"FT work can be exhausting. FT work and raising kids is like being outside in a hurricane." Yeah. Just ask any single parent whose ex-partner isn't providing any support (financially or otherwise).
There's a great retort to the "Hey lighten up, this is friendly" response. See "Relax, it's a compliment" here: http://alex-alvarez.tumblr.com/post/101234300328/relax-its-a-compliment
Given that North Dakota's unemployment rate is a rather astounding 2.8% due to the oil and gas boom there, Fargo houses may just be catching up in price to that house in Connecticut. See Bloomberg article on the impact of the oil and gas boom on ND: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-25/north-dakota-oil-boom-brings-blight-with-growth-as-costs-soar.html "The move put pressure on an already tight housing market, where rents for a two-bedroom without utilities skyrocketed from $350 a month to $2,000. Some workers report paying $4,000 a month for a three-bedroom apartment in Williston, about 60 miles (97 kilometers) south of the Canadian border."
On Change Bowl
We used to have a coin jar but now use our debit cards for nearly every purchase so there's no change around the house. We aren't charged a transaction fee for using our debit cards -- but our bank (TD in Canada) has a savings plan where you can essentially charge yourself a fee for each transaction (up to $5.00 per transaction) which is automatically transferred to a savings account. It's surprising how quickly our $0.50 per debit transaction adds up.
@Mike Dang Thanks Mike. That's a great short.
Forgot to ask -- who did the painting at the top of the article?
I second what kellyography said. Fabulous writing.
Not sure how it is in the States (Canadian here) but if you buy something from a large store using your debit card you can get cash out at the same time for no fee. I do this all the time as my bank is about 20kms away but my grocery store is just down the street. If I need cash, I tag on the extra amount to my payment and receive it from the cashier.