1. Work a full-time job, two part-time jobs, have a freelance business, and several standing gigs that you pick up when rent’s due. Work a combined total of 80+ hours a week.
2. Really. Work a lot. Don’t sleep.
3. Live uptown.
4. No, higher uptown.
5. Have you tried Queens?
6. Do your grocery shopping uptown because they sell avocados for 70 cents each!… Wait. Forget that. You don’t know where they sell cheap avocados. You never knew where they sell cheap avocados. Leave my cheap avocados alone.
7. Make a budget for everything. Include your food, your transportation, your shampoo, and your morning coffee.
8. Forget the words “latte,” “cappuccino,” “frappumacaramelwhatthehell” were ever invented. Save approximately $1.50 per cup of all-black everything.
9. Talk your boss into providing the office with unlimited complimentary coffee.
10. Don’t get cable. Use your parents’ HBOgo account instead. They have Glitter on there. And Chronicles of Riddick. I mean, really, what more could you need?
11. Actually learn how to make a bag of chips last for all recommended serving sizes. Also see: cookies; cereal; jars of almond butter, salsa, etc.
12. Give ramen a second chance.
13. Justify any and all big purchases by quality and usefulness. Is there an extended warranty available? Buy it. Will you wear those pants at least once a week? Are they really well-made? If something happens to them, can you exchange them a year and a half down the line without any questions? (Pro tip: such a magical place exists. Its name is Lululemon.)
14. Chances are, that hole in the wall sushi joint around the corner from your apartment has better food, service, and prices than Sushi Samba.
15. Drink less.
16. When you do drink, coerce other people into buying your drinks for you.
17. Drink at home.
18. Frozen vegetables are your friends.
19. Say no to the pastry case.
20. Bring lunch to work.
21. Bring snacks to work.
22. Cook dinner at home.
23. Make enough food to last all week, so that when you’re busy or tired, all you have to do is reheat something. Besides, you won’t waste ingredients if you’re only cooking for one.
24. Never take cabs. Forget cabs exist. Forget that the color yellow is a thing cars can be.
25. Make a mental list of which friends have which discounts for which stores.
26. Barter for stuff.
27. Know when you need to ask your parents for help, and if you do, always remember how lucky you are that they’re willing and able to help you chase your dreams. Not everyone is so lucky. Few people are so lucky. Never, ever take that cushion for granted. Sometimes, your gratitude will make the difference between feeling like everything is hopeless and remembering that there is an inherent difference between being broke and being poor.
28. Turn tricks on the street. (Please don’t do that. Medical bills for STDs are expensive and lol, like you can afford health insurance deductibles in this economy. Let’s be preventative, people.)