The Guide to being Poor


By: Tim Van Duyne

If you’re like me, you’re probably broke and working part-time somewhere looking for a full-time job. If you’re not like me, well good for you.

Many of my friends vary in age from about 21-26 years old. Some of them have good jobs, but many don’t. So most of you reading this are in the same boat as me living paycheck to paycheck. We are, what I call, old poor: people who have been poor for a long time. This is my guide to living, and living well, with very little income.

I’ve been poor every since I graduated from the great institution of Reed-Custer High School in 2008. So I have some experience being poor (old poor). And just because you’re broke doesn’t mean you have to live a shitty life.

Follow these guidelines and you’ll be able to have some fun in that period of your life before you land that dream job.

1. Diet

Stick to the essentials. Always have a loaf of bread, a carton of eggs and a gallon of milk in your home. You can make so many meals with these ingredients. Then branch out and get some shredded cheese, slices of cheese and your choice of meat. And every old poor person knows to have some Ramen and rice in their pantry. Save the Ramen and rice for the times when you’re reallllllly broke, because this time will come. If you make all your meals at home you can save by only spending $20 a week. I know it’s hard to make all your meals at home, because fast food is so damn good. So every once in awhile treat yourself and head to Chipotle or Portillos, your broke ass deserves it.

2. Gas

GasIf you’re broke, you probably drive a beater. As long as that beater has good gas mileage, has a stereo and can get you from point A to point B, then you’re golden. When you do fill up your tank – this is very important – put just enough gas in it to get you to where you have to go for the next couple of days. That next paycheck is a long ways a way, and you don’t know what else you might need some of that extra cash for. Sometimes you might have to search for quarters in your couch cushions and car seats for a little extra money for some gas. It’s ok, don’t be ashamed (I recently pulled this off; no shame here). Money is money and you don’t have a lot of it right now.

If you don’t have a car, ride a bike.

3. Beer

Old poor people love their beer, but they only have a finite amount of money to spend every month. So we have to buy cheap beer that comes in 30 racks, because those extra six beers are well worth it, dammit! Now this is just my opinion so don’t get mad if I disparage your favorite beer. Stay away from these brews: Natty Light, Beer 30, Milwaukee’s Best, Miller High life Lite and Schlitz. Thank me later. Stick with these beverages: Rolling Rock, Miller High Life, Busch Light, Pabst Blue Ribbon and Busch. These will always be your best deals. If you got a fat check recently and you want to treat yourself, pick up some Bud light, Miller Lite, Coors Light or Budweiser (A.K.A Diesel).

4. Going Out

Always, always, always check your bank account to see how broke you actually are before going out to the bars. You don’t want to wake up in the morning, hungover with a pounding headache and get an email from your bank saying you overdrew from your account. This will be a new low for you. This is the day you realize that you’re so broke that you owe money.

Once you find out how much money you can spend at the bars, the next important step to having the best possibly time money can buy you is getting a sufficient buzz before going out. Bust out those Rolling Rocks and pour those stones down your gullet. The goal is to spend the least amount of money while at the bars.

While out, you need to have a gameplan. Do some research on the bars and find out what there specials are. Once you’ve conducted your extensive and exhaustive research, store that info in your noggin and use it while out on the town. You need to get the most bang for your buck, since you only have a few of them.

Also, just because you’re broke, doesn’t mean you have to be a cheap-ass. Tip your bartenders, even if it’s just a dollar per drink. They get paid very little and rely on tips. Don’t be a jerk.

5. Shopping

Shop at places like Aldi or Kroger for groceries. Stay away from the mall when shopping for clothes. Get your designer clothes for cheap at retail stores like Marshalls or T.J. Maxx.

6. Entertainment

Broke people spend a lot of time at home. If you can afford to pay for cable, good for you. If you can’t, well there are other options. Get a Netflix account for $9-12 a month. There’s also Hulu Plus for just $7.99 a month. HBO Go if you have an HBO subscription and Amazon Prime.

I know what you’re thinking: How am I suppose to watch live sporting events? Well, there are a few websites across the pond, that may or may not be legal, that will stream all sports from basketball to darts.

If you don’t have the internet, read a book.

Being broke isn’t always fun, but you can make the best of it by living simple. Now obviously the goal isn’t to stay broke. The goal is to get a nice, full-time job and save your money. Although, during that transition period when your working part-time, living paycheck to paycheck, you don’t have much money to save.

So have fun being broke and good luck on landing that dream job.

Until then, I’ll split the price of a case of Miller High Life with you.


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