“My cousin in North Carolina told me that a farmer only needs two things in her house: a good bed and a good hot shower. She was right.”
Even on a limited budget, fancy-pants eats are not out of reach.
it’s a small, cheap, accessible luxury in a city where most luxuries are inaccessible to me.
When I was very young, my siblings and I would each buy $1 roses at our church and give them to our mother on Mother’s Day. She found the gesture sweet, but of course, if a seven-year-old gives you anything, you’re going to find it very sweet.
“The most exciting thing about having DOMA struck down is that our taxes went down by half.”
“It just hit me. I don’t have to stay here, I can live and work somewhere else, it’s not the end of the world.”
I raised the $1,700 I needed in one day.
One of our first discussions about combining our bank accounts was, “What about presents?”
Laundry in New York is even worse than regular laundry. You have to locate a laundromat, figure out what kind of money they take, haul your stuff there, come back in time to switch it before some angry weirdo tosses your intimates on the floor, lug it back home, and fold it. It can be a day-long saga and that’s if you have one nearby and it doesn’t require all quarters.
Rural areas may have beautiful, inexpensive farmhouses on large plots of land, but they do not have a large influx of people trying to buy houses.
I could hear a scratching sound as I moved some of my things into my bedroom from the living room. Matthea nodded. “Yeah, there are squirrels that live in the storage closets.” She gestured to two small doors facing each other on opposite sides of the living room. “Just don’t ever open those doors because then they’ll run out.” I nodded. It was my first apartment and I didn’t know anything about squirrels yet.
But soon after my mom moved in with her roommates, she told me that she wasn’t comfortable. The roommates were very neat and nit-picky about household chores. They lectured her about the spots they found on their bowls and plates. They told her they had a history of being overbearing with roommates. After that, my mom started hiding in her bedroom, trying to avoid them at all costs. She told me on the phone that she was planning to move out. I was a little worried, but it never occurred to me that she might be in over her head.
After the completion of my 500 hours of yoga teacher training, I was entitled to sub at the yoga studio for $25 a class, minus taxes. Most of the classes were early in the morning and late at night, so I sprinted across town from dawn to dark. I stalked pregnant yoga teachers, waiting for them to go on maternity leave.
In August 2011 I’d just finished a year of wobbly misery in beautiful South Korea—teaching English—and by the end of it I had several thousand dollars and nothing else. I’d gone to Korea to travel and instead found myself in a swirling pool of depression, unable to connect with most of the excited ex-pats I spoke to, and unwilling to do the work to bridge the gap between myself and Koreans. This slow melt of melancholy meant that I rarely went out of my way to spend money on things, which allowed me to save more money than I knew what to do with. By the end I needed a break, so I took those thousands and went away to bum around in Southeast Asia.
Alison (not her real name) is a 27-year-old legal secretary who lives outside of Philadelphia.