The Cost of Things

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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All of My 1 Things and What They Cost

+ Sold two big bags of small toddler clothes: $20 total. This involved inventorying and then trying to list items on the Park Slope Parents Classifieds board, only to realize I no longer had access to Classifieds. I had to figure out who to email about that, email them, wait for a response, and contemplate ditching the whole shebang on the sidewalk and hoping someone worthy would wander by and grab it instead of one of the many neighborhood shahs. Odds: 40 to 1 against.

Finally I confirmed with the right person that I did, indeed, pay my $35 annual fee in June for the right to get emails advertising “homemade natural toothpaste” and to sell stuff that I myself got second-hand or for free.

Then I had to negotiate by email with people who want X but not Y, or who want everything but can’t come til next week, and what brands are the shoes because her baby’s feet are wide; and strike the best balance; and wait some more.

The buyer arrived at last, sweet and eager. My daughter’s only four months old, she told me, so we won’t need this for a while, but I thought I’d snatch it up. Four months! I said. How’s it going? Fine, she said, dreamily. She’s gotten so big, I’m already dreaming about another.

This woman could not exist and yet there she was, pushing a twenty into my hand with a smile.

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These Boots Are Made For Walking

At last, purely by chance, they appeared on sale in my size at a store across the street from my apartment at the beginning of 2008. I snatched them up, feeling less like I had spent money than that I had won some kind of prize.

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Why You Should Buy Thanksgiving Tickets Now

It’s October! There’s a nip in the air, a gourd on every doorstep, a scarf round every throat. And you know what that means: it’s time to go broke paying for holiday travel. Except maybe not this year. Maybe you can get it together to buy tickets in advance and not have to shell out an extra $300 for the privilege of visiting your Aunt Ellen in Milwaukee and listening to your relatives try to explain Twitter to each other for the fourteen-thousandth time.

We tend think that maybe tickets will get really affordable at the last minute because airlines will get desperate, like bar patrons still lingering on their stools at Last Call. This is a myth. MYTH. According to CheapAir.com:

For most domestic trips, we found a similar pattern. The worst time to book your trip was the last minute. No big shocker there. The day before was the single worst day, two days before was the second worst, etc. etc. all the way up to 13 days in advance. Our data completely debunks the myth that if you wait until the last minute, there will be big price reductions to take advantage of, as airlines dump empty seats. That simply doesn’t happen, and buying a flight with less than two weeks advance purchase is the last strategy we would recommend.

When is the optimal time, then? So glad you asked:

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The Cost of Running in My First 5K

I decided I wanted to run a 5K this past May, when I read about the Minnesota State Fair Milk Run. For those of you unfamiliar with the Great Minnesota Get Together, it is a bacchanalia of dairy products, deep-fried candy bars, and foot-long corndogs. Non-edible fair highlights include (but are not limited to): butter sculptures, crop art, the fattest pig in all of the Minnesota, and dangling placentas in the Miracle of Birth barn. The state fair is the most Minnesotan of experiences; the Saint Paul Winter Carnival (where there is sometimes a palace—made out of ice—that doesn’t melt because it’s -25 here in the winter), a Gophers football game, and ice fishing may be Minnesotan, but nothing compares to the Minnesota State Fair. As a transplant from the hills of rural western Pennsylvania, I had never witnessed anything like the state fair, and it was love at first deep-fried-cheese-on-a-stick.

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Tales From EggBanxx’s Let’s ‘Chill’ Ladies’ Nights

Perhaps, after trying my whole life to get straight A’s and excel and do everything perfectly, I don’t want to feel like there’s a “right” way to do my fertility.

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How People Do Money: The High Holidays

Perhaps the less Jewish-y people have noticed that the more Jewish-y people are saying “Happy new year”? That’s because it is once again Rosh Hashanah, a lunar calendar holiday that usually falls in September and coincides nicely with the beginning of school. Happy birthday, world! Time to hit the books.

This is a pleasant holiday: we get to miss class, eat apples and honey, and challah with raisins, and various kinds of cake. I had a donut this morning when I got back from services and it felt almost, like, spiritual. We don’t have to hear horror stories about people trying to kill us. Services go on forever and ever, it’s true, but pretty much guaranteed, when you doze off, someone blows the shofar and you jolt upright again. As a teenager, when I got bored, I’d sneak off to the synagogue library and reread Exodus or Marjorie Morningstar. One time my family drove home without me because no one thought to check the stacks.

So, good food, mini-break from school right out of the gate, and you get to hear someone blowing a ram’s horn like it’s 2500 years ago: what’s the problem? Money. Especially for us X-ennials / members of Generation Catalano, the issue becomes, how or what do you pay for High Holiday tickets. Because yes, it costs to go to services: it has to, so that synagogues can keep the lights on. Even factoring in that dough, rabbis still have to make a traditional “appeal” during the high holidays where they petition for more from the people who crowd the pews once a year.

Even understanding that, though, it can feel weird, because mixing money with spirituality seems so strange. Can’t, you know, God provide?

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