On The Ways We Make Money As Minors

I started getting paid gigs as a harpist (as half of a harp duo, actually) when I was about 13. Around the same time, my dad also started paying me to code survey information. (He did consumer surveys for trademark lawsuits, where he would have the surveyers ask people questions like "What company makes this product?" and record their answers verbatim; then my job would be to code them numerically according to a key like, I don't know, 1-Mattel, 2-Disney, etc. Obviously this was a tedious and boring job, which is why he wanted SO BADLY not to have to do it himself that he would pay a 12-year-old to do it instead.) My total income was low, but by 10th grade I had earned about $650, which I spent on a drumset.

Posted on December 15, 2014 at 10:29 pm 0

On You Can Sue Your Parents To Pay Your College Tuition!

@Goodie I don't know, I can see putting some language about college costs or support during college in there -- I've known some people whose parents have used college contributions and filling out the FAFSA as weapons against the other parent, which is so harmful to the kid that it makes sense to me to try and forestall it by putting something in the divorce agreement like "Both parents will fill out the FAFSA and make appropriate contributions to the child's college tuition costs." They may have been trying to do something like that and just had the exact wording they used backfire on them.

Posted on December 11, 2014 at 11:19 am 0

On A Life Without Retirement Savings

@eatmoredumplings Yup. (I also don't think super highly of the tendency to treat K-12 teaching as a fallback career that anyone can just default to and do fine, but that's somewhat beside the point.)

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 5:31 pm 0

On Meet America's Most Worthless Human Being

@OllyOlly Also, the restaurant did offer to refund the difference right away, or at least as soon as the customer requested a refund. (His first email just asked them to "clarify the difference"; replying to that with an immediate offer of a refund might have been nice, but I don't think it was unreasonable just to answer the question that was asked.)

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 12:13 pm 0

On In Defense of Small Cheap Cities

@bowtiesarecool I don't have first-hand knowledge of many capitals, but Austin is an obvious choice for warm weather and general coolness. I don't know how it is for getting around without a car, though, and depending on your own political opinions and the type of lobbying you do, you might find our one-party state government a little discouraging.

Posted on December 10, 2014 at 11:48 am 0

On A Life Without Retirement Savings

@eatmoredumplings There's not enough demand for teachers of any subject to absorb the entire adjunct population, but yeah, art would be especially bad. Even in a district that's doing better than Philly, she'd likely struggle to find a full-time position; best-case scenario for a lot of "elective" teachers is cobbling together two 0.5 FTEs at different schools. Not a huge improvement over adjuncting.

Posted on December 9, 2014 at 5:31 pm 0

On Do You Hold Back on Buying Items You Want So People Can Give Them as Gifts?

I don't do a lot of shopping for myself year-round, so I don't feel much need to do this -- I do an annual Wishlist Curation Festival instead, where I go through my various wishlists and add, remove, and re-prioritize as needed. My husband, on the other hand, is the WORST about mentioning something he wants in mid-November and then buying it for himself the next week; he's actually started marking a shopping moratorium on his calendar, which goes from, like, Nov. 15 (his birthday is in late November) to Dec. 26.

Posted on December 5, 2014 at 5:15 pm 0

On Good Enough Homes & Destinations: What You Get For $290,000

Dear owners of Miami Beach house: I don't care HOW much your house is worth, get your damn cat off the kitchen counter. Think about where its paws have been.

Posted on November 17, 2014 at 2:52 pm 0

On WWYD: Bring Bottles In Yourself Or Leave Them for the Less Fortunate

When I lived in a place with a can/bottle deposit, I thought about it in terms of how much actual money was at stake and other circumstances in which I would save/spend/give away that much money: How much could I be "earning" weekly by redeeming my cans and bottles? If I found that much change on the ground, would I pick it up? If I had that much change in my pocket, would I impulse-spend it on a candy bar? If I had that much change in my pocket, would I give it to a panhandler? Generally I found that I didn't value the money (which, for me, would have been under a dollar per week) enough, or need it badly enough, that I would restrain myself from spending it foolishly or giving it away... so I might as well give it away, and letting someone else redeem the cans is the easiest way to do that.

Posted on November 13, 2014 at 3:17 pm 0

On I Don't Believe in Psychics Strictly Speaking But Also I Am Afraid I Will Give Them All of My Money

@Katni Oh man, yes. I would absolutely pay someone to read my cat's paw.

Posted on November 12, 2014 at 5:58 pm 0