How To Look Like A Baller On A Budget

Parks and Recreation: Season 3
Parks and Recreation: Season 3

How many times have you heard someone say, “Youth is wasted on the young”? I don’t think wasted is the problem. The problem is everything fun is expensive as hell.

I’m in my 20s and working multiple jobs, trying to pay off student loans and every other cost life throws my way. You might think this means a whole lot of staying in to save money, but that’s BORING. Nobody wants to stay in when there’s going out to be done. So here are a few tips to live and look like a baller without emptying your bank account.

Pre-game is key

Since moving to LA, I’ve realized that no one meets for coffee like they do in the Midwest — here, they meet for drinks. This means if you want to socialize with two or three different friends, you might have to go out two or three times a week… and sometimes the weekend. Alcohol just happens to play a big part in my social life. Meeting a friend for a drink subsequently leads to five, and next thing you know, your UberX is driving you through Taco Bell at 3am. $75 later and you’re poor as ever. Going out can do serious damage to your wallet. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go out, this just means you should pre-game. You can get a bottle of wine at Trader Joe’s for $2.50. Meaning, you can get drunk for $2.50. Should I say that again? You can get drunk for $2.50. If you show up to a bar toasted, there’s really no reason to buy more than one drink. So, next time someone invites you out for drinks show up a little… you know. Friendly. No judgment here.

Always bring cash

I have a tendency to get buzzed and become the most generous person at the bar. SHOTS ON ME! I’m all about living in the moment, but there’s nothing scarier than waking up the next morning, logging into your checking account, and seeing that you’re oh-so-close to a big fat 0, especially when you’re already hungover. If you just bring cash then you can’t even be tempted to be a true baller.

Never say, “I’m broke”


Everybody’s got a friend that you invite to dinner and they’re “too broke” to go out. Literally, the most annoying thing I’ve ever heard. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. If you’re in your 20s, chances are you’ve been too poor to go to a super fancy dinner, but find an appetizer salad and tell your friends you ate earlier. This will make you look healthy, plus you only have to spend like $7. And not to bring up alcohol again, but if you only eat a salad for dinner you’ll get drunk way faster…just saying.

Make identical friends

There’s nothing more embarrassing than being tagged in the same outfit on Facebook and Instagram multiple times. When you’re trying to pay all your bills on time, you don’t necessarily have money to splurge on new clothes. How do you solve this one? Make an Identical Friend. If you know someone who’s the same size as you, you can totally swap shoes, pants, shirts etc… You always look fresh and you’re doing it for free. One of my closest friends just happens to dress really well. So, whenever I have an event to go to, I usually stop by his place to switch up my outfit… FOR FREE.

When in doubt, charge it

I realize this is contradictory to most of the other points, but nobody wants to miss out on something just because they can’t afford it. Some of the most fun things in life are expensive, but the memories you aim to reap are priceless. When things are really important and worth your time, instead of saying no, I say take that AmEx out of your freezer, let it thaw, and charge it (yes, I may or may not have to physically freeze my credit cards to stop my spending habits)! Do this within reason, and don’t rack up an insane amount of debt. But at the end of the day, my grandma once told me, “It’s not gonna say on your grave how much you owe.” Well said, Grandma, well said. TC mark

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