Being fun-employed is fun up until you realize that every time you go out, you’re dipping into the precious little life savings that you’ve managed to save up (god knows how) and you’re still not employed. Boo.
For those of you who are on a tight budget, I’ve put together a quick list of ways to enjoy the last bit Indian summer without spending too much.
Tan on your driveway.
Sometimes, the beach is too far. And the gas money it takes to get there should be saved towards something important, like new headshots because yours make you look like an overweight preteen. And your friends might be too busy doing important things like working and making money to hang out with you. So why not work on getting some color back into your pasty self? Grab a towel and last year’s suntan oil and lay out on your driveway. Give it a couple of days, and you’ll be a nice buttery brown color. That’ll show your friends to neglect you.
Dig through your little sister or best friend’s closet.
I can’t afford anything at the mall, so usually when I go, I just pretend I already have everything in the stores. But because I’ve donated clothes quicker than I’ve replaced them and depending on whether I’ve done laundry or not, I’m usually short on clothes. The most affordable way to quickly expand your wardrobe is to include your sister and/or best friend’s clothes. We can all agree that it’s just “borrowing,” but you and I know that whatever they end up buying for themselves now, we’ll eventually wear later, so try to be extremely helpful when they ask you to go shopping with them by encouraging them to buy prints and accessories you can see your self in. In fact, tell them to buy everything.
Spend a day at the park.
When was the last time you visited your local park? You can even kill two birds with one stone and be eco-friendly and healthy by walking there. Don’t forget to take a nice blanket to lie on, a good book to read, and something to drink (I prefer grape juice for adults but that’s just me). You’ll find it very relaxing, especially with some nice tunes to underscore your reading. Not only will you be expanding your mind intellectually, but it’s a nice respite from the stress of being fun-employed.
Do things at home that make you feel important.
I like to read mail. Something about ripping open envelopes and flipping through pages of business jargon that I don’t understand gives me a sense of empowerment and well-being. It makes me feel like I’m contributing to society. Occasionally, I’ll clean my room by restacking everything on top of everything else and feel accomplished as I watch our iRobot vacuum my floor. Find out what menial and useless tasks or chores you can do at home that’ll keep you occupied for an extended period of time. Try not to think about your very expensive liberal arts degree collecting dust on your bookshelf.
Become a TV show addict.
At the start of this summer, I rotted my brains out watching all five seasons of Dexter, which was great because I didn’t come out of my house for two weeks, which meant I saved two weeks worth of money that I could’ve spent but didn’t. I would scour the interwebz to watch free episodes because Mega Upload would tell me I had exceeded the allotted 90 minute of free viewing, meaning I would sometimes have to wait a full excruciating day or two to see Debra’s new boy toy or moon over Dexter’s dreamy, solemn demeanor. I haven’t found another show to latch myself onto, but I’m sure as soon as I do, you’ll be seeing less of me, and I’ll find myself charging my debit card less.
So this is how I’ve been spending my summer, on driveways and in front of the television in an effort to save some money.
And next week, I think I might just treat myself to a little something special for being so good all summer.
What are some of the ways you’ve been having thrifty fun? Audrey‘s Fall ’11 Issue also includes a special Recession feature, “Picking Up The Pieces.” Buy issue here!