Cutting Back During Economic Meltdown

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Last semester, with a well paying part time job and money still in my savings account from working in high school, the thought of saving instead of spending seemed silly. Little did I expect a complete and total economic meltdown. Now, unable to find employment and quickly racking up a credit card bill, I’m kicking myself for not predicting this crisis that is leaving thousands of Americans unemployed, including me—but I guess that’s asking a little much. In hindsight, saving money in case of crisis, personal or economic, instead of spending it on dining out, new clothes, or other frivolous things seems like a reasonable thing to ask of myself. However, since time travel is not yet possible, the only thing to do now is pinchpennies in the ever-plummeting job market and economy.

These days, shopping trips downtown and Papalote runs are few and far in between, but a few things in particular have helped cut costs (aside from the steadily dropping price of gas!) First, reusable water bottles! Not only good for the environment, but good for your wallet. Think of all the money spent on Dasani, Aquafina, Arrowhead, whatever. In the caf or otherwise, it’s expensive. Not to mention the amount of water bottles that pile up in the landfill. With tap water as good as it is in San Francisco, people shouldn’t have a reason to not drink tap. But that’s besides the point, if you need water to go, go reusable, it’s way cheaper than purchasing throwaway bottles.

Aside from avoiding bottled water at the grocery store, if I do go grocery shopping, I’ve found the need to avoid brand name. Who needs brand name cereal when the Lucky’s brand is the same thing, and half the price. But, grocery shopping in and of itself has been a luxury, since living on campus gives me flexi. Even in the caf though you can cut down. To avoid running out of flexi (like I did last year and ended up then spending money on groceries) I cut out bottled drinks, and that unfortunately includes Odwalla too. At $4 a pop, you’re better off not getting it. If you have tons of flexi, go for it, but as for me, they’re off limits.

Secondhand store shopping has also been my go to money saver. While yes, you are spending money, you’re spending less than you would anywhere downtown. So if you need new threads, hitting up Haight can save big—not to mention you can find some pretty cool stuff. While there are a few things in particular I do to save, it’s mostly the things I don’t do the save the most. I try not to drive unless I absolutely have to. I don’t go out to eat as much. I don’t go do frivolous things like go to the tanning salon. And I definitely don’t shop as much. While all are things I’d like to do, being unemployed has taken a hard toll on the bank account, and with no economic savior in our near future, I think it’s wise for everybody to cut back as much as possible.

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