For a while there, the economic crisis/recession was something that only bothered me when I looked at the state of the two mutual funds I bought right before everything went to shit. Being in the military, for all the bullshit, long hours, and danger, does provide a steady paycheck and if you know what you’re doing, a pretty decent amount for someone my age.

But I am feeling it now, yes sir!

It’s been a process but I’ve learned to shake quite a bit of that old consumerism off and I’ve learned how to eat and have a good time on a lot less money. And in a way, I kinda like it. There was a post on Urban Jacksonville a while back about the positive results of the recession in terms of people getting out of their houses and meeting their neighbors for a change rather than spending money entertaining ourselves. That really stuck with me and I’m starting to see it in my own life now.

Initially I made the obvious move to drink nothing but sub-$3 beer. That was the easy part. I bike as much as possible. Some mornings I feel like sleeping and extra 15 minutes and driving instead or make excuses about the weather but I still buy a lot less gas. I eat far less meat now and I actually end up eating better by buying fresh cheap produce at the Farmers Market. Love that place! For the most part, I’ve figured out exactly where I need to be and what I need to be doing on most every night to maximize the fun per dollar ratio. And the great part about that is sometimes I don’t have to spend a dime.

One night a week a group of us get together and have “Family Dinner” where we take turns cooking a big peasant-style meal at each others houses. It’s never fancy but it’s always a good time. Sometimes we hit a pub later on and others we hang around talking and drinking all night. And it’s honestly probably the most fun of the week. I’ve been going to a LOST watching party at some friends’ house on Wednesdays that usually includes a decent size group of people just hanging out and watching engaging television and shushing each other when something crazy happens or the commercial ends. On Thursdays we ride bikes through the city after midnight and watch bike jousts or grab a Tecate at Shantytown before last call. Another friend of mine hosted an impromptu dinner party/get-together/porch party just tonight and tons of people showed up. It was awesome.

And then there are tons of free events going on all the time. Art Walk is Wednesday and I know I can find my friends and see cool art and hear good music in the OLB for nothing. Super Fun Fest is coming up soon and is completely free by its very nature.

Granted, I’m still going to throw down the dough when something like Harvest of Hope comes through, but I actually kind of enjoy the effects of being broke among the broke. I know that many of the bar and restaurant owners would prefer us to spend money in their establishments, but it is what it is. And if it gets bad enough, you guys are more than welcome to party with us!

Oh, and here’s that article I mentioned from Urban Jax. Man I wish I pulled those kinds of comments!