The Cost of Things

It’s Time to Do 1 Thing

Each of the editors will be taking turns with Do 1 Thing starting this week.


The Cost of Spring Break with School-Age Children, Illustrated and Annotated

Of all the coming sacrifices that you fail to consider when you have kids (so many!), the most insidious is how all the vacation time you accumulate will be divided in equal measure between staying home with them when they are sick and taking them places when they are on school vacation. This is not to say that raising kids isn’t wonderful and enriching and etc. etc., but for much of their lives, they are whiny travelers who insist on doing boring stuff. Important pleasures that they generally fail to appreciate include ocean sunsets, after-rain forest smell, and weekends walking around Philadelphia and getting drunk. Also, entertaining them costs money.


How Much Do You Pay Someone To Risk Their Life For You on Mt. Everest?

Thirteen Sherpas, or professional specialized mountain guides, died this week in an avalanche on Mount Everest, while another three remain unaccounted for, and the rest of the Nepalese Sherpa community has decided to close out the season early:

The accident underscored the huge risks faced by Sherpas who maintain and prepare the icy slopes for climbers and trek the routes carrying equipment for their clients. In a season, Sherpas can earn from $3,000 to $6,000 (2,171 – 4,342 euros), which is about 10 times the average annual pay in Nepal.

On Tuesday, Nepal’s Tourism Ministry announced an agreement to establish a relief fund for guides killed or injured while climbing the mountain, one of the key concessions demanded by the Sherpas following last week’s disaster. Funding is thought to be well below that requested by the guides.

Minimum insurance cover for Sherpas on the mountain, the government said, would be raised by 50-percent to around $15,000.


Whoops, the $522 Haircut

Here is a nice harrowing tale for your Friday afternoon. The hilarious Carlye Wisel at Awkward City decided it was time to get an adult lady hairdo at a fancy salon. The only problem was she did not ask how much it would cost before she sat down in the chair. It was $522. Plus tip. CHILLS:


How Much Was Jane Austen Paid For Some of History’s Best Books?

Women have always faced the additional hurdle of being at the mercy of their reproductive systems, as well as by what society expected of them in terms of selflessness. Virginia Woolf famously said, not that long ago, that, in order to write fiction, “a woman must have money and a room of her own.” Time and space, in other words. Drive, talent, and luck are pre-requisites too. That’s such a high bar it’s a wonder women ever put out novels before 1963. When they did, what did they get in exchange? Let’s take the example of Jane Austen, one of the few pre-Woolf women who managed to unite all five attributes, and see how the world rewarded her for writing some of its best fiction.


How Much Would You Pay For Elephant Poop Coffee?

If the answer is $1500 a kilogram, then it might be time to start booking your next vacation. On the island of Macau, China, you can get a cup of “black ivory” for 488 patacas, which is about $60 USD (plus tip!).


Are Cosmetic Subscription Services Worth It?

When my first Birchbox package arrived—a monthly parcel from a New York-based startup that encloses surprise samples of designer cosmetic products at the cost of $10 per month—I could make no discernable connection to cosmetics in my past.


Possibly the Least You Can Spend on Getting Legally Married in Great Britain

My husband and I got married last July. We wore jeans to the registry office, and except for the three friends who were our witnesses, no one knew anything about it until it was over. For us, it was perfect. As a side effect, it was also ridiculously cheap.


Why Honeycrisps Cost So Much

At Esquire, Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn looks at the story behind why the Honeycrisp apple is so expensive.


Amazon’s Prime Membership Increases to $99 a Year

Amazon announced this morning that it was raising the cost of its Prime membership to $99 a year. How many of you Prime users find that new dollar amount too high to consider it worth it?


The Cost Of Mental Health Care for a Semi-insured 23-year-old

I’ve been in various forms of treatment for years now: college counselor; old-school Boston psychiatrist that handed me drugs once a month; confused beach town therapist who had no idea what to do with me; extremely mean suburban therapist; current wonderful resident at a NYC hospital who sees me once a week and functions as both therapist and psychiatrist.While some treatment has been easy to access—namely the college counselor—most required navigating a maze of phone calls, referrals, string-pulling, insurance snafus, and money.


The Cost of Building a Micro-Housing Village for the (Formerly) Homeless

Quixote Village is a community of formerly homeless adults in Olympia, Washington, who until recently lived in a self-governed tent city that rotated between church parking lots. Now these 29 adults live in 29 separate 144-square-foot tiny houses, arranged in a horseshoe shape. Each house has room for a bed, a desk, and a tiny bathroom with a sink and a toilet. There is a shared garden and a community center with showers and a kitchen shared by all the residents. If residents have income, they’re asked to pay 30% of that income towards monthly rent. Otherwise, living there is free.