As Americans, it’s our cultural heritage to spend more money than we make. Your income may be a hard, fast number, but it’s much more of a suggestion than a limit. What I’m getting at here is unless you put yourself in debt, the massive institutions of legal usury aren’t going to be able to buy their underground city with the stoplights where the only color is gold and the streets are paved with the credit cards of starved debtors. We need that city. If Apophis blows us all to hell, it’ll be the only place we have left.

But say you’re a selfish un-team player who (unlike the world’s forward-thinking big businessmen) cares nothing for the long-term survival of humanity. Say you’re following some stupid career that makes you little to no money (actually, given that qualification, “stupid” is probably redundant). And in the most unlikely assumption of them all, say you intend to spend less than you earn.

Among the chief components of executing this America-destroying plan is to identify repeated expenses and decide if they’re necessary. If they’re not, your solution’s simple. Quit spending money on them, Monopoly Man With Your Dopey Little Monocle.

If they are necessary–and I’m using the term loosely here; I, for instance, like to own so many socks my closet looks like the corner of a cotton mill–see if you can’t minimize the expense. Shit adds up. If you buy a $3 mocha every day on your way to work, you’re dropping $60-70 a month on coffee.

Buy a $60 espresso machine. Get a thermos. Learn to make your own mochas. Reduce monthly coffee expenditures to $5 of beans and $5 of milk. Yay! You’ve still got delicious coffee and you can cut a few hours from your regular job to focus on writing/underwater basketweaving/Chewbacca sculptures etc.

But wait, there’s more. Ladies like a dynamic guy. (Men may like a dynamic partner, too, if only because a girlfriend with hobbies of her own gives us more time to work on our own ridiculous hobbies.) I think, subconsciously, women evaluate every man they meet by his capability to survive a zombie apocalypse. Looking all big and strong is the no-duh part of this, but having skill sets is an even bigger part. Knowing tae kwon do: an obvious plus. Cooking, too–the apocalypse is filled with bad meals. If you’re aware of the eldritch secrets of heat and salt, you’ll be worth your weight in shotgun shells. Even something unglamorous like knowing how to sew or change a tire is attractive.

Allow me to put this in terms we can all understand. In D&D, most of your character’s power comes from his skills. If you want to be high-leveled in real life, you need to develop skills of your own. And what is the art of concocting espresso-based drinks if not a modern form of potion brewing?

Learn to do stuff for yourself instead of buying those services from others. It’ll cut back on your day job and make you sexier. Besides, you think any of those banker fucks know how to brew their own espresso? You’re going to be in pretty high demand in the underground city.

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