Hot tips only work if you’ve got reasons to believe in them. These are mine.
1. Stop taking cabs. If you can’t get your act together early enough to not take a cab, move away and never come back. Cabs are the bane of your existence. Cabs are okay for super drunk people and medical emergencies. Limit those experiences to a few times a year.
2. Don’t pay a broker’s fee. Paying a broker’s fee is like strapping a wad of hundreds to the back of a greasy pigeon and watching it take a nose dive into the East River. I would actually feel better giving money to a pigeon than to a realtor. They’re both societal parasites, but the pigeon didn’t choose that life. The broker did.
3. Don’t go to clubs with covers. Normal bars also carry Jaegermeister and are also chock full of assholes.
4. Wake up and make your own coffee, you dumb-dumb! You can make great coffee at home, and it tastes better than the $3 coffee you buy every morning on your way to work. Because it tastes like effort. And success. And French press. And the American dream.
5. Change your movie habits. Start associating movies with weekend brunch and not weeknight dinner, and you’ll be ever so happy: cash in on that matinee discount! Sneak in some Greek yogurt and a coffee, and you’re sliding in $15 under what you’d normally spend.
6. Settle up. I am a big fan of having friends over for dinner—it’s fun and generally cost-efficient. HOWEVER, that is only the case if you hold all parties responsible for sharing the cost. Don’t let a potluck dinner fool you—this is not sharing the cost. You’ll spend $40 on the entree, and stupid Erica will get away with paying $3 for edamame. Keep track of how much everyone spent—it’s worth the two minutes of awkwardness so that Erica doesn’t get off scot-free again. When you’re rich, you can shovel caviar and foie gras in your friends’ mouths.
7. There is never a good enough reason not to buy a monthly Metrocard. The fact that you’re going home for a weekend or have a rich friend in town who only takes cabs is not a sufficient financial justification. Even if you don’t use the card for a few days, the psychology of having it is so pervasive—it feels like free transportation, so you use it more. Ergo, you go outside more. Ergo, you have a happier life.
Kathleen Jordan lives in NYC.