On City vs. Suburb

@ATF YES like, I don't want to have to drive 20 minutes if I want ice cream on a whim! I want to be able to go downstairs to my bodega and be back within five minutes! I did get to roam pretty freely as a kid. It was a pretty safe small town with nowhere to get lost (there were woods and whatnot, but I wasn't THAT adventurous or injury prone).

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 5:46 pm 0

On City vs. Suburb

@JNC Musings Factory That's what seems like it would be hardest to me (aside from the money, dear god, I can't even imagine) - babies need a lot of *stuff* when they go out, how do you carry them plus all of that, plus, like, your groceries on the way home? (But again, this is just observation, not first-hand experience, so maybe it's not so bad.)

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 5:45 pm 0

On City vs. Suburb

I grew up in a super rural area, and, well...there was a reason I moved to the most populous city I could. I did not like it. I also do not like driving, shoveling snow, mowing lawns, quiet, or isolation. I am totally urban-for-life - I really hope to someday be the old lady who's a neighborhood fixture after living in the same apartment for 45 years. The idea of a suburb holds no appeal for me at all. I think it would be a bit different if I wanted kids (it seems like city living + small children would be a huge hassle, at least based on the expression of every parent I've ever seen with a stroller on the subway) , but hey, I don't. I'm also pretty "meh" on marriage and dating, so pretty much, give me a small apartment, a cat, and easy subway access, and I'm a happy camper. (Well, happy non-camper. I camped when I was a kid living in the wilderness. Did not enjoy.)

Posted on January 28, 2015 at 12:31 pm 0

On The Playing Field Isn't Level But That Doesn't Mean Don't Play

I'm glad you shared both of those links to balance each other - because it looks like the wider story is that yep, as always, outliers and some marginalized folks are indeed able to break into XYZ field, but it's always, always, always easier to do if you've got money and/or connections. (And not just for the writing aspect, but for working in publishing as well. I saw the first link shared initially by my literary agent, who tweeted candidly, "I was able to start as an agent largely because of a husband with a day job.") In my case, I actually just sold my first novel - !!! - but am supporting myself and definitely will not be quitting my day job. Even without a "sponsor" I'm still lucky as heck that I have a steady job that pays me a living wage (plus benefits, etc) and doesn't leave me too drained to then go home and write in the evenings. It would be much, much harder to do if I were scrambling for rent or had a lot of other demands on my time.

Posted on January 26, 2015 at 1:59 pm 3

On Open Thread: Parental Assistance

@highjump Yeah, after I moved to the city my parents told me I'd be welcome to move back if I ever had to, but we all knew that would be a really desperate move - there's just nothing *there*.

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 12:41 pm 0

On Open Thread: Parental Assistance

@E$ I am so grateful that she was willing to make that offer - I honestly would not have been able to move on my own. Basically what she told me was that she was paying for the apartment anyway, so it wasn't a lot of added costs, and we've always gotten along well so it wasn't added stress, either.

