Laundry detergent is also a popular option (http://nymag.com/news/features/tide-detergent-drugs-2013-1/). Tide is expensive, its price doesn't change much, and everyone uses it. Well, except me, I use the store brand unscented stuff. The big draw about Tide is the fragrance and I can't stand fragrance.
I should also say, our city allows kids from anywhere in the city proper to attend whatever school within the city they (or their parents) want. While it allows schools to specialize, it means a lot of hassle driving kids around (several children are injured or killed each year in school zones from frazzled parents) and we have half-empty schools and others bursting at the seams as less-progressive parents do not want to put their kids in a school with what they perceive to be under-performing poorer children whose parents can't afford to drive them across town every day. Transit is a joke here (<4% of people take it) so it's not an option unless 2 hr bus rides are better than alternative. It's a complex issue. I suppose if you looked at it on a macro basis, some people are going to want to stay in a city and help boost it up, and other people choose to put their efforts elsewhere and move to a city where it's easier to live. I chose the former but I won't lie, there are many times when I just want to give up and leave.
Personally speaking, I think your parents' educational attainment, drive, and socioeconomic status have more influence on your life than what school you attend. Unless you subscribe to the idea that your pre/elementary school determines what college or grad school your kids will end up at, therefore determining the entire trajectory of their lives. I wonder how much of this comes out of us feeling like we can control for adversity in our childrens' lives, that a "good school" is a guarantee. I think we've seen from other stories on the Billfold that this isn't always the case. I went to a rural school but both my parents went to university, unlike the majority of my classmates' parents. As a result, my siblings and I did. What we didn't get from school we got from a house full of books and life on a farm. What I missed out on was a diverse schooling and the ability to function autonomously until I got my drivers' license. I was pretty clueless and racist when I showed up at university, though I like to think I got better.
Before I read the rest of this, I must know the bass clarinetist rumour.
I know! I am roughly the same age as you and this piece was terrific. Like when you get older and realize Uncle So and so was an alcoholic and they weren't talking about how much coffee he likes to drink.
@everyone I feel like we need a catchy phrase for the "stand mixer/vitamix" thought process so I can get it tattooed on, like, my hand. Fortunately my partner is a Vita-nixer. **stares balefully at $150 grocery shopper because she thought she would become someone who would walk to the grocery store a half hour's walk away**
@Cup of T I haven't had Fruit and Nut in the UK. It just has, like, raisins and almonds in it here, which is okay. I am partial to Coffee Crisp and Kit Kat Chunkys. Wunderbars are not bad. Crunchies (the chocolate bar, not the cheese snack) are of the devil. Buy all of them when you come up next.
@City_Dater Isn't having a mortgage just renting from the bank? I mean, you stop paying anytime before the mortgage is done, all your equity is...*makes toilet flushing noise*
@RocketSurgeon You want the New York Times' Rent vs Buy calculator, if you haven't looked at it already!
@loren smith it seems like if you are unable to save a downpayment you should definitely not be signing up for a zero down mortgage on homes that *start* at well over 3x your yearly household income? Unless the "3x your income or less = affordable" metric has been proven false. If/when interest rates go back up...hoo boy. Not to mention our city has been chronically underfunded due to the lowest property tax rates in Canada, so further diversion of tax funds is not helping the situation.