I recently lost my job. Crazy, right? I know. When I first got a job, I assumed it was a thing I had for forever, like a dad. Boy was I wrong. When I lost my job, I thought my life was over, and I was right. With no monthly income, my world crumbled. I was kicked out of the yacht club because I couldn't pay my dues. The marina refused to house my yacht because I couldn't pay my dockage fees. And my yacht was repossessed because I couldn't afford my monthly yacht payments. I was convinced I'd never have fun again. Luckily, I was wrong. Here are some things I've learned you can do with little to no money at all!
Forget all the places you're used to sitting. Movie theaters, airplanes, hair salons -- these are all out of the question now that you're living on a budget. But what most people don't realize is that the world is full of FREE places to sit. Have you ever walked down the street and seen a bench? You can sit on those. In fact, they're made for sitting. Another great place to sit is on grass in a park. You can sit in either of these places as long as you like. No one is going to ask you for your bench ticket. No one is going to come by and say, "If you'd like to continue sitting on this grass, it's going to be another $30, sir." They're 100 percent free. Want to hear something really crazy? All these places are provided by the government. That's right, your tax dollars at work.
Thanks, Obama ... no, seriously.
Now this one is going to sound like a luxury because it costs money, but all humans need to eat food to live, so I'm including it. When we think of where food comes from, we think of restaurants. Restaurant food is delicious, and a guy brings it to you already made from a room in the back. Now that you're poor, you shouldn't eat at restaurants. I know what you're thinking: "Food doesn't just grow on trees or walk around in a field, ya idiot. Where am I supposed to get food if I don't go to a restaurant?" Actually, there is another place you can get food that's not a restaurant. It's called the grocery store.
Grocery stores are not as good as restaurants. They're not nearly as good. Kind of a last resort, but the food is really cheap. I think they get the stuff that restaurants couldn't sell, and that's why it's so cheap. The one thing the grocery store has is selection. Name a food, they have it. Penne with vodka sauce? You bet. Except the pieces are sold separately, and you have to put them together yourself. And it doesn't come with the tools you need. And it doesn't taste as good as in a restaurant. The grocery store is not very good, but you don't really have a choice on this one. Sorry.
"It's just like real pizz-" *cries*
Most people buy books. That's for CEOs and bus drivers. If you're not making money every week, then you can't afford to pay for a bunch of old words on paper. Luckily, you don't have to. Books are everywhere. People just leave them places. All you have to do is find them. You can find books on the sidewalk, in the trash, or on a table at an outdoor restaurant. That bench we talked about earlier? Great place to find a book. Finding a book is the easy part; the only limit is your imagination. The hard part is reading the boring book you found.
"Edward in the sunlight was shocking. I couldn't get used to it, though I'd been staring at him all afternoon. His skin,
white despite the faint flush from yesterday's hunting trip, literally sparkled, like thousands of tiny diamonds ..."
Sports games require expensive specialized equipment. No thank you! Here's a way you can get all the fun of sports without breaking the bank. First, go to a park. Any park will do, as long as it's a place people go to enjoy leisure activities. Next, find a father playing catch with his son. Now position yourself just past the child. The child will miss the ball because children are uncoordinated and have poor motor skills. The ball should roll to you. Pick it up. Throw it to the child's father. Put a little English on it. Show him what a great arm you have. He'll say thanks and resume the game with his son. Repeat these steps until you feel like you're having a catch with your own father. Soon you'll be the one having a ball!
"Can we have the ball back, please?"
"I told you, not until you convince your dad to take us all out for ice cream later."
Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
Museums are fun because they're full of things you can stare at. Some people will even think you're smart if you stare at some boring painting long enough. If only there was a place you could stare at things outside of the museum. Guess what? There is. It's called the whole world. Go outside. Pick a thing. Stare at it. Boom. You just had a great time. There's no limit to the things you can stare at. You can stare at a building. You can stare at clouds. You can stare at birds, but it's kind of hard because they move. You can stare at a tree! Get closer, give it a good look. Stare at the bark. Bark is weird, huh? You just learned something. Who's smart now? The guy who wastes all day in a museum staring at old arts and crafts from dead people? Or you, the guy who knows stuff about trees? That's right, you.
Pro Tip: Wait until sunset and start whispering random bullshit to save yourself $10 on the new Terrence Malick film.
Michael Blann/Digital Vision/Getty Images
Some people don't like it if you pet their dog without asking. Whatever. Dogs can't tell on you because they can't talk. You can pet any dog you want as long as the owner doesn't see. Walk by a dog, give it a pat on the head. Find a dog tied up in front of a store. You just found a cool four-legged friend to hang out with for a bit.
"I'm going to call you Michael Barke Duncan."
If you want to go pro at pooch petting, check out a dog park. It's illegal to hang out at a human playground without a child, but this rule doesn't apply to dog parks. Just walk right in and take a seat. Dogs will come to you and you can touch them. Hang out there as long as you like. If someone asks which dog is yours, just point to a pile of dogs wrestling and say "That one."
"Yeah, that one that looks like Luis Guzman."
Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images
This is sort of a bonus because we've already covered eating, but if you want to take thrifty living to the next level, try this neat trick. Rich people who don't understand how our bodies work have figured out that you can go weeks at a time without eating food. They call it a cleanse. Going on a cleanse is a great, fun activity to do when you're poor and can't afford food. All you have to do is not eat. Sounds easy, right? It is. But the best part about going on a cleanse is telling people that you're on a cleanse. They'll say all kinds of nice things to you, like "Good for you," "That's so healthy," and "I wish I had your discipline." What's your secret? Are you getting rid of toxins built up over years of unhealthy eating? Or are you slowly starving because you don't have any money? You'll never tell.
Our bodies are changing.
Many of today's celebrities have some real surprises in their family trees.
Everybody loves a good old-fashioned meltdown.
Science is fun.