Disposable Income Alternatives for the Newly Poor 


Now that you're unemployed, you can't blithely drop $10 at the bodega on seltzer and batteries like you used to. You can't even pay the check at a restaurant! So when your id or your still-employed friends suggest that you do any of the following things, we've included helpful cheap-to-free alternatives that will also teach you and others a valuable lesson about the value of a dollar.

Eat Food in a Restaurant
Wealthy people have servants; people with jobs have "waiters." You don't have either of those, and you won't for a while, so you'll have to learn to cook for yourself. Forget that oven you have to light with a match in your illegally zoned apartment and try out the BBQ areas in Prospect Park, which include built-in charcoal grills! (See the helpful interactive map on the park's website, and try throwing your garbage away in a garbage can unlike everyone else who visits the park on the weekend.)

Stop by Whole Foods After Work
Remember when you could buy all your groceries at Whole Foods? And you could nab little impulse buys like organic marshmallows? Those days are over, pal! Clip some coupons and head to a Pathmark or an Associated and take advantage of the sales. You might even try the Fairway in Red Hook, which is surprisingly affordable, for certain items anyway. (Avoid the no-sugar-added craisins, obvs.) Also, did you know that, contrary to popular belief, bodegas often stock cheap essentials like beans for a few dimes less than your local supermarket? Don't discount a little dumpster hunting, either&emdash;our very own Conscientious Objector recently discovered a dozen loaves of organic bread in the garbage. Lastly, there's that whole "teach a man to fish" thing: plenty of people survive off scaled swimmers angled in the waters surrounding the five boroughs. Take the Q to Sheepshead Bay and give it a go.

...And Then Make a Quick Stop at the Liquor Store
We get it; the urge to drown your sorrows in alcohol is even stronger now than when you first left college. And yet, your checking account has so little dinero to fund your quickly escalating B&J addiction. Therefore, we suggest brewing your own beer and not sharing with friends. Though a basic starter kit from NorthernBrewer.com will set you back $75, you gotta spend money to make money get drunk: the six gallons of beer that you can brew over and over again for the cost of about ten bottles of Brooklyn Lager will pay for itself in a few months. You know you're going to be out of work for way longer than that. You might also try keeping a jeroboam of Carlo Rossi in the fridge&emdash;a four-liter jug is almost twice the size of a six-pack, only a few dollars more, and almost twice the alcohol percentage!

Go to a Bar
What are you paying for at a bar? The "ambience"? Get real! Grab a six-pack from the bodega (after some price-comparisons to figure out which store sells Rolling Rock at non-imported prices) and drink it outside. It's warm out! Of course, the last thing you need is a costly open container ticket&emdash;although if the judge lets you off with a warning, at least it'll give you something to do during the day&emdash;but there are lots of places the cops don't usually patrol with their summons-books at the ready. Our favorite is Brooklyn's Veterans Memorial Pier, where you can paperbag it with the nocturnal fishermen. (Maybe even catch breakfast while you're there?) Squint hard enough through your tears and you can see Lower Manhattan around the bend.


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