Few things are more nauseating than spending exorbitant amounts of money on clutzy mistakes like a broken laptop screen. It’s the absolute worst kind of spending, because there’s no ‘indulgent new purse’ or ‘memory of an epic night out’ to alleviate the guilt. If you are a fraction as accident-prone as I am (unlikely—I could fill a room with the sweaters I’ve lost and phones that are now at the bottom of lakes), consider one of the following strategies. They will likely save you hundreds of dollars down the road.
1. Get an industrial grade phone case. OtterBox, Speck, and Lifeproof all make insanely durable cases for those of us who still need childproof products. In my experience, cracked screens can cost around $100 to replace, and that’s at a Lower East Side ‘tech shop’ that takes only cash and may or may not legally rent its space.
2. Also…a laptop, tablet, and keyboard cover. We all drink coffee while typing. We’re not going to stop drinking coffee while typing. Practice safe internet-ing and get with the rubber protection.
3. Automate all of your bills. Utility bills, credit cards, and paychecks can all be paid via direct deposit a lot of the time (my electricity is set up through ConEd and credit card through Bank of America). One less problem without it.
4. Forget white clothing exists. Black will always be the new black when you can’t take two sips without it dribbling down your chin like a toddler.
5. Also forget clutches. With their non-handles there is near-zero chance they are staying on your person. Bigger bags are your best friend because you can stuff your sweaters in them (rather than leaving them on a train seat, as you’re apt to do).
6. Have multiple chargers in your life. At work, at your boyfriend’s house, in your car, wherever. Running out of battery may not instantly result in spending money, but then again, it might (like if you have to call a cab because you can no longer look up the train route).
7. Make multiple copies of your keys. Give them to your neighbors and friends for when you (inevitably) lock yourself out. Having to call a locksmith is stupidly expensive, not to mention demoralizing. I witnessed a roommate do this once in the middle of the night, after returning from a music festival. Was an ugly scene.
8. Have the majority of your information online. When your laptop inevitably does shut down (despite using protection and everything!) you won’t lose all of your stuff. Documents can be saved on Google Drive, photos can be saved on Flickr. For anything sensitive, save religiously to an external hard drive. They’re pricey, but you won’t regret it.
9. Let more responsible friends have your back. This is probably the hardest part for me. No one wants to be told to “not forget your sweater” or “move your phone off its precarious position on the windowsill,” but the reality is that some people are just naturally Moms (or Dads) and this is not a resource to be taken for granted. Suspend the urge to eye-roll and allow their shepherding to save you a money and embarrassment.
Annie Atherton is on Twitter.
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