"Serious Local Attorney Vindicates Each Suspect." (Lawyer show?) "Suntanned Loser Alcoholics Vandalize Eastern Seaboard." (Jersey Shore?) "Superb Loins Attract Viewers Every Sunday" (I dunno, True Blood?)
That ad is RIDICULOUS; clearly it should read like this: "Are you an adorable, bespectacled child with inexplicable powers whose parents are both sadly deceased? Looking to live with abusive, self-centred curmudgeons in between school years? HAVE I GOT A PLACE FOR YOU!"
@Heckyes It's like waiting for my letter from Hogwarts all over again.
I like how we have a well-staffed federal agency that sets reasonable, market-based prices for medical procedures, but rather than just force all providers to accept those prices from everyone, instead we want every American citizen to basically have a Master's in health care policy so that when they're bleeding on a stretcher they can be like "No! Take me to the ER down the road, they only charge $530 for a bandage versus $795 at the other place!"
There are game-like aspects of frugality which can actually make it quite enjoyable, provided it does not go on for too long, and one doesn't feel compelled to do it, as the poor are compelled. It's mostly a young person's game; if you're old, it strikes a bit too close to home. However, I don't think the game brings you anywhere near the actual experience of poverty, of the constant anxiety about where your next meal or dollar is going to come from, or whether the landlord is going to kick you out into the tender mercies of the street. But frugality is not a bad game to learn, just in case you are poor someday -- it could happen to anyone -- or to detach yourself from the death-dealing aspects of the capitalist system. One thing people seem to be omitting here, however, is 'externalities'. By that I mean if you preserve food in a refrigerator, or travel to get to better or cheaper stores, you have to count the cost of electricity and transportation respectively. A round trip in New York City on the bus or subway is $5. A bicycle is cheaper and faster, but it still costs; my 30-year-old Schwinn costs about $200 per year to keep going, counting new tires and tubes and the occasional cable, wheel, or chain. If I went out every day, that would be about 55 cents per day. My electricity seems to cost about $2 per day, which I suppose is mostly the refrigerator. You can save a lot of money by teaming up with other people doing the same thing. Not only can you buy some kinds of food in bulk -- much cheaper -- but you can exchange useful information, such as recipes or new food sources. I work with Food Not Bombs for political reasons, but I could get a good amount of cheap food out of it if needed. (Generally I have more food than I need.) Living cheap is learned skill, learned against the current in consumer culture. It takes study and practice.
Hi all, thanks to Jon and everyone commenting! Deb, I totally understand where you are coming from. As I think I said above, it took up time and mental strength having to weigh out 100g of frozen veg or 75g of rice every day. The knowledge that so many are doing this everyday brings it home how much some of us take for granted. For me, taking up this challenge was about empathy as well as raising money. My treat during the week was a glass of fruit squash instead of water - which was both amazing amidst the frugality and hugely depressing that it was that which got my mouth watering. My workmates saw what we were doing and also worked out they were spending far in excess than the poverty line on single meals, up to £10 for a sandwich and can of pop.Challenges like this are almost by neccessity totally artificial - its not like most people only have a week of this before they can go back to morning lattes and forget about it! What they are though, is worthwhile ways to get people talking about the issues and thinking about what others in the world are going through - as well as raising some funds for those organiastions like Unicef who are trying to do something about it.
@polka dots vs stripes Yeah, with the Guardian article I wish they gave more details on what these guys' budgets looked like. For debt-payoff stories generally: Honestly, I'm tired of the "I had $100,000 in debt. But I stopped spending $500/week on clothes and drinks! And my parents pay my rent! So I was able to pay it off in 2 years!" Can we please have "normal" people stories?
By seaermine on Friday Estimate
@seaermine So they are really hard to see but "free dance performance", "free entertainment" and "events at Governors Island" all have links to them. Also I am always looking for people to do fun cheap things with so if you want to hang out you can email me at my username at gmail dot com. I'm relatively new to the city, and am also broke so I'm always looking to make friends with people who don't just want to go to bars and restaurants all the time (although that's fun too). Or come to meetup! The billfold had one recently that was fun. The hairpin nyc facebook page has a monthly book club, a monthly pinup, and a ton of mini pinups each month (people will post little weekend things in their neighborhoods so you can hang out with people who live nearby). I've been to basically all of the hairpin meetups since I moved here (I didn't know anyone when I arrived and most people I work with are 30 years older than me and live farther away) and it has been a great way to keep me out of the house.
@joyballz When in doubt, mac and cheese with truffle oil! If your friends don't like mac and cheese you should probably throw them away and get new friends.
By lalaland on Waste Not, Want Not
@amyfrances It reminds me of a Vogue? article I read about a woman who was "minimalist" - she only had 5 jackets, 5 purses, and a few pairs of jeans and tshirts. Except all of it was made by Chanel, Hermes, Balenciaga, etc. While I may have more than my fair share of Forever 21 goods, I can still guarantee my entire closet costs less than her minimalist wardrobe. That is to say, it takes a lot of money to be bare and minimal, but more importantly, to have people look up to you for it. Because if you don't have that money and you have few things...then you're just poor.