Everyone is broke these days, and you’re no exception. Congratulations! The holidays are still here, so you’ve got to figure out how to get your Yule on with minimal coin droppage. Here are a few creative ways to make due with free or super cheap items!
What’s a more budgety holiday story than that of Hanukkah? Stuck with just enough lamp oil for one day, those frugal geniuses worked that for a full eight. A great miracle happened there, and it’s going to take a miracle for you to scrape together January’s rent, let alone eight days of presents. Luckily for you, Hanukkah presents have a long tradition of being something disappointing anyway, but what about your menorah?
Solution: DIY! Just palm a box of matches from a restaurant (preferably the wooden kind: classy!) and save your gum. Flip over the box, stick eight matches in the gum, and let the holiday cheer begin! Or start to cry. Whichever comes first.
Your shitty job that pays your $14 an hour before taxes is now demanding everyone at work bring in a $20 present for the Secret Santa gift exchange. WTF! You don’t even have $20 to spend on the nice tampons! If you’re sneaky, you can get around this by playing the “craft” card. A few ideas:
Steal a mug from the kitchen, steal a handful of pens from the supply cabinet. Paint pen a clever phrase from Office Space on it, like “I’m gonna need those TPS reports,” wrap it up, and everyone will love you.
“Artisanal” food items:
Remove the label from a pickle jar and get crackin’. You can make “compote” with some old frozen fruit and a bunch of sugar packets from Dunkin Donuts, or “pickled garniture” by dumping a can of string beans into the brine left over from said pickles. You can also just make a new label for any sealed food if you’re afraid of poisoning someone. Just add “Fauchon” and people will assume it cost $20. “Oh, yeah, that’s Fauchon Ramen. It’s becoming very popular in Paris.”
If you haven’t been to Urban Outfitters lately, you might not know that most hipster clothes are enormously large, ill-fitting, and unattractive “vintage” items. Sneak a box from U.O. and then package that old denim jacket your grandma sent you, or the oversized tee shirt from the Jump for Heart fundraiser you did with your fourth grade class in the early nineties. Bonus points for Sharpie-ing on an ironic phrase. Everyone will think it cost you a load.
Lastly, it wouldn’t be the holidays without binge eating. But you’re broke! How will you manage?! Solution: throw a party IMMEDIATELY after someone else’s party. Bring Tupperware, an oversized purse, and, when everyone’s wasted, pack away those mini quiches as if your life depended on it. Next day you can reheat and make the party BYOB and everyone else can supply the booze. Voilá!