Every girl loves free food.
But not every girl maintains a spreadsheet of men who will buy it for her. A 23-year-old New York City woman did just that—living on a $45,000 salary in Manhattan, she found that she was unable to pay both her $1,475 rent every month as well as her credit card bills and other living expenses. So she turned to Match.com for free food; by playing the online dating scene, she lined up men to buy her dinner every night of the week.
Previously, she was spending $500 per month on dinner alone, which she couldn't afford. Business Insider estimates that, after starting her dating adventure, she "made" about $1,200 per month because the men bought her even more expensive food than she would have bought for herself.
It’s the perfect viral storm of judgment (young woman, scheming, men being manipulated, New York City, online dating). At this point, her name has been changed on the original story and the comments have been disabled due to particularly violent commenters.
And Now, Plan B:
Her methods might spark internet ire, but let's look at it from a financial angle: What could she have done instead?
We know she had a salary of $45,000. After taxes, let's say she takes home about $2,765 per month, assuming she doesn't contribute to a 401(k). We recommend that rent take up no more than 35% of your income, but she's actually spending over 50%. So be it. After rent, she has $1,290 left for other expenses.
For those, she could have set up a budget—we even have a handy tool she could have used—and perhaps dialed down the $500 per month she was spending on dinners alone by trying out cheap, delicious recipes. (Look! We have those, too.)
Although her plan may be morally gray, we have to give her a tip of the hat for finding her way around a financial problem with creativity, confidence and a whole lot of pizzazz.
Readers, what do you think of her plan? Was it manipulative, or genius?