10 Helpful Tips To Survive In This Economy

Heck, maybe if you do well enough, you protesters can occupy your home instead.

Zack S. Westby Zack S. West

I think it's time we all came to terms with something. Right now, there just isn't any money. Everyone who has it is holding onto it, and none of us are going to get any of it for a while. No matter what we tell ourselves, the job market isn't really getting any better. A lot has got to change before we're no longer collectively broke.

Sorry to start on a downer, but that's just the way it is. However, being the resourceful guy that I am, I have assembled ten handy tips that you can use to survive in lieu of being able to actually pay for things. Now, I haven't tried all of these things personally, but all have been vouched for by close, if somewhat occasionally immoral, friends. In any case, these are tips, not gospel, so if something on this list is illegal, I apologize. Lord knows I wouldn't know.


(Header image by Bobby Williams)


1) Couponing

Let's start simple. We've all occasionally flipped through the coupons in the sunday paper to see if anything was worthwile. Apparently, they are more lucrative than they seem. You just have to spend a lot of time doing it.

See, over the last couple years, with recession kicking into full gear, a large number of people have turned coupons into a hobby. However, unlike most hobbies, which you have to spend money on, this one saves you money. Pretty smart, right?

Now is the time to do it, too. It's become a full blown fad. People buy hundreds of items they don't need, but then get it all for unbelievably cheap or occasionally even free for their troubles. There are blogs about it, and websites where you can order coupons so you don't have to buy 200 papers to get your 600 non-scratch sponges. If you get good enough at it, you could even get on the Extreme Couponing TV show.

Seems like a great way to spend your time and save some money. And if you have extra of anything (which you will), you can donate it to the homeless or the troops, like many couponers do.. Though I feel bad lumping them together.




2) Craigslist

Do you really need all of your chairs? How about that big box of DVDs? Or your classic (insert thing you used to collect but now just collects dust)? Guess what- someone on Craigslist wants it. Someone on Craigslist wants everything. Just watch out for the murderers. Don't worry, though. they've got to be pretty easy to spot.

But what happens when you run out of stuff to sell? That's okay, there's a section for that too! You can donate any number of services on Craigslist, but after looking at all of them, apparently Masseuse will get you the most money. Not sure why that is. I guess it's time to get your CMT!




3) Walk Everywhere

Don't discount this idea immediately. I know the idea of having to walk to everywhere you might want to go sounds awful, but there are a lot of real benefits. Obviously, you save on gas or bus fare, but it's so much more than that. You'll get enough of a workout just doing your daily routine that you can probably cancel your gym subscription, so that saves you a pretty hefty chunk right there. If you don't have a gym subscription, then you'll save on alli or liposuction or whatever.

There are downsides too. You're going to have to leave several hours early to make any appointments you may have, and you'll be bathed in sweat when you get there, but I hear that some cultures view that as indicator of above average teamwork skills. And it won't matter when you're taking advantage of the greatest benefit- wagging your dick at self-righteous Prius owners because your gas mileage only comes into account when you've had beans.




4) Steal

I'm pretty sure this is one of the ones that's illegal, because I've seen people get arrested in movies for it. But, because none of my friends have ever been caught doing it, it's never really crossed my mind. Generally, I don't steal because I think it's rude, and I'm not a fan of being rude. However, one of my close friends swears by getting her weekly groceries by stealing from a popular California grocery chain infamous for poor security. (I will protect the identities of both because I don't want either to get in trouble.) Is she right for doing it? I don't know. Is she saving a lot of money? Hells yeah.

So I guess that proves that it's potentially lucrative but also possibly morally grey. I've personally never stolen more than a pen, but man… sometimes you need that Uniball Micro. Sometimes it's urgent.




5) "Get into" a "Car Accident"

Here we go, guys. Now we get to the fun stuff. Born to be wild. Ride the lightning. Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da.

Here's the scenario. I'm walking down the street, minding my own business, totally not keeping an eye out for a slightly reckless lexus. Suddenly, just that appears! I run across the street to "catch" my "newspaper" and WHAMMO! It just played out that way. And you know how it is with those ambulance chasers. They wouldn't leave me alone about it, and I can't pay the medical fees, so it just had to be done this way. Thank you for this neat pile of cash. I'm gonna go find a speeding Lambo.

However delightful this scenario is, there is the potential to cause yourself serious harm attempting this. But don't worry, I've got a plan for that too. If you actually get really hurt, donate your body to the scientists that are developing cyborg technology. 'Cause as they say, in the land of the poor, the Six Million Dollar Man rules.




6) Pavement Farming

If you live in a big city, there's not much room for growth. By that, I mean it's hard to grow edible plants. However, there's a lot of space that's just flat out ignored in any city, and much of it has direct sunlight. All you need is some wood to hold the soil in, some soil, and the seeds you want to plant. Maybe a watering can. I suggest Home Depot.

The advantage of shopping at Home Depot is that it's often cheaper to pay the day laborers outside to steal it for you than to actually shop there. If they're particularly new to the country, you might get away with giving them monopoly money. If you think they're too bright for that, ask them to steal a little extra, then give it back to them in compensation. Like a criminal's cut in a hyper-dramatic heist movie, cast entirely with Mexicans. And you know they'll be good at it. If they're here, that means they must be pretty good at getting in or out of places unnoticed.




7) Donating Blood

They pay for blood, right? Even if they don't, you get a free cookie! And generally, they limit you to only do it once in a while, but give them false info and you can hit five or more a day. You'll be rolling in cookies. You'll be a cookie pimp. How much blood do you really need anyway? And your body keeps making it, so why pay for cookies with limited currency when you've got your own replenishable resources?




8) Find Free Condoms

Remember back in high school when all of your oversexed friends made a habit of collecting free condoms even though they weren't having sex yet? There's a chance that my friends were unique, but I tend to doubt it. Teenagers do really stupid shit. But they still sometimes do something right on accident.

All those places there used to be free condoms… there are still free condoms. Concerts, festivals, free health clinics, midnight showings of Rocky Horror, high school guidance councellor offices are all stocked full with complimentary contraceptives. Spending $40 bucks on a box of Trojans instead of lunch for a week is unacceptable when you just have to beat up a scalper. That's just having your cake and eating it too.

Sidebar: I do not recommend forgoing condoms entirely. While the "pull out" method has worked on occasion, this is the not the time to take chances. The most expensive thing you could possibly do is have a baby. I think a trip to Planned Parenthood in your big pocket jeans is worth it.




9) Selling Your Organs

This one's difficult unless you know a guy. I happen to be acquaintances with a gentleman who goes by the nom de plume of "You Only Need One Kidney To Live Kenny". He got that name, obviously, from his high-school football playing days. But don't worry. He's much gentler in surgery than he is on the pitch. And the other team didn't get anesthesia, so consider yourself lucky.




10) Extortion

Finally, we come to extortion. Again, I'm pretty sure this is at least a felony, but from what I understand, it's difficult to prove. All you have to do is rummage through rich people's trash. Eventually, you'll find something incriminating. Search some more to find their phone number, and voila! All the tools you need. Right there. How convenient! On an unrelated note, paper shredders seem superfluous, but are probably a smart investment for those with money to invest.

Once you have them by the balls, there aren't really rules anymore. You could demand a million in unmarked bills up front, or just call them and be all ominous every time a new bill comes in. Use one of those voice modulators from Scream, and occasionally leave evidence in easily findable locations (but one's where they'll find it first) to keep 'em nervous over the long haul. It seems better than stealing, and easier than couponing. And on the off chance that you get caught… free room and board!