Broke in London

24 Mar

It turns out being broke can be something of a nuisance when living in London.  This month, I forked out a ticket to visit my best friend in Sri Lanka and while I’m incredibly excited about it, it has meant that I’ve been living on a bit of a budget.  And as luck would have it, March is turning out to be a very long month.  I’ve also had lots of coursework, mid-term exams and internship applications so I haven’t been able to fulfil my goal of doing something ‘semi-cultured’ every fortnight.  I think it’s a bit of a neurotic thing really that makes me feel less like I’m wasting my early twenties away.  But – it turns out many things I want to explore more (immersive theatre, philosophy workshops, bungee jumping…) all have a price attached to them.

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So I’ve put together something of a guide (some might be more useful than others but this of course is subject to interpretation) to avoid slipping into insanity when you find yourself strapped for cash:

Visit libraries.  This month I’ve found myself drawn to visiting different libraries in London.  I have moments where I’m such a crazed proponent of libraries and I visit them all the time, and then I sort of forget about them until I find myself bored and needing some sort of stimulation again, and then I’m back in love.  Sure, the library I go to often stinks of stale urine and you can usually find some eccentric – and often, ripe – characters in there but I think it adds to the experience… or at least, that’s what I say to convince myself.  Personally,  I always feel much calmer after a few hours spent reading the blurbs of books I’d never heard of.   Plus, free books and free (or very inexpensive) DVDs to borrow is amazing and something to be taken advantage of.

Take advantage of Netflix/ LoveFilm’s free 1 month trial.  The majority of the films on these types of sites are pretty questionable -I didn’t even realise there was a film called LOL with Miley Cyrus and Demi Moore before I signed up to Netflix – but there are some gems on there if you know what to look for.  For Netflix, I’d recommend reading this article for some good suggestions on what to watch – http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/film/filmreviews/10465196/Netflix-30-best-films-on-Netflix.html.

Try your hand at cooking new, exotic dishes.  Go for the dishes with reasonably priced ingredients and have fun pretending you’re a gourmet chef.  You can even start narrating to a pretend camera as you’re cooking.. or not, if that’s not your kind of thing.  You could also invite friends round which is great because a) it’s cheap, b) you can get your friends to make dishes and 3) seeing people is good so you don’t start going crazy a la Catherine Deneuve in ‘Repulsion.’

Sell everything you own on eBay.  My friends tell me off because I am one of those erratic eBay sellers that will sell a jumper I bought for £50 for £2 (including postage and packaging) when times get tough.  I’m pretty sure I’d sell my soul on this site if I had to but luckily things haven’t come to that yet.

Tidy your room compulsively.  This is something I do when I want to feel like I’m being productive but am too lazy to actually be productive.  Plus, it gives you a tingly sense of accomplishment.

Watch random videos on YouTube.  And then spend ages reading the comments and wondering whether 99% of humanity are really that thick/ ignorant/ racist/ bigoted.

Click ‘Random article’ on Wikipedia.  Strangely addictive and educational.  And completely standard behaviour for a 24 year old.

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