1. Stretching an absurdly small amount, like $20, for a brutal week or so until your next payday arrives. The paycheck-to-paycheck life is never a relaxing one, but it’s always interesting.
2. The name of the only girl blowing up your phone is Sallie Mae.
3. Severely burning your tongue because you’re so hungry, you just couldn’t wait for that Ramen/Cup-O-Noodles to cool off.
4. Craftily scheduling dinners and outings with friends to take place during happy hours.
5. You channel your inner Rain Man, having your mind serve as a super efficient calculator that keeps track of everything spent, as you inch closer to the horrifying overdraft zone. Okay, I got a beer – that’s $3 plus a tip. The wings were $5 and fries are $2… Despite tax or tips, I should be covered by the $17.32 in my bank account… I have $17.32 to my name, why am I even eating out right now?
6. Learning the hard way what products’ off brands are useable, and which are completely sh-tty.
7. Having a prepackaged excuse prepared in the event that your bank card is declined. Oh, my bank sent me a new debit card and I forgot to activate it, so… yeah, I’m just going to leave these groceries here and go sort that out…
8. Wanting to watch an embarrassing movie or television show, but being afraid of it showing up in the “Recently Viewed” of whoever’s Netflix you’re bumming off of.
9. You’ve acquired a fairly large stash of miniature shampoos, conditioners and soap bars from every hotel you’ve visited within the past year or two.
10. After watching an episode of Extreme Couponing, you momentarily consider becoming a couponer yourself – until you realize you have no need for 50 bottles of mustard.
11. Flashing the stink-eye at that person who is always able to hang out and buy stuff, yet never has or holds a job. WHERE DO YOUR ENDLESS FUNDS COME FROM??? I WANT TO GO TO THERE.
12. Wearing a hoodie and sunglasses to make an incognito trip to the Coinstar machine.
13. Having people think that you’re not spontaneous, but in actuality you’re simply unable to fund any type of adventure that you didn’t have adequate time to prepare for financially.
14. Target has become this scary place that you’re literally afraid to shop at because you’re not certain you can control your spending habits there.
15. You inevitably fall victim to Target’s mystifying ways, spending entirely too much money. It feels like being swindled, and you’d like to speak to a police investigator who will ask you empathetically to point out where on the debit card it was that Target violated you. Right here detective, they made me swipe it right here, all the way across. Then they taunted me, asking questions like “Cash Back?”
16. Seeing movies matinee, because the tickets are significantly cheaper.
17. Lying about being a student to take advantage of the discount.
18. Being well aware of which fast food joints serve what options on their dollar menus.
19. You’ve never seen your car’s gas tank on ‘FULL’ — hell, you’ve probably never seen it at 3/4s. Your car stays thirsty, getting no more than $15 worth of fuel at a time.
20. You’re happy to have a day off from work, but you’re also like, “Hmm, I could probably pick up a shift and make some extra money.”
21. Lottery tickets and scratchers are a glimmer of hope that turns into financial regret when you realize that you’ve won nothing, and lost a few bucks that could’ve been spent on something more edible.
22. You shudder to think that there may come a day where bill collectors can text you about your outstanding debt.
23. Paying for sh-t with handfuls of loose change.
24. Chopping up your own hair to avoid paying a barber – then saving an additional amount of moolah because you can’t find any boys/girls to date you and your atrocious updo.
25. Taking pride in paying your own rent, your bills and buying groceries, but knowing deep down that you honestly wouldn’t mind living at home with the parentals again — and actually having the opportunity to save some money.
26. You’ve drank out of plenty of undersized, clear, water cups to avoid to the cost of a fountain drink… (If you’re feeling risqué, you’ll fill that sumbitch with Sprite/Sierra Mist.
27. You attentively watch episodes or House and ER, or Google your symptoms to self-diagnose because you simply can’t afford the cost of an actual doctor.
28. When a product you love, but normally can’t afford goes on sale, you buy ALL OF IT.
29. Warranty?! LOL, I just paid hundreds of dollars on this cell phone/laptop/iPod/etc. — why would I want to spend an additional chunk of cash when I could just not drop or spill stuff on it? (Cut to two months later when you spill Ramen water on your iPhone and realize, ohhhh, that’s why)
30. Ketchup packets, BBQ, ranch, Taco Bell hot sauce, napkins — you’ve taken advantage of everything given for free at fast food joints and don’t intend on paying for condiments or napkins. Ever.