How to Live Cheaply (While Still Meeting and Exceeding Human Needs)
How to live in squalor and love it (if you have a taste for canned beans and polyester).
- Your Basic Needs
- Reading Material
- Now go eat, wear clothes, be sheltered, and read something already.
Your Basic Needs
(This article will begin with what is called a "cliché," a widely-perpetuated assumption whose validity most do not question )
(Now that this has been settled so eloquently, onward:)
It is often said that human beings have "3 basic needs." According to this assumption, they require:
For the purposes of this article, however, I would like to add another that seems to have been missed by the originator of the theory:
Without reading material, a human being becomes listless and has few means of advancing himself intellectually--also, he will have nothing to do during those boring periods of time where he is disposing of the waste product produced by the consumption of Basic Need #1.
Having said that, in this article, it is my sincere hope that, as a third-person observer who is not subject to the emotional allure of luxuries that have little or no practical use, I can relay what I have learned inhabiting my human body and playing through the human life in regards to living comfortably on a small budget.
To this end, I have compiled a list of rules under each of the 4 human needs that, if followed correctly, should result in the ability to be able to hold on to ones cash like a stingy cheap-ass.
Rule #1: No matter where you are in the world, noodles cost roughly nothing and a half, and that is only if your merchant is price-gouging.
Rule #2: If it has been factory processed in a package, it can double as reading material (Need #4) because of obligatory printing of the usually vast amounts of semi-pronounceable ingredients. There will be few other instances where one will come across interesting vocabulary-enhancers such as "propylene glycol alginate." Take advantage of it when you can.
Rule #3: Buy lots and lots of cans of beans.
Rule #4: Canned soups contain such a high liquid-to-solid ratio, that it could be argued that one would be better off purchasing thoroughly solid material and just adding water to it oneself. If you are unsure as to what to add to your soup, see Rule #1.
Rule #5: On the other hand, condensed soups are exactly that--condensed--and usually require that one add water to make them less voluminous. On this one, it is your call.
Rule #6: Two rules can indeed contradict each other if the writer of this article expresses sufficient "open-mindedness" about the subject of canned soups, and says things that amount to "it's your call" or "it's you decision" so that he can save himself the burden of forming his own opinion.
Many people waste their time and money paying hundreds of dollars for a few (or even for one) article of clothing, essentially a piece of cloth which has been sewn together with other pieces of cloth in a few places. Usually, the cost is unjustified, and there are few other fields of commerce where more useless, inefficient, and downright ugly materials are more overpriced than in the field of so-called brand-name clothing. Even humans who wish to shop "on a budget" go about solving the problem all wrong, visiting outlet stores and the like, or cutting coupons, not realizing that the biggest secret to finding cheap clothing is to not shop at clothes stores at all.
Yes, that's right.
The One Rule of Acquiring Cheap Clothing: Buy all your clothes from pharmacies.
In particular, if one lives in the United States, one will find incredibly inexpensive clothing in such places, if one looks hard enough. When I say "inexpensive," I do not mean "reasonable," I mean "If you bought the cloth raw from a factory who was tossing out waste scraps in a third-world country during a recession while the factory was declaring bankruptcy and liquidating all its assets under a court order after being sued by a rival company for trademark infringement on a Wednesday, and then sewed it together yourself by hand (or by feet, so that you could engage in other activities simultaneously so as to not cost yourself a lot of time), the result would be more expensive than buying from a pharmacy."
The only downside to buying clothing from pharmacies strictly is that they often have a high polyester content, and thus will be itchy.
Currently, however, human-powered back-scratchers run about 1 USD, depending on whether one acquires them through a 99-cent store or a souvenir shop in Provincetown (in which case one must be warned that the handle will likely be shaped like a phallus). A ruler or meter stick will also serve this purpose, often for less.
In this case, I do not have rules, so much as things to consider, as finding cheap shelter often amounts to luck. To push the odds in ones favor, however:
- Agree to live with hundreds upon hundreds of cockroaches as your room mates.
As you may know, the price of a good or service is largely determined by two things: supply and demand. There is less demand for houses filled to the brim with long-antanead vermin than there are for houses with no such pest problem. Not being bothered by such disease-carrying neighbors means that you suddenly do not have to compete with roughly the entire female population and a good number of squeamish males for a particularly infested housing prospect.
I hear they are also more intelligent than they look and, if given the chance, can make good pets.
No, not really. I just made that last part up to see if you are the type who will take to researching unlikely claims rather than accepting them outright.
To kill a cockroach without touching him, simply vacuum clean him to death.
- Live with or near criminals.
This is similar to the first suggestion in the realm of supply and demand, except that often there are ways for people to research ahead of time whether a criminal is nearby or not. Above most things, humans will protect their valuables (and, depending on the kind of criminal, their various sexual orifices) from violation, and it is important to realize that this can often be used to the advantage of a person who is willing to simply have thirteen different varieties of deadbolt on his door (or who is willing to wear a chastity belt at all times, again, depending on the kind of criminal).
Of course, it is worthy to note that perhaps I am reversing a cause with its effect when making the above assessments. For instance, it could be that housing with a cockroach infestation is cheap not due to the cockroaches, but due to the fact that such low rent could never cover the landlord's expenses enough to warrant his providing pest control. Either way, however, it is an indication of inexpensiveness.
There are two places you must know about in regards to this, depending on your tastes:
Depending on the specific location, you will find good book collections at the chain thrift store Goodwill. By comparison, I have found that Salvation Army tends to have meager collections at best. The books are quite inexpensive (usually approximately 0.25 USD to 1.00 USD) and often you will find used textbooks from students who found they no longer needed the junk that was accumulating from last semester. Thus, I believe it is possible in theory to gain the equivalent in skills of a college degree (even, or especially, a rather technically-oriented skill-set like Computer Science) from 20 dollars worth of books at Goodwill. Most of what you will find are older editions, but everybody already knows that newer editions are essentially older editions with the problems and/or a few chapters switched around.
BookOff, for those of you who do not know, is a chain used book store which can be found in locations around the world.
BookOff is very unfortunately quite scarce in the United States (compared to its common presence in Japan), so a trip to BookOff may seem like a religious experience due to its rarity. It certainly is if one is an extreme lover of books and media
At BookOff, one can find books primarily in two languages: Japanese and English. Most of the books you will find are in Japanese, which is good if you can read them; but even if you can only decipher English, the books are so dirt cheap you will not know what to do with yourself and you will beg the employees to strangle you right there because you can die a happy man. These are not thrift-store books which have been used to wipe up car oil and then urinated upon--these are crisp, neat books whose pages still smell like the fresh bark of a power-sawed tree.
Now go eat, wear clothes, be sheltered, and read something already.
There we have it. Though this post has a bit of a humorous tone to it, it does not render most of the information in it any less true (but perhaps a bit exaggerated). Hope to have been of service. Shop around.