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.

You Can Work From Home

By: Ali Benz

‘Twas a Wednesday evening when Fifth Harmony’s jam, ‘Work From Home’, grazed my ears and changed my life. I heard the inspiring tune on my lunch break and immediately knew what I had to do. I would work from home. A few hours later, I got a call from my boss. Turns out: We can’t work from home.

It’s not Camila Cabello’s fault. If Fifth Harmony puts out a motivational banger, it’s going to be received. I realized I didn’t like my job, and ‘home’ was a metaphor for where the heart is. That’s what I needed to do–Work from ‘home’. You may be thinking, “wtf is she talking about? Isn’t that song about sex on a weekday?” And to all you ignorant folks, it is my duty to teach you the message they failed to get across.

You can work from home. I left my job that day. Not to sit around watching ‘90 Day Fiancé with my cat, but to figure out what I would love to be doing. It’s not that easy, given the only things I enjoy are sloth videos and happy hour. I’m still figuring it out, but everybody moves at their own pace. You don’t have to stay at a sh*tty job just so you can put “financial advisor” in your Hinge bio. I just “advised” my friend to buy a bottle of rosé rather than a glass because that would be fiscally irresponsible. Boom. Financial advisor.

Don’t feel pressured by the people around you. Some of my friends are getting engaged, while others are just trying to find a Juul pod.  It’s called balance. Everybody gets divorced anyway, so don’t rush into a relationship because you think you’re supposed to. Unless it’s Jeff Bezos. Marry Jeff Bezos. Boom. Billionaire.

Love what you do and the rest will follow. If you put all your value in a partner, you will never be happy. Just look at Ron from Jersey Shore. That smol guido has never found peace. His focus is on toxic relationships rather than personal growth. If Ron channeled his energy into his passion for Ed Hardy T-shirts and faux-hawks, he would find himself in a better, tanner place. Don’t be like Rahn. Boom. Roasted.

It’s also ok to take a break and live at home. Moving in with your parents doesn’t have to be all basements and video games. Taking time to regroup and save up can be empowering. If you can get over the stigma, you may find yourself in a more positive space and able to reset. You are not a failure. It’s easier to pursue your goals surrounded by more support and less stress. Your life doesn’t become Grand Theft Auto and Domino’s pizza with your hometown drug-dealer. Though it does sound nice. It can mean relief of financial burden, self-reflection, and free groceries. Not tragic.

Kim Kardashian-West is a great example of someone who took their time. She “accidentally” made a sex tape, became a stylist, model, amazing actress, etc., but it wasn’t until she moved back in with Kris Jenner that she was able to figure it all out. In 2016, Kim returned home, the same year Fifth Harmony released ‘Work From Home’. Coincidence? I think not. Now, Kardashian-West is studying for the bar exam and becoming the lawyer she was destined to be. You. Can. Work. From. Home.