Unless you love your job enough to do it for free, every dollar you spend translates into more of your life’s precious hours melting away. Ball out on stuff and experiences that make you happy, but be aware of the crap you spend money on that you wouldn’t miss. For example:
1. Bank and Credit Card Fees
Call those motherfuckers and tell them you aren’t paying them to invest your savings and keep the returns. Threaten to change banks. Dig up your old student card and ask for a better plan. Remember, they are making money off of YOU, so there’s no reason you should pay for it. Check out Ramit Sethi for specific advice and call centre scripts.
Fuck TV. Buy a season of your favourite show on DVD and watch it at your convenience, commercial free. If you need more than 1-2 DVDs to make up the time, you’re watching too much crap anyways.
Do you live in a dense apartment building? If so, you can either be the sucker who pays for your entire floor’s wireless, or you can cancel your high-speed and find an unsecured network.
No one cares if you wear the same shit over and over again, every Friday night. Your guy friends won’t notice, and the girls you care about impressing will have never seen you before. If you’re spending mucho time with a single girl, explain your wise clothes budgeting logic and watch for her reaction. It’s an excellent test of whether or not she’s a materialista unworthy of your time.
5. A Car
Gas, repairs, insurance, DUI’s – that shit adds up. Sell it, then don’t be shy about taking cabs and renting for weekend trips and whatnot. Massive cash savings and little or no impact on quality of life.
6. A Gym Membership
This came as a great surprise to me upon entering adulthood, but real gyms are friggin expensive. $80+/month for bare bones memberships, and you can spend way more if you’re easily seduced by nice showers, cute desk girls and laundry service. A thousand dollars a year so I can borrow some big metal plates for an hour a week? No thanks.
This one is difficult though, since heavy lifting is a key ingredient in manly health and freshness. Possible solutions are to find a bare bones gym on the cheap, find out if you can get a student rate, or find out if your employer can get you a corporate rate. I’ve done all three and now I’m practically getting paid to work out. Alternatively, you can pick up a kettleball and some used barbells off of Craigslist.
7. Music, DVDs and software
Bypass the studio and mail a donation to any artists you think deserve it. Welcome to the 21st century.
8. New Gadgets
I’m sure you’ll make it through the indignity of brandishing a clunky cellphone, 2005 iPod or Kindle 1. Chicks dig the style of a true retro playboy, complete with pager, discman and book.
9. A Girlfriend
If you’re buying dinners, presents, fancy dates, vacations, jewelery, weddings and houses for a woman, Stop. You aren’t winning her respect by spending money on her, she probably makes more than you anyway, and contrary to what you learned from multiple viewings of De Beers ads, you don’t need to spend money on a girl for her to sleep with you.
Actually, some girls DO demand you spend money on them before they’ll give it up. But we have a word for them, and it isn’t “girlfriend.”
10. Guy’s Nights Out
New shirt! Haircut! Cab! Cover charge! Coat check! Jagerbombs! Beers! Jagerbombs! Beers! Buy shots for table of girls! Jagerbombs! Beers! Beers! Bad food from a street vendor! Cab!
Ahh, the old morning-after bank statement cringe. The perfect garnish to a hangover.
$100-200 per night, 1-2 nights per weekend is a lot of money. And for what?
Go to a dive bar if you want to drink and laugh with your friends, and introduce yourself to a few pretty girls at the coffee shop/mall/street the next day if you want to get laid. Much cheaper, and much higher odds of actually picking up, and actually having a good time with your friends.
The sooner you escape from western culture’s consumerist orgy, the sooner you can free yourself from the obligation to spend your one and only life doing bullshit work to line someone else’s pocket. Get savin’.