So what if you’re living out of the spare-change jar: your finances might be in the doldrums, but you don’t have to be. We’ve all been down on our uppers at some point, there’s no shame in it. Get out there and strut your stuff for all you’re worth. If you do this period of your life properly, people will never guess you’re broke.
Keep in touch with your friends, including the rich ones. Don’t feel embarrassed by your reduced circumstances. Keep socialising, take up invitations that come your way. Never mention your lack of money.
Money is a dull subject, talking about its lack is even worse. Forget baked bean dinners-for-one; throw little supper parties. It’s possible to feed half a dozen people fabulously for less than $20.
Don’t be miserable thinking about the things you can’t afford. Remind yourself of the opportunities this period presents. Never again will you have such a great reason for using your imagination, doing things you would otherwise never do. Money makes many people lazy. The things you accomplish in wealthier times will never match the achievements of you ‘I Will Survive’ period.
The trick when you’re broke is; don’t let your standards drop. Don’t subside into a life of tracksuits and dirty cups. Always wear good clothes and surround yourself with pretty things. Look at things you already own and use them in new and inventive ways. Raid the markets for flowers, scour bargain fabric shops for cut-price remnants that will transform a crucial cushion. If you find yourself with nothing better to do than watch Oprah, get out of the house.
Go to the theatres of life- and we don’t mean the shopping center. All that neon, and all those things you can’t afford to buy, will depress you or send you in debt. Instead, go to the places you’ve heard about but have never been to. Try auction houses- soak up the viewing then stay for the bidding. Sit back, enjoy the drama and pick up tricks on how and when to bid. If something you love is going for a song, raise a finger.
Catch a bus to the best part of town and go window-shopping. Pick up ideas on how to decorate your pad. It’s not just what’s for sale: check out how the high end stores display things to best effect. Look at colour schemes that work, how people are wearing boots or arranging objetcs on coffee tables. Laugh at the ludicrous price tags- it helps morale. While you’re there, watch the passing parade.
The best things in life are free- it’s just that money makes people lazy.
Time is the one thing you usually have an abundance of when you’re broke: use it get fit or educate yourself. Get cultured. Learn which museums and art galleries have no admission price or free entry days. Visit commercial galleries to see what’s hot. Put yourself on a list and you’ll be invited to openings where you’ll even be handed a glass of wine on arrival.
Tell Yourself You’re Being Chic, Not Cheap
Lose a few addictions’ cigarettes, alcohol, coffee, takeaway food, magazines, manicures, massages, facials and twice weekly blow dries. Ask for water instead of coffee, pull your hair back into a chic ponytail, buff your nails, and toss some garlic, oil and parmesan through pasta when a friend drops in.
Break Bad Habits
Eat out less, you’ll become elegantly slim while your wallet puts on weight. Drop thoughtless rituals that needlessly burn dollars. That might mean your morning stop at a café, an after-work drink, or a weekly magazine. Go for a walk instead. If you’re a smoker, stop socialising with smokers’ it helps break a bad habit.
Travel on the Company
No money for holidays? Make the most of travel opportunities that arise through work. Arrange for all the hard graft to happen over one or two days and tack on a couple of days of fun. It won’t cost the office and it gives you a stylish short break. Don’t be timid. Ring that old school friend and ask if you can stay the night.
Don’t just shop in one area. Go to different parts of town- geographically and culturally. Go to the Chinese, Arabic, Portugese and Italian sectors. Pop into two-dollar shops to vary the mix. See what’s out there, you’ll broaden your horizons and pick up different perspectives. You’ll be surprised, not just at the different looks but the different in price. Going over the bridge or getting out of town can be as good as going overseas.
Don’t Be Scared
No shop is too upmarket, downmarket or foreign for you. Go everywhere. Never think you’re too good enough to go into hate boutiques; you’ll learn the best lessons in quality, style and display secrets there. You might not be able to afford anything but you’ll pick up looks and then be able to imitate them. Never fear you’ll be backed into a corner: just explain that you are looking, thank you very much, and what a charming shop it is. Flattery gets you everywhere. Never be frightened by shop signs on which not a single word is English. Walk in confidently, smile broadly and enjoy the cultural experience. Charm speak all language.