Time is money, and I have neither

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I really go too hard when listening to 7 Rings by Ariana Grande for someone who cannot afford most things.

My life as an ~adult~ has been in full swing for almost two months now, and I’ve been forced to realize the true value of time. As someone who in undergrad had a ripe total of five hours of class a week, going to a regular work schedule (and also trying to cook at home, go to the gym, maintain a social life, enrich myself by reading critically-acclaimed literature and watching documentaries, and generally maintaining a holistic, good life) has been hard. I am starved for time.

Multiply that by my severe lack of funds and, sugar, we are going down swinging.

I’ve become increasingly savvy with my $$$$ and time, as one does when they don’t have much to be savvy with, and I’ve come up with some ways to save on each one.

However, the Internet is saturated with listicles on how to save time and money, with useful, wholesome tips like meal-prepping, list-making, developing a monthly savings plan, etc. I’m not here to divulge information that a quick Google search could tell you. Instead, I’m going to drop the most original (and perhaps borderline insane) things I’ve done to stretch a couple bucks and save some minutes.

HOW TO SAVE TIME

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Can’t believe this movie never won an Oscar.

Okay, so I lied in the title: time is not money. You can’t store time you think you shouldn’t use just to keep it for later. “Saving” time is a hilariously impossible notion, and people who say it generally just mean they’ve found a way to do a task more quickly or just refocused their attention on something that matters more to them.

That means using time is a relative concept, and very difficult to prescribe solutions for its saving; therefore, I’m going to offer a universal tip, and give a couple examples on how to do it.

Any task can take just about any amount of time you want it to (if you believe in yourself). The degree of how well it’s performed is really just the difference. I’ve mentally developed three-five different ways to do just about everything in my life, depending on how much time I have.

For example, here is how I can do my morning routine, depending on how much time I have left after irresponsibly snoozing my alarm multiple times, systematically cutting steps as needed:

1h 30 min:

  1. Wake up (refreshed)
  2. Scroll through social media
  3. Wash face, moisturize, brush teeth
  4. Get dressed in something ~trendy~ and ~cute~
  5. Do my hair (either curl or straighten)
  6. Do a full face of makeup
  7. Put on jewelry and watch
  8. Organize tote bag
  9. Pack gym clothes
  10. Pack lunch, carefully curating a balance of healthy snacks and a nutritious, protein-dense meal
  11. Eat breakfast while scrolling through the news
  12. Leave home

30 min:

  1. Wake up (with minor panic)
  2. Wash face, moisturize, brush teeth
  3. Get dressed
  4. Hair in neat bun
  5. Do my makeup, but maybe cut out eyeliner
  6. Organize tote bag
  7. Pack lunch
  8. Leave home

5 min:

  1. Wake up (with a lot of panic)
  2. Brush teeth
  3. Dressed; outfit may not match
  4. Concealer for dark circles
  5. Leave home

The crazy thing is that the end effect isn’t even that different between all of these three. And the same can be said for a lot of things (i.e. what’s really the difference between a salad with fresh avocado and toasted almonds vs. a bowl of spring mix with some dressing?).

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I practice what I preach.

 

HOW TO SAVE MONEY

This tip is for the truly desperate. For the lowest of low moments. I’m sad to say that I have done this more times than I am proud of. In order to preface, this tip does not technically save money. It just makes it more usable.

Disclaimer: this tactic is for Canadians only. Americans, get better money!!!!

STEP ONE: if you’re anything like me, you have a bunch of useless change. I’m talking nickels and dimes. The kind of change you slowly collect but never use because when would you ever use nickels and dimes?  These coins only exist for the 1/85 chance you have the exact right amount of change. You’re never going to go to pay for something and think, I should throw this handful of metal at this tired, underpaid service worker.

Actually, one time I paid for coat check by giving the girl a ziploc full of $3 worth of dimes and nickels and I am deeply ashamed of that moment. Dear coat check girl, I am sincerely sorry.

STEP TWO: Collect all the rogue coins you own, and count them out. Make sure your coin count rounds up to a full dollar amount (preferably an even dollar amount).

