On Paying Me To Go Away: Crowdfunding A Writer's Residency

Good for you! This is how personal fundraising should work--a reasonable, specific ask. I've been noticing lately how out of hand fundraising has become. I read a story about a family that tragically lost two children in a freak accident. There was a link to a fundraising page set up by a friend, to pay for funeral costs and "help" the family. Because the story was widely reported, there were tens of thousands of dollars donated! For no specific purpose! To one family! I'm sure the family is hurting, but all that money won't fix that. What about all the everyday tragedies? Anyway, good luck with your book! Your friends and family believe in you because you give them a reason to.

Posted on April 15, 2015 at 3:10 pm 0

On Budget Travel: When Anxiety Clashes With Frugality

THIS. So much. I also have air travel anxiety and worry about taking budget carriers. I haven't had to make hard decisions yet because I've mostly travelled to places where airlines I trust (as much as is possible for me) go. But I know I'll have to face this soon. Knowing myself, I think I will probably shell out for a more expensive airline when the time comes. I know it's not fully rational, but peace of mind, etc. I think what you're saying here about not being able to control all the random tragedies of the world is so true, but I'm not sure how to let that go. Thanks for this!

Posted on April 7, 2015 at 1:21 pm 0

On Tallying Up The Cost of an All-Expenses Paid Trip

Now I need to google you to see which celebrities you've written about recently! Sounds amazing :)

Posted on February 20, 2015 at 6:47 pm 0

On Marriage As A Strategic Life-Planning Decision

Does a satanic church count as a "similar social organization?"

Posted on February 12, 2015 at 8:14 pm 2

On Your Friendship Is Above My Pay Grade

@eatmoredumplings I think there are tradeoffs here. If it's close to the wedding, friends may have to take more days off work. Weddings are usually weekend affairs, so to have to arrive in town for an event on, say, Thursday would involve more time off than doing a weekend jaunt at some point. Also depends what kind of bachelorette party your friends want to throw you. If it's something rowdier than dinner and dessert, you probably don't want to do it so close to the wedding.

Posted on February 4, 2015 at 1:26 pm 0

On Your Friendship Is Above My Pay Grade

There is no rule of etiquette that says you must buy a gift equivalent to the cost of your meal. How would you even know that amount? I can't imagine any couple being rude enough to hint at that expectation, and if they do, they're not good friends. A gift is a gift. I know plenty of people who make their own gifts (pottery, for example). A good registry also has a wide range of price points. If you can't afford or make a gift, it's perfectly acceptable to decline an invitation. Unless it's your BFF, the couple probably won't be devastated by your absence. Buy them a drink the next time you hang out. In terms of low-key hangouts in general, why wait around for others to ask? People are wrapped up in their own lives, and dinner at a restaurant just seems like an easy thing to propose. If you want to save money and see your friends, take it upon yourself to invite them over, or ask them to meet you for something free or cheap. You'll only be disappointed if you expect people to read your mind.

Posted on February 4, 2015 at 11:20 am 0

On Open Thread: Parental Assistance

@andnowlights law degree, plus a master's. At a fancy university in an expensive city. Yea, it's a lot. Wouldn't do anything differently, though. It was the only path to the career I want, and with the legal job market I wanted the best school I could get. Mine is pretty damn good.

Posted on January 21, 2015 at 1:59 pm 0

On Open Thread: Parental Assistance

It's impossible to tally up all the money my parents have spent on me since I turned 18, but here are the big things. It helps ALOT that I am an only child. I went to a 4-year private college with on-campus housing and meal plan every year. I got generous financial aid, so our contribution was about 20K/year. My parents are divorced--my dad paid for the first two years (so, about 40K), then my mom took out a 20K loan for my junior year. Senior year they basically told me that they'd run out of money and I needed to figure something out. I groveled at financial aid and got about 7K more out of them, then took out a 13K loan myself. I worked for a couple of years in college, but that was mostly fun/books money. Summers I got jobs/research grants. I did AmeriCorps for a year after college, but it never felt like a financial strain because my parents would regularly float me money. Things changed in a big way around this time because my mom married a very generous and pretty well-off man. My stepdad has given me $40K/year for 4 years of grad school, which I'm finishing this year. I've taken out loans for the rest, so I'm leaving with about 145K in debt, plus the 13K from undergrad. This could have been much worse. Throughout grad school, my dad has direct deposited $125/month into my savings account, plus cash gifts here and there. My mom sends me $200/month, even though I've repeatedly told her not to. She says it makes her feel good. I buy my own tickets to visit her, but she and my stepdad always buy me things I need. In the past couple of years, they've bought me a laptop and a lot of clothes (like, designer suits for job interviews that will last me a very long time). This is in addition to Christmas and birthday presents--usually around $500 each. As if that wasn't enough, my mom and stepdad have taken me and my fiance on two international trips in the last couple years, all expenses paid. Oh, and my mom pays my phone bill. I didn't need to type this out to recognize that I am incredibly privileged. It's interesting to reflect on just how much my mom's remarriage has affected me, even though I didn't grow up with my stepdad. My parents are professionals, but we were never rich when I was a child. There were some hard times, especially around the divorce when they fought bitterly about money. I'm glad I grew up with money awareness because it gave me good financial habits, but I'm also incredibly grateful for my stepdad (and his money). Mostly, it unburdens me from worrying too much about my mom, who doesn't have the best money management skills.

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 10:23 pm 1

On How Living at Home at 31 Taught Me Nothing and Everything About Saving

@Aequorea Victoria My issue is not with her living with her parents in order to save. What bothered me was her defining success as being able to quit her job to work on her screenplay and take vacations. How nice for her! Not sure how anyone could call that success, though.

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 2:09 pm 4

On How Living at Home at 31 Taught Me Nothing and Everything About Saving

Yea....I don't know about this. You absolutely don't need to define success in traditional terms like marriage or homeownership, but this is a pretty low bar you've set for yourself. The only reason you're able to enjoy the "success" of being able to do what you want, when you want is because someone else is footing most of your bills. I'm not saying you need to feel bad about where you are right now, but I don't think you're doing yourself any favors by pretending it's A-OK.

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 1:44 pm 4