The Positives of Poverty
There was a time I would’ve told you my favorite store was the Nike or Polo outlet. However, now that I’m doing my best to survive off a writer and side hustlers salary — it’s without a doubt Dollar Tree and Dollar General.
I’ve fed myself for a week off of $11 worth of items from Dollar Tree. I mean, where else can you buy a decent sized loaf of whole wheat bread for a single George Washington? Not even Wal-mart has deals like that.
And unfortunately for me, even Wal-Mart has been a bit out of my price range as of late. I can’t really budget their doorbusters. I have to stay clear of even their clearance aisle for the time being. I’m managing though. About as well as a Wal-Mart manager does, anyway.
You can find brand-name boxes of cereal for a buck in Dollar Tree as well. Though you’ll only get a few bowls out of the super small but adorable looking box , It beats the knock offs. They usually taste like how poverty feels.
Though I do find other quality brand name items in The Tree, as I like to call it, you kind of have to be an off-brand kind of man or woman to really get down with their get down. It sucks at first but it keeps you humble and unhungry.
Their mini donuts taste fantastic when you’re high. And if you’re making as little as I did last month, I definitely recommend getting high to help ease the pain that is your economic situation. It just has to be off other people’s weed, because, you certainly can’t afford that shit.
Dollar General is kind of like the Ralph Lauren of dollar stores, in my humble opinion. A bit pricey — but worth it. Plus, every so often their underpaid and overworked employees either forget to ring an item up or make mistakes that end up saving you money. Just the other day I got a box of Hostess blueberry muffins for a penny and it wasn’t because they were on sale. Nobody sells anything for a penny, the cashier just had no idea what she was doing. Capitalizing on the mistakes and foolishness of others is a big part of surviving broke.
As far as entertainment goes — cable is absolutely out of the question. What you’re going to need to do is find generous friends who are willing to share their Netflix and Amazon Prime Video passwords with you. The combination of the two, mixed in with some YouTube, honestly put cable to shame anyhow. Plus — wait for it — no commercials. Boom. Look at you now, not only saving money you don’t have but time too.
Now, you will need Wifi for the above tricks, or just in general really. Broke or not broke, a life without the internet is not one I want to live. I recommend Metro PCS as a phone carrier because you can get unlimited everything for as low as $30 a month. That’s a dollar a day. You can find a dollar a day on the ground if you try hard enough. Figure it out.
If you’re a new customer, they’ll even provide you with a phone for free when you pay the first bill mentioned above. This opens up all sorts of possibilities. If any of your neighbors are naive enough to leave their wifi network unlocked, jump on in there with your new free phone. Stealing bandwidth isn’t even a crime as far as I know. If it is, it’s not one the cops will charge you for. Steal away.
If all nearby networks are locked, you can find a Starbucks to loiter in front of, hop on their network and internet away my friend. America truly is the land of the free. Unfortunately, if you’re in my position, you definitely won’t be able to afford or enjoy a delicious beverage from Starbucks. Don’t even think about it. Remember, you’re just there for the internet.
If you really need a cup of coffee to internet with, find a nearby 12-step meeting. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous — doesn’t matter. They both provide free coffee. Show up, act interested, perhaps stay for the speaker, then look like you have an important phone call to make, before pouring yourself a free cup of joe and heading to Starbucks to loiter near and get your internet on.
Now, one of the biggest benefits to having no money in the bank is, you can sign up for all the free trials for apps and services you want, without having to worry about forgetting to cancel them before the thirty day period ends. Don’t even bother to cancel, ride it until the wheels fall off and it works itself out. They can’t get blood from a stone, feel me?
You are not poor, you are broke. Poor is a state of mind, broke is an economic situation. One you can surely rise above and make your way out of in no time if you try hard enough. In the meantime though, I hope some of the above helps someone as broke as I am. It’s all served me pretty well at different stages in life, including this one.