Friday Estimate

Since Mike’s away, I’ve got the Friday estimate this week.

The biggest thing I want to do this weekend is absolutely free: I want to finish my library copy of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods (the 10th Anniversary ebook edition that contains 12,000 more words). I think the book is magic because when I opened it on my Kindle, it said it would take me 3 hours and 50 minutes to read. I’m two hours into it—just at the part with the House on the Rock—and my Kindle is still telling me there are 3 hours and 50 minutes to go. Maybe the book is never-ending. With Neil Gaiman, I wouldn’t be surprised.

Tonight, I’m going to a Lit Series event at Seattle’s Hugo House, to hear Mona Simpson, Matthew Dickman, and Carter Sickels. I paid for my $27.40 ticket earlier this week (not $900!), so that doesn’t count for this weekend, but there will be a cash bar, so I had better estimate $10 for a drink plus tip. 

Tomorrow, I’m going to a Sereniversary party at Wayward Coffeehouse, which probably means another $10 for drinks/tip and $10 to tip the musicians.

I’d like to go rock climbing, which will cost about $15 if I can drag myself away from American Gods long enough to haul out to Ballard. Other than that, I’m pretty much stocked for food and other weekend essentials.

So… I estimate $45. I’ll round up to $50 because I can probably find something else to spend $5 on.

How about you?


How Wizards Do Money: Parvati Patil

The best thing about going to Hogwarts was that her mother could no longer worry at her to stop slouching.

“You are so beautiful,” Parvati could hear, the over-emphasis disproving its own words. “Why are you hiding your own beauty?”

The truth was Parvati didn’t care. She was never into shoes, or dresses, or cosmetics. She loved the Gryffindor uniform because she didn’t have to make choices about all of that anymore. She could get up, plait her hair, and be ready to go.

When Dean Thomas whispered that Parvati was one of the best-looking girls in her year, Parvati glared at him and slouched harder. She went off to Hogsmeade with the Beauxbatons student later that night because he hadn’t said that to her; he’d actually said something that was interesting. Parvati found him to be less interesting as the night went on, so she checked off “dating” from her list of curiosities and stopped worrying about brushing her hair.

Later her mother would ask “but aren’t you meeting any nice boys?” and Parvati would reply “I’m learning advanced defensive fighting skills so I can be in a wizard army, I don’t have time to meet boys.”

Because of this, Parvati was spared the crush of weddings that all seemed to take place immediately after the Second Wizarding War. Hermione and Ron, Neville and Hannah, Harry and Ginny—that boy could lead an army, maybe, but he was a right git—her classmates paired off and she and Padma were left standing alone.

Then Padma immediately got hired by the Ministry, and Parvati was left alone. Her mother and father both began asking “don’t you want to get a job?”

The answer was no, but Parvati knew that wasn’t a good answer.

FinCon Starts Today

I had never heard of FinCon until this Twitter exchange:

@eadiest @TheBillfold THERE'S A FIN CON why did nobody tell me about the fin con

— Nicole (@HelloTheFuture) September 17, 2014

FinCon is a convention for and about finance media writing. To quote FinCon directly: “Attendees connect, learn to create compelling online content, and discover new trends in money and personal finance.”

Current speakers include both Mr. and Mrs. Money Mustache, J.D. Roth from Get Rich Slowly and More Than Money, as well as people from NerdWallet, IncBlot, and plenty of other financial sites.

I love conventions, and a convention specifically about finance writing sounds like a lot of fun. So I’ll keep my eye on FinCon for next year.

In the meanwhile, enjoy the FinCon lipdub promotional video:

$900 Craigslist Ticket to Lena Dunham’s NYC Book Reading Still Available

Now that Ask Polly has moved from The Awl to The Cut, I guess I’ve started reading The Cut.

Which is how I found out that there’s a man on Craigslist selling one ticket to Lena Dunham’s October 21 book reading at the Brooklyn Academy of Music… for $900.

Let’s back that up. Lena Dunham’s book Not That Kind of A Girl: A Young Woman Tells You What She’s “Learned” releases on September 30. The book tour—which The Cut described as “sort of a combination Q&A, concert, and episode of Girls“—is essentially sold out. As Gawker notes, there is “a thriving market for Dunham tickets across the country,” including this gentleman who is selling his $38 ticket to Dunham’s NYC performance for the hoped-for price of $900.

It gets better.

More Thoughts on Shoes

So the other day I put on a pair of heels, and I looked down at them and thought “okay, if I were Sherlock Holmes, what would I be able to discover about me by looking at these shoes?”

