Secondhand Brawlers

Of the steady accumulation of books in my apartment, I imagine nearly half were acquired at library book sales. This includes calorific comfort reads like the complete works of Flannery O’Connor, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, and Isaac Babel (these seasonal sales are lousy with collected volumes). While I purchase some books new, the rest are reaped—due to ongoing financial constraints—from cardboard boxes in library common rooms. (For the sake of self-aggrandizement, let’s call these books "rescues.")

The Cost of Getting Settled in the U.K.

Over the course of the last seven years, I have applied for and been granted five different visas; I’ve bought my life here piece by piece, six months, a year, two years at a time. And I’m lucky, not only because I was in a position in the first place to be able to do this, but also because, in spite of a few minor administrative hiccups, my path to settlement has been relatively smooth. I haven’t been detained or deported, haven’t had to appeal decisions or pay hefty legal fees or endure long periods of separation from my partner, or face the reality of restarting our life elsewhere. At times I’ve lived in limbo, but it’s a comparatively cushy limbo. So I’m keenly aware of the privilege of this particular kind of voluntary mobility, and I also think this is precisely why it’s important to publicly examine the cost of it.

The Cost of Stress Baking

Part of my first paycheck went to celebratory cupcake ingredients.

Survey: Does It Always Make Sense to Go for the Lowest Fare?

I'm considering traveling to Norway in the next few months and was presented with the above options on the Norwegian Air Shuttle site. The lowest fare seems to make the most sense since I only travel with a carry-on and could probably purchase my own meal for less, but perhaps I'm missing something. What do you think?

The Costs of Mental Illness, With & Without Insurance

When it comes down to "if I eat out tonight with my friends I can’t afford the pills I need" you spend a lot of nights eating on your meal plan instead.

The Cost of an Ugly Christmas Sweater

It's the time of year when everyone puts on the ugliest sweater they can find.

The Cost Of Things: Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed at 30

I avoided getting my wisdom teeth taken out for a long time, partially because I was terrified of getting surgery, and partially because I didn't want to pay for it.

The Cost of Acquiring a Last-Minute Tuxedo for a Black Tie Wedding

A few months ago, a coworker of mine got married. A few months before that, she got engaged. On the morning she rolled in with one finger buckling under the weight of a god-knows-how-many-carat diamond, our six-person team huddled in a secluded office for a private, giddy, workday champagne toast.

The Cost of Winter Running

Gym fatigue, an old injury that makes running on a treadmill awkward, and a general preference for the great outdoors led me to cancel my Planet Fitness membership this year (making me $10 richer every month), which means I’ll be doing all my running outside this winter. The catch here is that I live in Alaska, a place not exactly known for its mild winters, snow-free streets, or, you know, daylight.