My Spreadsheet Summer

I’ve never really put myself on a budget before, which I find kind of shameful. Fed up with constantly being a couple hundred dollars behind on my Visa, I’ve decided to do something about it. I set up a spreadsheet, planning my budget over the next few months and will be obsessively tracking my progress. I’ve got a pretty simple set-up: one column for the date, one for the balance of each of my bank accounts, one for my Visa, and one for notes. It looks like this...

Income Vs. Expenses: How a Freelance Writer Makes a Living

So now that you have an idea of my monthly income, let’s look at expenses.

Impulse Purchases and Saving: A Freelancer’s Guide to Budgeting

I learned how to budget in the second grade, and my first budgeting lessons came from my parents and a set of mason jars: 10 percent for savings, 10 percent for God, the rest for fun. Put it in the jar, give it to the church and the rest to Delia*s.

Six Lessons I Learned After Becoming a Full-time Freelancer

I've been putting off writing this article. I've been putting off writing anything, really: I quit my salaried job and went full-time freelance with the idea that I'd work a few hourly jobs fact-checking, researching and editing from home, which would clear up time to write.

Budgeting for Vacations, Other People’s Weddings, and Other Summer Stuff (Yay Summer!)

Mike: So Ester, it officially feels like summer! Maybe because it was 90 degrees the other day (but I still haven’t put in my air conditioner, perhaps to Josh Michtom’s delight). But I will! I did it in July last year.

Ester: We haven’t either! I always hold out ’til the last possible moment, til I feel like a wax person whose own skin is melting off my body. For environmental reasons.

Mike: I guess for me it’s part environmental reasons, but also because I don’t think it’s so terribly hot yet? I’m also not home very much, so that may be one reason. I’m at the office right now, and it’s usually on, but it’s quiet here today so I have turned off the a/c and opened the windows. It’s below 80! Who needs it? Okay, so, the thing I wanted to ask you is whether you have summer travel plans and if you planned for it financially in advance.

Ester: Last summer, as you may recall, my husband Ben, babygirl and I decamped for seven weeks — we stayed in Vilnius, Lithuania, in an AirB&B that thankfully did not burn down (the Lithuanian rain would have taken care of that right away anyway I guess), in a couple different places in England, and then in a family friend’s house in Spain. That was pretty amazing — and kind of ate up our travel budget for two years. So we don’t have anything planned for this summer, really, except to figure out how to have, entertain, and enjoy time with a kid in the heat without leaving NYC. How about you?

Mike: I have a savings account through Ally that is specifically for vacations. I just checked and there is $400 in it.

Interview With a Person Who Paid Off $48,000 in Student Loans in Four Years

Marnie Gallowy! The Internets told me that last week—eight years after you graduated from our ol' alma mater—that you paid off the last of your $48,000 in student loan debt. IS THAT TRUE? Are you a wizard?

To Budget or Not to Budget for a $500 Dinner

Bob! My sister is running the New York Marathon in November so my family is flying in to cheer her on. Make sure you're free that weekend!

10 Days in California for $500

Last winter I returned to the U.S. after living in Paris for two years. I had spent almost all of my money and was plagued with doubt over where to build my life in America. With no plans, no job, and the glories of my home country intriguing me in a way they never had before, I got the itch for a road trip. I disregarded the fact that I don’t really, you know, drive, and decided to visit a few friends and relatives along the West Coast to see if one of those cities could be my new home.

Traveling Without a Plan or a Budget

I'm in Croatia, and it's four in the morning. I have nowhere to sleep. I haven't changed my clothes in five days, which is fine because I don't actually have any other clothes to change into. This is all part of the money saving plan. Don't book places to stay—just meet people. Don't buy clothes—just smell bad.

A Conversation with a Photographer Who Earns $50,000 a Year

Grant: I'm 28, live in Chicago, Ill. My fiancé and I just moved to a neighborhood called Logan Square last weekend. I am a photographer.