The Complete Idiot's Guide To The RecessionWhen the market crashed in '29, people were probably kind of shocked. But when our Recession hit, we were ready! Within five minutes, experts were cranking out lists of ways to stay 'fabulous' on a budget, become a "recessionista," treat the economic downturn like the opportunity for fun and self-celebration that everything ultimately is! Who doesn't love to see rich people doling out incredibly obvious tips that anyone who isn't a millionaire has already been doing forever? But for those for whom "not being rich" is a delightful, Marie Antoinette-style novelty, the elves (read: I; "The Elves" is my fab recessionita identity) have digested like 20 of these to bring you the Ultimate Recession Guide for Dummies, after the jump.Buy Cheap Shit: Buying less expensive stuff seems to have come as a revelation to a lot of people. Like, surprise! There are generics! And bulk prices! And cheap stores like Target! And they make stuff! And you can buy it! And it's kind of like expensive stuff but it's cheaper! Buy Old Shit:Did you realize that there are actually places where you can buy things that aren't new? I know, this is Big. It may gross you out - this is a recurring meme - but sometimes you can find really awesome things at places like "thrift stores." And "consignment stores." And on "eBay." And via "swaps." (Swaps are very big right now.) And sometimes the old things? Are different from the things you can find in new stores! You Don't Need To Own Everything! Okay, brace yourselves. There are these things called libraries where you can get books for free. They even have music! And movies! You know what else you can do? Borrow stuff from other people and then give it back. Don't Buy Stuff You Don't Need: Hard to grasp, I know. But if you think about what to buy, you apparently spend less. Make StuffThere are many earnest tips about cooking your own food instead of going to restaurants. It is cheaper, you see. Apparently you can also sew on your own buttons and iron stuff instead of getting it dry-cleaned. Do Less of Expensive Stuff:We know, we know: it's really hard to not take cabs everywhere and not get weekly pedicures and facials and buy high heels. Because we want to, and we don't like to not get stuff we want! But the thing is, that stuff is apparently very expensive and - wait for it - not essential. Get Crappy, Small Amounts of Expensive Stuff :This kind of thing is really big on these lists. Like, going to expensive restaurants but then just ordering an appetizer or something. Or not ordering wine. Half of the alleged "cheap eats" issues are just this kind of crumminess, which sounds like a recipe for a)hunger and b)depression. Also big: getting free services from, like, massage schools and beauty academies. As someone who has done this a lot, it's seriously no substitute for the real thing. Be Crafty:Suddenly everybody's really into the novelty of coupon-clipping, and getting airfare deals and early bird specials and various other schemes that seem to take a lot of time and sound like awesome ideas to various rich editors who don't need to do them. Pretend Being Broke Is Really Fun: Swaps, various at-home functions and girls' nights in are another popular bromide. For those of us who don't go out, sure. I'm guessing the Cosmo brigade whose weekends consist of some SATC club marathon aren't going to really find an evening of Scrabble and Netflix an acceptable substitute. Wait, what am I saying? Those dames don't buy their own drinks! Don't Be A Moron: Basically, all of these tips can fit under this heading. "Live the way most of us do already" would be another good one. But since we all really enjoy frugality tips from rich people, please, keep patronizing us. It's a form of free entertainment we've been onto for years!