Living It Up In A Recession

It’s hard to write about life when you’re so busy living it. Perhaps that’s a lackadaisical attitude regarding my lack of writing lately. I haven’t composed anything more than a Folgers jingle in the past few months. Try having one of those songs stuck in your head for weeks on end. It’s quite brutal, yet also a sign that the jingle is doing it’s magic. At least I know what the “best part of waking up” is.

Otherwise, the recession is resounding in my world, as this is quite often the “slow” season with or without an economic slump. It’s no wonder that the winter months often bring out my hippy and Freegan aspirations. It’s a fun way to live, the challenge of finding ways to create awesome adventures on the cheap. In a city like New York, this may take a bit more creativity since cow tipping and parties at a shale pit with a keg of Bud, aren’t on the ready for a fun night out. My boyfriend has become the required victim on these low-budget quests and I worry after our 50-cent bus trip to Niagara Falls on Megabus next month, my low-budget planning may come to a screeching halt. Until then, I invite ya’ll to come along on the journey.

So first, I must remark on two key ingredients for guaranteed bliss on the budget-savvy date.

1. Booze and two flasks. These ingredients are a staple and after a recent trip to Vermont, the boyfriend and I stocked up on winter favourites- from Irish Creme, to Butterscotch Schnapps, Peppermint Schnapps, Vanilla Vodka, Coconut Rum, and a Kahlua knock off for $40 bucks. We’re into the second month and the bar is well stocked with the perfect nightcap ingredients. The 8-hour bus trip to Niagara may clean out our stock, but in the meantime, we begin and end most dates with a shot or spiked hot cocoa.

2. The best stress reliever I’ve come to find: the scalp massager. For $3.50, which includes free shipping, I ordered one of these bad boys from eBay. For over-thinkers like myself, I’ve yet to find something that transfers neurotic thinking into relaxed cerebral ecstasy so quickly. Well, except for Ambien, perhaps.


For our first budget-savvy date, I finally became a member of Groupon and referred my boyfriend to the service. Our first order was for Baja Fresh (2 burritos for $8) and by referring him, I was granted a $10 credit. Which means our dinner cost -$2 for the night. This is by no means, 5-star dining, but these burritos typically retail at $11 bucks a pop. Not to mention the “fun” we had navigating through tourists in Times Square. After living in New York for 10 years, it takes deals like this to drag me into the hellish epicenter of tourism. But might I add how wonderful it is in NYC to find a place with a full buffet of fresh pico de gallo, mango salsa, hot sauces, and cilantro? You can even create your own limeade with a cup of water, a few slices of lime, and a pack of raw sugar. Imagine being budget friendly and not consuming mass quantities of corn syrup from the coke machine. It’s almost anti-American, I know.

Next up: Times Square. It was frigid, per usual, this winter, but we managed to take in the insanity at least long enough for the photo.


My low-brow ways often include spending time browsing circulars and wandering through grocery stores and pharmacies. I’m a wimp once the city hits 36 degrees or less and after our Baja Fresh, I insisted we go into CVS to warm up on the walk from the subway to my apartment. We uncovered the best deal ever– 90 percent off some chocolate inventory. Oh yeah– we stocked up on the following for three bucks!


It may not work on a first date, or the first few, but when feeling clausterphobic in our small urban dwellings, it was a fun and unconventional date night. Now if only I can convince him to grab a flask, play a few blocks of ring and run, and join the Freegan Meet-Up Group.