A friend of mine recently posted this piece from Thought Catalog: “21 Ways You Should Take Advantage of Your 20′s”. I clicked on it expecting a mildly pretentious list of live free, die hard, something like that. I immediately adopted an attitude of 24 going on 54, and wondered what was with kids these days. However, after looking at it my view softened, and I read it, not as the curmudgeon that I am destined to be, but the spry youngin’ that types before you here today. So, I thought I would share a few bullet points that could very well apply to we few, we happy few, we band of broke-asses.
“Never turn down an open bar. Seek them out and make them a priority. Indulging in open bars when you’re older isn’t appropriate because a) people will think you have an alcohol problem and b) you’re supposed to have enough money to afford your own alcohol.”
FREE alcohol is one of life’s greatest joys. The stuff is so expensive, especially here in the city, it feels like a great victory when you can get it for FREE. Although not so easy to find, when you stumble on one you feel like an old timey prospector striking gold. Everyone wins with an open bar. Another great “open bar” type of event are art gallery openings. These people love their wine and finger foods. It’s a great way to support the arts as they support the stasis of your bank account.
“Let your more successful friends pick up the check this time. Before you’re 30, it’s still okay to be working as a barista and not have your career path figured out. Save your cash and take up your lawyer-friend’s offer for dinner. Use the money you saved to buy more ramen.”
Now this one I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, if you do this too often, you’re kind of an ass. However, when you’re in life limbo or immersed in your own economic crisis where the unemployment rate is 100%, it can be hard to go out with friends who have their lives together. So your friend wants to pay for a drink, let them. So your friend wants to help you out at dinner, let them. As long as you pay it forward later on, the universe gets it back.
“Learn how to cook. Here’s an idea — instead of spending all your money on ridiculously marked-up restaurant food, save your money by buying non-processed WHOLE FOODS and LEARNING HOW TO MAKE A MEAL OF REAL FOOD. A meal of real food is not a box of Annie’s Organic Mac and Cheese — that’s PROCESSED FOOD.”
Cooking is a valuable skill. There are plenty of places on this site where you can get Broke-Ass ideas for making food at home. I was lucky enough to be taught how to/develop an interest in cooking at a young age, so I’ve never had to depend on delivered food. For those who have trepidations or concerns about cooking, chances are you’ll only set the kitchen on fire only once, NBD. The best way to learn is to simply start and learn from your mistakes. There are a TON of great recipe blogs out there too. I happened to stumble upon Budget Bytes recently. It has easy to cook, cheap recipes that, most importantly, taste good.
“STOP PROCRASTINATING YOUR TRIP ABROAD. YOUR CHANCES OF TAKING A LONG VACATION ABROAD DIMINISH AS YOU BECOME MORE SET IN YOUR WAYS AND AS YOU GAIN MORE RESPONSIBILITY.”
I agree with this exponentially. Now, I know the main issue when it comes to traveling is getting there. But you know what, once you get there and you barely have any money, that’s when the adventure starts, right? With tools and networks like CouchSurfing, and opportunities like WWOOFing it is easier than ever to see the world with a bank account that tends to run on empty. There’s also this article that was posted on Matador years ago about traveling the world for FREE. It’s an oldie but a goodie.
Photo Credit- ChicagoNow