Broke Hipster Budgeting Tips

Last night, I came across a helpful article titled, “How to Save Money the Hipster Way” on WalletPop. The author, Steven Kent, was pretty spot on with his list: “Thou shall not pay more than $20 for a show” or “Thou shall not pay more than $2 for beer” seems to ring true with every hipster.

However, I noticed a few items missing.

Here is my list on how to save money the hipster way.

How do you save?

1.) Shop at Thrift Stores– Well, duh. When I was 16 and stupid, shopping at the Salvation Army was not even a thought in my head. I wore vintage clothing, but only from the treasure troves of my mother and grandmother’s closets. Now, ten years later, I ONLY shop at thrift stores. What did I know? Nothing. My favorite thrift store in Austin is Thrift Town. It’s a southwestern chain with great specials every month. The items below I got during their 50% off sale. $2.99 for the shoes, $3.99 for the dress.

2.) Repurpose Old Clothing/Buy Accessories– When you get the urge to buy a new outfit, stop. Chances are you have great clothing that you’re just bored of. If that’s the case, try and be creative. Some of my favorite flowy skirts, I now wear as tops (yes, it’s true…and it usually makes my boobs look bigger). If you can sew, then you’re golden. When I get sick of my little black dress, I buy some funky pantyhose. Check out American Apparel’s fun pantyhose selection.

3.) Sell your clothing to Buffalo Exchange– If you live in a big city, chances are you have a Buffalo Exchange (or something like it). That chain is spreading like a fungus. If you’re in a pinch, selling old clothing is a fast way for some dough. Remember, make sure the clothing is clean and season appropriate before you take it in.

4.) Free movie screenings– In Austin, the beloved Alamo Drafthouse hosts free kid-friendly screenings the last Saturday of each month, or Monday-Thursday during the summer. They also host $1 Terror Tuesdays and Weird Wednesdays. Whole Foods HQ in Austin often screens contemporary films on their rooftop. I have no idea if your town does these sort of things. Check out your local newspaper/alt weekly paper for details. This is just another little insertion on why Austin is substantially cooler than everywhere else.

5.) DIY furniture– Furniture can be expensive. Even Ikea can be a fortune when you’re broke. That’s why you should DIY your furniture. Check out Craigslist for cheap deals. Also, check the free section. Lots of times people give away big pieces they don’t want to lug around. Another option is Freecycle. Freecycle is a city forum where people leave messages about free stuff they are giving away. For creative ideas, check out Ikeafans or Ikeahacker for ideas.

6.) Cheap Travel- Wanderlust is part of the deal when you’re a hipster, but it can be difficult when you’re stealing toilet paper from work just to wipe your butt at home. Budget Travel is a great way to find inexpensive trips all over the world. Last Minute offers cheap vacays for that week. Chances are you live near someplace pretty f’ing cool though. Round up a bunch of friends and head out for the weekend. Brown bag it, hostel it, street walk it (in more ways than one). Do what you gotta do. You’ll have fun regardless.

7.) Unload car– If you can, unload your car and move to a city with excellent mass transportation or bike-friendly roads. Seriously. Why not? I did and I’m slowly working towards that naive dream.

8.) Defer college loan– Defer that shit! College loan lenders are the easiest to work with, but the devil when you fall behind. Don’t be afraid to call your lender and ask for a deferment or talk about ways you can lower your monthly payment. There are ways that don’t involve sexual favors, trust me.

9.) Sell on Etsy/Ebay- If you are creative or have a good eye, start selling on Etsy or Ebay. See this bag here? SEE IT? It’s Kitty Hipster Bag and I bought it for $1.25 at a thrift store and sold it for $15 on Etsy.

10.) Assistance- Do like what Wal-mart told their employees to do- go on public assistance. In Texas, for a single person, you must make $903 a month. At least this way you won’t be eating Taco Bell and gasin’ up the joint every day. Or to find more information on subsidized rentals and homeowner assistance and advice go to your state HUD website.

*Note- Don’t mooch off of unemployment longer than you have to. I know times are tough, but if you get offered a job, f’ing take it, will you? Let’s put it this way, thousands of people in California found themselves jobless with unemployment funds unavailable to them for up to 6 months because of people like my lazy ass musician friends who were perfectly cable of finding a job.

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  • Reply April March 30, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    #5 I love finding great, used furniture. My best pieces are hand-me-downs from relatives. New furniture seems so… impersonal.
    #6 I love just hopping in the car and wandering around locally
    #7 I'm dying to move to an area where I can ditch the car and WALK everywhere. Or bike.
    #8 Yeah, I do this ALL the time. Kind of necessary when you're jobless. It amazes me how easy it is to defer, but frightens me to think of all the interest I'm racking up.

    Great list of tips! Thanks!

  • Reply Hipstercrite March 30, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    @April- Thanks! Yeah, I think it's time for me to defer again….:/

  • Reply Colleen March 30, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    My favorite money-saving tip: Get a library card (if you're an insatiable reader, like myself). Buying up paperbacks at B&N can get expensive, even with those 3 for the price of 2 deals.

  • Reply Hipstercrite March 30, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    @Colleen- That's an excellent tip! I was going to include that originally but got lazy.

  • Reply Kate March 30, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    My new favourite thing is to look at what's going on for free in Belfast and go do. There is a lot! Next up is The Fashion Souk, 'Belfast’s first ever fair-fashion market dedicated to locally made, vintage, recycled, up-cycled and nearly new clothing'.

    I like the idea of buying stuff at thrift stores and selling it on ebay. Might be useful for when I'm skint (i.e. all the time).

    Awesome list! Ta! 🙂

    Kate x

  • Reply Tocalabocina March 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Buying one's produce at a farmer's market in place of a Whole Foods or other pricy grocer is not only cost-effective, but also totally hipster-approved.

