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

On This Is Terrible, But: The Pain of Tipping People Richer Than Me

Seems like there are two issues at play here. The first is that customers should find a stylist (or other service provider) whose price is commensurate with quality delivered. Like you feel like it's worth it, given your budget and needs, and his or her performance. Then the tip issue is secondary. But if you're happy with what you're receiving, it'll be easier to tip conventionally. I think it muddles the picture to try to even up socioeconomic disparities through tips, and you'll always feel bad about it. Not that I don't do this, too! As someone who has more means than most of my grad school classmates, I seriously try to overpay for every split check and get the first and last rounds.

Posted on October 14, 2014 at 1:03 pm 0

On Monday Check-in

Here’s how my weekend went down. Friday: Breakfast ($6), dinner ($13), drink ($10), Gone Girl ($8), using a discount voucher from our workplace. Saturday: Donated the paint gallons to Habitat for Humanity (which took 3 hours with traffic! I knocked out two weekend phone calls during the drive, though), art museum (free! – I’m a member), and my cousin and I ended up having dinner in with ingredients I already had. I also read about half of Room by Emma Donoghue and I really really loved it. Sunday: Unplanned Target run for contact lens stuff, home cleaning stuff, and some baby toiletries ($59), groceries ($76), and no brunch but a few doughnuts to eat at home ($10). Then $22 for tip/parking at my last massage, where I also read the Sunday paper by the pool, it was glorious. Did some work and made dinner at home, watched the Good Wife. (woohoo!) Total: $204, over my estimate of $175, largely due to the purchases at Target. Which I guess is OK. They’re in the monthly budget, just weren’t in the weekend estimate. On Mike’s conversation during his haircut: when I saw this tweet, I thought it was possible that the person who cuts the hair had just found out he edits a personal finance site, and wanted to know whether he follows the site’s advice, like a cobbler’s children have no shoes kinda query. But now I understand, yes, I guess everyone gets spooked about the stock market when it goes down, in a predictably terrible way, just like the way we’re responding to the ebola crisis right now. I will say that if you haven’t yet maxed out your Roth/trad IRA and have some spare cash, now would be a good time to do that! But regular contributions and not paying any attention are the best.

Posted on October 13, 2014 at 1:39 pm 0

On How Do Our Brains Change When We Can Buy Anything We Want With One Click?

Image of Kaylee and her pink fluffy dress = A+++++++++

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 3:54 pm 4

On Friday Estimate

Yay weekend! This morning I had to drop my car off for routine service, so I didn't have time to do breakfast at home. $6 for an egg sandwich, coffee, and banana. Tonight I'm going out to dinner with some classmates ($20) and to see Gone Girl ($7.50). Tomorrow I have a bunch of errands - donating some household supplies to Habitat Restore, returning a book to the library, organizing, etc. - and I'll also be going to the art museum with my cousin. I'll budget $15 for lunch or dinner. Sunday I have my last prenatal massage on a voucher gift from a friend ($30 for tip), brunch with friends ($15), and groceries-getting ($75). Total estimate: $175.

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 12:47 pm 0