STEP THREE: Scope out a vending machine. Preferably one in a secluded area so no one can watch you do this. Try a low-traffic hallway.

STEP FOUR: There are actually multiple ways to do this. I made an alignment chart so you can decide what approach fits your personal energy:

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I personally align with chaotic evil.

To elaborate, you’re going to slide that useless change into the vending machine until you reach the $1.00 point. Then you’re going to hit the return coin button on that bad boy, and if this is a ~good machine~ it will spit a loonie out at you. If it’s a bad machine, it will either a) eat your money, which means you just have to commit and make a purchase, or b) spit your gross, garbage change back at you. If this is the case, keep testing machines until you find a good one.

Once you’ve found that good machine, load it up with trash change until you reach the $2.00 point, and then hit the coin return. A toonie — a useable piece of change — will come at you.

Bing bang boom PROFIT. You’re welcome.

 

If you’ve made it this far, I truly applaud you. Thank you. As a reward, here are some actual things I’ve done to save some money/time:

1. I learned how to do my own eyebrows, which means I no longer have to deal with a) booking eyebrow appointments and driving there and b) paying for it. Are my eyebrows ever perfect? No. Do I always look a little busted? Yes. Do I care about either of these things? Not even slightly.

2. I only get my hair cut once a year. Granted, I have hair that doesn’t split easily, and I don’t dye it, so I don’t have to go in for touch ups. Every year in the fall, I go snip off about 6-10 inches; this is a double-win because I only spend about $60 annually on hair care, AND I get to donate the locks.

3. I prepare food based on the limiting agent. I don’t meal prep in the “common” way, where I make three to five meals worth of food and segment them into specific meal containers. While this works for many people, I find that I get bored of eating the exact same thing for a whole week, it takes a long time to prepare that amount of food at once, and I also don’t own enough tupperware for this method.

Instead I cook enough of the one food that takes the longest (i.e. wild rice) to last a full week, and then prepare the rest of the food in 10-15 minutes on a day-to-day basis (i.e. cutting up the veggies and making the dressing for a salad).

4. I plan and order what my next item purchases will be. For example, the next three items I buy are going to be loafers, a new pair of workout leggings, and a table lamp (in that order). Planning prevents me from impulse buying items I don’t really need and lets me focus money spending on specific goals.

 

Living in a culture where everyone seems to be spending their time doing exciting things (i.e. going on spring break trips, spontaneously flying to Paris) and owning luxurious things, it’s easy to feel a inadequate with my lack of funds and time. As much as I want to be perfectly content with my current situation, I’m not ashamed to admit I wish I could catch a flight to Bali.

And that’s okay.

Comment the biggest hustle you’ve ever committedOne time I paid for a slushie at Mac’s with a bus ticket.

Coming up next: all of my friends have left me but at least i have a bicep now

Pass off being too poor to own things as “Minimalism”

I was in between sets at the gym, scrolling through Twitter and generally trying to look busy so no one would think I was approachable enough to ask if “they could work in” when I came across this gem of a tweet:

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Courtesy of Twitter User @kathasty

Although I wholeheartedly laughed at the fact that there are people who think that this counts as “fully furnished” (albeit, they might add a Fight Club poster, a collection of empty alcohol bottles or something equally tacky), I also had a moment of terror that there is a very real chance that this is what my future apartment will look like.

To explain, I probably have a ripe $12 and an unreasonable number of haircare products to my name. That’s it.

Fortunately, I have been blessed to have my existence coincide with the growing lifestyle trend of minimalism. Here and here are a couple definitions of minimalism by practicing minimalists, but I’m going to summarize it as owning less things as a way to make your life better (? I still don’t fully get it).

 

This is what came up when I searched minimalism on pexels — my living space does not even remotely look like this

We (broke students/recently-graduated humans) live in a special time during which we have the ability to use minimalism to mask the fact we can’t afford basic things. Only one plate, mug, glass, and bowl? Minimalism. One lone chair in my living room? Minimalism. Not owning a T.V. and instead consuming all of my media on my laptop from the moderate comfort of my one chair while using my one fork to eat instant ramen? Minimalism.

