On Point/Counterpoint: Does Empowerment Sell?

I very much agree with the counterpoint, with the caveat that yep, advertisers aren't looking out for me or my best interest, they're just looking to sell things -- but that I'd way rather be sold to with a message of "you don't need to be sorry for existing" and "forget the haters, do what you want" than a message of, say, "your skin looks old!!! better fix it!!"

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 5:00 pm 4

On Who Benefits When Mike Dang Dies? Chatting About Life Insurance

@Katni My employer offers a small policy for free (so obviously I take part in it). I live with my sister and figure that if anything happens to me, she'll need a few months' cushion (at least) to handle rent and whatnot.

Posted on August 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm 0

On Who Benefits When Mike Dang Dies? Chatting About Life Insurance

Life insurance: super duper extremely important, even if it is hella depressing. My mom died last year - she was 58, and my dad was 78 at the time. He'd retired a few years before that, and they were living primarily on Mom's salary with his social security going to fun things like trips, etc. When she was sick, they were getting by on his social security plus her long-term disability pay (plus savings, with me and my sister offering to help but never being taken up on it). Needless to say, Sister and I were really, really stressed out over money stuff when she died (not to mention literally everything else, obviously). We only knew about the life insurance through her job - $20k - which would have just about covered the funeral plus her hospice service costs. Which would have left us scrambling to help Dad with the mortgage, car loans, and everything else that could have come up. Turned out, Mom had also gotten a private policy for herself. Worth $200k. Dad's mortgage is paid off now. He sat down with a financial planner (for the first time ever) and ended up investing it, with the financial folks providing a fixed amount for him every month (for the rest of his life, evidently, according to the their terms), which combined with his social security is enough for him to live on comfortably. And of course my sister and I are still here to help if needed, but it is a huge relief to know that the chances of *being* needed have gone down a bit in the mean time. I can not say it enough: I am SO grateful that Mom bought that policy years ago. We didn't even know it was there, it was apparently $35/month, and it made a ton of difference for us.

Posted on August 8, 2014 at 3:52 pm 2

On Link Round-up! Cheap Hotel Rooms, Egg Sandwiches, Commutes

@Allison My commute used to be 25 minutes door to door, one subway (no transfers). It was GLORIOUS.

Posted on August 8, 2014 at 2:44 pm 0

On Vision Benefits

@Allison Yep, that's my plan for my next pair. I actually used the prescription from the exam to buy sunglasses online. It worked perfectly well and was $40 instead of $150 (the "bargain" I had been offered at the shop), and what I will probably do in the future for regular glasses as well.

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 2:42 pm 0

On Vision Benefits

I have vision benefits, but they're terrible. They cover part of an exam (but not the more expensive tests) and part of new frames (but not all) and part of new lenses (but not all), and only at a few shops. Honestly, I don't need new glasses all that often - I may drop the vision benefits. The whole shebang cost me upwards of $200 this summer (and the glasses shop had terrible, terrible service, but that wasn't technically the insurance's fault) even with the benefits. I think I may drop paying for vision benefits -- some of the tests/exam stuff is covered by my regular insurance, and I can get an exam anywhere with that, and then just buy the glasses for way cheaper online.

Posted on August 6, 2014 at 9:40 am 0

On Choosing the Next Billfold Book Club Book

I am, by coincidence, in the midst of reading Getting Things Done, so I vote for that.

Posted on July 31, 2014 at 1:20 pm 1

On Let’s Throw Some Money at Our Problems: July 2014 Check-in

I missed last month (was off camping), so I'm looking back since May. I'm paying down my student loads (2.1% interest rate). My minimum payment is $120/month, and I pay $300/month. Balance at the end of May: $7,545.85 Current balance: $6,961.80

Posted on July 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm 0

On Family Plan Shame

Basically as soon as I moved out of my parents' house (about 9 months after college), my dad was like, "Yeah, you need your own phone plan now." So I went out and got one that weekend, told my dad to cancel my line on his plan (I had a shiny new New York number!), and moved on with my life. I got a grumpy email from him a week later that I should have waited six more months before switching because he had to pay for early cancellation of my line. Sorry-not-sorry, Dad.

Posted on July 21, 2014 at 3:37 pm 0

On How Muppets Do Money: Prairie Dawn

I am Prairie Dawn and Prairie Dawn is me. (It was a magazine internship rather than theater; the magazine tanked, and here I am, at a website for going on eight years. I love my job, but also ... why not me?) Also I didn't realize how many vowels are actually in the word "prairie" until just now, and it no longer seems like a word at all.

Posted on June 20, 2014 at 12:47 pm 0