  • Reply Marissa March 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    I totally sold my car. I dont actually live in a big city, but its not THAT hard to get around.

    and when i had my own place i made my own living room furnityre 🙂

    love the blog!!!!!

  • Reply Hipstercrite March 30, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    @Kate- That fashion market sounds incredible! Do you have a link about it?

    @Tocalabocina- Yes, excellent idea!

    @Marissa- Good for you! What town do you live in?

  • Reply IT March 30, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    The best thrift stores, IMHO, are those run by non-profits. They get really good stuff donated because the folks with the good stuff are looking to get the tax write-off.

    The library card thing works only if you're ready to provide some information to the library. If you are paranoid, forget it.

  • Reply Melanie's Randomness March 30, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    I love thrift stores & vintage stores cuz you never know what your going to find for less! If there were free screenings of movies by me I'd sooo be there!!

  • Reply KeLLy aNN March 30, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    HaHaHa!! I just got off the phone a few hours ago, Deferring my student loan again. After Baby Girl starts K, then we'll see.

    Etsy shop in the making, Working on logo.

    LOVE diy furniture ~ did a plum colored cabinet using box shelves and wooden fence knobs.

    We live and hour and some from New Orleans…need I say more?

    Even though we live :mid city:, I still have to use my car alot.
    We do frequent the piggly wiggly, and some restaurants, and the park by foot.

    I use my library for EVERYthing.
    Books, cds, dvds,…and I donate my books frequently to them.

    We utilize activities like First Sunday, when all museums and galleries are free or really reduced prices. The kids LOVE it!
    Our favorite by far was The Muppet exhibit.

    If I don't get to use the thrift stores as much as I like, I do donate as much as possible.

    I volunteer alot at my son's school. In return his teacher usually won't charge me for the usual party fees. Like the $3 for pizza…every penny counts.

    The Man just bought me a cappacinno machine, on sale, so I can enjoy my coffee without having to spend money.

    I'm lucky for shows I want to go to {as in NO womb fruits}. If The Man is working extra duty at said show, many times I get in free, or again, he gets the Blue Badge discount {no coffee and doughnuts for us! give us indie films!}

    Hip, You're my long lost little sister.

  • Reply Fashion By He March 30, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    please say no to those american apparel things


  • Reply Juliette March 30, 2010 at 6:59 pm

    Great advice :]
    There's something slightly adventurous in roughin' it and living like a starving artist hipster…but then that gets old and you realize being poor sucks.

    -Juliette WhereForArtThouRomeo

  • Reply katalinaTX March 30, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Just sumbled across your blog, love it! And will be returning frequently! I have a personal blog as well, check it out @http://katalinatx.blogspot.com/

  • Reply tomgfoto March 30, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    $2/beer… well they keep raising the price of PBR just because its become more popular. Personally, i think it tastes like Old Style, but with rusty metal powder sprinkled in. I'm looking forward to the rebirth of Hamm's.

  • Reply zachary March 31, 2010 at 12:46 am

    I'm loving your blog more and more each day!
    I usually shop at thrift and vintage stores and i spent an awful lot of time digging and digging and digging for clothes that fits me.
    Well, i guess it's about the whole shopping experience that i love.
    There's something about old, second hand clothing that new clothes lack off, it's the feeling of wearing them, i can't explain:)

    Also, it's a great way to reduce consumption, marketing and manufacturing and most of all putting money into capitalists pockets so they could run more sweatshops.
    I think everybody should shop this way;)

  • Reply Erin March 31, 2010 at 1:42 am

    I second the use of the library – plus most libraries now have cd & dvds for checkout. And freecycle is awesome. (Okay I have never obtained anything but I have purged my garage via freecycle).

  • Reply T!nK March 31, 2010 at 4:30 am

    i totally stole toilet paper from my job.

  • Reply Mel March 31, 2010 at 5:54 am

    My housemate introduced me to op shopping for furniture. She's constantly finding these hard wood treasures for $15!

    I think op shopping is a gift though. Or genetic, or something. My sister finds the coolest stuff, but I never have any luck.

  • Reply Heather March 31, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I have a giant thrift store by my house and I've been afraid to concur the clothing section because there's so much and it's hard to find a diamond in the rough when there's just so much shit.

  • Reply Slumber Designs April 1, 2010 at 8:52 pm

    Free movie premiers are my addiction!! You hit the nail right on the head with all of these. Girl, you sure know how to write a great post!

  • Reply Benny Paul April 1, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    dressing that cheaply in NYC usually = Salvation Army or ghetto outlets. The way I look probably reflects that.
    Here's a question for debate: Who hurts the system more, hipsters who stay on unemployment, or trust-funded hipsters who work in restaurants (thus taking jobs from other hipsters) to look legit and cool while their bank accounts could easily support them?

  • Reply steff April 12, 2010 at 8:41 pm

    as always, killer tips. thanx!
    i have plans in the very near future of being a regular on ebay and etsy selling the shit out of my old duds.

  • Reply Anonymous August 6, 2011 at 7:15 pm

    Here's some tips for carnivores. Shop the ethnic grocery stores. Hispanic, Polish, and Asian. Skip Jewel, Dominics, and all the white bread stores. Buy pork or beef neck chunks for making soup. .69lb – $1.50lb. Buy cheap sausages. Get great produce for 1/3 the cost. Get a 20lb. bag of rice for $10 and stir fry everything (that's on sale). Get 10lbs of chicken legs for .39lb. That alone will last a week and cost $3.90. Get jalapenos for .49lb and spice up everything.

  • Reply Whatahipster March 26, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    This is great. Thanks for the tips!!:D

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