Monday, September 20, 2010

Poor and Fabulous

Here's my guide on how to be poor and fabulous:

1. Don't Be Cheap: No matter what. You can be frugal, you can be conservative with money, but don't ever come across as cheap. There are moments when you have to spend money. There are even moments when you have to discuss money. But, you don't have to sacrifice manners for your pocket. There is always a nice and elegant way to be true to your budget and gracious.

2. Always have ready to eat food in your refrigerator. I'm not talking about tv dinners, because, believe it or not, you don't have to sacrifice nutrition for convenience. You can always have a staple of things: rotisserie chicken, meat marinara sauce, rice, pasta, black beans, mashed potatoes, some good cold cuts like roast beef, and very important a bag of organic mixed greens. A good rule of thumb is to not keep any of these things for more than a week in your fridge. Then, treat yourself to eat out every now and then. But don't make it a rule.

3. Learn the art and sport of consumption. America is the land of overabundance. I mean really, its ridiculous sometimes how much there is available materially. So take advantage of it. Don't buy into trends and immediate gratification. IT'S A TRAP!!! Once you learn how to wait a little you can basically get anything you want for at least 1/2 the price, but most importantly your brain will expand to explore other options. This will do a lot for your pocket and your creativity.

4. Avoid the monthly payment system. I would say this applies mostly to car payments. It is better to get a decent Ford Escort that you can buy in one payment, and that runs, then some fancy car that will stress you out. This is also true for credit cards. Have one credit card and one debit card. THATS IT!!!

5. Learn how to party. Partying can be a huge money pit. But I am not telling anybody not to have fun. I have the privilege of living in an environment that allows me to walk everywhere. Therefore if I am going out to a bar i will have two drinks at home before. It makes a big difference. By all means buy drinks at the establishment you are going to (and tip your bartender), but instead of 5, buy 2 or three.

6. Invest in home fitness. I know that when it comes to working out, there are two distinct schools of thought: The, "I have to go to the gym," crowd, and the home fitness people. I belong to the second group, and i love it. I have slowly constructed a gym for myself at home. I have to say that besides the fact that its comfortable for me it also saves me a great deal of money in gym memberships.

7. Practice saving. Saving money is really a habit. You really have to develop it. Sometimes a good way to practice is by laying away for something that you want. You can do this at the store or you can open an account. It works. It develops the awareness and it reinforces the habit.

Hope it helps somebody, =).

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