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.

An Accident Paid Off My MFA Debt

Just over a month before I entered the graduate writing program at The New School I was struck by a car as I stepped into a crosswalk on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Along with minor abrasions, my left ear was mangled beyond repair, and as I faced a handful of surgeries in the months and years ahead, I worried how these might affect my expensive education.  I would plan each surgery around a break from school so that I could miss the least number of classes possible. At the time this was how I connected grad school to my accident, along with the knowledge that I would have to get the hell over it; I had an M.F.A. dream to fulfill.

Some Costs Associated With a Relationship

The cost of a relationship, starting with two coffees.

The Cost of Love

I asked some Billfold pals if they had ever spent too much money on love. They had.

How Much Would You Need to Earn to Afford a One-bedroom in Your County?

The National Low Income Housing Coalition looked at fair market rents (according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development), and calculated how much a worker would need to earn per hour to afford a one-bedroom apartment in their county (the "housing wage").

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.

The Cost of Photographing Your Aura

Auras are "the luminous color fields many psychics and spiritualists believe surround all people and things, illuminating their moods, health, preoccupations, and future," and Katie Heaney recently paid someone $21.67 to take a photo of her aura and wrote about it for her latest column at Pacific Standard

Breaking Down the Costs of a $90 Electric Kettle

Chewxy, a "startup guy" and economist based in Sydney, Australia, wanted to know why temperature-controlled electric kettles cost more than $90. In search of an answer, he took his $10, plastic, non-temperature-controlled electric kettle apart, thought about the cost of individual pieces, and calculated profit margins. His post is so nerdy and considered and I love it.

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.

Why Honeycrisps Cost So Much

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

The Cost of Keeping Fit

A follow-up to "How to Procrastinate Signing Up for a Gym Membership While Still Being Productive About It."

A Poor, Yet Expensive, Country

Zimbabwe's per capita GDP is the third lowest in the world, yet the prices of items in the country—$2 for a Coke, $4 for a jar of peanut butter—is comparable to prices in large cities in the U.S. Why is that?