Ballin’ on a Budget

By: Ali Benz

If you need budget advice, you’ve come to the right place. Not trying to brag or anything but I saved twelve dollars last week by switching to Geico. Just kidding, by practicing some self-control and discipline. For example, I decided to be a peasant and go to Dunkin’ instead of Starbucks. It was absolutely awful but I’m way richer now.

There are subtle ways to save money, you just have to get occasionally uncomfortable. Sacrifice where it makes sense. The other day I took an Uber pool downtown to cut the price in half. I realize this is the worst-case scenario considering the last thing anyone wants is social contact in a random car-pool. I wouldn’t even want to car-pool with James Corden. It makes me uncomfortable that he’d do karaoke sober. We can’t trust him. Anyway, it was a blessing that my driver spoke literally zero English. So far so good. Then, we picked up two girls from Murray Hill and do I really have to say more on that? If I wanted to be surrounded by Bud Light and Uggs I would’ve just went to Brother Jimmy’s. It’s cool though because I saved ten bucks on that ride and no one asked me to donate to their basketball team.

With all the cash saved on rideshare, you might be thinking you deserve to eat out. Relax P. Diddy, it doesn’t work like that. You don’t need to spend fifteen dollars on a bagel. There are better ways, like making your lunch order less dramatic. You can actually go somewhere like Chipotle and get a decent meal for under ten bucks, and even make it vegan or gluten-free if you’re into that sort of thing. Yes, I know guac is extra. I’d say you could pack a lunch but there’s nothing cringier than Tupperware in the office. That might be a personal phobia, but whatever. And let’s be honest, no one actually meal preps. Separating your leftover Bolognese into seventeen containers does not count as “prep”. You’re more of a hoarder.

In addition to food, people tend to spend ridiculous amounts of money on coffee. I think I spend fifty dollars a week on oat milk lattes and I don’t know wtf they are or why. I just do it without even thinking. Who even knows how to milk an oat. My suggestion is to leave whatever weird milk substitute you like in the fridge and then just buy an iced coffee. Sure, it’s going to look ghetto af but that should save you about a dollar per cold brew and by the end you can probably afford that fancy croissant you always hesitate to add but don’t because you just spent seventeen dollars on a latte with a foam heart in it made by a sexually ambiguous barista named Miguel.

Aside from the bombardment of street vendors, everyone is a huge victim of technology. Sometimes you need to delete all your apps. It’s way too easy to order literally anything. Take it from me: a recovering Amazon addict. There’s nothing I won’t prime. Also, definitely get rid of all food ordering apps. Immediate. If I had a dollar for every time I order Shake Shack on my way home from the bar, I’d have enough dollars to keep doing it.

Also, cancel subscriptions that you don’t need. I was once so desperate to watch Frozen I subscribed to Starz. Literally have no idea who uses Starz but apparently I did for four months. Control, Alt, Delete. You also don’t need every membership. It’s not that serious. I’ve been trying to remove myself from Massage Envy for years but I like their cucumber water. I think it would be more practical to buy massages as needed. Not to mention I leave there nine out of ten times feeling violated. I don’t get why they always tell you to drink a ton of water after the session, like why don’t you drink water? You’re the one that just worked for an hour. All I did was lay there wondering if these people are certified.

There are many little tips and tricks to save here and there. It just takes a little planning and self-restraint. Maybe you have to be obnoxious and ride a Citi bike. Maybe you have to suck it up and go on a Hinge date with a guy named “Seb”. Who knows. Just keep your confidence at a Lizzo and your bank account at a Gatsby. If anyone bothers you send them a Venmo request. Only donate to the homeless that have ~good vibes~. You can be in control of your finances.

In the words of Kylie Jenner, “Rise and Shine”, because you are now ballin’ on a budget thanks to my five-step plan. See you at Dunkin’ happy hour from 2-6 every day and on the 2 train that runs express except late night when it runs locally in Manhattan. Tragic.

