You may not know this, but I was out of employment for over a year and a half. Yes, no source of income to depend on; I was dead broke for over a year. TRUTH! Yet, friends and onlookers envied my life due to what they observed via social media, claiming I was always having fun and balling. LIES! As a result, I believe that makes me adequately qualified to impart some wisdom on how to live life to the fullest on little or no money. Now I've got a bit of cashflow, I thought it best to share how I survived in a series aptly titled 'Broke Girl's Guide To:...', each month sharing how to save or spend money efficiently, yet still live life to the fullest. This introductory post will provide a broad overview of what topics I will cover over the course of the year, and what bargains you can indulge in the meantime, before the next instalment come March.
Retail - The first of this series will focus on retail therapy and money saving tips on how to look good with minimal coin. The dress above was brand new from ASOS and cost £2. Yes, you heard me...£2! I will share how exactly I made that possible next month, but in the meantime, I can share my top tip; VOUCHERS! Coupon websites and retail vouchers are the business. Visit the website of your favourite stores and subscribe to their newsletters. Most stores have an introductory offer as a form of gratitude for subscribing. As a result, you can redeem an extra percentage off their products with a unique code. This is just a taster. Next month, I will delve deeper on what other tricks you can use to save your coin and still look blog-worthy.
O2 Emirates Cable Cars overlooking Greenwich
Culture - My social media feed and blog is littered with rich cultural experiences from art galleries to exhibitions, to concerts and amazing events. You'd think my outgoings would be well past 3 figures a month at that rate. You'd be wrong. Most of the events I feature on BLEURGH or Twitter or Instagram are actually free. How is this possible? Well, I will delve deeper into the details (the alliteration is giving me life) in subsequent posts, but for the meantime, I CAN share a tip; Eventbrite. Sign up and you can tailor your notifications and searches to suit your interests, geographical location, and budget. As a result, you'll have access to a wealth of resources, events and exhibitions in your area that you can attend for free. Not only that, but having attended an event by a specific organiser, you can be added to their mailing list and periodically updated about upcoming events which may be of interest. Thank me later.
Travel - Unfortunately, this was my main bug bear, and what accounted for almost 75% of my monthly budget. You can't escape it. In order to get from Point A to Point B, you're going to have to adopt some means of transportation to get you there. Well, I learnt the hard way that sometimes, it need not be paid transportation. Yes, if God blessed you with legs? Use them! I was invited, and attended, a rambler's scenic walk some months back. Ill prepared, my thighs soon started to chafe, my toes numbed with time, and my back gave way to soreness not too long after. I was fine for the day, but the days succeeding the walk were branded with discomfort and pain. It was then I realised how unhealthy I was and upgraded my gym membership. Yes, I was jobless but had a gym membership...I will share why. I figured I couldn't be jobless AND fat! Something's gotta give! So in the evenings I would hit the gym, and in the day, I would attend blogger or cultural events OR job hunt (I was productive with SOME of my time, never you mind). However, there was still the issue of travel. How did I solve this? I got eerily accustomed to route planning in advance. I would map where the destination was and what costs could be cut by walking half way i.e. to the nearest station, or using a bus-only route (always leaving plenty of time in case of congestion en route).
Survival - Let's be honest, there's no way you can survive without a bit of change coming into your account on a regular basis. There were times I would cry out in despair, having to compromise a basic necessity as a result of having nothing but a penny to my name. Thankfully, I had a supportive network of friends and family willing and able to lend a hand (financially and figuratively), but being a stubborn and independent female often meant I turned a blind eye to a handout and struggled to make ends meet. I'm sure I've peaked your interest enough now, and you're eager to find out how. Well, as much as I loathed #GirlBoss, Sophia Amoruso was on to something, and I can now share that 40% of my monthly income was derived from eBay sales. You heard it here first. I will share in future how exactly I was able to list items and make 100% profit and some change. I hope to go in far more detail in one post than Amoruso wasted on a novel, and shed some light (as I am of liberty to) on how to make a small income from your current wardrobe and/or makeup collection. But you'll have to keep an eye out each month for my 'Broke Girl's Guide To:...' posts to find out.
"The problem with most of us is we work for our money, instead of letting our money work for us" Rick Warren