Unfortunately, there is a stigma that accompanies being broke in your 20s. Basically, some folks think that if you have no money in addition to being a young person, then your life is over. That’s it! No more fun times. You just sulk at home and think about how you wish you had money and a better life. Let’s get real. If you don’t go through a little bit of struggling then you might actually miss out on some real character building experiences. Here are some real reasons why I absolutely adore living cheap in my 20s.
1. I’ve learned to have fun without having to go to the club.
Going out and drinking $10 martinis is not my idea of a good time. Anything from sitting at home with the ol’ “Netflix and chill” or coordinating the 2nd annual Star Wars party is the definition of fun. We always buy our decorations from the dollar store and cheap popcorn is our food of choice. If it’s a special occasion we break out the $7 bottle of vodka and mix it with whatever we have lying around. Vodka and Kool Aid makes a screwdriver right? Just kidding.
2. I know what a truly “good deal” is.
And it doesn’t mean $60 jeans that are buy one get one half off. Heck, I bought my favorite sweater at the thrift store for $3 and I get more compliments on that than many other things that I wear. I know how to pull together an awesome outfit for crazy cheap and I won’t look like I’m wearing the same stuff as everyone else. I’ve developed a system for deciding what a real bargain is. When I do splurge I’ll usually buy something super useful, like video games, okay?
3. I have learned to get super creative with food.
I’m always coming up with ways to make the best of my dietary situation. At the end of the week, right before payday, I will admit that making art out of ramen is kind of my specialty, and I know how to make chili last for a week without being terribly boring. However, once I get a chance to buy groceries I know how to shop in bulk just as well as any proud mother of 5. After a few years of doing this I have basically become a professional chef, or at least I’d like to think so.
4. I take more pleasure in doing nothing, than anything else.
Most 20-somethings are so crazy busy that any amount of down time is much appreciated. I understand that money isn’t really that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Getting the chance to hangout and get weird with my friends and family is my favorite thing ever, even if it’s just catching up over some homebrewed coffee (best Christmas present, for real). On top of that, I appreciate the days where I just get to sleep in, be with my cats, and maybe think about taking up a new hobby. Maybe I’ll start crocheting…maybe not.
5. Since I’ve been through hard times, I know I can do almost anything I set my mind to.
Tried painting? Check. Did some yoga? Check. Mastered a new instrument? Kinda. Well, you get the point. I realize now more than ever how independent I am. Even if it doesn’t feel like it sometimes, I can do just about anything I want to and I can do it all by myself. I don’t have to be rich to learn a new skill through YouTube. Heck, I learned how to set up my own Wifi password. Is there anything I can’t do?
6. I am much more likely to give to those in need.
If I happen to have a few extra bucks, and my friend is in need of some lunch, I will treat them to some tacos or a burger because I know how much it sucks to be in their position. Not to mention, your friends will remember when you did something really nice for them and the next time you are suffering they’ll help you out too. Even if it isn’t exactly monetary, I will donate anything that I’ve got. I’m the one to call when your car needs to be jumpstarted from the parking lot, or if you don’t have money to pay for Internet this month feel free to use mine. I’ve got you.
7. I have become anything but a pushover.
I know the right time is to say “yes” or “no” and I don’t take it personally when I just don’t have the time, patience, or funds to do something. There will always be a next time. Unlike my teen years, I don’t take kindly to peer pressure. When I know that I have hit my limits I will let you know. ‘Nuff said.
8. I cannot be fooled so easily.
After having to pay for things out of my own pocket I know that tons of people are just out there to scam us. $1 tacos might sound like a good idea today, but when I get sick tomorrow I’ll remember why I don’t eat those. Next time I’ll say no. I throw all those credit card offers in the trash and don’t fall for those “get rich quick” schemes. Don’t try to tell me we live in a world where you can get rich in your pajamas – that’s just cruel.
9. Now, more than ever, I am so grateful for what I do have.
When I get an extra big paycheck or maybe a little money on the side, I appreciate every dollar because I know I worked my buns off to get it. When I take that money and buy something that I really need like a new computer or a couch (finally), I am so stoked about it that I want everyone to come over to my house so they can see it. I treasure those little accomplishments and keep my things as nice and new as possible because I had to pay for them.
10. I have become incredibly hopeful for the future.
Every month I seem to surprise myself with the amount of things I am able to get done. If I can survive being this busy now, I know that I can handle anything new that comes at me. All the struggles that come with being a 20-something, like taking a crappy job, driving an old car, and living in a less-than-favorable apartment, are all starting to improve year by year. I’m looking back on the things I used to do and saying to myself, “You could never pay me enough money to go back to that time.” Things are always looking up.