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Best Places for Cheapskates to Meet People Who Aren’t Cheapskates.

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Cross economic divides and magic can happen…

I’m a cheapskate. So are most of my friends. But sometimes, conversations about how crazy it is that the price of the supermarket toilet roll has gone up 50c get boring. I don’t want to sell my soul to someone who’ll take me to fancy restaurants, but equally it probably isn’t healthy for me not to know a single person who is currently under an employment contract.

Hence the issue arises: if you can’t afford to go to nice places, how do you meet people who can?

We may be a society of economic divides. But there a few islands on which wealthy meet wealthless. They are:

That Run Down Ethnic Restaurant:

The rich lot come for the authenticity of the food. I come because the tacos are $2.25. Under painful strip lighting and a tattered poster of the Madonna, together, we unite.


The Apple Store:

I had cracked the screen of my iPad. He had dropped his iPhone. It didn’t matter that he had the highest level of warrantee and I was asking if I could fix it with scotch tape; everyone has to stand in line at the Apple Store. It’s a wonder of socio-economic leveling.

The Library:

There are very few things that money won’t buy a better alternative to. But a library is one of those things. You can be as rich as the Queen (who, actually, isn’t all that rich) and I can bet your collection won’t be half as good as the Brooklyn Public Library.


Excuse me, man with a signet ring; would you recommend that book you’re reading?

Flea Markets:

I was going to say thrift shops. But nowadays, as soon as one person with a label on their handbag walks in, the shop gets branded “vintage” and slaps an extra zero on its prices. What makes flea markets magic is that 3 meters from the man selling a broken picture frame for $1000, is someone else selling ten broken cassette tapes for $1. Compressed economic diversity for the win.

Airport Security:

Yes, they separate us for check-in queues, and lounges, and airplane cabins. But for a brief few moments (or, more often than not, a very long few moments) at airport security, we are offered a prime opportunity for hobnobbing with the wealthy. Check the brand of their shoes when they take them off to verify them as a worthy target.


Even Kim Kardashian has to climb down off her killer heels…

Arts Festivals:

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a dense collection of expensive camera equipment as I did at Dumbo Arts Festival. People with lots of money love to take artistic pictures of people with very little. Say cheese!

Online Dating:

The number of rich men on the interwebs looking “to help a young girl out” is really quite staggering. But sadly, for shallow little me, I’d say that next month’s rent ain’t worth having to look at those hair plugs…


images: TitanicUniverse, IvyStyle, IamKimKardashian, Bernstein Medical

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle, "an SF cult hero":SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.

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