Yes, We Get It: the Economy’s Not Doing So Well. And…?

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There’s a lot of chatter out there about how we’re in:

 A recession

A once-in-a-century economic crisis

An economic time that’s comparable to (if not worse than) the Depression

A “historic” crisis

And the like.

All of the rhetoric surrounding these unfortunate financial times has instilled a sense of certain doom in me.  Though I rent an apartment in New York City (which, for the first time on record, is proving to be a losing investment, as opposed to good investment), I could possibly lose my place if the mortgage company through which my building management procured the lot goes under.   The cost of living has gone up.  As previously written, the cost of my tea has gone up.  All the while, the banks in which I’m supposed to be saving money may be crumbling beneath me.

Most importantly, and this is where growing up in a “Me Me Me” culture will rear its ugly head, I’m concerned about how these money matters are going to screw up my upcoming birthday.

Dinner and drinks in the city is pricey and pointless, namely because you can’t interact with everyone that’s come to join you in celebrating being born.

As someone that prefers back alley bars to fancy clubs, a lot of other city fare is out.

So how can I have an awesome time with my friends for my birthday without breaking the bank?

Two words: Laser. Tag.

Most people, if they’ve ever been to play Laser Tag, haven’t been since they were a pre-teen.  Me?  My last experience was my senior year of college.

Out for another friend’s birthday, we went to some dive-y little place in Pittsburgh.  About 20 of us descended on the ‘tween hotspot.  Undeterred by the fact that we were double these children in both height and age, we waltzed in and proceeded to Shoot children.  Repeatedly

Glorious it was.

Then, after a round of two were played, my group sat down to re-energize before the last match we were going to play.  During that time, as the cosmopolitan college senior (and yes, that needs to be stressed) I was, I decided to spend my time and money playing with the claw machine.

I hadn’t been there for about 5 minutes, when a boy, no older than fourteen, sidled up next to me.

I gave him a puzzled look and wearily said hello.

“Hi there,” he replied.

“So… what can I do for you?” I asked.

And like this kid had been studying Rudolph Valentino his entire, relatively short, life, he said, “You know, my friend over there, he thinks you’re pretty cute.”

My heart melted because it had been about ten years since a 14-year-old boy had asked me out for his friend, and I couldn’t help but say, “Aw, that’s so sweet.  But I’m 21.”

I then asked him, “Can you please go over there and tell that to my boyfriend because he’ll really appreciate it.”

Understanding what that meant, he walked away.  I looked over at my friends and aforementioned boyfriend, and they were putting a valiant effort into not laughing out loud.  I then glanced at the boy with his friend, and saw a dejected teenager.

After that, we went back to shoot other smaller children, and left.

For $20, and in our weak economy, I don’t think there could be a better investment, and if, years later, I could still be mistaken for a 14-year-old, that wouldn’t be too bad either.

There’s no denying that we’re a money-driven culture, but battling these hardships by forgoing little pleasures is what will make you not only poor, but poor AND miserable.

So, just as I am going to enjoy a low-cost throw-back birthday, here are some other recommendations for keeping yourself happy even though your bank and mortgage company can’t:

Recession Wines: At less than $5 a bottle, you can drink till you can’t feel feelings anymore.  The great part about it though, is that since it’s a high quality wine (relatively speaking), you won’t get the dreaded sugar hangover of some of it’s competitors.

 Hand/Foot Massages: Not as expensive or time-consuming as the full-body ones, but they can be plenty relaxing. Lists open bar events around the city (some times there’s a cover, sometimes there’s not; regardless, it’s cheaper/free drinking)

Matinees: Get out of bed before noon on a Sunday and see that movie or play you wanted to.  Also, bring your own snacks.

Quality Time With the Family: If you’re lucky enough to have them nearby, go get a home-cooked meal.  And bring leftovers back with you.  (Mom, I really come home to see you, not for the food.  Promise.)

See?  The recession doesn’t have to get you down (unless you’re talking about the previously mentioned wine, in which case if you drink enough, it’ll certainly put you down).

As for me, I’ll be bobbing and weaving and hitting the ground from laser attacks, not the economy.

Jackie for AMP3 Public Relations | NYC

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