(This is a true story. I literally stared at my feet and pretended to be Sherlock Holmes.)

So I thought “well, they’re pretty functional, they have no embellishments, the heel is short and balanced for ease of walking, and there’s that seam that’s partially ripped on the inner side of the left shoe.”

The seam is the most telling part, the Sherlock Holmes half of me told the Nicole half. “A ripped seam might say you can’t afford a new pair of shoes, but the rest of your outfit disproves that. No, this ripped seam clearly tells me that you had the opportunity to buy a new pair of basic black heels but you did not because you do not care about these shoes. You wear them once every six months and then line them back up in the corner of the closet.”

And then I wished I could just wear my everyday ballet flats to the restaurant instead.

Talking to Chris Guillebeau About His New Book, ‘The Happiness of Pursuit’

I have been a fan of Chris Guillebeau’s work for years. I took his Empire Building Kit course when I was starting my first ventures into entrepreneurship, and continued my education with his book The $100 Startup.

Chris’s newest book, The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose To Your Life, released last week. I was lucky enough to receive an advance copy, and as soon as I finished reading the book I asked Chris if he’d be willing to answer two questions about his book for Billfold readers.

Nicole: I really liked that you were realistic about how much the various quests you profiled cost to complete, and that you offered low-cost or free alternative suggestions to readers who might want to do something like “walk across the United States” but not want to quit their jobs or not have the available funds. If people are worried about the monetary cost—or opportunity cost—of going on a quest, what advice do you have to help them in their decision-making?

Chris: Make no mistake: a quest should involve some kind of cost. If you believe in something and want to pursue it, it will inevitably involve some degree of tradeoff with something else. And that’s okay! It’s not a quest without cost, and it shouldn’t necessarily be easy.

I Got a Great Clip at Great Clips

Getting haircuts is kind of like flying on airplanes: you know the person doing the job is much better at it than you’ll ever be, but what if they make a mistake?

So I tend to put off getting haircuts for as long as possible. (There’s also a frugal argument in there: the longer I wait between cuts, the fewer cuts I need in a year, the more money I save. Something like that.)

I also have a $10 pair of hair scissors that I bought at CVS, and I use them to relentlessly trim the Florence Henderson-esque growth off the bottom of my hair. But eventually it’s no longer enough just to hack at the mini-mullet growing at the back of my head, and I have to pay someone to take care of it.

My last haircut was on April 5, 2014. I hated it. I wanted my usual longish, soft pixie cut, but I got… well, I think I shouldn’t have used the word “fluffy” to describe what I was looking for, because I came out looking like an un-evolved Pokemon.

Monday Check-in

Good morning! Since Mike is on a work trip this week, I’m doing the Monday check-in.

So let’s chat about what we spent!

On Friday night, I spent $53.35 splitting the check on a Tinder date. (You shouldn’t read anything into the quality of the date by the fact that we split the check; I like splitting the check, especially on a first date with someone you don’t really know and met through an online interface—it seems fair.)

We went to one of my very favorite restaurants, but I suspect that for future online dates I will take the official Online Dating Advice and meet up somewhere less expensive, like a coffee shop. Or in the park! I love the park. All parks. I love parks the way some people love dogs.

On Saturday, I explored nature with friends and spent $1.85 on a bottle of water (and felt guilty because I could have brought an aluminum water bottle with me) and $2.92 on mochi. Did you know that not all mochi has ice cream inside? I found that out when I bought mochi that did not have ice cream inside.

I also added $20 to my ORCA card so I could keep riding the bus.

On Sunday, I went to the library and spent nothing.

Total spending: $78.12.

How’d you do?

Photo: LWYang

Professor Dumpster Still Trying To Make Dumpster Happen

Remember Dumpster Dad, who decided, after his divorce, to move into a dumpster? And then wrote this unnerving “It Happened To Me” story for XOJane which included the detail that the dumpster was behind the women’s dormitory at the university where he taught? (Seriously, were there no dumpsters behind the business school? Or the environmental studies program?)

Well, Dumpster Dad is back, and he’s now been promoted to Professor Dumpster. The Atlantic has a lengthy feature on Professor Dumpster (aka Jeff Wilson), one of those sweet glossy features with animated GIFs and dumpster schematics, and here are a few of the updates on Professor Dumpster’s life:

—People actually call Wilson “Professor Dumpster.” I have no idea if this generated naturally or if it is Wilson’s self-styled nickname (and BRAND). I do know that it is the name on Wilson’s Instagram.