On Every Day Farmers Are Hustling

This perspective is a little odd to me because it seems to define "farmer" in that hipster-friendly way as "produces things that humans eat pretty much right away in their original form." I'm from the Plains states and all the farmers I know grow cash crops -- soybeans, feed corn, hay, etc. And I'm pretty sure a lot of them qualify as "small" under the USDA definition (under $250K gross income). The side hustle there, I suspect, is the kinds of jobs people do in small towns, not selling to farmer's markets and making artisanal jam.

Posted on June 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm 0

On Tuition is Crazy But Can We Also Talk About How Some Student Loans Paid for Cruises?

@jfruh Yeah, two things: federal loans are now all made by the Education Department, so they're not underwritten by banks (or Sallie Mae) anymore -- they had been US gov't $$ before, but given to the banks to lend/manage. And colleges can no longer direct students to a specific private lender/bank if they need to borrow more than they're allowed to under federal loan rules. More here: http://www.finaid.org/loans/preferredlenderlists.phtml (On a side note, Mike and Logan, if you want a "What We Talk About When We Talk About Student Loans," I work in a financial aid/communications related field...)

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 1:56 pm 3

On Tuition is Crazy But Can We Also Talk About How Some Student Loans Paid for Cruises?

@jfruh As I understand it, with federal loans, after your tuition is paid, you get a check for the leftovers. But $55K in debt means that some of the loans were from banks and probably went straight to the students to begin with.

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm 0

On Friday Estimate

No real plans this weekend, so I could spend $50. Or $250! I'm going to try to keep it under $100. Tonight: Going out with either one or two groups of friends. I'll budget $30 total; if that includes a meal, maybe $40. Tomorrow: Driving a friend to the airport and going for a run! $0 for that. Hanging out at home for the rest of the day. I haven't bought groceries or cooked food for myself in... too long, so I'm going to try to eat all my meals at home. $15 for some preliminary groceries. Sunday: $15 at the farmer's market. Another $30, probably, at the grocery store. And that's $100 exactly. I suspect I might have a brunch somewhere in there that could bump it up to $120. Hopefully no more than that!

Posted on June 7, 2013 at 11:26 am 0

On Help I Hate My Job

Logan, you give fantastic advice. Your friends are lucky to have you!

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 10:27 am 0

On Friday Estimate

No huge plans this weekend. I've spent spent spent for all of May, but I think I should be able to hold it down for June. Tonight: Already spent about $50 today, but should keep it down the rest of the day. Tonight is family dinner with my roommates. I usually cook for these, and this time I'm not, so I'm just going to get some limes for cocktails. $5 at the grocery store. Tomorrow: Going for a run in the wee hours before it gets too hot, so probably will treat myself to an iced coffee later. $4. I'll also need to make a grocery run because I don't think I have any non-breakfast food left. $10-$15. Then a friend's birthday; I'll budget $25. Total: $45, on the high end. Sunday: $10 at the farmer's market. No plans the rest of the day, so I'll budget $30 for groceries and $10 for incidentals. Total: $100.

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 10:22 am 0

On Let's Throw Some Money at Our Problems: May 2013 Check-In

So... I sort of cheated this month because I spent a LOT of money, but I'm pulling it out of savings instead. They were planned purchases, but perhaps not the most prudent ones. American Express Gold Delta Skymiles, 15.24% APR Feb. 2013 balance: $1,469.95 March 2013 balance: $1,172.95 April 2013 balance: $963.54 May 2013 balance: $776.45 I'm slowing down a little bit, but am hoping to have a cheap(er) June and throw some more money at this one (as well as slowly building savings back up). Once I get under $500, it's in impulse payoff territory.

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 6:10 pm 0

On How Much Do You Spend on Transportation Each Month?

CAR EXPENSES Car payment: $177/month Insurance: $430 every 6 months or $72/month Misc. parking fees: ~$8/month (more if I get parking tickets, but I think that's stupidity that would pop out somewhere in my budget regardless) Gas: $40/month Total: ~$300/month NON-CAR EXPENSES Metro: $15-$20/month Cabs: $20/month GRAND TOTAL: $340/month. This isn't including car maintenance, but my car is in pretty good shape so that's not a significant expense, $120/year or $10/month at the most. I also lowballed gas a little, but I consider gas for road trips to be a travel expense, not a transportation one. My car is my biggest luxury. It's not something I need by any stretch of the imagination; I walk to work, walk to the grocery store, and live near the center of a city with pretty good public transportation (DC). I bought it in another life when I lived in a small town with no public transit whatsoever and had to have my car for my job. I now almost own it -- one more year, baby! -- and the insurance and gas is reasonable enough that once the payment is gone it will be an easily justifiable expense. But I like the freedom of being able to take a road trip whenever I want. I like being able to drive on weekends if DC public transit is a cluster (as it so often is). (On a practical note, I'm pretty sure every group of friends in most non-NYC cities needs That Person With A Car, and right now I am that person.) I like paying off a loan, and I like *owning* something -- I rent, my adult life so far has been fairly transient, and I like having a big solid thing that is mine, if that makes sense. So it's an emotional need almost even more than a practical one at this point, and, as I said, it's a luxury. eleven more monthhhhhssssss of payments to go.

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 9:40 am 1

On I Am Fastidiously Frugal And Exorbitantly Flagrant (Because: Balance) (And: Parents)

Ooh, this is a fun game. I'm frugal about: -Clothing/shoes/accessories. I buy less than one piece of clothing a month on average and can vividly the remember the two times in my life I bought something that wasn't on sale. (Sundress, Gap, 2007. Chambray shirt, J.Crew, 2012.) I've also never bought a purse that costs more than $50. -Entertainment. I spend about $100 a year on books and music combined. Some years I go to no movies at all, although that's ticked up lately. -Food (alone). I've gotten pretty good at taking my lunch to work and not going out to eat by myself. -Home decor. Maybe a stage in my life thing, but I don't ever really buy stuff for the home if I can avoid it. I'm frivolous about: -Travel. Mint says I've spent $5,200 on air travel in the past 2.5 years, which... wow. but still. -Drinking/eating out. I don't go crazy but I don't ever really say no if friends want to meet up at a restaurant. -Personal care. Most of my makeup is from Sephora, my haircuts are $75, I use shower gel instead of soap and the most expensive razor blades Venus makes (the last two are a real thing that my mother has criticized me for not being frugal enough on)

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 2:22 pm 1

On Friday Estimate

It's been an expensive couple of months and I have $70 in my checking account until I get paid next Friday (oh god, had totally not assimilated that I have to go another whole WEEK without a cash infusion) so I'm going to try mightily for a cheap weekend. Today: Out of lunch supplies so I'm buying lunch. $7. Grocery run on my way home for dinner supplies. $8? Total: $15. Tomorrow: Going for a run (free), eating BBQ with friends ($15), and either going to drinks and a movie ($15) or hanging out at home, depending on how the budget is doing. $15-$30. Sunday: $10 at the farmer's market! Probably another grocery run for $10 or so. Hanging out with a friend sometime that day, but we don't really have plans for what we're doing yet. $10. Monday: $25 for groceries for the first part of the week. Plus $20 for incidentals. Total: $85 if I don't go to the movie, $100+ if I do. Trying not to spend too much money that I don't have yet.

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 10:56 am 0