Kristina Deckert

I broke the rules. I mean, they were my own, instilled upon myself last Monday night, but I still broke them. And yeah, I feel slightly guilty about it, but I do whatever I want.

For those of you not keeping up on my exciting life via Twitter, here’s the back story: I’m living in New York City this summer for an internship. Five weeks in, my MacBook crapped out on me, and I decided I needed to save up for a potential dent to my savings account. So, I decided I wouldn’t spend any money in the city from July 14 to July 18.

I failed.

Well, sort of. I learned a hell of a lot from my three days of not spending money. (I spent my first dime on lunch Friday with my boss.)

I mean, really, I went three entire days in New York City without spending a dime.

That’s saying something. For example, it made me realize how much I depend on money and take it for granted. By no means am I the richest person on the planet – “All You” magazine pays me just enough to get much-needed food and much-more-needed beer on the weekends.

But for three days, when I knew I couldn’t spend money, I was a mess. Literally. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I had to plan my days completely different, from getting up 10 minutes earlier to pack lunch so I didn’t have to buy it, to trying like hell to find free fun stuff to do in this city.

But it’s really easy to have fun in this city with no money. On Wednesday, I got a free cup of coffee from a recently opened Tim Hortons on 50th and Broadway. On that same corner, around lunchtime, Blue Bunny Ice Cream was giving away free drumsticks. After work that day, I walked four blocks and watched Paul McCartney perform on top of the Ed Sullivan Theater for the “Late Show with David Letterman.” Thursday night, I saw the Public Theater perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in a parking lot (yes, a parking lot) on the Lower East Side.

Those three days were beyond amazing. They made me realize that with just a little bit of research (and the help of Twitter), I could find plenty of fun, free stuff to do in New York City.

If I had decided to do this while I was in Kent, though, I would’ve bowed out after, oh, a day or so. Kent has barely anything free and fun to do, besides the occasional festival and KSU stuff. I mean, really, living in Northeast Ohio isn’t all that exciting – we all know that.

Anyway, back to the not-spending-money thing. I bitched all three days to my roommates and fellow interns about the plight I got myself into. Just because I knew I couldn’t spend the money, it made me want to spend it more.

So that’s why I went crazy this past weekend. And by crazy, I mean I spent $200 between Friday and Sunday on presents for my family, brunch and taking the Long Island Rail Road to the beach because I really couldn’t stand the concrete of the city anymore. It led to my realization of how much I spend money and unknowingly depend on it for fun/food/friends/family.

And honestly, it was difficult not to spend money when I wanted to do as much as I possibly could with the amazing people I’ve met in this city – with whom I only have two-and-a-half weeks left.

They’re worth breaking all the rules.

Kristina Deckert is a senior information design major and a columnist for the Summer Kent Stater. Follow her during her last two weeks in the city or contact her at [email protected].