Easy Money-saving Tips for the Discriminating Hipster

How to stop complaining about the high cost of your daily latte in Brooklyn by learning a few artisanal methods

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Living in Brooklyn can sure be expensive for those who care about quality, but there are savings galore for the savvy consumer. Here are some simple ways for borough residents to fatten their wallets while still getting the very best:

Artisanal meat: Dry-aged beef is all the rage nowadays, but a trip to the butcher’s will have you complaining about the price till the cows come home. The solution: buy some expired, discount ground chuck at your local supermarket, sprinkle it with table salt, store it in a dry place in your home—we like the back of a closet—and cook it up a month later. Not only will you dine cheaply on tripled-aged beef, but as a bonus, your clothing will have a pleasingly rustic, meaty scent.


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Beard-trimming: Fellas, keeping your facial hair in check can cost your entire paycheck if you regularly go to a barber, and even using an electric razor yourself can add up with expensive blade replacements and lubricating oils. For a cost-effective fix that will “shave” your expenses, stir a small dose of liquid estrogen into your morning coffee to regulate your hirsuteness and tame your cheeks’ mane. After a few months of calibration, your beard will completely stabilize—though your barber will hate you! (If he recognizes you, that is; other pronounced physical changes may occur.)

Monocles: Visiting the eye doctor and buying a new monocle every year is exorbitant. It may cost more upfront, but over the long term you’ll “clearly see” that to save oodles you should buy a non-prescription plastic-lens monocle and get LASIK surgery in that one eye.

Coffee: That daily cuppa joe from the corner barista may perk you up and keep your estrogen levels high—until you realize that you’re spending close to $1,000 a year on your java fix! While you could brew your own at home, you’re still paying a heavy retail markup. Instead, I recommend you purchase a coffee plantation; South America is a good bet these days. Learn the trade, develop relationships with growers, pay off the cartels to avoid being murdered, and export beans in mass shipments to the walk-in freezer that you’ve built in your home. It’ll pay for itself in 23 years—talk about a “fair trade”!


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Books: Your “Booklyn” club is reading that new 700-page revisionist examination of the Constitution—but the hardcover costs three Alexander Hamiltons! Well, you could wait for the paperback or spend precious money traveling to and from the library, but why not just research the topic for several years and write the darn thing yourself? You’ll thank us when you count your savings—and learn a lot about American democracy in the process. Read the manuscript on your laptop to avoid printing costs.

Loose change: Most people have coins collecting dust in a jar (or beneath the couch cushions!) that they never use, but it’s getting harder and harder to find a coin-deposit sorter in Brooklyn. The solution: buy a $200 coin-shaver and use the filings as a decorative—and zinc-rich—garnish for your cocktails. You’ll save a lot of “coin” on cocktail garnishes and boost your immune system, too!

Internet: Time Warner charges upwards of $35 a month for a measly time-wasting, digital-data-delivery system. If you find yourself with the urge to “electronically mail,” simply write out letters to friends, professional contacts, and customer-support representatives and hand-deliver them on foot—they’ll appreciate the personalized touch.

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Bicycles: Tired of paying for two new tires on your fixed-gear bike every time they wear down, or can’t afford a Citi Bike membership? Simple: cut your wheel-replacement costs in half by getting an inexpensive, stylish and totally pragmatic unicycle!

Cabs: When your unicycle won’t cut it, instead of hailing an overpriced taxi or Uber next time you want to hand-deliver a letter, wait until a richer or less fiscally responsible person near you flags one down, then crawl under the car as the passenger enters and latch onto the bottom with special metal clamps that cost just a few dollars to make with your loose-change smelter. If the vehicle isn’t going in your direction, drop and roll with your special street-cushioning suit that you have inexpensively repurposed out of coffee-bean burlap sacks.

Cable: You’ve already ditched Time Warner’s internet; now fully cut the cord. While “prestige” cable TV shows are all the rage nowadays, those premium channels come with a hefty price tag—HBO really ought to stand for “Hey, Buzz Off!” Instead, reenact your favorite series with your friends, professional contacts and customer-support representatives who are all now much closer to you thanks to your intimately hand-delivered letters.

Want to “watch” the new season of “Mad Men”? Obtain the pirated script online at a place with free Wi-Fi and keep the document open on your laptop for your cast to see, dress up in period clothing tailored from coffee-bean burlap sacks, take low-cost method-acting classes at a local community center, smelt a martini shaker, and become steeped in 1960s sexual politics by writing your own nonfiction book on the subject. Before you know it, you’ll be pitching ads like Don Draper! (For best results, pay off a coffee cartel to kidnap Jon Hamm and conscript him to play Don Draper.)

Housing: A quick glance on StreetEasy will remind you that renting is for suckers and buying a Brooklyn brownstone is out of the question. Before you move to the suburbs, consider joining us on our commune in a derelict warehouse down in Sheepshead Bay. There’s tons of homemade coffee and closet-aged beef, a library of nonfiction books we’ve written, and all the coin-filing cocktail garnishes you could want. We get paid in loose change by writing practical-advice listicles for websites. Just take a cab out here, and when you arrive, instead of paying, we’ll kidnap the driver—we need someone new to play McNulty on season four of The Wire (best reenacted TV show ever!).

Teddy Wayne is the author of three novels, most recently Loner. He is also a columnist for the New York Times and writes for the New Yorker, McSweeney’s and other publications.