Not only do you get away with having less items in your home/apartment than a small rodent typically has in its nest, you also are considered a trendy, with-the-times individual. Some might even go as far as to call you enlightened due to your lack of dependency on material things.

While I think there’s something to be said about mass consumerism and the way we have been conditioned feel the need to own certain things, your current living and financial situation may not be what you want it to be yet. You might be looking forward to being able to get that nice coffee table and couch set.

And that’s okay.

Comment the most tragic student living situation you’ve ever seen. Not so much a living situation, but a past significant other told me that his roommate mistook a container of aloe vera in their bathroom as hand sanitizer and effectively did not wash his hands for two months.

Coming up next: internship life is cool

What do you mean I can’t wear athleisure everyday?

I’m going rogue this week and dropping some actually helpful tips.

With my “big girl job” quickly approaching, I’m realizing that I soon have to start dressing in work-appropriate attire. This is a hard pill to swallow as someone whose daily outfit generally looks like this:

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Sports, but make it fashion

I like the idea of workwear, but have come to the conclusion that work clothes are generally uncomfortable and prone to sweat stains. More direly, they are EXPENSIVE. As someone who is #ballingonabudget and understands the no-money hustle, here ten tips to keep in mind when collecting your work wardrobe:

1. Be a basic b*tch. Acquire good basic items first, such as a black pencil skirt,  a structured blazer and a good button-up shirt. Honestly, if you don’t know why this is important, I can’t help you.

 

2. Buy clothes according to a colour scheme. By having items that are of similar colours, it’s easy to match most of your pieces to each other, increasing the “wear-ablity” of each item. I tend to stick to neutral tones and variations of my favourite “millennial pink” colour, and generally buy the same patterns. Is it kind of boring? Yeah, but better to be boring than broke 🙂

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I pretty much only wear these colours

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This arrangement took TIME so you’re getting it at two angles

 

3. Keep it classic. As tempting as it can be to jump on new trends, more classic pieces have better longevity. Stick to time-honoured prints and fabric cuts that will withstand changes in fashion.

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Looking like the love-child of Sandy and Rizzo from Grease

 

4. Quality is a priority. Get to know a little bit about fabrics and learn which ones are less prone to wear and damage. For example, rayon tends to pill faster than most materials. If you can, check to see if seams and sewing work are well-done. Sometimes it’s better to spend a little more on items knowing that they will be a good long term investment.

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Peep my chipped nail polish

 

5. Shop secondhand. Buying items from thrift and consignment stores is not only easier on your wallet, but it’s also better for the environment and, indirectly, increases ethical clothing production. So you’ll be a lil’ richer and, like, a ~good person~.

 

6. Shop like they’re going out of business–literally. Liquidation sales are an amazing way to get good products for dirt cheap prices.

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Snagged these bad boys for 50% off at Town Shoes last week.

 

7. Steal Borrow from your friends. Or, if you’re cleaning out your closet, give them items that you don’t want anymore or no longer fit and vice versa.

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I acquired this shirt and sweater while “helping a friend clean her closet”

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Thanks Bria!

 

8. Take care of what you own. Follow washing instructions–for the most part (if I’m being honest, I’ve only dry cleaned like one item in my life). Use appropriate protectant on your shoes/boots so that they last longer.

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Mink oil, suede spray and silicone spray are my holy trinity of shoe care

 

9. If you are in ~dire need~ of an item in the near future, load up your cart on a site you’re subscribed to (you get promotional emails from them), and then close the tab and wait. A lot of the time the brand will offer you an extra incentive (i.e. a discount or free shipping) to try to entice you to complete the purchase.

 

10. Most importantly, be patient while collecting items. I’ve been buying my “work wardrobe” slowly over the past three years. I still don’t have the full-fledged professional closet of my dreams yet.

And that’s okay.

Comment your best shopping tip! 

Coming up next: I’m going on a hiatus until the new year. Happy holidays pals.