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.

Your Smartphone is a Narc

By: Ali Benz

I’ve never used a dating app before. It’s not that I’m against it, it’s just that my sister was cat-fished by a man with adult braces and I’m traumatized. The digital age is creepy.

After losing my phone in the Brooklyn Mirage, a place to go to when you want to leave Manhattan just to see a bunch of people from Manhattan, I realized just how useless people are sans mobile. You can’t split an Uber, postmate a churro, text your mom that you’re alive, pretend to venmo someone, cat-fish my siblings, nothing!

But, don’t be mistaken. These apps are not your friends. They are narcs and Snapchat is Public Enemy No. 1. Sure, you can try to sneak around with that guy you swore you were over, but Snapchat will literally expose you on a map—because this app was clearly built on the premise of love and trust and their mission statement definitely wasn’t “Send Nudes.” Right. You can say it’s a glitch, but your Bitmojis are literally laying together half-naked on a towel. Evan Spiegel is a savage.

Location services are sketchy AF. I don’t get why my ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app needs to be stalking me 24/7, but, also, I don’t know why I have a ‘Spanish Word of the Day’ app. I do, however, understand how tracking is necessary for ride-share services. How else would I send my broke ex home in an Uber pool? Tragic.

The only downloads I want on my phone are my Starbucks app, since it’s linked to my dad’s credit card, and my UV app, so I don’t waste time outside if the rays are weak AF. I might just follow in my grandma’s footsteps and revive the old LG flip. I don’t know what kind of secret operations she’s running out of Boca Raton, Florida, but as long as I keep getting eighty dollars cash in a singing card on my birthday, we’re good.