@saretonin I agree--- don't go to the genius bar! If you have nimble fingers and confidence, you can replace the glass yourself for a fraction of the cost (buy the replacement kit via Amazon). The cheapest option is probably trying to find a groupon or living social deal for a store that does screen replacements.
I enjoyed this piece and especially liked this line: "There’s a delicate line to walk, when you have a lot of privilege, between using what you’ve got, and being grateful for it, and figuring out what you have to do for yourself."
I think about "safety nets vs. spending now" a lot as well, especially because some pals have been making fun (well not really but kinda) of my current frugal challenges. However, frugality and saving nets make me happy and don't impede my social life too much, so I'm sticking with it.
@moreadventurous Are you me? My one extreme frugal rule is that I never use an ATM that's not my bank (not hard to do, since there are tons of Citibanks in NYC). If a place is cash only, I'd walk a few blocks to a Citibank or I just don't buy anything. I've only used one non-bank ATM in my life. I also love cooking so I don't eat out that much and I bring lunch 99% of the time. Yesterday was the first time I ate out during lunch in maybe one or two months? I maybe eat out for dinner once every one or two weeks. I don't have a pricey beverage thing going on though... Pricey latte maybe.
@TheQuirkyDiva Yah, this is true. I'm mostly vegan and I live in NYC, and I've been able to stick to like $150/month for food for one person. However, this budget is only possible if I cook at home, plan my menu well, and not eat yummy vegan junk foods (which are sooo yummy but sometimes I go through phases of not eating any processed foods).
I went to Kiehl's because my lips were super chapped and I wanted to treat myself to nice lip balm. I walked out buying $100 of gifts because the sales person convinced me to start Xmas shopping early :| I was productive in buying some groceries, including a 10lb bag of rice (-$35.54), doing laundry (-$4.75), buying cat food (-$25.83). I tried Village Voice's 2014 Best Indian Restaurant on the UWS; it was great, but there are other restaurants I favor (-$21.00, lunch special) and bought discount Hiptix tickets for Cabaret ($-50.00 for two). I did work two shifts this weekend (+$130). Total: $237.12 spent, but made $130ish via side hustle. I didn't do an estimate.
@BreakTheTerror Good job! Re: non profit credit counselors, I believe local credit unions have financial counselors often free for those in the neighborhood. Otherwise, some legal services may have monthly consumer debt clinics. (These are available in NYC.)
I don't think I've ever done a check-in. I have no debts but I've been feeling like I haven't been saving. So this October, I had a goal to save 500 bucks on top of 403b contributions (which really shrinks my take home and makes me spend nearly all my income every month). I managed to exceed that goal and save $788! I basically brown bagged every lunch and only ate out 2x this month for dinner. Thankfully I find creative and healthful menu planning really rewarding, so it felt pretty natural to cook all the time.
@samburger I am wary of using cash because my Mint app just shows an un-categorized amount of cash withdrawals (unless I diligently log my cash purchases). That chunk of un-categorized $$ is worse, in my mind, than having an itemized credit card statement.
This month I've been trying to stick to a strict grocery budget and meal planning and I found that keeping a daily journal to write down expenditures and roll-over amounts to next week helps. Then again, I've always been mindful of spending due to a frugal upbringing so I've had that advantage from the start.