Broke-Ass of the Week – Gene Miguel

Every week we feature a different person from the community shedding a little light on their life of brokeitude.  Who knows, maybe you’ll learn something about the human spirit…probably not.

Wanna be a Broke-Ass of the Week?  Holler at us here and we’ll send you the questionnaire.

photo by Julie Michelle of ILiveHereSF.blogspot.com

photo by Julie Michelle of ILiveHereSF.blogspot.com

Like many people reading this website, Gene was laid off fairly recently.  But instead of being bummed about it and being like, “Those fucking wankers lost the best thing they ever had!!”, he took it with a grain of salt and decided to make the best of it.  Since then he’s been focusing on his blog Hoodscope, and not dreading going to some awful job.  Read below as he explains the best way to get a FREE curry meal, where to get smashed for $10, how to read my book with out paying for it, and how getting laid off changed his life.

Name: Gene Miguel

Age: 25, but with the attention span of a 4 year old.

Occupation: What? I’m unemployed, I can’t find work, I write my own blog Hoodscope, and I pick up whatever paying gigs I can get so I can pay for rent. But when I hit on drunk girls I tell them I’m a writer, that usually gets them interested.

What neighborhood do you live in?: I live in Ingleside, the neglected little sibling no one has ever heard of. It’s a convenient neighborhood with cheap eats, a couple dive bars, some liquor stores, a coffee shop with free wi-fi (my office), and it’s along the K-line which gives me easy access to the rest of the city.

Best money saving tip: Don’t spend it on stupid shit, like iPhones and designer clothes. No one cares except you. Obvious, I know, but it has taken me years to realize this. Also, shop at those random Asian produce markets, you can get a ton of fresh produce for like a dollar. You just have to figure out what gai lan, bok choy, and gai choy are.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Things that are expensive but have no reason to be! Things like coffee, movies, bottled water, haircuts, and sit down Mexican restaurants.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: Xtina, my beautiful 2006 Nissan Xterra, which I bought right before gas prices skyrocketed and approached the $5.00 mark and also before I moved to San Francisco, where I don’t even drive anymore. As you can see, I make smart decisions.

How’d that feel?: Awesome at the time because I had money. Now every month I cringe at the fact that I’m paying for something that depreciates by the second.

Favorite cheap eat: Curry Without Worry, a non-profit that serves a FREE, hearty, and hot Nepalese meal to those who are hungry. Technically I’m not homeless and needy, but I am broke and I am hungry so I see nothing wrong with standing in line with those who would probably go hungry if it were not for the great folks that run this program. It’s every Tuesday at 5:30pm at the U.N. Plaza in Civic Center. Give it a try, nothing is cheaper than free!

Favorite dive bar: There are so many great dive bars in San Francisco. I like Broken Record, 540 Club, Ha-Ra, or Molotov’s because I can usually find a way to get completely hammered for under $10.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: One night at El Farolito, a friend and I ordered 2 Carne Asada Quesadilla Super Suizas and 2 horchatas and then heard the words “Cash only.” We had $4 between the two of us, and the cashier said, “That’s fine, you just owe me the rest next time you come in.” Sure enough, the next time I came in I paid extra on my tab. Good service goes a long way, try getting a deal like that in New York!

Favorite free thing to do: There’s always something going on for free somewhere in this city, many of them I find out from you. I especially love going to all the free museum days and street festivals. On any regular day, I love walking around random neighborhoods to write and people watch, while bumming off free wi-fi. On sunny days, nothing beats laying out in Dolores Park with an ice cold 40.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: Since I can’t buy dignity, I’d head straight to Best Buy and buy a big ass HDTV and an XBOX 360 instead. But not before buying a meal that costs more than $5.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Not to get all inspirational postery on you, but there was a time when I thought that having a good, well-paying job was necessary to be happy. The exact opposite turned out to be true. Getting laid off forced me to live a simple life in the best city in the world, and that allowed me to finally be creative and pursue things I have always wanted to do. I also stopped complaining everyday about how much work sucks and I no longer wake up in the morning preferring to hang myself instead of going into the office. On top of that, I focused more on my relationships with people and have been rewarded more than I ever expected. Money will always come and go, but the relationships you forge and the discovery of yourself that occurs when you don’t have any will have a far greater impact on your life than money ever will.

Do you own my book?: Not gonna lie, I don’t. I first saw it at Urban Outfitters in Union Square and read the entire thing cover to cover, writing down all the cool tips in my notebook because I couldn’t afford to take it home. It’s the best book I have never purchased. That was a year ago and unfortunately I still can’t afford the book, but I can afford to read this website and follow you on Twitter.

Best hangover cure: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but what fun is there in preventing a hangover? Get wasted first then deal with it the next day. My solution is a steaming hot bowl of pho with every part of the cow in it, served with a cup of hot tea and a hilarious recap of the previous night.

Are you a hipster?: Admitting you’re a hipster effectively negates any hipsterness that may have existed prior to admission.

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About the author

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

I've been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York, but to those familiar with my work, I'm just "that douchebag who writes books about cheap stuff and drinks a lot".

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