One of the beautiful things about being in grad school is experiencing first world poverty, in all it’s grizzly splendor. Even if you think you are doing all right, all you have to do is take a look at your friends who are, you know, employed, to realize that your bank account is indeed utter horseshit. Over the past semester, I have amassed enough experience as one of the huddled masses to be somewhat of an expert in being a poor millennial.
If you are wondering if you, too, are poor AF, wonder no further. Simply see how many items on the following list resonate with you, and then go back to weeping softly into your Top Ramen while your curl into the fetal position surrounded by your utility bills.
You know you’re poor when…
…you look at jars of pasta sauces and resealable plastic packages of lunchmeat and think, “FREE TUPPERWARE!”
…you grab lunch at Costco before you go shopping. And by “grab lunch,” I don’t mean you buy a $1.50 on a hot dog combo. Hell naw. Papa does laps of all the sample tables till he has to be wheeled out to the parking lot on top of a flatbed cart.
…you strategically plan when and where to fill up your gas tank based on the day of the week, time of day, and location where gas is cheapest.
….you have a separate email account for junk emails, and this is used almost exclusively for those places that offer you free stuff (LIKE FOOD) when you sign up for their mailing list.
…you consider an iced coffee from McDonald’s to be a splurge.
…you buy the majority of your clothes from thrift stores and secondhand stores.
….you feel classy when you shop at Target instead of Walmart.
…you drink alcohol about as often as a Mormon kid, because that shit is expensive.
…you refuse to use your heater during the winter and instead just walk around the house dressed like a Minnesota hobo, randomly doing pushups and lunges to increase your circulation.
…you only shop online if you can get free shipping – thank you, Amazon Prime.
….you have Amazon Prime only because you have your parents’ Amazon account password.
…you also have your parents’ Netflix password.
….you sometimes forget that people can actually buy books, because the only books you can afford are from the library.
…you dream of being able to afford guacamole when you get Chipotle.
…you also dream of being able to afford Chipotle.
…you qualify for free medical insurance through the state, and you marvel like a kid at Disneyland for the first time when you visit the doctor and they send you on your way without a copay.
…you consider painting your own toenails with polish from anywhere other than the dollar store to be a luxury.
…your wish list consists of things like printer paper, socks, and a gift card to the grocery store.
…you take it seriously when considering which charity will be the lucky recipient of all $10 you have to donate.
The one benefit to being poor is that it makes it that much easier to appreciate what you do have, whether it’s a roof over your head or free lunches offered at work events or friends that makes you laugh more than any Jim Gaffigan bit or a body healthy enough to survive a summer in LA with minimal air conditioning. And sweet moses, if nothing else, being poor is motivating as hell. You can bet your left leg that I’m determined to work hard, finish school, bust my ass for a career that allows me to be less poor…and maybe even have enough extra in the bank to help those in need.
…Or get a boob job. Might be a tough call.