Broke-Ass of the Week

Broke-Ass of the Week – Travel Writer Keith Savage

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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.

When Traveling Savage‘s Keith Savage woke up one day, he realized had become a self-proclaimed “complicit zombie” at his high-paying corporate job — and promptly quit to pursue travel writing and become a voluntary broke-ass.  Though he’s got a sweet house in Madison, Wisconson, according to his blog, he explores Scotland with “a pen in hand and a fire in the belly (which could be partly from the whisky).”  Maybe the whisky is also to blame for the fact that can’t stop watching Bravo and thinks Deadwood’s Al Swearengen missed his calling as an English teacher…

Name: Keith Savage

Age: 30

Occupation: Travel Writer

What neighborhood do you live in?: Just outside Madison, Wisconsin.

What are you listening to these days?: My musical tastes are all over the place, but lately I’ve been listening to Mogwai’s new album Hardcore Will Never Die But You Will, The Social Network soundtrack by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Hood Internet for mash-ups, and the entire Eluvium discography.  Oh, and my wife has had Florence and the Machine playing non-stop in the background.

Best money saving tip: Create a budget stupid. I worked for almost seven years without a budget and I cringe at the thought of how much I could have socked away right now. Once I decided to kick the cubicle, leave the high-tech corporate world, and become a travel writer, I needed to craft a budget that would allow me save the money I would need once I went paycheck free.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: Eh, carwashes? Might seem minor, but my trusty steed is starting to show some rust. I just don’t see the point of washing off the winter grime when it will be right back there minutes after exiting the carwash.

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

How’d that feel?: Like I sent my soul off to boarding school for 30 years.

Favorite cheap eat: A Qdoba burrito always hits the spot. It’s the perfect combination of salty, savory, and spicy.

Favorite dive bar: Just off the Capitol Square in Madison lies an old dive bar called The Silver Bar. It’s filled with townies, the smell of stale beer, and one hell of a shuffleboard table. One thing it’s noticeably lacking: pretensions.

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: I bought a MacBook Pro in the summer of 2007. By the time Christmas 2009 rolled around my battery was pretty well shot so I took it in to the Genius Bar to get it replaced (I wisely purchased ApplCare – always purchase ApplCare!).

While they tested the battery, the nice genius asked if anything else needed attention. Actually, there was this weird pixellated “bubbling,” for lack of a better word, around the edges of my screen. The genius was confused by this – he hadn’t seen it before – and decided to order a new clamshell for my MBP. I thought, great!

The next day I came back into the Apple Store so they could switch out the clamshell. An hour later the repair was done and they booted up the old boy. Except…nothing happened. More geniuses pouring out of the back room and perplexed looks were in abundance. They decided they needed to keep it overnight and do some tests. Meanwhile, I’m dangerously close to needing new shorts – all of my work was on that computer and stupidly not backed up!

The next night a genius calls me and tells me that, in lieu of fixing the old computer, they’re GOING TO GIVE ME A BRAND NEW MACBOOK PRO. They also managed to transfer all of my data to the new machine. This event effectively resulted in a free $2,500 upgrade to the latest machine. Victory.

Favorite free thing to do: As a kid it was swiping armloads of McDonald’s kiddy cones for my imaginary buddies “outside.” These days it’s going to Barnes & Noble and looking at travel books without spending a dime. They provide comfy seats, tables, and wifi – it’s basically a giant library where you can’t check anything out.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: I would go to the liquor store and buy all the single malt scotch I’ve been staring at for years.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: I have a beautiful house and a beautiful wife, every convenience available in the 21st century, and I get to travel the world and write about it. Absolutely, yes.

Do you own my book?: Dude, I’m broke. But I would go to Barnes & Noble and give it a read.

Best hangover cure: Strong black coffee and two over easy eggs liberally splashed with Cholula.

Are you a hipster?: Um, no.

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Christy Jovanelly - Cheapskate Commentator

Christy Jovanelly - Cheapskate Commentator

When Christy announced she was leaving her family's Southern California home and moving to San Francisco, her mom said, "Have fun in that den of sin." This is the only (however sarcastic) advice Christy has ever taken from her mom, who also told her to join and cover her eyes during sex scenes in movies. Christy puts her creative writing degree to good use by locating the typos on Chinese food menus and spends most of her time challenging friends to all-you-can-eat contests and trying to get that one bartender at Zeitgeist to smile.


  1. May 7, 2011 at 7:20 am

    Pretty sweet about getting the new Macbook Pro. I didn’t get Apple care, yikes!

  2. May 11, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    I was a little fixated on the MacBook Pro issues that afflict many pioneers of these new machines. This page serves as a centralized organization for the various posts I made on the subject, as well as links to some programs I developed to explore and alleviate the “CPU whine” issue in particular.