Footer

Highlights From A Year of Emotional Spending

Because sometimes the universe is beautiful, near the end of 2014 I found a networking event that combined my love of too much alcohol and my love of pitching billion-dollar business ideas.

---

In Search of a Deal on Wheels

Yesterday, at the car dealership, the car salesman acted quickly.

What do you do? Where are you from? What are you interested in?

---

The Cost of Getting My Stolen Computer Back

The creepiest part about getting robbed was how everything in my room was exactly as I had left it. I was at work when I found out what had happened, and it was hours before I could get home, so I had plenty of time to imagine the worst. In my head, the place was torn inside out, completely ransacked. Instead, just one thing was missing: my year-old MacBook Air.

---

5 Ways the Wedding Industry Is Plotting to Destroy Us

Take it slow, because whatever numbers you and your fiance have come up with will be quickly obliterated.

---

Losing the Familiarity of What We Used to Call Home

In 2011, when I arrive at my parents’ house in Pittsburgh for the last time before they move across the country, I find wardrobe boxes in my old bedroom. In the kitchen, new appliances (toaster, faucet) have appeared, and the second floor bathrooms—tiny sinks; fifties tile—long ago merged into one spacious room, whose shower doesn’t take a year to heat up in winter. It’s as though the house knows my parents are leaving, and is shedding evidence of their presence plate by plate, wall-hanging by wall-hanging.

---

Revenge Giving, or Giving Out Of Spite

When you give money to a cause you know a person would hate, and you do it in their name.

---

Holiday Excess

In an essay that you’ve probably already read, this is where the writer segues into the costs of buying gifts, of the debt that accumulates at this time of year. In that essay, the writer details the fact that American retailers depend on the holiday season to turn enough of a profit for the year.

This is not that essay.

---

Dollar Guilt in the Land of the Collapsing Ruble

I’ve gotten a 100 percent raise. Not as a reward for hard work or long-term loyalty to my employer, but as a gift of timing. This windfall isn’t a one-off like a bonus, nor is it evenly spaced like paychecks after a promotion. I get richer at random. Almost every time I visit the ATM, what I take out is a smaller slice of what I make than it was the time before. I’m paid in dollars, but I live in Russia, where the currency is currently collapsing; as the ruble loses value, I effectively get a raise. This week alone, at the time of this writing, my salary’s worth has increased by 20%. It’d be a gross simplification, but you could say my raise comes courtesy of Vladimir Putin.

---

Simulating Wealth and Poverty in Junior High

In sixth grade, my math teacher assigned us a project: We were supposed to pick a job, find out how much it paid per hour, and then calculate how many hours of work it would take to buy a few fantasy items. The teacher told us to ignore little details like taxes and living expenses. At the end, we made posters with pictures of the things we fake-bought.

---