Personal Stories

Sistergiving

I have hosted Thanksgiving at my apartment for the past three years, mostly because I intensely dislike the idea of sitting on a crowded Metro-North train for two hours the Wednesday before, hiding behind magazines in order to avoid the people on the train I haven’t seen since high school. We are not a Christmas family. Thanksgiving, with its food and its revelry and the easy familiarity of drinking a nice glass of red wine around 3 p.m. with people I haven’t seen in a year is our tradition.

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The Cost of Buying a Washer/Dryer from Sears Outlet When Six (then Seven) Months Pregnant

My husband and I are expecting our first child next February. To mark this rite of passage, as well as the white hot second when we considered cloth diapers, we decided to order our very first washer and dryer. Since every conversation around raising a child in New York City ends with nervous laughter about financial ruin, I went online to SearsOutlet.com. There, if you don’t mind a few dings on a former floor model, or a returned Maytag Maxima XL, they’ll offer “20%-75% off regular retail prices on appliances and more!”

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In College and in Search of Free Food

The only place that has more free food than Costco is college. I’m not kidding—if you know where to look, you can get at least one meal a day at no cost. Since I’m now on a serious, serious budget, I’m taking full advantage of this phenomenon and mooching as much as possible.

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What Do You Do All Day?

I have always been very concerned with becoming a respectable job candidate, even before I really knew what I wanted to do. I’d thought the goal was to master information that would set me up for a successful career. I took school seriously and got good grades, and I believed that doing well on tests was a good indication that I was doing well, that I would be successful in life.

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“I Don’t Believe in Owing”: How James McBride Does Money

I knew I was rich when I said I wanted a pair of jeans and I went to the store and I said, give me two of them.

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The Cost of Being a Salmon Swimming Upstream

In mid-October I packed up my entire adult life and shlepped it south on I-95. This is what that cost me.

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How Money Moves Between Generations (Not The Way You Expect)

At 80, since she has run through her own cash, the mom thinks it’s fair to spend her daughter’s. Meanwhile the daughter keeps cycling through the five stages of grief: denial, resentment, anger, guilt, giving in.

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The Allure of the Free Thing

Nothing feels as good as the free thing. Leaving your apartment and stumbling across a box of free books, or kitchenware, or a sofa that you find on the street that is hopefully not full of bed bugs is like finding treasure when you were just trying to go to the grocery store. I stop and look at every single dresser, or chair, or mirror that’s left out on the street, pausing and envisioning how it could fit in my room at home. “I need one of these,” I tell myself. “Who can help me carry this home,” I wonder, as I scroll thru the texts on my phone.

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Bouncing Back from Bankruptcy: Brittany Powell and the Debt Project

I’m interested in creating a platform to discuss how stigmatized debt is in our culture. It’s a publicly enforced system, but it’s typically privately experienced.

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The Cost of Things: A Trip to New Orleans That Ends in Fleas

$14.00: two beers after you open the windows in your room but before it is actually safe to be inside. The beer dulls the psychosomatic itching you’ve been feeling all day.

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Sudden Unemployment

I woke up on a recent Tuesday morning at 9:30 a.m. with a slight hangover and nowhere to go, except maybe to my laptop to casually browse the internet for some sort of inspiration. I no longer had to program my alarm for 7:10 a.m., and it was no longer of a pressing nature to get to the gym before going to work because, well, there was no work, and truth be told, no desk job was forcing me to be bound to a desk. I could do Zumba in my living room at 2 p.m. if I wanted to, provided my downstairs neighbors weren’t feeling too cantankerous.

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