Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Austerity Chic: How Novelist and Performance Artist Mike Albo Gets by in Lean Times

Magazine article The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine)

Austerity Chic: How Novelist and Performance Artist Mike Albo Gets by in Lean Times

Article excerpt

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

ARE YOU REELING FROM THE RECESSION? Join the club. Here are four penny-pinching tips:

(1) A jar of Marshmallow Fluff for $1.49 makes a fine dessert.

(2) Squeeze lemon juice into your tap water and it will taste high-end.

(3) Don't blow your wad on pricey porn. Try XTube for a cheap thrill.

(4) Pre-drink and pre-eat before going out so that you don't overspend.

I always resort to these tactics when I realize I don't have a cent in my HSBC account, which is often. Maybe I'll actually stick to them this time, during our new financially calamitous age.

Then again, I always say this to myself. Every year, no matter how little I have, I end up living beyond my means, bitterly learn my lesson at tax time, and then swing back to my penny-pinching tips before starting the whole cycle over a few months later. I'm like a chicken with no short-term memory, pecking at an electrical fence until it's fried. Or maybe I'm just American.

You'd think I'd act differently by now. I've been in my own personal recession for the past 18 years. All the way through the dot-com '90s, when people were making millions for creating websites devoted to pets and shoes, I was poor. After 9/11, when we headed into our "let's go shopping" era and Juicy Couture jumpsuits were considered "investments," I was still frequenting Salvation Army stores. Even during the housing boom, when anyone could get a loan--including dead people--I could barely get a MasterCard.

Still, somehow I found a way to make a mess of my credit history. I received a modest advance for my first novel, foolishly lived like Posh Beckham for six months, maxed out two credit cards, and spent the next four years paying them off. Because of this, my current credit card has a pathetic $600 limit.

It's probably for the best that I have to live hand to mouth. If I didn't have boundaries forced upon me, I'd have a drug habit, live in a $2.5 million condo that I bought with an overblown sub-prime mortgage, and be decked out head-to-toe in tacky Ed Hardy clothes like one of those douchebags on Sunset Tan.

Like everyone else, I overspend, using my tiny credit card in my own pathetic way--sort of like when you see a 3-year-old girl wheeling a doll around in a toy baby carriage and pretending to be her mother. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.