On Talking to Millennial Homeowners Who Just Bought Their First Home

@Renleigh I found my realtor by going to open houses at the very start of my homebuying process. Every agent will ask you if you already have an agent, and once you say no, be prepared to be bombarded. Most agents put me off by being too pushy or desperate, but I just clicked with one who seemed very smart and personable. I took her card and continued going on open houses, and the more agents I met the more it felt like she was the one whose style suited me, so I contacted her. @garli is right, it's mostly about finding one you can work with. Most realtors can do the nuts and bolts of the job (especially if you're buying -- selling is trickier, I find) so I'm most interested in finding one who can make the process pleasant.

Posted on February 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm 0

On New York on $70 a Week

@TheLifestyleCreep Yes absolutely. I'm pretty sure I could live on $70 a week... if you discounted my mortgage, utilities, and food from the total.

Posted on February 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm 1

On 'People Call, We Fix Their Instruments': An Interview With a Luthier

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 7:18 pm 0

On 'People Call, We Fix Their Instruments': An Interview With a Luthier

I love this post! I just happen to be in the market for a fine violin and I have been obsessively reading up on violins for months, and my worlds just collided with this Billfold piece. I’ve wondered about the luthiers I’ve been to and it’s weirdly true about it being such a word-of-mouth industry. Violin-making and -repairing is such a specialized but highly skilled craft that I’d wondered how luthiers stay in business — one fine violin could sell for so, so much money but also, you’re not selling fine violins every day, or even month.

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 7:18 pm 0

On Keeping the Junk

@yellowshoes Yes, this totally resonated with me and helped me cull my collection! There are things about the KonMari "method" that I won't do, but there's so much helpful commonsense stuff in there. Mostly I like that she's advocating for everyone to develop an intuitive approach to cleaning, rather than reading lots of articles and adopting "rules" to follow that we'll eventually break. If having books makes you happy, her method is perfectly fine with you keeping those books!

Posted on February 24, 2015 at 2:27 pm 2

On Lessons Learned From Condo Life

@sally885 That sounds terrible! On the other hand, my HOA is the total opposite -- it's very small and everybody always wants to do everything cheap and never hire a professional when you can "just do it yourself" (but nobody wants to do the work themselves) and then we hire some stoner "handyman" who takes forever to do anything. God I wish we could just hire a pro sometimes. All the times.

Posted on February 17, 2015 at 7:35 pm 0

On Talking to a Millennial Homeowner Who Wants to Sell Her Home

Can you pleeeeeease do an article about what you should do with your money when you sell your home? I'm a millenial-ish age person about to sell my first home and don't plan to buy again anytime soon and the thought of having (and frittering away frivolously) all that cash at the end of the transaction puts me in nervous fits. Tell me what to do with my money!

Posted on February 13, 2015 at 7:31 pm 1

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

I chafe at this article too, but not because there's anything wrong with living with your parents as an adult, or that it's wrong for parents to help out struggling children. It seems problematic, however, that rather than treat the parental help as a privilege and safety net to be grateful for, it sounds like the author is accepting it as a given and not adjusting her spending to account for the possibility that this privilege may not always exist. It's fine to spend money on yourself, I don't think we should all be miserable if we're not where we want to be financially. But let's not kid ourselves - these expenses are unnecessary luxuries, and the author has put herself in a position where she can't afford to spend her money on luxuries before basic necessities like housing.

Posted on January 20, 2015 at 4:37 pm 6

On Planning a 2015 Budget: Revised and Updated

@guessed Yes, freelancers have to pay self-employment tax, unless you do something like set up an LLC to act as a pass-through entity. I ended up doing that (I hesitated to do that for a few years because it seemed like such a headache) and managed to save some money that would have otherwise gone to the IRS. But I'm just putting my numbers out there because I'm afraid Nicole may be in for sticker shock if she plans too low! I did that, and it was SO painful to have to pay a huge amount in taxes in one lump sum (five figures!) because I hadn't fully understood what my liability was.

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 7:27 pm 0

On Planning a 2015 Budget: Revised and Updated

@HelloTheFuture That could be because the estimated number is based on your previous year's earnings. So if you made less the year before, your estimated tax amount will be less -- but you'll have to make up the difference later when you file. My estimated numbers are different every year because of this. The only time it really sucks is when one year I make less, but my estimated payments are super high because they're based on last year... although I'll be getting a nice refund this year because of it.

Posted on January 13, 2015 at 1:34 pm 0