Stop Selling Me Things

By: Ali Benz

Has anyone ever had to Venmo a homeless person? I have. Not having cash is no longer an adequate excuse. The ease of sending money makes everything super awkward, like when I have to donate to a cause on Facebook for a birthday every other day so I can sleep at night. Between Paypal, Zelle, and online shopping there are no limits.  You can literally sell anything. Whether it’s a product, an idea, or an app—someone’s buying. People want the next best thing even if it’s dumb af. You can literally put your trash on Etsy and call it a “Vintage Dream-Catcher” then suddenly some weirdo in Colorado is paying your rent.

I know everyone has seen those stupid Scooters around town for people who can’t afford Uber. That’s already pretty f*cking weird, but now I’m seeing pogo-sticks. You can hop your ass to work now. I was a professional pogo-sticker back in ‘02, but best believe you won’t catch me on one of those today. Pogos are absolutely not a method of transportation and make literally no sense. Imagine if you didn’t have the right backpack on—or bra. I’m so disturbed. Please, no more bouncing. Bring back Heely’s.

If you commute to work like a normal person, you probably need a decent night’s rest. Everyone has insomnia these days because it’s like, “in”. Super irritating considering I haven’t been able to sleep for years but now everybody wants to talk about it. Luckily, people capitalize on trends immediately and sell weird products on the internet to my mom. First, it was CBD oil. Now, it’s f*cking lavender? What? I told my mother I couldn’t sleep and she sent me a jar of lavender to lather myself in. It never put me to sleep but I do smell like a f*cking candle. Usually when I can’t go to bed my friends give me five melatonin and a Benadryl and hope I STFU. It doesn’t work either but at least I don’t turn into a plant.

Speaking of transforming, can everyone please stop downloading the FaceApp? Why are you so obsessed with posting pics of yourselves as old people? Your day will come. I legit never once wondered what any of my friends would look like at age eighty. Also, I don’t get why celebs insist on aging themselves in the app, too? No one cares what you look like Ludacris—I didn’t even know you weren’t that old. Please be more relevant. And seriously, Jonas Brothers? Why’d you do Kevin dirty like that?! He was already the least interesting to look at then they went and gave just him one of those creepy skin tags. Tragic.

When the internet isn’t targeting face-tuners, they pray on the over-weight. Forever 21 sent Atkins bars with plus-size orders as part of a master marketing plan that certainly wouldn’t be offensive. What do these people think, their XL customers will be flattered to receive subpar diet bars with their jeggings? That they’ll start buying Atkins products because the most disorganized clothing company in the world suggested it? Taking diet advice from a Forever 21 is like taking dating advice from Tiger Woods: It just doesn’t work.

Unfortunately, the FBI agents in our phones will continue to stalk us and bombard us with ads for exactly what we want. You can’t escape it. Instagram will target you. Amazon will find you. Don’t drink and Prime. You might just end up with two pashminas in the middle of July.

WTF is Galentine’s Day

By: Ali Benz

I know everyone’s February 15th tradition is buying V-day candy on sale, but mine is usually apologizing to whoever took me out the night before. This holiday really escalates quickly. I didn’t mean to scream at that kid for taking me out on a Groupon date. I guess I just expected more from someone I’ve met once.

Why is it so crucial to have a boyfriend by the second month of the year? We literally spend all of December blacking out followed by an awkwardly sober January. How the f*ck can I develop a relationship when the months are so unstable? I doubt whoever liked me during my December bender was still there for me in my new year sobriety. I mean, come on, that’s literally two different people we’re working with. What is this, Split?

Then we have everyone and their mother posting about ‘Galentine’s Day’ like, can you not? Every day is G-day, b*tch. If you need to create a fake holiday out of an already fake holiday to black-out on CVS wine then you probably need better friends. Mine drown themselves in Barefoot Moscato and cry at least twice a week no matter what. Keep up.

And don’t get me started on flowers. What an insensitive gift. What am I, a f*cking bee? I’ll pass. Get me something I can cherish, like an Amazon gift card. It’s really not that hard. If you want to be my Valentine, get me a Valentino. It’s literally spelled out for you. Roses are cute and all but I can’t even eat them for f*ck sake. What’s the use?

This dramatic-ass holiday is also super awk for new relationships. You suddenly have a deadline to DTR. You’re either proposing or ghosting. There’s no in between. If you take your bae out, you’re saying it’s the real deal. Facebook official by the morning. If your boo-thang doesn’t make plans with you, it’s safe to assume you’re a classic side-piece. Ain’t nobody putting a ring on it. Sorry but it’s true. Get out of that one. We don’t do last calls.

