On New York on $70 a Week

@Cnj The problem with being a broke college student in a dorm, though, is that you can't COOK rice/pasta/vegetables - the author can correct me if I'm wrong, but usually dorms don't let you have microwaves/rice cookers/electric skillets or you know, ANY way to make healthy cheap food. And I remember sort of thinking the same thing when I first moved away from home and had a job making $650/month at a grocery store and only $300/month for rent - why, I'll be rich, I thought! Except how much is the connection fee for the utilities? Wait another book outside of the reading list? Oh man my idiot friends stranded me halfway across town, that'll be HOW MUCH in cab fare back home? Oh you want to actually see your family, let's factor in what a bus ticket costs. How about your friends who don't blink at a $30 meal and invite you along? There are certainly weeks where my budget is around $70 or even less, but they're padded usually by being able to stock up on groceries and already having the rent/utilities/full tank of gas, plus a credit card for emergencies. This post really illustrates it is a lot easier to live on $70/week or less even in flexible/entertainment budgeting when you already have a significant income to start.

Posted on February 26, 2015 at 4:25 pm 0

On Talking to Millennial Homeowners Who Just Bought Their First Home

@highjump Agreed! My husband and I are in nearly the same boat but definitely don't have even a modest home's 25% down payment even in the inexpensive parts of the DC Metro area (we live in Prince George's County) - I paid for my master's out of pocket (believe me, I would have loved to have had that money to whip out for a down payment instead!) and we still have some of my husband's student loans, and a car loan, so we'd be looking at those sneered at 5% down payment loans with everyone chorusing at us that it must be more house than we can afford if we don't have 20%! So instead we're renting, for double the cost for less space, building 0 equity and not having all the freedoms like being able to rent out the space bedroom or get another dog or put in some functional shelving etc. etc. if desired.

Posted on February 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm 0

On On Combining Finances (And Debt)

@halloliebchen I do recommend bringing it up if you're seriously discussing marriage, because even if it is a "hey, I'm pretty sure you feel this way about it, am I correct?" at least then you're sure, rather than if he responds like franceschances or like I do in my relationship - I want us to be HAPPY together, not like I'm enjoying myself on vacation and him at home eating beans because of the resolution to keep finances separate. My husband still has another approx 40k in student loans to pay off and I have 0, and while he is pretty adamant that those are HIS debts to pay, I'd also rather cover things like vacations as a gift rather than feel like he never gets to have anything fun because of student loans.

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 3:17 pm 0

On Dear Prudence: Mom Making Daughter's Wedding for a Do-Over for her Own

@ATF 1stly! GOOD LUCK!! Uggghh, ugghh, my parents did the "we want to help but will definitely not give a solid number for budgeting! literally anything we'll say is okay because we want to help but can't budget ever!" Suggestion? Consider the 2k the only thing they'll contribute. My funky with traditional elements but fun, everything as low cost as possible while not being in the back yard we don't have was $8k. Ipod for music, I made the cake, the dress was a family item so only paid for altering, my mom did the cooking and her friend and my maid of honor the organizing and serving, my brother a hobby photographer did the photography for the cost of a new camera and flashcube, spent some money on the place because we wanted somewhere with lots of air conditioning that would let us serve our own alcohol and food and so on, but still under $4k. (Oh and yeah, definitely don't just go with iphone and so forth cameras instead of a photographer, sooo many of the pictures from them were awful and I'm still a little sad that we had to pick between brother-enjoying-the-party-and-working-and-still-getting-okay-pictures) Ugh, that balancing act of "I want to accept that you're doing this because you want to give me a nice present, but please STOP" vs "go away, I'm just gonna do city hall"

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 3:06 pm 0

On Does Biking To Work Take All The Joy Out of Biking?

I've only just recently started bike commuting because I don't really like the 'biking around to nowhere' idea - I'd rather just stay home, but if I have to be somewhere it forces me a little to be active by biking instead of just driving. For me, luckily, my schedule and work are well suited to this, with bicycle parking in a garage and showers at work. Because it is relatively short and my car is pretty fuel efficient the savings are pretty minimal, but I have noticed I am little less grumpy and whiny when I get home than before as well. Yes, perhaps an end of commuting, and therefore making biking part of it, would be nice - but until then!

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 4:14 pm 0

On Not Having Children Is Letting Us Have It All

Oh, I identify so much with this piece! Although my growing-up poor was not to do with having children young (my parents were in their 30s) but other decisions and crappy luck and it creates such a guarding against poverty in whatever way you can - never take a loan or use credit cards! Never have children before X age! Never live in x/y/z place! Never major in a/b/c! Even if it almost ends up being superstition, it doesn't matter, because especially when it works out and you're not impoverished at a set point in time, you can believe you've avoided their mistakes and you won't be in that same miserable place. Having it all here is being successful in the eyes of your parents - ie, avoiding their mistakes and having money for the little niceties.

Posted on May 2, 2013 at 1:53 pm 0

On Mom Says I Should Bring My Lunch to Save $ But I Don't Think I Would

I work nights, so "breakfast" at home = dinner with my husband, then although my work has a relatively cheap cafeteria I prefer to bring leftovers - usually a pasta dish, rice dish, or soup, something easily microwavable and not too fussy. My work is almost always has the thermostat too low so salads and cold sandwiches are just really unappealing. I try to bring some kind of snack too, like some fruit or hummus with veggies or something, especially if I'm working a long shift.

Posted on December 5, 2012 at 3:18 am 0

On A Thank You to My Daughter for Her Untraditional Wedding

I like talking about wedding budgeting, when my partner and I decided to get married almost a year ago, we had no idea what anything cost related to a wedding. I got married 4 months ago, and was in-between this kind of laid-back event and large event. We live in a small apartment and even though my mother has a backyard it can't fit more than about 10 people. We rented an art gallery room as a venue, self-catered, I wore my grandmother's wedding dress, an iPod for music and had the ceremony at the same place. We had a southern-style bbq and some other family dishes, and I made the 3-tier wedding cake. Still cost us around $8k (half of that for the venue and rentals there, like tables and linens, about another third for food/alcohol/supplies for serving those/last third for everything else). The public park was a nice option, but where we live you cannot serve alcohol at a park and that was important to us, plus we had elderly guests with mobility issues. Plus weather, what if it rained? Almost all of the other facilities we looked at, like the VFW, required a caterer, which threatened to increase costs. Over all I still really loved the wedding we put on (except I would have been more insistent about what can/cannot be handled when self-catering) but still, even at our reduced price, am gobsmacked. The only thing I've paid more for is college tuition! And it could have been so much expensive!

Posted on November 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm 0

On 'You're the Problem With America, Basically'

Shorter? "People, like you, need to learn to be miserable, while people like me have financial security and this allowed me to have the same experiences without the debt you have. But you should learn self-discipline." I'm not really seeing where Greg demonstrates that he did, the take away seems to me "acquire a time machine and tell your parents to aggressively manage your money better as a teenager, and this will help you with your debt." Great consolation from a friend, or advice, or whatever.

Posted on May 12, 2012 at 11:23 am 1