjoy tasting red wine? Is there a difference between Barefoot and Franzia? Jesus, you’re 20 not 50 and you don’t need a weekend getaway or a wine tasting. Turn off your subscription and stop torturing yourself.
10) Subscriptions This can be all encompassing: HBO, Magazines, Hulu, Netflix, Netflix, Netflix. Okay – you’re parents (who make a lot more than you) do not have netflix. And you have access to the internet where you can stream anything… for FREE. Buy yourself a cord that connects your laptop to your tv (Because that will only cost you $30 bucks once instead of once every 3 months) and enjoy free movies. Not free once you pay your monthly fee. Ditto with HBO.
11) Books Hey – don’t get me wrong, I’m all about authors and books and when we hit 30 or the proverbial lottery, this is the first item to come off my list. But for now… get yourself a library card. You can take out e-books, real books and DVDs. All for free as long as your return them on time and don’t let your dog chew them. You’re welcome.