@Katni That is adorable. I was checking my bank balance on my phone the other day in front of my mom and she was like "Why do you have to do that? When's the last time you balanced your checkbook?" and this was clearly going to be a Big Discussion until I burst out laughing and was like "3rd grade, when you made me learn how, and the same goes for everyone under 30."
@Katni My emergency fund is currently at $8000 and that's only because I am in a bad job situation and had to use some of it. We're Jewish, he's definitely not a Ramseyite, but I think it's fairly sound advice.
@bgprincipessa Oh no definitely meaning credit card debt, unpaid bills, etc. A response to my first encounter with a credit card at age 18, when I kept letting a balance roll over month to month while still putting money away for savings.
I have no idea what parenting book my parents got this from, but when we started getting an allowance (1st grade, and we got a dollar amount that matched our age, so $6) we were given four piggy banks. We labeled them long-term savings, short-term savings, spending, and charity. And we sat down with our parents to decide how what percent of our allowance we wanted to go into each piggy bank. We had a long talk about what someone might buy over the long term, what you might need to save for in the short term, how if you spend all your money you won't be able to do any of those things, and how everyone has to give something to charity. We talked about how the amount we gave could shift as different things we wanted or needed came up, and we were given our allowance in singles so we could physically divide it for ourselves. It worked pretty effectively. The methods and products are a little more sophisticated now, but that's still basically how I organize my personal finances, making sure something is allotted for every category. I think the best habit it taught us was that saving was an expectation, not an optional thing; I sometimes get stressed as an adult when I feel like I'm not able to save enough, but I think that's better than the stress that would come with getting old and discovering I'd not saved at all. As for less formal lessons: -Cars are not an investment. -No matter what Vogue says, clothing is not an investment. At the very best, it is a worthwhile purchase. -Leftovers are good and will be eaten. If you think you can't eat it again, put it in a sandwich. -If you have debt, you don't have savings. Pay your bills first.
The London Review of Books started coming to my apartment for no reason and for no money, so I shall continue to read it, but I will say that having started reading it recently with no particular sense of what it was like, it is the WHITEST, MALEST thing ever. Like, it is really striking. I would feel obligated to boycott except that I don't pay for it.
Did someone forget to mark this "sponsored"? What is this shit?
@Adam Speaking as someone who lives in New York City (where the author lives) our options are quite a bit different. Even if you chose to own a car here (which, with a parking garage around $300 a month is an extremely expensive proposition) you wouldn't use it to commute, except in a few cases of reverse commuting to NJ or Long Island. An unlimited monthly Metrocard costs $120 and that is the longest-term option; there is no annual. The cost is justified if you use it twice per day. An annual Citibike membership is $100, assuming you both live and work near a Citibike station. There is a huge aftermarket in bikes here, but I am with Mr. Benson on this one: biking in the greatest city in the world is not for everyone. I found that the health and cost benefits were deeply impacted by a) confronting death every morning before work riding up 6th Avenue (and that was IN A BIKE LANE) and b) having my bike stolen once, backed over by a truck once (bending the front wheel and requiring an expensive cab ride home plus the cost of replacement) and scraping my leg until it bled every day after I started carrying it into my apartment so it wouldn't get stolen again. Some buildings here have bike storage; that is usually also not free. Or, you can run/walk. Which I did for years when my commute was a 30 minute walk; it's now about an hour-long walk. I might try again, but how the hell do you make the logistics of getting dressed for work make sense? I am a woman; I need to pack heels and delicate fabrics and if my hair gets sweaty, it will not just dry right away. Do you run with a backpack? Where do you shower? For now, I'm sticking with the gym membership and the monthly Metrocard but it is killing me after years of not paying for one.
I will say, I do not understand people who do not answer blocked or unfamiliar numbers out of some sense of principle. The annoyance I feel at encountering a robocaller telling me I've won a cruise (and that happens a lot) is so FAR, FAR outweighed by the times I have a) found out that there were unauthorized charges on my card b) found out that my roommate was mugged while out (this was before she got home; I was the last number she'd called and the police had arrested the people who attacked her and found her phone) c) found out that my brother was in the hospital (I was his emergency contact) that I will never not pick up. Your friends and family are NOT the people you need to worry about. If they need to reach you, they probably have multiple ways to do it. The really important calls will come from a number you don't know, and they will not send you a text afterwards to tell you "this is important, please pick up."
@stuffisthings Main difference/key irony being that rich, famous celebrities mostly don't pay for those bags, because they're sent them for free due to their status.
Honestly, I can understand taking a tax refund to buy a $2,500 bag a lot more than I can understand taking a monthly welfare check and blowing it at Foot Locker, since I can't imagine a welfare check finances a shopping spree at Barneys. Using a tax windfall to make a one-time purchase is totally justifiable--you didn't need that money to live, it was yours all along (in the form of withheld dollars from your paycheck), so who cares how you spend it? Whereas taking government assistance to get your nails done just rankles. And frankly, I don't think they're subject to the same logic. There's nothing about a pair of expensive sneakers or a fancy manicure that provide the kind of signaling to people in power that Tressie McMillan Cottom is talking about--quite the opposite, in fact. If anything, it's the kind of logic you apply to a homeless person buying beer when they should probably be buying food: if they're miserable and it's too little money to change their circumstances, they might as well experience some short-term happiness. While that stupid thing may not be simple, that doesn't mean it isn't stupid.