Recessions are like stubbed toes: they hurt.

It’s dark. You’ve woken up in the middle of the night to either use the bathroom, grab a midnight snack, or answer to your crying child.

The path to your objective is clear. You know where the doorframe is. You know roughly how many steps it will take to get to your destination. But like the iceberg that sunk the Titanic, you smack your toe on something.

The feeling of pain is immediate. You probably do a few things: cry out in pain. Then curse. Then maybe curse a bit more. Grab your toe. Question if it’s broken. Believe in this very moment that you are a failure and that no matter how adult you feel, you can’t even get this simple task right of walking unimpeded to your destination.

Then with time, that feeling of pain and self-doubt starts to go away. You get feeling back in your toe. Maybe you did break it. Maybe it’s just going to be a horrible bruise. In either case: you’ll live.

Continue reading “Recessions are like stubbed toes: they hurt.”

We Bought a House (Almost)

Should you buy a house

I’ve been so positively anti-home ownership for the longest time. I write about how it’s a thing your parents tell you to do with no understanding of today’s reality or how I’d rather buy a good mattress instead. I’m so anti-house, I laugh at those spending hundreds of thousands on dinky properties within the city.

Until I fell for one.

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I Furnished My Bedroom for $7.50

Mattress not included.

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For the entirety of my adult life, I never stayed in any one spot. I rented basement apartments, condo closets dens, regular apartments, lived at home, etc. By my calculations, I had moved 11 times in the period between 2011 and 2016 mostly due to school and employment circumstances.

The brevity of these living experiences led me to meet many interesting roommates (for another day…), but also adopt the mentality of “own less”. “Own less” meant for every new purchase I made, I’d have to find a way to either throw something away or make it fit in my car upon the inevitable move. This worked very well for a period of time as it optimized my frugal habits but it got exhausting having to live knowing this particular roof over my head was temporary.

Finally when I got a full-time job, I decided it was time to get settled. I signed a one-year lease with a former roommate and we were in business. “No more moving!” I cheered, until I realized a big problem: that I owned zero furniture. Nothing except clothes and a laptop. For the past 5 years of my life, I had been subletting or renting furnished rooms. All of a sudden, I was going to be walking into a completely empty apartment.

Where do I start? What do I do? Where do I go?

I started to think about the things I’d need: a bed for sure. A desk. A dresser. A lamp. Probably a book shelf. Unwisely, the first place I started to google was Ikea and was quickly unimpressed with their pricing.

Then I took a breath and realized a few things:

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Dear Saver: These are the Forces That Work Against You

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Life is hard. Between keeping your financial head above water, living in the moment, and simultaneously saving for the future, there are so many variables you have to manage. Do you buy that thing because it’d be nice to have? Do you stay in a lesser hotel to save a few dollars on your trip? For that show you’re seeing, do you spurge on orchestra seats or resolve to the upper mezzanine?

We deal with these dilemmas every day, and if you’re a saver, you probably pretty good at balancing the pros and cons of your spending options.

But despite your best efforts, there are still forces that work against you. They work against you no matter what your resolve is. And frankly, these forces suck.

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