My Tin-Roofed Outbuilding in Dar es Salaam

In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city and de facto capital, $500 a month will get you a little room in a tin-roofed outbuilding. You’ll get above-average electricity, too. "Above average," because you can expect frequent blackouts in Dar—that’s why most expats and well-off Tanzanians have standby generators. My studio doesn’t have a standby generator, but it is hooked into the electrical system of nearby Muhimbilli National Hospital. I don’t know how or why we get to siphon off their power, but the government does a pretty good job pumping watts into Muhimbilli. Even now, as the long dry season transitions into the short rains, and there’s no water in the hydroelectric dams.

The Cost of Things: Crossfit, Lifting, and Making It to Provincials

I got new weightlifting shoes, $220. One shoe says, "go forth and..." and the other shoe says, "...dominate"


I have hosted Thanksgiving at my apartment for the past three years, mostly because I intensely dislike the idea of sitting on a crowded Metro-North train for two hours the Wednesday before, hiding behind magazines in order to avoid the people on the train I haven’t seen since high school. We are not a Christmas family. Thanksgiving, with its food and its revelry and the easy familiarity of drinking a nice glass of red wine around 3 p.m. with people I haven’t seen in a year is our tradition.

The Cost of Being Vegan

People who give financial advice like to suggest that you govegan,vegetarian, or at leastcelebrate Meatless Monday as a cost-cutting measure. As a vegan for two years and counting, this particular tip always makes me laugh.

The Cost of Fixing Up a Free Bike

This summer I rebuilt a bike whose frame had been gifted to me by my friend Hope’s little sister. She had found it in an alleyway and, thoughtfully, had asked me if I’d like to have it. I was thrilled because I had been wanting a bike and figured this would be cheaper than buying one from Craigslist.

The Cost of Finagling a Trip to Abu Dhabi

1. Befriend the international students and 2. Tip your waitresses; they probably have cool and too-expensive plans in the works.

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.

The Cost of Figuring Out a Guy Isn’t Right

I know that traditional wisdom dictates I’ll have to kiss a lot of frogs before I find the right person. Do I have the patience for this? Yes. Does my wallet? I’m not sure.

The Cost of Things in Taylor Swift’s ‘Blank Space’ Music Video

I don't know anyone who doesn't want to live in Taylor Swift's "Blank Space" video, at least for a couple of days. Pure white horses, vintage cars, gorgeous dresses, hot men … knives. Tears. Goats. It's a glorious, overindulgent dream/nightmare vision. I love it unreservedly.

You Can’t Afford To Be Fat At Work

Even being as little as 13 pounds overweight resulted in $9,000 less per year.