Posted on January 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm 0

On Open Thread: Parental Assistance

This is all fascinating! I went to a stupidly expensive college and was accepted off the wait list, so the financial aid I was able to wrangle was mediocre. My parents paid a chunk of my tuition each year (they'd been saving since I was born, but not too extensively), and a larger chunk was paid by my much-better-off great-aunt and -uncle (they were basically my grandparents, to be honest - they didn't have grandkids of their own, so they "adopted" me and my sister). I did have some grants and scholarships, but the remaining $30k was all loans (which I now have under $6k, woohoo!). I was also in the rare position of having my father turn 65 before I turned 18, which meant that when he started getting social security money, so did I - it was a monthly sum to be used "for my benefit" but that was loosely defined. So it all went towards beginning of college costs (computer, books, clothes, etc). That was a HUGE help, since my parents weren't able to chip in much to my living expenses (and I worked through college, too). Post-college, I moved home for about 10 months. It was miserable (super rural and isolated, none of my friends were still in town, there was no industry I wanted to work in there, I was working two retail jobs at the nearest mall - 40 minutes away), but my parents were really awesome. They didn't charge me rent (though they would have if I'd gotten up to a year living there - they were clear on that) and because their jobs were located only a few blocks apart, they carpooled with my dad's car and let me use my mother's so I wouldn't have to buy one (though I did cover all of my own gas). (They were also very clear about treating me like an adult: they asked me to call if I'd be out late, etc, but that's what they did for each other; but they didn't fall back into any of the patterns we'd had when I was a teen. They figured I was old enough to decide for myself I was going to clean my room/party/whatever and it wasn't their business anymore.) My biggest expense they helped me out with at that point was a root canal while I was uninsured. The dentist actually kindly cut his fee down to about $800 and my mom paid for it. Anyhoo - eventually I realized I was never going to save up as much as I wanted working those crappy mall jobs, and my older sister who lived in Manhattan offered to let me come stay with her rent-free for awhile so I could find a job/internship/whatever in the city. THANK GOODNESS. My parents couldn't help out with more than a phone plan. I worked at Borders for a few months and slowly began to chip in for my sister's utilities, cable, and eventually a few hundred a month in rent; later, I did get an internship which led to a full time job. (As soon as I got that, my parents asked me to take over my own phone bill.) That job went under, and after a couple months of scrambling I found another job that a) paid better and b) was way more stable - I'm still there seven years (and a few promotions) later. My sister and I actually still live together (at a much nicer apartment) and obviously now I pay full rent. My dad has since retired and my mom passed away; her life insurance turned out to be quite a bit larger than expected, and has helped my dad live more comfortably than he'd be able to otherwise (not to mention it paid off their mortgage). If it weren't for that, I'd have offered to send him money to supplement his social security (he had nearly no savings at retirement and mom had very little in the bank - she was also much younger than he was, and had been paying the bulk of their bills since he'd retired. That was his retirement plan - hers was to lean on me and my sister if needed - but hey, fuck cancer, plans go awry). So Dad hasn't needed it, but I'm certainly here, ready and willing (and lucky enough that I *can* help) if for some reason that changes.

Posted on January 21, 2015 at 11:08 am 0

On Deciding to Buy Renters Insurance

I think my renter's insurance is $18/month through Progessive. (I went to them because, yep, I like their commercials. Flo just seems so friendly!) I got it after an attempted robbery on my apartment - I was home and heard someone open the door and come in, yelled thinking it was probably my super, and then the door slammed shut. Hallway security cameras caught someone with a copy of the key coming in and then fleeing. Yikes. I don't think I shopped around, but it does give me piece of mind - I can get stuff replaced if it's stolen; I have a safety net if my apartment is damaged and I have to stay in a hotel or whatever until it's repaired/I can move. I also didn't estimate having a high value of "stuff" - but between my laptop and my sister's, our (old and mediocre) TV and DVD collection, and our clothes and furniture and whatnot, we wanted a bit of a cushion. I think we selected $20-30k all told (probably a bit high but not unreasonably so). I set up autopay and have never had to think about it since, except when we moved. Our new building actually requires it. All I had to do was call, though, and in a five-minute conversation they updated our residence that was covered. The only question I remember them asking (other than new address info) is for an estimate of how many apartments are in the building.

Posted on January 15, 2015 at 12:27 pm 0

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

I'm paying back my student loan. As of the end of November, it was at $5,807.53; it's now sitting at $5,517.45. It's got, I think, a 2.1% interest rate (I didn't look it up but I think that's what I remember), and my handy dandy summary email tells me my $300 payment broke down to $290.08 to the principal, $9.92 to interest. Question for the group: I have more than this sitting in my saving account at the moment, but a serious fear of pulling major amounts out of said savings. At what point would you give in and pay off the whole thing on one chunk?

Posted on January 5, 2015 at 5:31 pm 1

On The Cost of Long-distance Friendships

I definitely have a few far-flung friends - most of us lived near-ish to each other post-college but then folks moved away, sigh. Every couple of years I spring for plane tickets to visit my friend in California or Atlanta, and I end up at a Con in Madison every year anyway. Those are the biggest expenses. In free things news, we did recently all do a synched up movie watching at home. It was a bit of a technical challenge but eventually we got Google hangouts to stop randomly blocking people and work. But that obviously required coordinating ahead of time --but I don't think that's too different from most of my nearby friends, tbh. I am not big on doing anything spontaneously. So while it's way easier to make plans with my BFF the next block over, it's still very rarely a case of running into each other randomly or just dropping by.

Posted on December 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm 0