On Friday Estimate

My husband is home from his five-week trial hooray! I'm just glad he beat the baby. We made breakfast and lunch at home, not sure what dinner will be tonight, potentially $25. But we're going to see the movie Birdman, $29. Tomorrow he's going to drawing class, $15, then we'll hang the art work in the baby's room and discuss day cares, names, install car seat base. Saturday night we have a music performance to go to. It's a living room concert by OneBeat fellows. One of my high school friends runs this organization inviting musicians from all over the world for a residency. Concert is free. It should be awesome, anyone in LA should come out! http://www.1beat.org/#events Estimate $50 for dinner over there. Sunday we'll go to the farmer's market, lunch out ($30), and maybe grab a day drink ($10). Then we're going to see the LA Dance Project at the United Theatre next to the Ace Hotel, tickets paid for. $100 for groceries, estimate total $260. Celebratory weekend!

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 7:40 pm 0

On Everything You Need to Know About Diapers, Part 2

@Meaghano @Ester Bloom we have the vague intention to TRY a cloth diapering service run by a friend-of-a-friend. then i stuck a gift certificate on the registry and my husband's mom gave us credit for, like, 4 months of it, so i thought, well, now we're committed. was having serious second thoughts from esther's posts, so i'm happy to know maybe there's more than one way it can go! going to a demo on monday.

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 3:46 pm 0

On Screwing Myself With The Credit Card I Swore I'd Pay Off Every Month

@Elsajeni @nell @MemphisBlues Ha, made this comment hastily, should have been more careful. What I mean to say is, yes, this is the way credit cards work, but the way credit cards work intentionally and systematically exploits customers in vulnerable positions, whether it is because they have highly variable cash flow, thin savings, or not enough time to deal with them. They're designed specifically to take advantage of (very natural, human) behavioral patterns we all have. There are plenty of behavioral finance studies out there that show exactly this. I am now pretty good at dealing with my credit cards and am lucky enough to pay them off every month, but when I was working a lower-paying freelance job that also took over 16 hours of my days and had me traveling internationally, I missed the payment deadline like four months in a row. (This was also back when cards were allowed to change the length of the billing cycle with inconsistent amounts of time between statement and payment due date.) A better way to structure credit card contracts, here, would be a late fee that rises incrementally the longer the time after the due date the payment is late, and charging interest only on the amount that is left unpaid after the payment goes through, rather than the whole amount for the whole month.

Posted on October 24, 2014 at 3:38 pm 0

On Screwing Myself With The Credit Card I Swore I'd Pay Off Every Month

I am SEETHING at the credit cards making revenue (let's be honest, profit) off of harried working parents.

Posted on October 22, 2014 at 1:23 pm 0

On Getting the Paper

Our local paper is the LA Times, to which we have a digital subscription, and we also have a subscription for Sundays only of the New York Times. I will note that this charging-more-for-some-issues is a thing. In LA, the Times poached excellent restaurant critic Jonathan Gold from alt-weekly the LA Weekly, and now they charge double at the newsstand for the week when his 101 best restaurants list comes out. But it makes sense! That is the only issue I have paid for this year.

Posted on October 17, 2014 at 5:06 pm 0

On Love and Nostagia for the Cheaper Stuff

I have nostalgia for some of the un-foodie rituals of childhood. One of them I can't follow up on, though, without supporting a pretty bad business. On Mondays in my childhood, my mom drove both of my sisters and me to piano lessons and didn't have time to make dinner, so she fed us chicken nuggets and waffle fries from Chik-fil-a. So tasty, so bigoted. I also tend to romanticize crappy mass-produced candy. Reese's peanut butter cups are a big one, esp. the holiday versions. Even if I also like 75% cocoa dark chocolate bars.

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm 0

On 1 Things in The Stream, That is What We Are

stroller comparison shopping is hell. I just completely shut down over it before our shower, and stuck the stroller one of our friends has on the registry. my aunt bought it and sent it to us, and then i had such registry-regret that it's been sitting its box ever since with me wondering whether i should exchange it for something else. registries! ugh. i threw a bunch of stuff on ours kind of haphazardly and now C's mom is so excited she is sending us things off of it, like, every other day, and every time i open one i get this sheepish feeling about how it was just a suggested direction, not a necessity, but i've been caught out in my foolishness. annnnyway, replacement credit cards still have not come. my 1 thing is going to be hemming the curtains i bought six weeks ago for the baby's room.

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 1:40 pm 0

On How to Stay Married: Splurge on the Honeymoon, Not the Open Bar

Oh, man, Ester, I find it fascinating you love these because I HATE correlative pseudo studies with wildly inaccurate interpretation by journalists. This one is on the more innocuous side, but my blood will be boiling for hours after reading some total garbage abuse of statistics supporting gender essentialism. But because they are like my horcrux or something and I just can't let them alone, here are some plausible alternative theories not ruled out by these findings: - the causation goes the other way - the couples who were more likely to divorce in the first place have more lavish bashes - there is some other, unaccounted for variable (like, say, communication skills) which leads people both to expensive weddings or engagement rings and divorce I know the difference is subtle, but if either of these is true, it means you can't just lengthen your marriage by curtailing your reception budget. And here are some statistical nitpicks: - they only surveyed ever-married people. A complete picture of this phenomenon would include people who considered marriage and never got there. - the survey respondents are not a national probability sample; they are younger, whiter, more educated, and have higher incomes than the country as a whole (though the authors reweight their findings), and the selection bias might mean that the results would be different for a representative sample. - some of the findings which are reported as fact in the Atlantic charts are not statistically significant, which is to say you can't actually tell them apart from zero. Notably, the expensive engagement ring one (though I would like that to be true because my ring cost right at $500!) OK, that's probably enough.

Posted on October 16, 2014 at 1:21 pm 1

On Witchy Feelings About My Index Fund

This is why I love the Billfold. The squirmy feeling of what-do-I-do-with-my-money, and then the triumphant hey-my-money-made-money!, and then the pit in the stomach when there's even a little bit of a drop -- that is so human. And other personal finance sites just wag their fingers at you and say, ride it out, don't feel those feelings. I think it's much easier to acknowledge the feelings! And having acknowledged them, to then try not to do anything detrimental. The market will go up again, eventually, the money in there is only in there for the long term, might as well leave it. (she says to herself, over and over.) For the question of whether to track your accounts in Mint or other software or not, I guess this is kind of like the difference between people who only want to weigh themselves every other week versus every day. Even if the number on the scale is from water weight or something, it's instructive to me to see it. Like, to learn that there is noise in there, not a signal. Though I guess it does kind of stoke the fears.

Posted on October 15, 2014 at 6:11 pm 3

On The Cost of Things: A Family Wedding in the DR

This all sounds great, and, frankly, I think $1000 is on the low end of what I usually spend on destination weddings. Though I am firmly in the "weddings are worth it, almost no matter the cost," camp. But the above comment is thinly veiled excuse for what I came here to say: how could I have forgotten that Aidan played the fiancé in big fat greek wedding?

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 2:53 pm 1