Shameless Things I Did When I Was Broke

It’s your first year out of college, and you are doing everything you can to establish independence. You move away from home to another city; you are living in your own apartment and you have found someone desperate enough to hire you. No matter how hard you work, though, no matter how many side jobs you take, you are broke, broke, broke.

Every time you try to save money something breaks, goes missing or is stolen and needs to be repaired or replaced. Bills you never knew existed find their way in your mailbox, and the extra $25 you thought you would have for the bike you want is now going toward the carpet being cleaned or the new parking ticket Officer Dickhead just gave you.

People tell you it’s going to be hard. They tell you that you have to pay your dues like everyone else. But they don’t tell you the extent to which you will have to go to make it.

Well, here is a brief list of the things I’ve shamelessly done since I became broke along with a few contributions from anonymous friends.

·      Lived with my sister for free for the first 2 months

·      Used a friend’s gym pass for 3 months

·      Bought monthly gym memberships through Groupon when the other gym discovered I was not my friend

·      Wore shoes with holes in them for 2 months

·      Took leftover food home in “borrowed” Tupperware from work when there were client meetings earlier that day

·      Ate oatmeal or tuna for lunch every day when there were not client meetings

·      Ate someone else’s yogurt in the fridge after realizing it had been in there for a few days and hadn’t been touched

·      Drove 45 minutes away from the city to fill up on gas, buy cigarettes and go to the dollar store to get toiletries

·      Put water in the soap dispenser to make it last longer

·      Went 2 weeks without wearing deodorant because mine ran out and I couldn’t buy  more

·      Waited until I had client meetings out of town to fill up my gas tank so that I could expense it

·      Cried at the pizza man because he delivered a Meat Lover’s Pizza and I’m a vegetarian

·      Left work early every Thursday to hit up the happy hour across the street that permits everyone to have two free tacos

·      Walked around the city on Saturdays and Sundays so that I didn’t get bored and spend money

·      Skipped going to the dentist for two years because I was afraid he was going to tell me I had 5 cavities or had to get my wisdom teeth pulled

·      Sold my out-of-season clothes because I needed money this season

·      Took random, semi-sketchy jobs that were published on Craigslist

·      Cried when I lost my keys or metro card because I didn’t have the money to replace either

·      Didn’t see a doctor when I knew I was sick because I couldn’t pay for medicine

·      Went on dates with men I knew I wasn’t interested in because it meant a free meal

·      Saved coupons for CVS and used them to buy groceries

·      Subscribed to every Groupon, Living Social, ScoutMob and Free DC email listing that was available

·      Didn’t go out to eat unless I had a coupon from one of these companies

·      Lived in someone’s basement as my first apartment

·      Wore summer clothes in the winter to work with a cardigan because I couldn’t afford winter clothes

·      Used rubber cement to patch up my rainboots when they ripped, and continued to wear them even though water still leaked through

·      Taped shoes together

·      Used gum to stick my parking permit back to my windshield after it fell off so that I wouldn’t get another ticket 

·      Safety pinned several pieces of clothing, including a work skirt and work pants that  had broken zippers

·      Made strange, questionably edible concoctions of food based on what was currently in the fridge

·      Stole honey and splenda packets from the coffee shop

·      Skipped dinner occasionally on the weekend because it meant spending less money on drinks

·      Visited friends to see if they had any food to share

·      Went to parties where I knew no one because it meant free booze

·      Went to the zoo multiple times for dates because it was free admission