On Think Of The Money I Could Make By Simply Ruining My Life With Airbnb

I live in a super 'trendy' neighborhood in the city, and pay through the nose for my rent. I had to basically give a blood sample plus a crazy security deposit to get my apartment. It's a very small building - about 15 units - with no security, and the super lives offsite. Two of my neighbors use AirBnB/HomeAway (I've found their listings after I noticed hordes of tourists being unable to unlock our front door) and it drives me crazy. Because the area is really popular, they can command ~$300 a night on these sites, and I think to afford it, entire families or groups of friends will come stay. So what is supposed to be a quiet, secure building is instead filled with a half-dozen strangers for a few nights, soon to be replaced by another 5 of them the next week. So far they've just been noisy during the daytime and messy - but I'm afraid that some group will turn out to be destructive, incredibly loud at night, or worse. I actually have never seen either of my 'real' neighbors there, or at least not in months. Maybe they're living with significant others? And yet...I'm reluctant to turn my neighbors in? It grates on me that my small building now looks like a hotel half the time, but narc-ing seems so unpleasant. But I should call the landlord, right?

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 7:07 pm 0

On The Burrower, Part II

In addition to totally confusing me, this series made me sad in a sense. The level of subterfuge and mental energy expended on 'hiding' (literally and mentally) was overwhelming. I realize the focus is on the 'how' and not the rest of her life, but the fleeting mention of one coworker being the only one who knows made me wonder where the author's friends were, if she ever loosened her strict eating-out-of-the-trash diet to go out, if the three-days-in-the-office-without-leaving was ever interrupted to walk around the park, etc. It just seemed really lonely.

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 1:09 pm 0

On The Burrower: Part I

Where did you shower...?

Posted on June 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm 1

On It's a Good Time to Go to Law School? Really?

I work at a big law firm, and while I don't think I'll do it forever, I don't go into work every morning feeling like my soul is being crushed. I am sure there are clients I would not want to represent and work I wouldn't want to do, but you can find fulfilling work outside of the non-profit sector. That being said, I don't think the legal market will recover to where it was before the crash. Applicants should really calculate how much they'll need to make per year to pay off their loans, and not rely on law school admissions offices' numbers on what graduates make. The numbers are hugely skewed by the inclusion of people who work at big law firms, to say nothing of all the other ways they're manipulated. Research the area you want to live after grad, and what different types of lawyers ACTUALLY make there (small firm, medium firm, government, etc.). Is the life you want to live sustainable on all of those salaries, or just some? I went to school with a lot of people whose only plan was to get a job at a big firm, and when that didn't happen, they were left with an extraordinary amount of debt and a salary not much larger than what they had made before they got a JD.

Posted on June 26, 2014 at 11:40 am 0

On Four (And One) Items I Regretted Wearing to My First Job

My first 'real' job was as a file clerk in a geriatric cardiology office, starting when I was 16. I came straight from school every day and, at 5'10", had not realized that not all mini skirts were suitable for my height. That was also basically I ever wore, even as I reached for the tops of the file cabinets or sat on my haunches to find stuff on the bottom shelves. I got a lot of grandmotherly comments from the patients which I, at the time and for many years after, genuinely thought were compliments about how cute my outfits were and not gentle ways of telling me to cover up. WHYYY didn't the people I work with say something? Why didn't my mom?!

Posted on June 17, 2014 at 1:03 pm 0

On Snacks On a Budget: Everything You Need to Know About Popcorn

I make popcorn at home all the time and it is delicioussss. I've done both the stovetop method (slightly easier to make toppings stick, but then you have to clean the dumb pot) and the microwave method (one staple never made anything catch on fire but folding it under works just as well). Other popcorn ideas: parmesan (like, even that stuff from the Kraft can) + chili powder; cinnamon sugar; garlic salt and herbs. Lastly, if you're doing the stovetop method, you can make DELICIOUS KETTLE CORN really easily. Add two tablespoons (or to taste) of white sugar with your kernels to the hot oil, and make sure to do a lot of shaking so it doesn't stick. Add salt once it's done cooking, put the lid back on, shake shake shake to mix, enjoy.

Posted on June 12, 2014 at 9:53 am 2

On On the Scourge of 'Office Speak'

My office is very fond of "revert back" used (flagrantly incorrectly) to mean "get back to me when you're done with this." WHYYY. Not only is it's wrong, it's redundant.

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 5:22 pm 0

On At 22, Being a Starving Actor Was Romantic, But at 26, It's Getting Old

Being terrible with money isn't like being left-handed - just because you always have been, doesn't mean it's something that's genetically a part of you. It is something you are choosing to do (or not do). I would imagine that part of what might hold someone in this position back is the knowledge that, if they were to become "good at money," they would genuinely have to adjust their lifestyle. No more $28 martini splurges. No more bracelets on layaway. No more Seamless every night of the week. Change is hard, and the hard thing about changing your habits with respect to money is knowing that - barring a better job, or a cheaper city - you have to change those habits permanently. It's really tough! Good luck.

Posted on June 3, 2014 at 12:21 pm 4

On Donating To Your Problematic Alma Mater: Do or Don't?

My college is one of the major names being investigated and I pledged to withhold financial and other support (e.g., being an active alumni association member, attending events, whatever) until they actually addressed - not just committed to addressing, because that solves nothing - the problems with sexual assault and university's handling of it, which were very real when I attended the school and continue to be a black mark on its name. For me, it was more about making a public statement to the university and to the current students that I take the issues seriously than it was about cutting off a needed source of revenue (given the probably negligible amount I donate per year). I can't tell if it's coincidence that mailings to alumni and events seem to be increasing since the issues became public and the petition went up.

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 3:15 pm 1

On Here Is Your Open Thread

@callmeprufrock Congrats on the job! Totally agree that it makes sense to have a little nest egg/for comfort levels before you get too worried about the debt/investment split. As for that, you might want to consider how much the peace of mind having your debt repaid is worth to you, personally. This is something I think about a lot. Of course you want to split it somewhat, but there's something to be said about knocking out your debt while you're sure you have a well-paying job (which you hope lasts a long time, but who knows?), known expenses (in the future you may have, like, a surprise kid, or surprise other expenses that force you to reallocate your money), etc. Another thing to consider is that while the money you'll earn investing in your preferred split on average, over a long enough period of time, is PROBABLY X%, your debt is DEFINITELY going to be Y%, over a known period of time. On the other hand, the earlier you invest, the more time you have to earn your return on that. But it sounds like your debt would take you a short enough period of time to repay that you could throw (making up percentages here) 70% of your money at it and 30% at investments after you get to your savings goals, and soon be able to throw 100% of your money at investments while you're still young. Sorry that this was all over the place! Those are some of the things I've personally been considering lately, since I'm in a similar decision-making spot.

Posted on May 16, 2014 at 2:27 pm 0