Nearly one-third of Americans currently live birthday check to birthday check. That’s a pretty sobering statistic, especially when you consider most of these people also make a living that’s so inadequate they need a pretty significant birthday check from their family to make it throughout the year. I’m one of those people, and I’m here to tell you why it’s not so easy living from birthday to birthday like this.
It has been hard making ends meet on my own as a fashion blogger and Instagram model, so the check I receive once a year from my grandma is a lifesaver. I get incredibly stressed financially having to bring my own bottle of Prosecco to BYOB Italian restaurants instead one off the menu. But when my grandma hands me that Duane Reade card with a $3000 check slipped inside, I know I’m going to make it in New York City another year.
I honestly don’t know what I would do without June 9th, which is my birthday – the day that signals it’s time to give me money.
It seems scary, but without my birthday, I would have no savings at all. I put half of birthday checks straight into savings as soon as I get them, so I have a financial cushion in case I ever need to try an expensive new fad diet, or I accidentally destroy a Citibike while drunk or it’s time to upgrade to a nicer bag. You see, it can be quite dangerous living without the safety net of a birthday check.
I also keep my rent to a minimum by living in Williamsburg with a roommate. Of course I’d rather rent a studio or one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan, but that kind of lifestyle’s out of my reach, given that I need to make my birthday check last all year or until the holidays or whenever my parents send me money just because I’m having a hard month. Why don’t I just find a different job that pays more, you may want to ask? Well, for one, I don’t have any skills or qualifications. Also I like working from home and no one has ever tried to make me do anything different. Also my family keeps sending me money so like why would I ever get a real job that makes no sense.
That’s just the harsh reality of living birthday check to birthday check.
Feeding myself can get pretty difficult though. I naturally want to eat one million dollars worth of food a day, but on my budget I have to stick mostly with eating takeout only once a day and going to Trader Joes instead of Whole Foods. I calculate this food budget carefully by looking at my bank account at least once a month and seeing if I have any money left. I have to stick to it pretty stringently otherwise I’ll be screwed until my next birthday check, which I should mention actually comes twice a year because my Grammy loves me so much.
To save even more money on food, I also sometimes eat leftovers. My doctor says I should drink more green juice, and take vitamins but I stopped seeing that doctor because he kind of gave off a creep vibe. Now I see this holistic doctor who’s amazing even thought she’s not covered under my parent’s health insurance. It’s just one more expense where my birthday check comes in handy!
What I want you to take away from all of this is that living your life birthday check to birthday check is not easy. However, it is survivable, as long as you have at least one wealthy family member who loves you enough to pay you a large sum every year for remaining alive.