How to Live on $0 a Day: Financial Doldrums Got You Down? Look on the Bright Side

I know it's hard to believe this right now, but for everything dear to you that you've lost or cut back on during these times of economic strife, there IS a silver lining.

I'm listing some of the painful losses I've endured and the good that came from them. I hope it helps you get through your own personal financial struggles and gives you the tools necessary to make the most of your suffering.

Pre-stirred yogurt
This was one of the first costly luxuries I gave up when I realized the gravity of my financial situation. Yes, it's exhausting having to actually stir the yogurt flavoring in with the yogurt, but after several months, I noticed my arms and pecs strengthening. It's a great way to combine breakfast and exercise. Turns out I never really needed that gym membership and personal trainer in the first place.

You may have lost your vocation and income, but look at all the extra time you've got on your hands. This is your opportunity to fulfill your lifelong dream. As long as that dream doesn't involve making money. You'll also make lots of new friends on the unemployment line.

Credit cards
You'll get used to not being able to buy whatever you want on a whim, I promise. Once you emerge from the fog of your shopping frenzy you'll realize that maybe you really don't "have to have" that core biopsy, or blood pressure medicine after all.

The cleaning lady
Letting my cleaning lady go was the hardest thing I had to do. But now that it's done, it's a relief not having to wake up early every Wednesday morning to clean up before she gets here. But the real up side is when I told my cleaning lady I could no longer afford her, she offered me a job doing her laundry (she doesn't do laundry). Sometimes she even gives me her hand me downs.

Health care
I've got to tell that you the years of not having health care have been the most blissful of my adult life. Granted, there will still be nights you'll awaken in a cold sweat because you haven't had a mammogram in six years and you're sure it's probably already too late. On the other hand, NOT having health care can make what little time you have left much less unpleasant. You'll save thousands of dollars a year in unnecessary tests, not to mention the time saved in waiting rooms and emergency rooms dealing with the botched procedure. And face it, the stress of waiting for test results and and pleading with your insurance company to make good on their promise to cover you can take years off your life (it can also take years). Yes, you'll miss your anti-depressants, but it's quite probable that the health care system is what made you need them in the first place.

Sure it's annoying not being able to see after sundown. But there are definite pluses. My night vision has improved, which will come in handy when revolutionaries take down the power grid and looting ensues.

Food is a wonderful thing, and I really miss it. On the other hand, the last time I've been this svelte was after a really bad case of dysentery. I can't tell you how many people have commented on how great I look. It's amazing how the garbage bag that looked so hideous on me when I was a size 10, looks like Dolce and Gabbana now that I'm down to a size 4.

Vision (glasses)
When I realized my vision was getting worse and I couldn't afford glasses, I was a little depressed. But now that I've had time to adjust, I'm enjoying seeing the world (and myself) in soft focus. My wrinkles are gone, my skin is flawless -- I've never looked this good! Another plus, seeing everything blurred, gives me the feeling of being drunk or stoned without spending a cent on intoxicants. I still get a cheap thrill when a cop pulls me over for DWUI, only to discover I'm totally sober! And ever since my eyes started going bad, the cops that pull me over have been much cuter too.

Phone service
Do you realize how much stress and heartache your phone has brought you? Good riddance, I say. You may worry that you'll miss calls offering you jobs or other lucrative opportunities that might dig you out of this financial pit you're in, but in truth, 9 out of 10 calls are from phone banks in Asia demanding payment or else. Without phone service, you may not even miss not having your anti-anxiety medication.

See food.

Your home
Once you let go of your house, the burden of monthly payments and maintenance will be lifted. You also get to spend more time outdoors.

I was one of those people who clung to the hope that my vote counts, that my elected representative will represent me, that a politician will keep his or her campaign promises (or any promise), that hard work and dedication are rewarded, that he will call tomorrow, that the check is in the mail, that the AT&T repair guy will get here between 9am and noon as promised.... You can imagine the constant disappointment.

Now that I've given up hope I'm much less agitated, bitter and disillusioned (which we all know, can age you). Time that I would have spent having my heart broken, plotting revenge, and sticking pins into voodoo dolls I now use on my arts and crafts projects. By the way, would anyone like to buy a macrame belt?