Being broke in the summer can be worse than any other time of year. The influx of concerts and outdoor events (most of which cost money) can mean either the spending of what little money you have, or sitting on the sidelines wishing you had a couple of bucks to spare. Because of the economic downturn, I’m guessing many of you who are reading this are new members to the broke club. As a veteran, let me give you a couple of my closely guarded secrets to scraping by on little to nothing over the summer.
Saving what you have
Make a budget. Like, an actual budget
This seems pretty elementary to me, but if you’re listening to advice on living the poor life during the summer, I guess nothing is off limits…The trick is to keep your budget realistic, not just sitting down and allotting yourself random amounts for daily tasks. A proper summer budget demands accuracy, which means owning up to the ridiculous amount of money you spend on even more ridiculous items or events. This is one of those times when lying to yourself can ruin everything (including your self esteem). The more accurate the budget is, the easier it is to stick to. You want what little money you have to be going in the right places, so try to cut out a lot of micro transactions that can add up!
Grocery shopping: the basics
Grocery shopping is the easy alternative to eating out. It’s cheaper, more convenient (you don’t have to leave your house to eat!) AND you don’t have to tip! The thing is…when I say grocery shopping, I don’t mean shoveling a ton of frozen crap into your cart and calling it good! I mean actually buying ingredients to make meals. The more basic, the better. Once you find a few inexpensive ingredients that you can use for more than once dish, you’re doing it right. Just because you’re broke doesn’t mean you have to eat crap. Who knows, you might even be able to find a summer fling through your awesome home cooking! And for the fellas out there, you should be cooking already. A broke guy and a broke guy that can cook well are two completely different things when it comes to romantically impressing somebody.
Gaining what you have not
This is a no brainer, so I’m going to try to keep it brief. We live in Michigan, which means we get the highest deposit back when it comes to returnable bottles; take advantage of that! “But Nate, I don’t have enough bottles to return!” The solution to this problem is much easier than you thought. Have a BYOB party! If you’re broke, that usually means most of your friends are broke, so expect an influx of cheap beer cans from the party. The more people you invite, the bigger the potential for more cash. So throw a rager, and wake up the next morning to aluminum and glass bits of future money scattered around your house!
If all of the above steps have failed you, and you’re a healthy chap…donate plasma! This tip isn’t for those of the squeemish sort, but if you’re not afraid of needles and desperate for cash, this is right up your alley. Most of the centers for donating are super clean and friendly. Some of them even offer free wi-fi. So if you’re in the need, make yourself a nice Netflix cue and go in! Not only are you getting money, but you’re also helping people out who may need said plasma. Win/Win.