Before the month of May had even started, I knew that it was going to be a very long and very broke 31 days. This month I find myself paying off two major bills along with all the regular stuff, and anything left over goes to daily sustenance and gasoline rations.
This leaves little to nothing left for the “fun” fund, but, endless hours are mine to contemplate my life, and how to get through the next 4 weeks. Here are a few things I have learned so far by being epically broke this month, as well as some ideas to help you get through the monotony of being (temporarily) poor AND a few resources that I personally use…
Being broke really helps you to save money in the long run, because when you don’t have it, you realize all the crap that you have been blowing your cash on. So when you do have it again, hopefully you are making better financial decisions. Like, stop with the midnight online cat sweater shopping already!
And you find out that you have A LOT of free time. Free time to do all the cool shit you used to do before spending all your money became your hobby. Remember playing music? And going hiking? Yeah, that shit’s cool.
Your house becomes immaculate and you finally get around to all that deep cleaning. Piles of laundry finally get done, your floors gets moped, and you purge a lot of stuff that has been cluttering up your life, literally and emotionally. WHOA.
Now with all this time on my hands, I have no excuse NOT to work out. Fortunately the weather is heating up, so I have been going on walks outside in the evening, as well as some workout DVDs I bought a few years ago and never used. For some of the best wit and no-judgement support, I have been frequenting Nerd Fitness for nerdtastic health inspiration.
You now have a TON of time on your hands since you aren’t going out for happy hour or weekend-long food cart binges. Make some damn art! Pick up your guitar, your camera, your journal, your sketch pad. You already have these things, because deep down you are a creative person, I know it! Me? I’ve been writing more. Whatever it was that brought some mojo into your life, do more of that.
EAT AT HOME. Dudes, seriously, we are spending way too much money on eating out. Learn how to cook and enjoy it. Invite a friend over and they can contribute to the ingredients. If they are a good friend, they will know you are broke right now and will bring booze as well.
I absolutely love visiting Poor Girl Eats Well for grocery list ideas and hundreds of recipes. Thug Kitchen has good recipe ideas and it’s funny as hell. And we definitely could use a laugh right now, ‘amiright?
Language Learning. Remember that one time you were majoring in Romance Languages? Dig out some of your old text books, or better yet, down load the Duolingo app and get to practicing! Also, Fluent in 3 Months is a great website I visit on the reg for language learning hacks and you can connect with other language learners. You can now say broke-ass in 4 different languages! I am currently using PortuguesePod101.com for cool audio and word of the day practice.
Now is a perfect time to go on some Microadventures! I have a few planned this month, such as: Exploring the underworld of alleyways in Portland. Post coming soon about that!
Free night at the museum! May 22nd, from 5pm-8pm the Portland Art Museum is open to the public for free, and I will be there. Do a quick search in your area for free events at your local museum, movie house, etc.
Go walk around a neighborhood or district in your city that you never go to and window shop the hell out of it! It’s free, it gets you out of the house, and you will probably see some major hotties walking about getting ready for summer. Talk about your Babewatch!
Host a BBQ at your house. BYOB and a side dish. That way you only have to contribute a few things to grill. Make sure you have a sweet playlist ready and ambient lighting. Put some tea candles in all those mason jars you have, and string up your white Christmas lights. People will be so dazzled they won’t realize they brought all the food.
There is always a Saturday Market or Farmer’s Market happening around town, go do that. Markets are great for people watching and you will most definitely get samples at the Farmer’s Market. Winning!
And remember parks? Yeah, those are free! Get some friends together and play outside: Frisbee, bocci ball, or just hanging out on a blanket. Bring some of your own snacks from home and you are set.
On a personal note, I received a phone call from a friend last night, wishing me a ‘Happy Mother’s Day’. That simple gesture was heartwarming. My friend reminded me that despite all the personal challenges he was experiencing at the moment, he was incredibly grateful for his life, his family and his health. This week he is going to visit an old friend. A friend who was in a horrible car accident right out of high school, and who has required 24 hour care for the last 15 years.
That is heavy. That is someone’s reality, and I wouldn’t wish any part of that scenario on anyone. However, it made me realize probably the most important thing I can do during this broke, uncomfortable month: Be grateful. I am grateful for this humbling, hilarious, heartbreaking ride called life. I hope you are too.
I hope these ideas and resources will help you get through the next trying weeks of May, I know they are helping me immensely. Leave a comment and let me know if you have any other ideas to beating the broke-ass blues!