Monday, April 13, 2009

Poor People's Guide to the Recession Part I

We here at PPLP have felt the recession just like everyone else. Some of us are unemployed, and the rest still hate our jobs. People are risking career changes and cross country moves to stay ahead. But is all that really necessary, especially when you already live below the poverty line? A couple more tweaks and you’ll be able to once again live like a queen on the salary of a part time assistant (crack whore/crossing guard). No severance package? No problem!

Over the next few weeks/months/years, we will be looking at how us poor people can cut back on expenses even further than we already are and survive the battle against the, recession.

Sell your stuff: There's plenty of businesses that haven't closed down and will buy back your things for half price. Get rid of those books that clutter up your home on Amazon, have people bid on your grandmother's brooch on eBay, and sell that old gold you never wear at Cash4Gold. And then there's Craigslist. What did we do before good old Craig came along? You can put anything from the kitchen table to yourself on this site and it will sell! So if you're having some money problems, the first thing to do is get rid of everything your roommate didn't staple down.

Become your own handyman: There are a lot of small tasks that we have become accustomed to outsourcing. Dry cleaning, tailoring, oil changes, house painting - just to name a few. Now is the time to learn to address these challenges yourself. Do you need a plumber to snake your drain, or a licensed technician to address your ant infestation? No! You have rubber gloves and wikiHow ($1.99 and free).

Become a Freegan: With the recession still raging on all over the country there seems to be only one clear choice: Freeganism. This philosophy was being followed by millions of homeless people before yuppies ever came up with a word for it. Now that we all seem to be on the cusp of unemployment, Freeganism is the next religion. Don't feel guilty if you have to dumpster dive for your next meal, squat in the nearest crack house in Brooklyn, or simply hitchhike out of town when the Dow plummets again. Thousands are doing it, so why shouldn't you? Remember, it's an alternative lifestyle for an alternative world.

Don't eat: Pre-recession, eating was considering a necessity of life. Now-a-days, eating 2-3 balanced meals a day is a lavish luxury that only employed, upper middle class citizens should enjoy. Imagine how much less stressful the last week of the month would be if you didn't eat! I've already spent $10 eating today and it's not even 2pm. This is clearly a waste of money. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, poor people spend 12% of their yearly budget on food. So, if this is your 4th job on an entry level salary (let's say 40k - LOLz), you can expect to spend $4,800 a year on cup-a-noodles and Joe's Pizza. Not eating could generate 2 1/2 months rent at that 2nd floor walk-up in Crown Heights, or possibly erase 1/4 of your mounting credit card debt.

Steal: It's a well known fact that stealing is OK when you are doing it to save money. That's why it's especially OK during an economic recession. Now, we are certainly not advocating skipping out on checks in restaurants (what are you doing eating anyway?) or walking out of Target with a new pair of shoes on and leaving your worn out 3 year old vans in the store (what are you doing shopping anyway?). What we do advocate is using someone else's internet connection from your laptop, getting your movies from The Pirate Bay, hooking up a hot box for your cable channels, and the occasional loot.

Stay tuned for more tips on surviving these tough economic times from your friends at Poor People Like Pizza.

-Team PPLP

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