How to See The World When You Have a 9-to-5 and a Budget

“How do you get to go on so many trips?!”

I hear this question often. My answer is always simple: Make it a priority.

A few years ago, I was drowning in your typical run-of-the-mill college debt. Too much Easy Mac, a few must-have sweaters and lots of dining out put my credit card balance in a scary place. After turning down a few invites to travel from friends post-college due to my increasing debt, I was getting really frustrated.

I planned out a payment plan and started throwing money at my problems (and started contributing to the thread here at The Billfold, which I totally recommend). But I still felt deflated since I still wasn’t going anywhere. I started putting $50/month from the payment plan money into a travel fund as a reward. After two years, I made a significant dent on my debt AND I had nearly $1200 in my travel fund. That winter, I called up my best friend and we planned a two-week backpacking trip through Costa Rica. This was in December 2010. That next year I was debt free!

Traveling doesn’t require you to drop a giant sum of money all at once. That’s the biggest misconception about traveling, in my opinion. You don’t have to go to a far away place every time. I love to explore the United States and get to know different states.


On Overly Personal Finance

I think if reading the money beat for a year — certainly not something I read before this — has taught me anything it’s just that there is no right answer for anyone. I can share with you my reaction but I don’t think it’s ever necessarily the correct one. We all bring so much shit to the table. I love that this is a place where we discuss said shit, and our feelings about it, or just an honest accounting for how we’ve dealt with it. Sometimes a good old Cost of Things is much more illuminating than any of our ideas about any of it.


Black Friday, Black Friday, You Horrid Little Man

I am not the only person who hums “Black Friday” to the Blackadder theme, right? (I suppose the alternative is to hum it to Rebecca Black’s “Friday” song, but it doesn’t scan as well.)

Anyway, I’ve heard on Twitter that people are already camping out at Best Buy for DEALS DEALS DEALS.

And to those of you currently reading this post on your smartphone while huddled in a tent outside of a shopping center, I salute you.

Specifically, I salute you from the comfort of my home office, where I already got all of my Black Friday shopping done online.


On Being a “Workaholic” When You Need the Money

I come across, both online and in person, as a cheery do-bee who just loves working. And yes, I get the question about work all the time. “How do you do it?” “How do you do so much of it?”

And I want to say, full stop: Because I need the money.

You know, to live.


Shows, and More Stories of 24-hour Daycare

I am sadly not surprised that childcare workers get paid less than people who care for animals. We constantly devalue the work of caring for and raising children.


How People Who Are Also in Musicals Do Work

I’m still unreasonably unnerved at the thought of being secretly “off work” for 42 hours.


The Casual Is the Enemy of the Good

True spontaneity is mutual consent. Casual is when people go along because they want to look cool.


On Wearing a Uniform

Alice Gregory is living one of my dreams. Okay she lives many of my dreams but this specific one is about finding her uniform, which in her case is a black turtleneck, jeans, and black boots.


Would You Pay for a Restaurant Reservation?

Getting a restaurant reservation for a popular restaurant can sometimes feel like an impossible task. A friend of mine once wrote a long, lovely letter to a restaurant owner to get a reservation, while another friend was able to land a reservation by using a concierge service via his credit card. I tend to wait until the hype has died down a bit before making an attempt to dine at whatever restaurant just received a load of glowing reviews, or join a dinner party that managed to get a reservation through some kind of hookup.