09/13/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

How To Live On $0 A Day: Maintaining A Social Life While Broke


If you're out of work, or about to be, there's no better time to get your face out there and circulate.

Not a pleasant prospect when you have stress induced cold sores, no clean clothes, haven't showered in days and the two crowns you glued back in your mouth could fall out any minute because the Elmer's glue isn't holding. Understandably, you're not feeling very sociable.

Sure, things are tough financially, but there's never been a better time in history to lose everything and still maintain a rewarding social life. Think about it; with the internet, you can conduct all your significant relationships online, without any costly personal interaction.

Proximity is nice, but every time you step outside (unless that's where you live), it'll cost you. There's the emotional toll of trying to look presentable, but it's the actual financial expense that kills you. Last time I met a friend for coffee it cost me $84.00 ($8 to do a load of laundry, $10 for hair dye, $16 for coffee and a scone, $40 for transportation and parking ticket, $10 for a box of Godiva chocolates that were on sale near the cash register).

If you're in the mood for a little intelligent conversation and some sort of human connection without spending a cent, brew yourself a cup of Nescafe from the packet you stole from your parents' hotel room when they were in town and let your fingers do the walking to your favorite news site. There you can discuss important issues (like the political implications of Michelle Obama's wardrobe, the whereabouts of Barack's birth certificate and who is the biggest b*tch on Real Housewives of Atlanta) with like-minded intellectuals. Or try the AOL Middle East Affairs message board. You'd be amazed at the friendships you can forge arguing over who started 1967 war. No matter what your interest, Google is your new best friend.

To maintain your most important relationships, Facebook is a fabulous way to stay in touch with all your friends and family who won't return your phone calls, but care enough to click a link. Imagine, without spending a cent on even a phone call, you can be the first to know that Nick is bored, Al has hemorrhoids (note to self, go to e-cards for appropriate, thoughtful condolence message), lots of people have cute babies and if Mike were an animal, he'd be a "badass tiger." Imagine how much it would have cost to continue this kind of close interaction before the internet.

Or say you're in the market for a significant other. A few years ago, you would have had to spend countless dollars on grooming, transportation and blender drinks in order to find your soul mate. Now you can find true love on one of the myriad dating sites on the net.

Granted, sooner or later you'll have to go out and actually meet the object of your affection. But considering that most internet relationships fail when the couple actually meets, prolonging the courtship for as long as possible makes internet relationships a win/win/win proposition. Think of the money you'll save on lingerie, doctor bills and condoms. One note: beware of sites that have video applications--the last thing you want to worry about is having your true love see you.

So a moment of appreciation to Al Gore for inventing the internet. Thanks to him, as long as you have your 76 Facebook friends, dozens of winks on and your three fans on Huffington Post, you'll never be alone.