It’s Labor Day weekend and for most folks, this end of summer celebration includes trips on boats, backyard BBQ’s, and other activities that begin with the letter “b.” For some of us, however, it’s really just another weekend of not doing a whole lot due to the large amount of zeroes in our checking account (the ones before the comma. Not after.) This sucks, but one thing that being poor will do is leave you with a lot of time to think about the things you could be doing if you had any money and then figure out how to do those same things for free. So, in the spirit of thriftiness, my list of things to do when you’re broke and tired of writing snarky blogs about being poor:
1. Spy on your neighbors. You would be amazed at what the McGuillicuttys are doing next door if you would just stop being such a prude and peek out your blinds once in a while. Whether you’re watching your neighbor’s car get repossessed, taking a gawk at the police stand-off going on in your parking lot (true story) or postulating as to the possible marijuana growing operation next door (those people are NEVER there…but the lights are ALWAYS on!) this activity is totally free! Plus, you’re really doing the community a favor by keeping an eye on the older couple across the street because I’m fairly certain they’re operating a brothel in their basement.
2. Another fun, free activity is people-watching. Since you’re not going to the mall to actually buy anything, you might as well grab a bench and watch the human fishbowl that is humanity. Pick out someone and make up his back story. Try to figure out why the couple window-shopping at Kirkland’s is fighting (my guess? The girl has terrible taste. A zebra lamp? Oh honey, no.) And of course, finding someone who could stand a few more minutes in the mirror is always fun because you can make fun of THAT person while feeling better about YOUR person. Turn it into an afternoon scavenger hunt – first person to find a mullet, a fanny-pack, a NASCAR shirt, and something with fringe wins whatever change you can scoop out of the wishing fountain in front of Claire’s.
3. Perhaps one of my favorite “being poor” activities is camping. I like to say that I’m “outdoorsy” but really, I’m just “outdoorsy” because the only hotel room I can afford is a tent. Camping is the ultimate poor person’s vacation, as it’s pretty much life as usual, it’s just happening outside. Sleeping on the ground by the interstate? Not cool. Sleeping on the ground on top of an apparent rock farm? Camping, my friend. Pooping behind a McDonald’s? Not okay. Pooping in a hole you had to dig yourself far away (you hope) from any poison ivy and/or venomous bugs? Camping.
4. Drive down Dickerson Road at night and play, “Spot that Felony.” Different points will be awarded for different crimes – prostitutes are one point, unless they’re wearing an animal print, then you get double points. A witnessed drug deal nets 2 points, and the crown jewel of them all, armed robbery? 5 points! Combinations of any of these crimes may be awarded appropriate points based on input from all players. If, for some reason, all of these crimes are happening at once, a total of up to 10 points may be awarded based on gun caliber, height of the hooker’s heels, and the controlled substance in question.
5. Finally, my favorite free activity is sarcasm. Sarcasm is totally free and since it can have the ability to alienate people, it can actually make it cheaper to host a party. Make fun of those around you, mock them, prey on their weaknesses! Once you’ve insulted almost everyone you know, Christmas is a breeze because you don’t have to buy those pesky gifts everyone gets excited about. And birthday dinner celebrations? Invitations to those go out the window the minute you start in on your friend, Katie, and that horrible lisp of hers. So whip out those smartass remarks the next time a friend of yours says something dumb. You’ll thank me later when you don’t get invited to their next dog-painting party.