The Cost of Things

The Marvel of Pre-School in Estonia

In 2014, Erin and her family moved from the U.S. to Estonia, a member country of the European Union and NATO between Finland, Latvia and Russia, where English, Estonian and Russian are all widely spoken. Their decision was based on the cost and quality of living, health care system, levels of technology and other benefits not available in the U.S., like free public transportation. Erin is now in the master’s program at Tallinn University on a full scholarship and working part-time at a non-profit organization supporting civil society in Russia; her husband is self-employed and works online. The family’s residence permits are currently based on her educational status, but could be supported by her husband’s status as a business owner as well. Subject to approval and a language test, one can apply for permanent residency after five years of temporary residency in Estonia, which allows living and working in any E.U. country. Estonia does not allow dual citizenship, so they plan to stay U.S. citizens.

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How A Person With a Five-Figure Income Buys an Apartment in New York City

When The New York Times ran a story in late June on income-restricted housing, I almost didn’t read it. After a six-month apartment search on a New-York-poor budget, I was something of an expert on the ins and outs of different types of buildings. But I had just curled up with a mug of coffee at my parents’ suburban kitchen table, their print Times arrayed before me.

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Secrets of Spa Castle

BYO bathing suit and bath towel. Not for the downstairs pools; as we’ve established, those are safe spaces in which to be a baby again, to immerse yourself in womb-temperature water without fear of being judged for your pudge.

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The Cost of Traveling and Moving Across Canada

I recently moved across Canada, from Vancouver, BC to Toronto, ON, with my boyfriend, in a van with all of our worldly possessions! Here’s what it cost us.

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Link Roundup! “Breaking Bad” Dolls, Men’s Watches, Last Call for Holiday Flights

+ Sorry, guys. Since a Florida mom complained, you can’t buy “Breaking Bad” action figures at Toys R Us anymore. Note: the NPR article about this story uses “dolls” and “action figures” interchangeably, but I feel like I read something in the New Yorker once delineating the subtle but fascinating distinctions between the categories — which matter a lot for import tax reasons. Does this ring a bell with anyone? Did I dream it, like I dreamed last night that I got mauled by someone’s pet tiger? (“He’s usually very friendly,” the person said, cleaning my wounds.)

+ Remember those happy days when there was a clear hierarchy to men’s watches?

If you’re scaling your way up the ladder of rich douchiness, you start with a middle-class-friendly Casio or Timex. After your first six figures in the finance industry, you move to an “entry-level” luxury watch, like a Rolex, by 30. Then, in your 40s, if you’re lucky, you park your annual bonus on a high-end Swiss number. And in your 50s, feeling both flush and the literal press of time, you rock the equivalent of a Porsche on your wrist, before passing it on to the next generation as a family heirloom.

But since 2007, the whole system has been disrupted by something called “the Ice-Watch” (??), at least in Europe, where everyone, even rich people, wants the cool fun watch that costs only $200. The best part of this article is that it says the Ice-Watch “cock-blocked Swatch.” Wow. Mike would wash our mouths out with soap if we talked like that.

+ Haven’t purchased your flights home for the holidays yet? There’s still time, maybe! A little time, not much. Some years the cheapest flights appear 10 days out, right before prices spike. And holiday flights are actually super expensive in July and August, to punish those of you who might otherwise feel good about being on the ball.

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I Don’t Get Las Vegas

Las Vegas Boulevard, commonly known as the Strip, is a singular example of government and private industry working together to extract every last dollar from every last man, woman and child in America. The sidewalks themselves are in on the scheme.

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How to Stay Married: Splurge on the Honeymoon, Not the Open Bar

“Couples who make more than $125,000 a year (combined) cut their divorce risk in half.” So, yeah. You don’t have to be wealthy for San Francisco, just wealthy for Arkansas.

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Sympathy Flowers

Mike: What color flowers do you send someone who has lost a relative?

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The Cost of Things: A Family Wedding in the DR

Lodging: Free! The advantage to having a huge family is that there are so many places to stay!

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The Cost of Insomnia

For several months now, I’ve woken up in the middle of the night. I’ll look at my clock, and it’ll be 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., and I’ll close my eyes and lay still, hoping to doze off again to wake up at a reasonable hour.

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The Price of David Sedaris’ Briefcase in 1993, in 2014

David Sedaris, writer of FitBit native advertising for The New Yorker, did an AMA today. Through which I learned that Mademoiselle used to pay a lot of money. And/or probably still does if you are David Sedaris. Probably everything does!  

What was the first lavish gift you bought your self with your first large check?

I bought myself, with the very first piece I ever sold to a magazine, which was Mademoiselle, an Il bisonte leather briefcase.

in tiny needling voice

It was in 1993…

I do not know what this leather briefcase cost in 1993 but in 2014 it costs $1528. With shipping, $1565.50.

That though, is a damn fine briefcase. Buying something memorable for yourself with your first big anything falls under Ester’s / late capitalism’s advice to “make purchases feel like experiences.”

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