Helaine Olen Explains “Expenditure Cascades” As They Relate to Birthday Parties

How much have expenditures cascaded since the days of box cake and paper hats? Olen writes that 7 out of 10 U.S. parents spend more than $300 on a birthday party, while 1 out of 7 spend more than $1,000.

Why Don’t Ebooks Have In-book Ads? Because We Don’t Read Enough

Publishers will only start seriously worrying about whether you finish The Goldfinch if they need to ensure you get exposed to every possible ad layered between the chapters.

How a Canadian Expat Family in Budapest Does Money

Currently our income does match our needs, and we are able to make a bit of savings. It’s all complicated by the fact that both my husband and I are Canadian, and we are currently living in Budapest, Hungary and have been for approximately 4 years.

How Wizards Do Money: Rubeus Hagrid

It’s not easy to tell that Hagrid is in his 80s. Giants are notoriously long-lived, but Hagrid is only half giant. He is beginning to feel his age, mostly around his knees.

“Invisible Girlfriend” Creates Both Girlfriends, Jobs (Sort Of)

Need to prove to nosy parents, bosses, coworkers, and Facebook friends that your romantic life is completely fine, regardless of your actual relationship status? There’s an app for that. Invisible Girlfriend is ready to provide you with pictures, personality details, and real-time texts from a fake significant other.

The Business of Creative Careers: John Roderick, Musician

“I don’t know anyone who had a real detailed plan for making it a profession. Everyone I knew had a fantasy about being rich enough to quit our jobs, but there wasn’t any methodical way to accomplish it except to make the best recording you could and hope it revolutionized the music scene!”

Colorado Residents Did Not Consume Enough Legal Weed in 2014

I live in Seattle, where marijuana is both legal and prevalent enough that A) my apartment building perpetually smells like weed and B) earlier last year, stores “periodically closed” when they sold out of marijuana.

Colorado residents also consumed a lot of legal weed last year, but—as Slate reports—not quite enough:

Retail and medical weed generated more than $60 million in tax and licensing revenue for the state in 2014, the lion’s share of which is helping to pay for school construction and the regulatory system that legalization requires. Opponents looking to nitpick can—and do—point to the fact that the total is a far cry from the $100 million windfall that state officials predicted at the start of last year.

To be fair, Slate describes Colorado’s legal weed industry as a “sweeping success,” but what I see here is a call to action for the citizens of Boulder, Denver, and everywhere in between:

Smoke more weed. We expected you to consume nearly twice as much weed as you did, and you disappointed us.

Parents Send Invoice After 5-Year-Old Misses Their Child’s Birthday Party

If you’re a NYC parent with a small apartment, you can take a bunch of first-graders to the spa. Or if you’re a parent in Cornwall, you can invite five-year-olds to a ski and snowboard center—and then invoice a child’s parents when their child fails to attend.

Freelancers, Take the Vacation Too

I’m going on vacation from January 31-February 8 (the JoCo Cruise) and I’m estimating I’ll miss out on at least $1,000 in income unless I try to write a bunch of it in advance.