Broke & Bougie in Coral Gables

Isis Miller and Roshan Nebhrajani contributed to this story.

giphy (13)We like the finer things in life — rosé, brunch, Olivia Pope wine glasses, Melissa Harris-Perry. You know, classy ass stuff.

But there’s one problem: we’re not making classy amounts of money. We got credit cards before we could even read the words financial literacy, we’re lit-rally drowning in student loans, and we’re really bad at managing our money. And in Miami, it can’t be said enough: the cost of living is too damn high.

But just because we’re broke as hell doesn’t mean we can’t stay true to our bougie soul. Yeah we’ll go to brunch and split that bottle … of water. We’ll hang at SoHo house … cuz we got the hookup. It’s called being resourceful, OK?

giphy (14)Miami is the perfect place to be for the Broke & Bougie, where there’s so much fabulousness but also so little red tape. You can talk your way into pretty much anything if you ask the right person.

Trust. One day we will make it. But until then, we’re still hustling, and we’re here to show you our ways.

There’s no better place to start than Miracle Mile in the heart of Coral Gables. With perfectly paved streets and rows of stores full of overpriced non-essentials, like a spy store, or a blow dry bar, it’s everything our bougie selves could dream of. But on a budget we had to get creative, and turns out that’s not so hard to do in the Gables.

Ahead of our happy hour, we took a stroll down Miracle Mile to see what kind of deals we could steal. We don’t want your visit tonight to be your last.

We started our day off by dropping our cars off at the central valet. You know we can’t be bothered to drive around in this Miami sun looking for a place to park. On Miracle Mile you can drop your car off at any of the five valet stations and pick them up at any station. And get this, it only costs $5 all day. Boom.

Then we took a stroll. It was a hot day so we stopped into Cocolimon Frozen Yogurt and got some samples. It’s self-serve so you can pour to your heart’s delight. But be warned you might end up buying a cup. This brings us to our first lesson. You better have a budget and stick to it, because when you’re surrounded by the bougie you can feel like you’re OF the bougie. As you walk toward the cash register, remember, in no world can you afford a $5 cup of fro-yo, so take your samples and be on your broke-ass way.

Then we went to get massages, because it’s the bougie-est. We stopped in at Relax the Back, where there’s a massager for every single part of your body — neck, back, foot, toenail. We sure as hell can’t afford to take one home, but you know we sat there for a good half-hour testing every single massager out. And the staff was so chill, they didn’t care if we sat there all day. Lesson number two: don’t overstay your welcome. If it seems like people are annoyed get on your merry way, but if they’re cool about it, then do your thing.

Taste buds satisfied, tensions relieved. It was time to see a show. We popped into Actors’ Playhouse to see what was on deck, and even though there wasn’t anything playing at the time, we found out about some pretty sweet deals. The Playhouse airs free throwback movies on select weekends. See here for the dates. If you’re a student you can try catching a play during their student rush for $15 bucks 15 minutes before a show any weeknight. Lesson number three: scope out deals in advance. 

Around this time we were getting huuuuungry. Luckily, Miracle Mile is full of restaurants but many of them were out of our budget. Then we saw it. A chalkboard sign outside of the California Pizza Kitchen that read, “Ask me how you can get a free small plate!” You better believe we asked. All we had to do was write down our e-mails and lunch was served. Arugula Salad and Crispy Mac and Cheese please. This, our friends, is the fourth lesson. C’est la vie, be present, seize the moment. You never know what free stuff is just sitting there, waiting for someone to ask for it. P.S. Next month is Coral Gables restaurant week. It’s not exactly free, but you can get a three-course lunch for $24 or dinner for $39.

We wrapped up our day just off of Miracle Mile, at Books and Books. We caught a free book reading then chilled for about an hour browsing books, chatting, and soaking in that knowledge, because nothing is more bougie than a global education. It’s called being sophisticated. You’re welcome.