I ALWAYS ASSUMED I'd make my first million by 30. I put that goal out into the Universe over and over again, but either The Secret is total bullshit, or the Universe has been on vacation and forgot to create an out-of-office email reply. So here I am, in my golden years (early 30s), and my net worth is about a million dollars short of a million dollars.

But that isn't going to stop me from living my life like a total baller. I'm going to act just like those rich people on my vision boards (which also haven't worked), and you can too with these secrets guaranteed to make you feel like a rich person without the hard work and luck required to actually be rich.

Food and Drink

You don't have to drop $50 on an entrée to feel like a baller, and you definitely don't need to order tapas, the ultimate in restaurant scams, wherein you get small plates for large-plate prices. You can still hobnob with the hoity-toity by visiting their restaurants late in the evening and sticking to the dessert menu.

Eat spaghetti at home for the third time this week. Then head over to Veritable Quandary.

"Hi, what can I get you?"

"Actually, I just had a large meal of gold flakes and fried penguin fed to me by a team of Tahitian servants, so I'm pretty full. But what do you have for my sweet tooth?"

Then order a soufflé and a soda water and people-watch for 40 minutes while you wait for it to perfectly rise.

Portland City Grill makes a legit plate of fresh cookies, though crème brûlée is a more baller dessert to order, because it involves a blowtorch and you get to break something before you eat it. (Note: Crème brûlée is essentially just pudding for rich people.)

Departure has a banana split made with banana tempura, which is almost worth working your fingers to the bone so you can afford it.

All these desserts top out at about $10, and even though the wait staff will be visibly disappointed, nobody else will know you aren't paying with a Black Card.

Looking for a more filling option? Just go to Chipotle and when they say "guac is $1.50 extra," tell them "Money is no object." Live like a king. (WAIT. I just read a newspaper. Don't go to Chipotle.)


Cross-training and boot camps are all the rage for rich people. The worse a personal trainer treats you, the more expensive it is. Fortunately, you don't have to pay boot-camp prices to have somebody yell at you while exercising. Next time you go for a jog, pay your friend $5 to jog next to you while yelling that you're a piece of shit. You'll run harder, your friend will love it, and everybody you pass will think you own an investment bank or something.

If you don't have a friend who wants to do it, you can probably post an ad for a random yeller on Craigslist. The only downside? A person with a creepy boner will be yelling at you.


Sure, there's no better way to feel rich than to spend money and not give a shit about prices. But don't be fooled! Anybody can go into debt, and paying 22 percent interest on a sweater you'll never wear isn't a baller move at all. Neither is hunting for deals, which only emphasizes how poor you really are. No, the real way to ballershop is to browse expensive merchandise, and then loudly decide it's not of a high-enough quality.

  • Aaron Lee

There are several wonderfully fancy places to pretend to shop downtown, but they can be a mixed bag for the faux-rich. Mario's on SW Broadway is a fantastic experience, complete with free alcoholic beverages to sip while you say such delightful sentences as, "I just can't see buying a Maison Margiela since Martin left and they hired that anti-Semitic guy who wants everybody to look like a hobo from a David Bowie music video [sip free champagne]."

That's some spot-on fashion analysis that will put your salesperson's jaw on the floor—and I came up with it after only three minutes of Googling LIKE A BALLER.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Louis Vuitton store in Pioneer Place assumes everybody is a thief. They'll have somebody following you around the store like you're a middle-schooler in a 7-Eleven.

Your mileage may vary, but for me it's still fun to imagine spending $20,000 on a suitcase that somebody making $12 an hour will throw onto an uncovered truck that will then sit on a rainy tarmac for 20 minutes.

Get Around

If you really want to feel like a million bucks, you need a sweet whip—even if you only have it for 10 minutes and there's a salesperson in the passenger seat. Out at Washington Square Mall, Tesla will let you drive one of their $85,000 cars around a route "designed to highlight the capabilities of Model S," which I can only assume means "short." They don't even ask you how much you make, though they do ask several questions that hint at your ability to actually buy, so you may have more fun with the salesperson if you lie. Try something like, "Mmmm... I'm not sure a Tesla is for me... I'm holding out for the Audi R8 e-tron." Then see if they treat you better.

  • Aaron Lee

While driving a Tesla around a parking lot in Tigard may feel great, it won't get you everywhere you need to go. Sure, for just a couple of bucks you can ride the gondola up to OHSU and pretend you're making a nurse's salary—but that's pretty limited too.

The best way to feel like your uncle owns an oil business is to take a pedi-cab. Nothing makes me feel more like a wealthy landowner than watching a sweaty bro drag my ass up a hill with his own leg power. Take a short trip and, for a reasonable fare, you'll get to feel superior to at least one person.


Most activities cost more than I'm willing to spend, but there are a few places that allow you to feel like a prince on a pauper's budget. My recommendation: Go to a Hillsboro Hops game. Sure, you aren't going to see the superstars of the baseball world, but you can walk up to the ticket booth and say, "Give me the best seat in the house." And it'll be $16.

(I think for $20 they let you take home one of the players as a souvenir.)

If you're in the mood to stay in, I like to watch Shark Tank and yell, "Your valuation is too high!" at everybody who comes in because that's how hard I ball.


Just like Teslas, you can test-drive condos that are way out of your price range! I clearly don't look like I can afford a condo, but thanks to tech founders like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg dressing like home-schooled kids after they made a billion dollars, condo salespeople can't judge you by your clothes anymore. I like to tell agents that I just sold a company in Silicon Valley, and I'm retiring up here to spend my golden years (early 30s) in the Pearl. They go apeshit. Then I ask them something about fixtures. Rich people love talking about fixtures.

  • Aaron Lee

If you want something that really feels like you're marking your territory, treat yourself to a fancy bathroom. Shigezo downtown has fancy modern Japanese toilets with HEATED SEATS that make your meat cushions feel real swell. If you prefer a more staid, old-money feel, the Multnomah County Courthouse bathroom is covered in marble and you know everybody you're doing business with passed through a metal detector.

Obviously using the word "staycation" instantly removes you from every A-list ever, but you can still learn something from that stupid portmanteau. Hotel lobbies are way nicer than your apartment! Hang out in 'em.

Get some terrible free coffee, or drink some water with cucumbers in it, and enjoy the good life. Even though cucumbers don't taste like anything, having rotting vegetables in your water really sticks it to the poor people. "I know you can't afford groceries, but I buy extra food just to throw it in my water FOR NO REASON."

I quite enjoy the old Hollywood glamor of the Hotel deLuxe, the rich wood and fake fireplaces of The Benson, and the giant Jenga game at Hotel Monaco. You'll ruin the effect if you show up too much, so make the rounds to different ones. If you're worried about getting busted while enjoying the free wifi and cuke water, bring an empty suitcase to sit next to. A rolling one.

Ballers never carry their suitcases.

Want more Alex Falcone? Don't miss his very funny live talk show, Late Night with Alex Falcone, this Saturday, November 14, 7 pm, at Mississippi Studios (3939 N Mississippi).


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