This is nuts! I studied abroad 10 years ago in York and had no problem getting a bank account (Barclays or HSBC, I think) and getting a pay-as-you-go phone. My carrier was Orange, and this article is spot-on with how much cheaper it is for phone service over there (example: you are not charged for incoming texts or incoming calls). They must have tightened up the requirements. Is there such a thing as a credit union in the UK?
I'll play. From Head to Toe: Lined cold-weather hat: $30 Glasses: approx. $350, but paid for with FSA funds in 2013. Also, I'd be blind without them. Scarf: $20 (30% off at the Gap) Necklace: $100 (vacation splurge) LL Bean Plum down coat: $130 Orange dress from Modcloth: $50 (on sale for half-off, bought with birthday money) Bra in non-matrix sizing: $130 (bought with giftcard. Bras/upholstry are THE MOST worth spending for quality. Life's too short to wear shitty bras) Ankh ring: $20 Kate Spade bracelet: $20 Undies: $5 (from 5/$25 at the Gap) Leggings: $30 Socks: $5 (from multipack) Bean boots: $125 Total: $835. I never thought of my spending in this way before. In warmer weather this would drop a bit, but I am am still spendy on non-winter footwear. I walk a lot since I don't have a car, so that is another area where I feel paying for quality is a good value.
WHY are menstrual products ineligible for FSA funds? I think it's quite silly that something so intimately related to our bodies for health reasons can't be deducted. I used to have a Diva Cup and I LOVED it, but now I have an IUD and the cup would make me nervous about dislodging my tiny copper Destroyer. Cups, pads, poons and painkillers, should all be eligible for those funds. Rogaine and Viagra are covered. What gives?
@JNC Musings Factory Hey, me too! Let's have a special unicorn party.
This should be tagged 'how muggles do money'.
I want to hear the freelance/reddit connection stated by the tag!
@Allison yes, the express bus! Figuring out the express bus routes made me feel like I'd hacked the MBTA/life. One time it was 35 minutes door-to-door, but that was because all the stars were aligned. Usually it's closer to 45/50 minutes. The above also includes a decent chunk of walking, which makes me much happier than being crammed on a hot train platform waiting for a less-crammed train to come by.
@sariberry They sell these at Trader Joe's also.
@Tuna Surprise Young, overeducated white kids can also be poor—just because they look like a hipster doesn't mean that the wages don't still suck. And if McDonalds/Wendys/etc. had a tip jar, I'd put money in there too. Chipotle does sometimes, so I put money in there. On your last point, I agree—the root of this problem is that businesses ought to pay a living wage for labor instead of relying on well-meaning customers to make up the difference.
I slung coffee for a while after college in addition to my first Grown-Up job, where I was only part-time. With both jobs together, I was still not making a living wage, so I definitely appreciated the extra $15 or so from the tip jar that would come my way after working a morning shift. I'd take home less from an evening shift but it was still nice to have a little extra money. I was making minimum wage, not server wages, for working at the coffee shop, so I never saw tipping as imperative. But all those people who dropped their change in the jar did make a difference. Now, I make an OK salary and I put my change or a dollar in the jar every time I go to a food truck or a coffee shop because I've been the person on the other side of the counter. I can also afford a buck or two here or there. Also, I am generally not getting complicated, multi-drink orders or paying in complex ways.