Living Expenses

Geography Is The Mother Of History, Or, Where You Live Matters, Choose Wisely

Disability is I guess welfare for white people? The kind of social safety net even Republicans are okay with.

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One Is the Loneliest Number, So Find a Cell Phone Family Plan

About a week after I graduated from college, I broke the news to my father: I was leaving the family plan. He had been paying my cell phone bill for the previous five years, after giving me my first phone at 17. Before cell phones were standard for teenagers, my father would make me empty my pockets before I went out with friends to show him I had a few quarters for a pay phone—just in case. But as soon as my first boyfriend started hanging around our house, he handed down his old phone without me even asking. Daddy’s little girl was expected to check in on the regular.

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The Cost of Living in a Non-Profit Women’s Residence

“Yes, I did it!” I thought, after a successful phone interview for my first full-time job. “I’m moving to New York!” This was followed by another thought: “Oh no, I’m moving back into women’s housing.”

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A List of Things I Own That I Can Sell to Pay My Rent

There’s my record player. I wouldn’t mind selling that. It has a speaker connected to it, which means it doesn’t sound as good, which means any serious vinyl head would judge me for having it.

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Open Thread: Share Your 2015 Budget

As requested, here is an open thread in which you can share your 2015 budgets.

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Planning a 2015 Budget: Revised and Updated

When you ask Billfold readers to critique your budget, they critique your budget. With that in mind, here’s a revised and updated 2015 budget, incorporating your suggestions.

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Planning a 2015 Budget

Have you figured out how much discretionary income you’ll have every month in 2015? Is that something you consider when you plan your spending?

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TV on the Internet

I paid for and enjoyed having cable television when I lived with roommates, but when I decided to live alone, keeping expenses low meant cutting the cable cord and not owning a television. I had a Netflix subscription with a two-DVDs-at-a-time plan, but even that was eventually whittled down to a $7.99 a month streaming-only subscription, supplemented with the occasional iTunes movie rental.

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What Is It Worth To Us To Live Alone

Normals are prioritizing their alone time, regardless of the cost.

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On Appreciating the Little Things, Especially Around the Holidays

For those of us who live paycheck-to-paycheck, for whom the accumulation of savings is always one perfect-month-without-crises away, it is important to take pleasure in the little things. For me, one of those little things is the stretch of the month between the 15th and the 25th, when all my big bills are paid — student loan, 2011 independent contractor taxes on the installment plan — but the next round of them — rent, phone, after-school for two kids — is still the better part of a week away.

Often, a paycheck, or, more precisely, a pay advice from a direct deposit, arrives during this period, giving me the false sense that I am getting ahead and accumulating the absurd amount of emergency cash that financial planners smugly say I should have. By now I have learned not to rely on my foolish notions, so I resist big purchases (well, maybe a few extra drinks). Instead, I just luxuriate for a few days in a false sense of financial security. This month, it’s false financial security and a glass of egg nog with rum in it. Happy holidays.

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