Broke-Ass of the Week – Matt Haney of Citizen Hope

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.

Now that's a happy looking broke-ass.

Matt Haney might be your future Mayor or Congressman.  Ok, I might be getting ahead of myself, but I can see a future in politics for our Broke-Ass of the Week.  And you know what?  I’d vote for him.  A lot of people talk about their social and political ideologies, but most people don’t do shit about them.  Matt Haney is the complete opposite.  He co-founded Citizen Hope to help empower people to bring about change through community building, service and activism.  That’s certainly more than I can say for myself; the last thing I co-founded was a trip to Bender’s for some Yo-Yo’s.  Read below for his tips on how to survive as a broke-ass.

Name: Matt Haney

Age: 27

Occupation: I’m a law student. But I’m too broke to make it to class everyday. So instead I spend more of my time organizing events and trying to make things happen here in San Francisco. I also co-founded this group called Citizen Hope—we offer easy ways for the Broke Asses of the world to get more involved in the community. Check us out on Facebook.

What neighborhood do you live in?: North of the Panhandle (NOPA). Or for the traditionalists out there–the Western Addition.

Best money saving tip: If you have a car, have a keen awareness of street sweeping and the other ways in which parking enforcement can rob you blind. I recently had my car towed because I parked it in the wrong place at the wrong time—all combined $600 to pay the tickets and get it back. That’s vicious. Don’t get me wrong, I hate having a car, and as soon as I finish school, I’m getting rid of it. But for those folks who have cars, be careful, they’ll charge you more for street sweeping than what your car is worth.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Groceries. I don’t understand all this crap about buying groceries being a good way to save money. I go to Safeway, spend $100 bucks, and within a week, half of the food has gone bad, and the other half has disappeared. I’ve found that $5 sandwiches everyday from the corner store is the more cost effective way to go (see below). I call it my “eat as you go” policy.

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: My education.

How’d that feel?: It’s all on loans, so it feels pretty good right now. I get to live my life, travel, go out, and all that stuff, without thinking much about the fact that I’m already about 100K in the red. Kind of a strange concept. Ask me about it in 10 years though and see how I feel. At this point, I highly recommend taking loans and not paying for things up front. Cause you never know, maybe you’ll get a bailout.

Favorite cheap eat: George’s Corner Store on Hayes and Central. I’m pretty sure it’s not called George’s Corner Store. In fact, I have no idea what it’s really called. I just know it’s on the corner across the street from me and the dude who owns it is named George. He’s a real bad ass. I probably get 4 or 5 sandwiches there a week. Serious. The range in my lunch diet goes from Tuna on wheat to Pastrami on rye. Check it out though, their sandwiches are the real deal.

Favorite dive bar: Wazema’s. Ethiopian food + beer + 2 blocks from my house. Can’t beat it.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten?: My IPhone. Or I should say, my IPhones. I basically live my life on this thing, and I tend to break it once every couple months. Every time I break it, they just give me a brand new one. How come everything else doesn’t operate like the Apple Store Genius Bar?

Favorite free thing to do: Posting random news stories and other crap on Facebook. Facebook is a broke ass’ dream.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: I’d turn Citizen Hope into a legit non-profit with a staff and all that. I’d try to take youth empowerment and activism as far as I could. Then I’d buy a restaurant/bar and try to make it a sort of vocal point for politics and activism in SF, as well as good music, art and photography. But since I don’t really know how to run a business, and not much of an interest in being a business owner as a career, it’d probably only last a year. But it’d be one damn good year.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Hell yes. The world is full of Broke Asses a lot broker than me, so I’m very blessed. I wake up everyday trying to figure out how I can have a good time while also working to make the world a better place for those who are less fortunate. For the most part, I get to do what I want, when I want to do it, which is incredible. The trick is remembering that such a position comes with great responsibility. It’s easy to have strong views on things and spend a lot of time talking about them—it’s a lot harder to get out there and do something about it. And I tend to be hopeful which is helpful.

Do you own my book?: Is that a trick question?

Best hangover cure: Kombucha. I have no idea what is in those things, but any drink that has living things inside of it has to be able to work magic. If anything the little sea monkeys in there will give new life to whatever the alcohol has destroyed.

Are you a hipster?: I try to be hip, but putting a name on it would be trying too hard.

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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".

4 Comments

  1. Kris Calvin says:

    How can you not love this Matt Haney guy?

    OK, I’ll come clean, I’m Matt’s mom, and having been a single mom with 3 kids forever, I have taught him to be Broke Ass with style…

    Thanks Stuart, love the site…

    Reply
  2. Chris says:

    Don’t know about the rest of it… but I can testify that he never comes to class… j/k Matt!

    Reply
  3. Kula says:

    Hey I was with Matt as a New Leaders Council fellow and his favorite song was T-pain’s Got Money: “I got money, and you know it, take it out my pockets and show it, thro it!” I knew that foo was putting up a front cuz he sho didn’t throw none my way! (:

    Reply

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