You walk into a cozy nook. The smell of old books and hot chai fill the air.
Then you see them: hipsters.
They’re so cool, with their hair and their clothes and their Macbook Airs. Oh, what you’d give to be just like them.
There’s only a slight problem. You’re kind of a nerd. You like to crunch numbers from time to time. Your check your credit scores and credit reports annually. Spreadsheets are your gig. You might have actually calculated how much money you need to save per month to have a nice retirement.
If only you could love finances and be a hipster at the same time.
Imagine the possibilities. Imagine the friends you’ll make. Imagine your social life blossoming into bouquet of casual conversation – whatever that means.
Contrary to what you may think, it is possible to combine both worlds. You can be a financial hipster. And I’m going to show you how.
1. Buy Your Clothes at Boutique Thrift Stores
How do you stay stylish while saving money? Boutique thrift stores. Who says you need to drain your wallet to be hip? Nobody worth your time!
Listen, your clothing budget is one of those things that can get out of hand in a hurry. It’s one of those weird discretionary, yet necessary budgeting categories. Financial hipsters never let their sense of style get in the way of their long-term goals. Keep your clothing budget tight, just like your jeans.
2. Eat Out at Low-Cost Food Carts or Trucks
Avoid wasting your hard-earned money at those mainstream restaurant chains. You have a smartphone. You can use a maps app to find all the food carts in your area. Over the next month, try out a few. Food carts are great because not only are they a hipster hot spot, their prices are pretty affordable, too.
Why are they affordable? Low overhead. Fewer employees and lower utilities mean savings for the food cart, which they will likely pass on to their customers to encourage business.
Besides, there’s just something so authentically hip about food carts. (If you want some bonus points, you could actually consider starting your own).
3. Bank at the Local Credit Union
Banks are a little different then credit unions. I tend to think of banks as typically large, national institutions. Credit unions, on the other hand, are typically small, local institutions. And hipsters are all about going local.
Another reason credit unions are a prime choice of hipsters? They’re generally non-profit entities. As a credit union member, you’re part of a family. You’re doing business with those who value keeping the profits in the family. Member-owned credit unions are democratically managed which means you have a say in how things are operated at the credit union (and could secure better terms and conditions on certain accounts or financing).
4. Carbonate Your Own Seltzer Water & Sip the Savings
Certain health conditions can arise from consuming too much sugar. You know what usually has sugar in it? Pop (or soda)! Instead, water should be your beverage of choice (besides the occasional latte, of course).
Bottled water generally isn’t for financial hipsters. After all, it costs too much – perhaps even more than gasoline! And don’t get me started on the waste.
Instead, you can get your water from the tap. Hipsters often believe it’s likely just as good as the bottled stuff, and if you purify it, bonus points for you.
Now, do you just drink it straight? If you said “yes,” I’m sorry, but you’re not thinking like a hipster – yet. Hipsters often make their own seltzer water. There are plenty of affordable “fizzy” machines on the market; just go to your favorite search engine and figure out which one is right for you. Add some fresh lemon to the water and drink it out of your earth-friendly thermos. Right on, you’re hydrated, found a cheap alternative to soda, are taking care of future you, and you look cool doing it.
5. Invest in Life Experiences
Around here, we talk about investing for various life goals. For example, you might want to invest for retirement or invest for your children’s college education. All of that is great, and you should do so, but how might the financial hipster invest?
Financial hipsters invest in all of the above, but they also invest in life experiences.
Life is not just about working at your job, coming home, going to sleep, and repeating the process. If you want to be a financial hipster, you have to make time to invest in life experiences.
What are life experiences? Nature walks. Road trips with friends. Rollercoasters. Coffee at a new coffee house. These are life experiences. The fabric of our lives isn’t all about investing to make money; it’s about investing in ourselves and in other people.
These adventures should always be experienced slowly and thoughtfully. Don’t just get on the rollercoaster. Instead, you can stare at the rollercoaster and dream up analogies and life lessons. Take in the thrills.
As the financial hipster invests in themselves and others, they’re also investing in their financial future. Without investing in their financial future, they’ll eventually arrive only to realize that they blew it because they didn’t pay attention to some of the foundations of finance. Don’t be that guy. Hipsters don’t look good broke.
Remember, becoming a financial hipster is about finding balance. You want to establish solid financial habits You can monitor your financial goals (like building good credit) for free on Credit.com. But you should also think creatively about money — and make room for life experiences that could prove invaluable in more ways than one.
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