New York is slowly opening up and I’ve been working kind of regularly for the past month. Not full time hours, far from that, but keeping my toe in the water while I try and build up my online businesses. Sales picked up while people were locked in the house with an extra $600 a week from unemployment (I mean, who wasn’t shopping?) but that extra benefit is gone and we’re all back on a budget again. Possibly with nicer clothing and a red wine habit to kick, but back on a budget So let’s talk about that right now.
- Buy staples and stock up for winter: I’m sure you have toilet paper, but now that people have relaxed a bit, stock up on flour, yeast, dried or canned milk, beans, dried salted fish (it can be delicious), canned goods (I love canned potatoes) dried fruit, etc. If you know how and have room , make some preserves and pickles, and cook ahead and freeze it. You may not need it… but then again, you just might.
- Save: hopefully you put away some money ever week while it was pouring in. I get that you may have kids and bills, but a piece should have been put away every week. If you didn’t save then, well try to scrape your pennies together now because winter is coming and all your grasshopper friends will have is an empty fridge and a lot of liquor bottles to share (if they even have a place to stay anymore).
- Cook at home: you’re not rich anymore and there are too many cooking websites for you to keep pretending that you’re too good to even try to learn how to feed yourself. There are even meal kits (but really, you should just make a list of foods you like and then google recipes on how to prepare them).
- Wear the clothes you have: yesterday I was out in Manhattan for work and suddenly realized how nice everyone looked. Months of online shopping got people looking right for the summer. If you don’t have a ton of money coming in then you need to stop shopping. Cut it out. Learn to sew up holes (sashiko mending looks cool and makes garments last longer), turn stuff inside out or upside down. Go thrifting, a lot of places are open and practically giving their inventory away.
- Double up: if you and your friends are realizing that you can’t keep paying individual rents and mortgages then pick a place and move in together. Create a food budget and chore schedule, decide on which bills to split. Go home to your parents and help out. Don’t be ashamed, just get on with it.
- Start a business: tbh, you should have been started a side hustle but if you just hung out and ate lobster (I did, too, so no judgement and I also developed a crab leg addiction to kick) then try to make something out of the discarded shells. Maybe you can recycle the wine and liquor bottles you have around the house. Sell some of the clothes you can’t fit anymore. Give lessons! I paid $150 for some guy to come help me learn to ride a bike and I’m waiting for swimming classes to open up. I took a zoom dance class (never again, I felt like she was looking around my apartment and it freaked me out). If you have knowledge, charge other people to learn it from you. I invested money in crafting supplies and spend hours making soap, paper and cement soap dishes. This is in addition to selling new, used, vintage and upcycled items on various retail platforms. Make a list of things that you think you’d be happy doing, google about how to do those things and then do them. Try. Then try again. Then try some more.
It’s been a crazy year, and since we’re about to have another election, the crazy is only going to get ratcheted up (at least on twitter where it’s a trash fire free for all) just remember that no matter who wins you still have bills to pay, kids to raise, food to forage for. Regardless of what your political preference (I am and have always been a republican) you are going to be on the hook for credit card debt and utilitities no matter how much you protested and marched and instagrammed for justice. Wake up right now. Winter is coming and you need to get it together. Stop bullshitting yourself.
Until next time,