Broke-Ass of the Week

Broke-Ass of the Week – Photographer Carmel Hall

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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.

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Our Broke-Ass of the Week, Carmel Hall, is a travelling photographer and one of the rare natives of San Francisco.  One of her goals is to enjoy life without giving up an arm or leg and without feeling guilty for spending her hard-earned money, so she’s always searching for decent cheap thrills. Being a photographer means sometimes having to work for free, but Carmel knows you have to make sacrifices to succeed at what you love — and at the end of the day she’s proud of her awesome shots (check them out on her website)!

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Name: Carmel Hall

Age: 22

Occupation: Freelance photographer

What neighborhood do you live in?: Twin Peaks, San Francisco (a native!)

What are you listening to these days?: My music is all over the place…Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes, Adele, Metric, and Iron and Wine.

Best money saving tip: Create a budget! Make sure to put money aside each month for necessary for bills (phone, apartment) and try set aside some money for you-time spending.

Don’t go out if you don’t feel up to it, you won’t miss out if it’s the usual hangout spot amongst your group of friends. You’ll be mad at yourself the next day for spending money when you didn’t have to/want to.

When buying clothes, watches, sunglasses (materialistic things) ask: is it too trendy? Do I like, and just want, or love, and need, this item (if any doubt, do not buy)? Is this going cost me an arm and leg, and I going to feel guilty about it? If it is, don’t buy it.

Another saving money tip is to cook something like a pasta dish, or maybe Shepherd’s Pie, Monday night and have it for lunch Tuesday. Also check out Living Social and Groupon, both can offer great markdowns on anything from food and drinks to hair and nails.

What do you refuse to spend money on?: I’ve always refused to pay the full amount for a college course book. Look to Amazon or Chegg or Elibris, you could end up saving yourself anywhere from $15-30!

Most expensive thing you’ve ever bought: It wasn’t just a thing, it was over a period of time, I studied abroad last spring and Europe ended up swallowing a lot of my money. There were times I simply forgot I was on the Euro currenc y(say you have $50, it will be changed over to only about 25 Euros). Recently, my Mac laptop.

How’d that feel?: So worth it!! Well, I was initially I little disappointed in myself I didn’t create more of a budget, but I sat back and told myself that was hands-down best experience ever.  If anyone has the opportunity to spend three months living in Florence, Italy while getting to travel through Europe…do it! I learned so much about myself and other cultures. You can’t pay for personal growth. I lost some money but gained insight and perspective…and plenty of photos for my portfolio! As for my Mac, it’s necessary to have a solid computer to save and edit my work.

Favorite cheap eat: Anytime a happy hour is going on, well go! Usually places mark at least three dollars off. Chevy’s Happy Hour is really more bang for your buck, especially since recently it has made healthy changes to the menu. El Farolit0 at 2779 Mission Street has good food at fairly inexpensive prices, and one of their burritos at lunchtime is sure to fill you up until bedtime (saving money by not spending it on another meal that night).

Favorite dive bar: Trad’r Sams at 6150 Geary has a great price on their Scorpion Bowl, and the atmosphere isn’t too bad either. Just be sure to share that Scorpion Bowl with a friend or two! A friend has told me of Pop’s, at 2400 24th Street, which gives out free bacon on Monday nights! Bacon!

Best deal you’ve ever gotten: $100 off my MacBook Pro (student discount). When flying through Europe, RyanAir has some good deals, flights can be as low as $20. I found really helps when looking for flights and hotels here in the U.S., as it compares multiple sites like Expedia and Orbitz all at once.

Favorite free thing to do: Going for a walk with my dog on the beach or up Mount Davidson, and just spending time with my twin sister (and all of my other siblings!). You can’t pay for the beautiful views of the city, or time with family.

If you woke up a millionaire, what’s the first thing you’d buy?: I’d like to buy a villa in Tuscany, Italy! And a private jet. My very own studio as well wouldn’t be a bad investment either, as well as a lot more camera equipment.

Despite not having money, do you still love your life?: Absolutely! Money comes and goes, but family and solid friends are what bring you the laughter and the memories. I’m living out my dream and my passion, photography, so I am very happy. Yes, there are certainly times when I wish money grew in my backyard, and there are times I completely stress and freak out about money since I have my own business, but being broke has let me appreciate the small things in life.

Do you own my book?: Not yet, but it’s on my to read list!

Best hangover cure: A cheesy three-egg omelet and a tall bloody Mary, followed by a nap.

Are you a hipster?: NO…I shower, and I don’t wear non-prescription glasses. But I do love my vintage.

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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.