As the end of the month approaches, you realise with dismay that you’ve busted your budget again thanks to the 500 McDonald’s meals you bought in order to get your hands on the NanoBlock toys.
That means you need to spend five days living like a hermit, subsisting on whatever’s left in your fridge with only your computer and your TV for company.
You might be shedding tears of despair at not being able to join the dinner at that expensive restaurant your colleagues are organising, or going on another shopping spree with your shopaholic friends.
But don’t worry, you’ll come out of this alive. Here are 8 things you can do at home alone when you’re completely broke.
Exercise to a yoga or workout video
It’s easy to come up with excuses for not exercising outdoors—it’s raining, it’s too hot (most convenient excuse because it always applies), there’s haze, Hungry Ghost Festival is on, etc. But guess what, you can actually get a truckload of exercise done within the confines of your bedroom.
All you need are a yoga or exercise mat (get them from Watsons, Guardian or ValueDollar for under $10) and an internet connection. There are zillions of workout and yoga videos on YouTube which don’t require any equipment. I know people who work out intensely at home almost every day without having to spend a cent on gym memberships.
Do online courses paid for by SkillsFuture credit
The people who came up with SkillsFuture anticipated the fact that many Singaporeans would be too lazy to get out of the house to attend courses. So they made it possible to take courses online as well, including selected ones on Udemy and Coursera. While these online courses are skewed towards technical and web-based subjects, there’s a fairly broad range of topics, from digital marketing and Adobe Illustrator to web development and programming. Since you’re broke, it’s a good thing you can pay using your SkillsFuture credit.
Engage in a creative hobby
If your only hobbies include choking your MMA sparring partners as they roll around red-faced on the ground, partying on yachts or golfing, you should probably find a hobby you can do solo for cheap when you’re broke. Creative hobbies usually fulfil both criteria. Learn to play the harmonica using online tutorials, practise your calligraphy skills, draw manga, or make useful household storage boxes thanks to origami.
Watch or read something good
We hesitate to suggest watching TV or reading, since this often devolves into mindless channel surfing or spending hours surfing articles people have shared on Facebook. Nothing wrong with the above, but when you spend your entire evening doing that you can’t help but get the feeling that you’ve just wasted a ton of time.
You’ll feel better if you are more deliberate about your choices. Pick a movie you’ve always wanted to watch or a book you’ve been promising yourself you’ll read, and make time to immerse yourself in them fully—that means no checking your phone for Whatsapp messages every 3 seconds.
You went crazy buying those face masks on that last trip to Seoul, and since you’re stuck at home now, you have all the time in the world to use them. Enjoy a body scrub in the shower, paint your nails or stick on an eye mask, all while listening to jazzy music or watching your favourite TV series. There are plenty of DIY recipes for soothing face masks that you find online to help you unwind after a long work day.
This is the default stay-at-home choice for 50% of Singaporeans under the age of 40, so we probably don’t need to say more.
Get in touch with old friends
So all of us have those old friends who finally managed to get a job overseas and then immediately skipped town. Or perhaps all your close friends now spend 99% of their free time looking after their kids. Spend your alone time making yourself feel less alone by getting in touch with old friends or doing something nice for someone you haven’t seen for a while.
Instead of liking and commenting on Facebook posts in hopes that your fading relationships with be rekindled, Skype with a friend based overseas or prepare a letter or gift for someone you haven’t seen in a while.
Experiment in the kitchen
Since you’re stuck at home, we’re assuming you’re forced to eat whatever’s available in the fridge or in your kitchen cabinets, which we sure hope isn’t limited to instant noodles. If you’re always complaining about how you don’t have the time to learn how to cook, the time is now. Check out this excellent YouTube channel that teaches you how to make some of Singaporeans’ best-loved dishes. Or, if you grew up with a maid and have no clue how to do anything, learn the basics at Start Cooking.