Around the same time I started raking in the big bucks (courtesy of the Tooth Fairy), my father started enforcing the rule that the topic of money was off-limits in polite conversation. There was no, “Hey, how much was your incisor worth?” in my house. And the one time I asked my dad the amount of the bill at a restaurant, he handed it to me since he assumed I was offering to pay. I never asked again. Keep reading »
Category Archives: Money
I’m a 31-year-old, single guy in Chicago. I’m at a point in my life where I’d like to find a great woman and think about settling down and perhaps start a family in the not too distant future. Unfortunately, I have a terrible secret that is making it difficult for me to get close to women: I have $190,000 in student loan debt (no, I am not a doctor). Aside from that scary number, I am financially responsible and have a promising career with a high income trajectory ahead of me. How I arrived at that $190,000 is moot, but what isn’t is the psychological handicap I’ve developed. I am ashamed and embarrassed to be burdened by such student debt, and I can’t help but feel most women would be scared off by it. As a result, I’ve basically stopped dating or even trying to meet that special someone. I can’t bear the prospect of getting close to someone only to scare her off because of my debt. I feel like a leper. But, am I over-reacting? If so, what advice would you give about broaching the topic with a potential girlfriend (timing, method, etc)? — Debt Leper
One of my favorite coats is a gorgeous knee-length number that coordinates with almost anything. The best thing about this coat is that I paid the criminal price of $10 for it. I found it on a clearance rack. It was the only coat of its kind and happened to be in my size; our relationship was obviously meant to be. It lacked a price tag, however, and I was scared this meant it would be expensive. When I asked the cost, the manager pulled a jacket of lesser quality from the same rack and said she’d give me my coat for the same insanely low price. Delighted, I showed her where the coat was missing a button, thinking she would have a suggestion for replacing it. Instead she shrugged and offered to knock off an additional 10 percent. I couldn’t hand over my debit card fast enough, and when I got home? The missing button was tucked in the pocket.
As adorable as the coat is, the amazing bargain makes me love it more. While my steal was more the result of a tired manager than my intense negotiating skills, it definitely whet my appetite for wheeling a good deal. Knowing how to ask for one can be intimidating, though. Jim Camp, negotiation skills trainer and coach, and author of Start with No, offered this advice for the negotiating novice. Keep reading »
If you have been engaged for more than five minutes, you’ve probably purchased every current bridal magazine and dog-eared the pages with ideas you swear someone thought up just for you. Before you look at pictures of another celebrity wedding and set your sights on a dress only Beyonce could afford, you need to have a serious talk with your fiancé. This, my friend, is the “How the hell are we going to pay for this?” talk. Maybe you’re assuming your parents are going to foot the entire bill. If they are, lucky you! But chances are, both sets of parents have some assumptions of their own, and you need to know who’s expecting to pay – or not pay – for what. For advice on how to determine this combined wedding budget, The Frisky talked to Aimee Manis, author of 52 Things Brides On A Budget Should Know. Keep reading »
My boyfriend and I recently got engaged and moved across the country together for his job. We’ve been dating for about two years and known each other for about three and a half. I’ve always known him to be a very generous, giving person, but since our move, he’s been glib about expenses. For example, he’ll go shopping for clothes and then state that he can’t afford food for the upcoming week (leaving me to foot the grocery or restaurant bill). Or, we’ll go out with friends and he’ll make a show of paying for me at the table, but then ask me to pay him back later! Recently, he suggested that we get an animal together, but then stated, “but I don’t want to pay for any of it.”
Looking back on my wedding planning, I realize how many of my decisions were to make other people happy. My day was special and I felt like the star of the show, but I had to make sure that I stayed in budget so my dad wouldn’t have an aneurysm, that the menu wouldn’t trigger any allergic reactions from my guests, and that the band’s play list would make for a party to remember. But when it came to the honeymoon, there was nobody to think of except me and my new husband, and the closer we got to the wedding, the more I couldn’t wait to get out of town. Endless time for sex, zero calls about headcounts, and did I mention tons of sex? I totally began to understand why people elope. Keep reading »
“Don’t you have a daddy?” the professor sitting across from me asked. I smiled a little. Was he was joking? Or hitting on me? Nope, he was serious and thought my father was paying for my legal education. Though I’ve been independent for years, my law school’s financial aid office had a similar attitude, telling me “ … most students have relatives helping them … ” After a JD, MBA and a third master’s, I’ve found there’s significant latent knowledge about financing grad school, but no one to fill you in. Here’s how it goes … Keep reading »
Not everyone is as lucky as Elizabeth Gilbert, of Eat Pray Love fame, to spend a year in exotic locales to recover from a bad breakup. As a 30-year-old New Yorker returning to singledom after a string of long-term relationships, I can only dream of consulting a Bali guru to show me the right path. With graduate school loans, rising rent, car payments and the need to hold on to my job in this shaky economy, the thought of getting away to reflect and restore seems out of reach and, in Gilbert’s case, very expensive. But it doesn’t have to be. Here, I put together nine affordable things a newly single gal could do to feel better and possibly find love again. Keep reading »
There are necessities, like running water, and then there are “necessities,” like HBO and a weekly pedicure. When you’re single and supporting only yourself, you have every right to declare keeping your toes in the latest shade of blush a priority. But once you join budgets with your partner, it’s important that you both agree on which expenses qualify as non-negotiable.
When my husband and I recently re-evaluated our budget, I was ready to slash the cable bill – we have Netflix, and I tend to watch shows a season or two behind. He balked; he’s an avid Atlanta Braves fan and I didn’t realize that without extended cable he couldn’t catch the games during the (never-ending) baseball season. Similarly, he was willing to eliminate our home telephone, while I hesitated at not having a landline in case of emergencies. Having to make these kind of joint decisions just comes with the territory of a shared address, but compromising can be tricky. Toni Coleman, licensed psychotherapist, relationship coach, and founder of Consum-mate.com, offered this advice about creating a household budget you – and your partner – can live with. Keep reading »