By Molly Donovan
There are lots of songs about the weekend. I only know a few of them: ‘Living for the weekend,’ ‘Easy Like Sunday Morning,’ ‘Friday night, and the feeling’s right,’–the list is probably endless.
Those two days of rest after a long work week are celebrated and revered by all, and with good reason. Humans were made for more playtime than just the evening hours when we leave the office.
This summer, I lived in New York City for three months and worked my first real 9-6 job. It’s very different from a college schedule, because after the 8ish hours you put in, you’re free to enjoy the rest of your day sans homework and studying and time spent in meetings. The same goes for the weekend. Instead of spending Saturday ignoring responsibilities and Sunday in the library making up for that procrastination, I had BOTH days to relax and enjoy the city.
The thing about New York, though, is it’s expensive. So is living anywhere, really, and budgeting is something that *gulp* adults have to endure, pretty much always. When I was faced with this challenge over the summer, I devised a system that I thought was pretty genius. I’ve applied it to my life now that I’m back in Gainesville, too.
Basically, Monday through Friday, I budgeted like crazy. I grocery shopped at Trader Joe’s (the cheapest option) and kept my grocery bill under $40. I ate that food throughout the week, packing lunches, sticking with granola bars for breakfast and boiling pasta for dinner. My Monday through Friday was anything but glamorous, but I was fed, and I refused to eat out, except on VERY special occasions.
I found that food and alcohol were the things on which I spent the most money when I was out and about, so by limiting those things during the week, I was able to live what I deemed my “weekend lifestyle.”
From the time I left the office on Friday to the time I went to bed Sunday night, I could (within reason) do whatever I wanted. I could go to restaurants with my friends, eat queso AND order the margarita. I could bar hop and order MORE THAN ONE $12 vodka soda. While I definitely prefer the $3 wells that Gainesville offers, while I was in New York, I felt like Blair Waldorf on the weekends.
It was a treat at the end of the week that I looked forward to as much as the blessed time off itself.
When I left in August, I felt heartbroken for many reasons, but one thing I was bummed about was going back to the weird college schedule that includes homework and burdened free time. But I realized that if nothing else, I could at least bring back that lifestyle with me. After all, this is my first time in Gainesville as a 21-year-old, so I can go out and order drinks with my dinner at my favorite quirky restaurants! Very exciting stuff.
Basically, applying my Gossip Girl budgeting method (a name I just created, ™) is smart, even now when I’m not working an adult job. Here in Gainesville, I grocery shop once a week and will usually meal prep on Mondays. Pinterest has a plethora of cheap, healthy recipes that last four days and include minimal ingredients. I eat turkey sandwiches every day for lunch and lots of pasta with sauce. Then, on the weekends, I treat myself to all the avocado toast and Peach Valley mimosas I want. It makes the Saturday and Sunday A.) more fun and B.) more affordable.
While I know this type of budgeting will by no means makes its way into The Economist, it works for me. I feel like it could work for my fellow millennial almost-adults, too.
Molly Donovan is a 4th year journalism major and the current editor in chief of Orange and Blue. She loves storytelling, the Jonas Brothers and being way too dramatic about everything. Molly’s posts are inspired by traveling and friends, two of her very favorite things!