First things first: you need to eat and you need to not spend money doing it. First of all, find out if there are any farmer’s markets at all that are near you. Nearly every single one has samples of tomatoes, cheese, sometimes even the awesome free-range chicken that they’ll grill on a little portable grill if the weather permits. Eat all you can and move on.
If there aren’t any farmers markets take yourself over to the nearest Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s or bourgie market with cured meats, cheeses and olives. In Brooklyn we’re talking Union Market, Choice, Greene Grape Provisions , Blue Apron Foods and Bierkraft. In Manhattan you’re probably gonna have to go with the Bowery Whole Foods but whatever. Sample cheese, olives, whatever you can buy. I don’t like to take advantage of the little stores by abusing sample policy; just take what you think is cool and make sure to go spend actual money there when you can afford to. Karma is real. With the big boys though, I could care less. Trader Joe and the Whole Foods guy really don’t need that $5 as badly as you do, so go to town! They’ll cut you off if they want to and then all you have to do is run.
Sephora is always the first on my list. Often, when I’ve been looking shitty all day and have a surprise engagement later in the evening, I will simply wash my face with water (10 splashes gets off everything but hardcore eye makeup) visit Sephora, slather on the richest most delicious-smelling moisturizer I can find and then just put on my whole face gratis, using their lovely products. This is great thing.
Going to the counters at Bloomingdales can sometimes yield take away samples-especially if you mention that you are prone to rashes and need to try things out for a couple of days before you buy-although sometimes the people at the counter can be bitchy about your grazing and nobody neeeds that.
Bigelow’s over on 6th Avenue can also work in a pinch.
Visit this site right here. We’ll tell you where the free booze is at, like today from 11-12 at Darkroom on Ludlow and Stanton, and the Delancey , on Delancey between Clinton and Attorney Streets from midnight on, with proof of unemployment.
Just stop by an NYUish bar on a Thursday, such as The Pour House, Nevada Smiths, Off the Wagon, Belgian Beer Bar or virtually anyplace on Bleecker Street, look too cool for the place but convey that you’re having fun anyway and BAM. You’ll be creeping out of a dorm room the next morning, guaranteed. If you’re feeling cocky, head up to Columbia.
This is trickier, and not for everyone. I once bought a cute dress from Topshop wore it to an event and then returned it the next day. Sweet. A young lady I know once bought a $2,000 dress from Marni, wore it to the same event and returned it the next day. Also sweet but I definitely would have gotten something on it and been SOL. Depends on how much you can spend at the given time, what the return policy is and how good you are about not spilling on yourself.