On How Much More Are You Spending at the Grocery Store?

@drydenlane Shout out for YDFM!

Posted on August 29, 2014 at 11:19 am 0

On How Much More Are You Spending at the Grocery Store?

I've definitely noticed that the price of some of our staples has gone way up. Not beef so much (I get most of that at the Farmer's Market - about $3-3.50/lb for ground beef or sirloin, and $20/lb for tenderloin, which is what it's been for a few years), but bacon that was $4 last year is now $7. Organic milk was $4, and has edged steadily up to $4.50 in the last couple months. Butter is up, coffee is up, eggs are up, cheese is way up. I buy multiples of things when they go on sale, but we're still spending more than we used to (due to a combination of price increases and because we're trying to eat better). I tried to compare year-to-year expenditures on Mint, but couldn't figure out how to do that - I did, however, see that Mint says we've spent $25,000 in groceries over the past four years. Which is, frankly, pretty jaw-dropping when you consider we're just two adults and a teeny toddler, and not like, a house with four teenage boys.

Posted on August 28, 2014 at 12:07 pm 0

On The Cost of Throwing a Pony Party for Your Seven-Year-Old Daughter Who's Really Into Horses

Love this! Love the idea (am totally stealing it for my own daughter), and love the sweetness in this story. Please write more!

Posted on August 25, 2014 at 10:36 pm 0

On Saying "No I Can't" Because of Money

I find that weddings are relatively easy to decline, assuming the friends in question aren't ask-you-to-be-in-the-wedding-party close. Most people understand that a plane ticket + 2 nights in a hotel can get really pricey. The asks I find difficult to decline based on money are more subtle: the fancy restaurant group birthday dinner for a good friend that you know will end up being ninety bucks a head, or the beach weekend that will be $300 each when it's all said and done and you'll have to share a sandy bed with someone all weekend anyway. I'm fortunate to be in a position where these expenses wouldn't make or break me - I'd still be able to pay my mortgage and afford my kid's daycare. But I'd just rather spend that money on other things, or have it left over at the end of the month. I wish someone would tell me how to decline *those* invites without coming across as a joyless penny-pincher.

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 10:11 am 0

On The Cost of Fostering Kittens

We fostered a lot before I got pregnant (once I was forbidden to clean a litterbox, my husband had his hands full just cleaning up after our own two). It is SO much fun, and well worth your time. And ps - it's a *great* way to screen potential pets if you're in the market for one; both our cats came to us as fosters. And we fostered from a no-kill shelter, so I always knew they would be adopted when I gave them back. The only additional expense we always encountered was tapeworm meds for our own cats. No matter how much the Humane Society swore the kittens had been treated for fleas, apparently bitty kitty flea treatments are not that effective, so our cats always swallowed a few and ended up with tapeworms. Which are SO GROSS but fortunately very easy and cheap to treat (One pill! $2 apiece on Amazon! Not the end of the world, even though you'll think otherwise the first time it happens!).

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm 0

On Help a Reader Choose Her Health Care Plan

One more thought: If you're paying for doctor visits out of your own pocket, I'm guessing you might be tempted to delay or even skip some visits - eg, it's not like a sore throat means I'm dying, so it is realllly worth $150 to have a doctor spend two minutes looking in my mouth? Health care is supposed to be there whenever you need it, not just for those occasions when you're deathly ill or lose a finger. People with better health plans take better care of themselves.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 2:20 pm 0

On Help a Reader Choose Her Health Care Plan

What Greenbeans said, pretty much exactly. #3 seems to rely way too much on dumb luck and never getting sick, so that's out unless you're a big gambler. And I'd definitely pay the $600 difference for peace of mind, even if I never ever saw a doctor for anything other than the insurance-defined preventive care (unlikely). Plus, health care premiums aren't taxed, so that $600 difference is actually more like $500 out of pocket. Ten bucks a week.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 1:51 pm 0

On "Secrets" to Buying a House Without Getting Hosed

We used a realtor for our (Atlanta) house hunt and it didn't cost us a dime - her 3% commission came strictly out of the seller's end (I thought this was standard practice? Maybe it's different in NY). And she was really helpful during negotiations - giving us advice on when to play hardball and when to back off a bit - and helped us cut through the red tape with the city's permits department. So I recommend, especially for first-time buyers with lots of questions (ie, us two years ago). But I wholeheartedly agree with not taking the max loan the bank offers you. Our payments are comfortable but substantial, and not ones we could make on one salary alone - and that's even after we only took about 70% of what the bank was offering.

Posted on August 12, 2014 at 10:18 am 2

On Who Benefits When Mike Dang Dies? Chatting About Life Insurance

My husband and I had a kid last year, so are life insurance shopping right now. I am confused by one thing though - I was told that term life insurance rates never go up, and the benefit never increases either...ie, we will pay about $100 a month for the next 30 years for a combined 1.5 million of coverage, period, the end. But Mike says his is a term policy, yet both the rates and coverage increase over time. I'm confused. Can anyone explain?

Posted on August 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm 0

On Riding the Chinatown Bus, and Considering Its True Cost

Mike - Totally off topic, but did the company you work for happen to have the initials PRN? If so, I'm guessing we know several people in common, which thrills me more than it probably should.

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 10:43 am 0