Unrelated to love and all the BS on the 14th, this day really screws with my social calendar. This guy invited me to a BTS concert on Thursday. Then, when he realized what day it was, he told me the show was canceled. Relax buddy, no one’s trying to get with you, I just enjoy some good K-pop. Get over yourself. Safe to say all plans were canceled and rescheduled for…. literally any other day. Tragic.

Luckily, it’s all over now. Broken hearts everywhere and romantic Tinder rebounds galore. What a time to be alive. At least we have the remainder of Black History Month. And isn’t it Spring soon or something? What was good with that groundhog? Was he seeing shadows or nah? Either way, I’m getting out of town. Catch flights, not feelings. Peace.

The Most Dramatic Season Ever

By: Ali Benz

The blog is back by popular demand. Shout-out to my three (sometimes four) super-fans that keep me grounded. Has the fame changed me? Yeah, a little bit, but getting six likes/comments from followers in Argentina will do that to a girl. You wouldn’t get it. Anyway, this is a holiday blog (I just decided) so get festive b*tchez.

How do I feel about Hanukkah, you (no one) asked? Hanukkah is super dramatic. Eight days? Why? Relax big fella we could wrap this whole thing up in one but you need a week and a day. I know I’m kind of a hypocrite because I’ve been celebrating my birthday since July, but that holiday revolves solely around me so it’s like way less stressful.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m down to get as lit as the menorah and gamble my Bat-Mitzvah savings away on the dreidel, but this year I just wasn’t ready. Why did Hanukkah have to make a dramatic entrance on December 2nd? I legit still have stuffing in my fridge and a few more costume parties to attend. Welcome to Halloweentown. That might be a personal issue, but seriously who doesn’t enjoy a nice Christmas/Hanukkah collab? Now all I can do is hope one of my random Catholic friends invites me to their ham dinner or whatever. I don’t want to spend the afternoon with that mall Santa again— Although he does have some dank weed.

I don’t smoke, but that man must be high as a chimney to jump down…. all those chimneys? Sorry, I’m Jewish I don’t know how these things work. I have Amazon Prime though so I’m not too worried. I can order six Kylie Lip Kits and have them here by Friday without feeling obligated to prepare a midnight snack for the delivery guy. My house is gluten and dairy-free anyway so that thicc St. Nick probably wouldn’t even enjoy my spread. Tragic.

Also, we need to talk about gift etiquette. Wrapping paper and holiday cards are extremely dramatic. Eight dollars for a sparkly card with some BS haiku about winter? Thank u, next. You can miss me with that one. That’s why I have mad respect for my grandma. Homegirl wraps our presents in tin foil, throws down some fire lyrics on scrap paper, and calls it a day. Now that’s what I call Christmas: Volume 4.

The only one who hustles harder is Mr. Claus himself. He literally works one night a year and has “travel blogger” in his bio, right after ~wanderlust~. The man is clearly a trust fund baby with the work ethic of a millennial. How old is he anyway? I wouldn’t be surprised if big Nick was giving out promo codes for Fit Tea. After all, he did tell me he lives in the North Pole but summers in the Hamptons. At least his sleigh is cleaner and greener than the Jitney, but would it kill him to throw down on a table at Gurney’s once in a while?

I know I sound like the Grinch or something, but I’m not. TBH I love this sh*t. I’m wearing a Santa hat and pounding Manischewitz as we speak. I’ve been listening to the Justin Bieber Christmas album since November and I’m not apologizing for it. The truth is, holidays are overwhelming. Your family is insane and you have to see your weird uncle but it’s all good ‘cause, like, presents. Duh. So, go ahead, send that annoying holiday postcard that your mom signs ‘Love, the Bennett’s & Boe!’ as if your dog was the mastermind behind the photo and not a victim to your dramatic tradition. Buy your boring co-worker that stupid snow globe for secret Santa. Hook-up with your Rabbi’s first-born son. Get it all in while you can, because come January, we’re starting all over again and what a disaster that will be. Happy holidays!