What Minneapolis Does Right

In the March issue of The Atlantic, Derek Thompson writes that young people can find, according to study published by economists from Harvard and Berkeley, upward mobility in "rich coastal metropolises, including San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, and New York City." One major problem: These cities have also been found to be the least affordable in the country. But in these studies, one metropolitan area stands out as landing in the top 10 in the Harvard-Berkeley mobility study and being generally affordable: Minneapolis–St. Paul.

Places I’ve Lived: <3 <3 Minneapolis <3 <3 and … New York

Where have you lived, Katie Heaney?

Dispatch from Winter

In Minneapolis, it’s already winter, and it’s cold. Not cold enough to wish it was a hundred degrees and humid, but enough to be out in the world without a scarf and think, “It is imperative that I purchase a scarf” ($10 – $30). To avoid impulse scarf purchases, my advice is this: Put a scarf in your bag and keep it there forever. Maybe also some gloves. Perhaps a hat also. But definitely a scarf. Do it now.

The Cost of Things: Beer for Life, $1000

Help crowdsource funding for a bar and in return, get free beer for life. Crazy? CRAZY LIKE A FOX. The strategy worked brilliantly for Northbound Brewpub in Minneapolis:

Amy Johnson and her two business partners needed to raise $220,000 to secure a bank loan and fulfill their dream of opening a restaurant that served beer brewed right there at the pub. They went to investors who offered to give heavily for a voting share in the restaurant. But since the potential investors had no experience in the restaurant industry, the owners backed away.

And then came the idea from some friends and family who wanted to help out. “They were, like, ‘I’ve got a few grand, but I don’t have too much money,’ ” Johnson recalls. “And people kept saying this over and over, and we latched onto the idea. Why not just take a couple grand from everybody and then we’d have all the money we’d need?”

Can I Afford to Help People?

In the fall I’m going teach childhood literacy as an AmeriCorps member in Minneapolis.

The job description says that the pay is approximately $900/mo., but other AmeriCorps members have told me that after-tax take-home pay is more like $800/mo. That’s $200/week, $9,600/year—a small number no matter how you phrase it. I’m passionate about childhood literacy—it’s why I applied for AmeriCorps in the first place—but before committing to the job I had to take a serious look at my finances. Could I afford to spend this year making such a small salary?

Places I’ve Lived: Minneapolis I’m Yours

Where have you lived, Sam Blackwell?

The Cost of Winter Biking

Winter biking in Minneapolis isn’t for the timid. It’s cold, the roads are both slippery and narrower than usual, and cars aren’t exactly friendly. But Minnesotans are nothing if not hardy, and proud of it. I’ve been biking to work this winter, and here’s what it has cost me:

Winter Tires: $65 each, $130 total. I decided to go with the Continental Winter II tires, because they’re nearly as grippy as studs, fit on the wheels I have, and they were in stock and relatively cheap.

Various bike service odds and ends: $59. I got the winter tires after riding in to work on my normal tires—on 4 inches of snow. When I took my bike in during lunch they also adjusted my brakes, fixed my fender, and replaced an inner tube.

The Extended Trip

Logan Sachon: Hey Mike, have you ever kept extending a weekend trip so that it lasted two weeks?