My Last $5
Let me keep it all the way real here, people. Right now, I'm swimming in debt, I'm too afraid to check my credit score because I'm pretty sure it isn't higher than the combined points of a little league hockey game, and my life savings is the same amount as a one-week's allowance.
To make matters worse, the other night I had $5 on my person and took it out when I was emptying my pockets. Before I laid it on the dresser, I wanted to snap it straight, the way grandpa used to before he handed money over to me. So I take the two sides and as soon as I pop the money straight, RIP! One side of the crinkled five dollars tore right off. Now, I'm too broke to just let a ripped five dollars remain ripped, and I was kind of nice at arts and crafts when I was younger, so I did what any broke person who used to be good at arts and crafts would do: I taped that summabitch right back together. Problem solved. But when my money ripped, it was still eating at me. God was talking to me through my amputated note, and what He was saying was clear. "You don't know how to take care of your money." Coincidentally, that same day, I was reading about a recent study that showed when it comes to saving money, blacks save less than their white counterparts who are on a similar income level. So now God was really talking to me.
The truth is, when I'm broke, I get in the worst of moods. I walk around on edge, pissed off at the world, and ready to curse it out at a moment's notice. As Kanye West once said, having money's not everything, not having it is. And not having any money consumes my entire being.
The only solace I have in being broke is knowing I'm not alone. I know more people who front about having money than people who actually have it, so what I have decided to do for myself, and the rest of you broke folks out there, is to write a guide on how to better deal with your sad, albeit temporary, state of financial affairs. This isn't a guide on how to get more money or save more money, if I knew how to do either of those things, I wouldn't write a post entitled, My Last $5. I just want to try to help ease the pain of being broke, because Lord knows it hurts. Keep in mind, these tips should only be taken as temporary relief. The end goal should ultimately be, get money. It's the only tangible way to keep score in life. But here it is, Huey P. Langston's guide on how to be comfortably broke.
* GET A WOMAN WHO IS JUST AS BROKE AS YOU
There were two TV families I admired growing up. The Cosby's and The Bundy's of Married With Children. The Cosby's are obvious because growing up, they were everything I wanted my family to be and they were black. The Bundy's, on the other hand, were everything my family was (with the exception of being white) in that, they lived check to check, off a blue-collar income. They were lower-middle class, just like my family. But they never let money tear them apart. When they had some money, they did things with the money as a family (check out the episode where the whole family makes an event out of going to a full service gas station) and when they didn't have any money, they went hungry as a family. I'm telling you right now, poor people can learn a lot from Peggy and Al.
* GET A RICH WOMAN
There are plenty of wealthy women out there just begging for a good man. While I'm more of a proponent of making your own bones, I would never hate on the man who wanted to eat off someone else's plate and find himself a well-to-do woman. Just don't do anything to mess it up, lest you want to be back in the poor house.
* VOLUNTEER AT A SOUP KITCHEN OR ANY OTHER ORGANIZATION DEALING WITH THE POOR
When I was growing up, my step-dad would make me walk by myself through some of the poor sections of my city. He wanted me to get an idea of how good we had it. Now, we weren't rich, by any stretch of the imagination, but, we had more than a lot of other folks out there. As I live out my days with little to no money in my pockets and my bank accountant, I make every effort to remind myself that I'm still doing better than some. At least I can walk into my apartment and go to sleep in a warm bed every night. And if you're one of those people who can do the same thing, try to keep that in mind the next time you go crazy over the money you don't have.
It's just a fun thing to do every once in a while. I know it's wrong, but if you're like me, you won't be poor forever, so while you're broke, might as well do something to liven things up a little bit.
* GO OUT WITH NO MONEY
Mackin' with money is easier than dunking on a children's basketball court. Mack with no money and see what your game can really get you. A real p.i.m.p. can get a lady to buy him a drink, and trust me when I say, few things in life feel more victorious than when a female opens up her wallet on your behalf.
* LEARN HOW TO COOK THE CLASSICS
Fried bologna sandwhiches, Chef Boyardee, Kool-Aid - remember how much you enjoyed these things when you were a kid? Remember when you wanted nothing else than a piece of fried bologna between two slices of store-brand white bread? Well, don't think your taste buds have outgrown these classic dishes. They haven't.
* BUY THE NEWSPAPER
Because you're poor, you need every deal you can get and some of the best deals are in the newspapers. They got mad coupons, and most newspapers are pretty cheap, especially the local ones. So drop the necessary dollar (or less), buy a newspaper, learn a thing or two about the world you live in, and then cut out the coupons, because the only thing worse than being broke, is being broke and aloof.
* GET SOME TAPE
Another inexpensive item, and definitely a necessity, because after all, you never know when the little money you do have will rip right before your eyes.
MOTIVATION TO WRITE THIS PIECE
- A fool proof budget plan given to me by my boy Velvet. Soon as I get my money right, I'll be checking that thing more than my email.
- "Study on Savings By Blacks and Whites Reveal Shades of Gray" - By Michelle Singletary