Personal Stories

“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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WINTER IS COMING Time to Watch Some Movies

That was my favorite part of Interstellar: sitting in the theater. Especially since it was 3 hours.

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On My Own: Doing a Personal Finance 180

I’m standing in Trader Joe’s, contemplating a container of chicken broth. It’s $1.99. I put it back. After I’ve checked out, I tell my roommates, who are grocery shopping with me, that I’m going to run next door to Foods 4 Less. I’ve actually never shopped there before, but I suspect its chicken broth is cheaper—and I’m right, It’s only $1.68.

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Me, My Dad, And My Credit Card: A Timeline

I’ve been a card carrier for a little over a decade now. My father, a child of Depression-era parents, has instilled in me to never live beyond my means, and to only use my credit card for emergencies.

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On Food, Cancer, and the Illusion of Control

The organic spinach costs 70 cents more, and weighs four ounces less. The regular spinach, eaten every week, could make my husband’s cancer come back. Maybe.

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