Yesterday, I finally did something that I had been meaning to do for awhile: I walked into a Crunch Gym and canceled my membership. Which I had been paying for, for a year. And have never used once. Like, hadn’t even picked up my membership card. Pathetic.
When I think about how much money I completely wasted, I want to punch myself. Alas, it’s not the first time I’ve practically flushed my hard-earned cash down the toilet. I have made some truly stupid spending decisions over the years, and in an effort to never be so frivolously lazy again, I am going to share them with you. Feel free to make me feel better by the ways in which you have completely wasted money in the comments! Keep reading »
Growing up, my parents made about the same amount of money, which wasn’t all that much; we were solidly on the lower end of the middle class. As far as I was concerned, we were fine and when I would picture my life someday as an adult, I never imagined or aspired to make a significant amount of money, let alone to be rich. And when I reached the age where day-dreaming about my eventual romantic life became a regular pastime, I never considered that I could or would have anything different than the setup my parents had. My husband and I would contribute 50/50 to the household; it wasn’t even a question.
Years later, as an independent single woman, I’ve of course realized that there are many ways to divide up responsibility in a household. I’ve also realized that my earning potential is beyond what I ever thought it could be, even as recently as five years ago. I am profoundly lucky. That, along with my status as a single 30-something with a strong desire for children, has made me think long and hard about how different my role as a hopeful wife and mother might end up being in comparison to what I had envisioned. Female-breadwinner households are the subject of Time‘s cover story this week, which examines how this trend (which is likely to be more common than male-breadwinner household in the next generation) has affected male and female relationships. The piece resonated with me because one of the things I have concluded is that, in the right situation, I would be happy to be the primary earner in my family. Keep reading »
Retirement seems so far away. Then again, so did 30 and that’s all up in my grill. Like other distant things, thinking about retirement is easy to delay in favor of the triage of daily life. But objects in the mirror are closer than they appear. Since there’s no way to rapidly save for retirement besides a windfall (hello, lottery!), it’s critical to begin saving ASAP. Le sigh. This article will guide you through the basics of the time value of money and its progeny, the 401(k). Keep reading »
Prenups are a backup plan. Like any other backup plan — the fold-up flats in your purse, tampons in your desk drawer at work, the rape whistle on your keychain — you don’t expect to use it, and you really hope not to, but thank God it’s there when you need it. For women, divorce is financially dangerous, and you’re necessarily subject to a 50 percent chance of suffering from it if you marry. After the jump, I’ll debunk popular excuses for avoiding a prenup. Keep reading »
This past payday, I was as excited about having the funds to bring home this season’s faux fur vest as I was about skimming 10 percent off the top and watching our savings account increase. And I have to admit, I’m pretty proud of myself for being responsible enough to make that deposit regularly – so proud of myself that I felt totally justified buying that snuggle-worthy vest. (The fact that it’s faux fur? You can’t get any more guilt-free.)
Maybe you’re like me, and you get a sense of accomplishment every time you make that deposit in your savings account. But we all work hard for our money … is just putting some of it aside making it work hard enough for us? Before you get too proud of yourself for being a savings queen, read this advice from Susan Hirshman, president of SHE LTD, a consulting firm focused on enhancing the financial literacy of women. The author of Does This Make My Assets Look Fat? A Woman’s Guide to Finding Financial Empowerment and Success, Hirshman offers advice for making sure that you’re avoiding some common savings pitfalls. Keep reading »
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 »
When I began dating my now husband, I already had a little girl from a previous relationship. In order to get serious with me, he had to adjust to the idea of late-night dinners at restaurants to takeout scheduled around bedtime. Luckily, he did so beautifully and won both my and my daughter’s hearts.
One wedding, two successful careers, and a substantial mortgage later, my husband adopted my daughter and we were ready to add another tax deduction to the mix. We were used to having to make adjustments to accommodate life’s surprises, so we thought a baby would cause minimal monetary ripples in our fairly stable life. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Keep reading »
I admit I’m pretty much a walking gender stereotype — I like shopping, getting pedicures, grabbing drinks with the girls after work, obsessing about my hair, and lusting over other women’s awesome boots. I also hate when models brag about how they can eat anything without gaining an ounce, and I have an unhealthy addiction to gossip sites, but that may be taking it a bit too far. The point is, I embrace my girlishness and I’m not about to give up any of the fun parts of being a chick just because the economy isn’t doing so well. So I’ve decided to embrace my inner recessionista, who, frankly, wasn’t all that hard to find (she also goes by the name “cheap”). Before thriftiness was a necessity, I picked up a few tips about living fabulously without spending a bundle. Keep reading »
I can’t say I’m the best at managing my finances. I’m a self-proclaimed shopping addict and I’m too lazy to negotiate a better interest rate on my student loans. But one piece of financial advice I’ve always heeded was to never squander a large sum of money. Even when I was a child I preferred to spend a chunk of change on something specific and big, instead of in pieces. So if my grandma gave me $5, I would buy a Barbie outfit, instead of a week’s worth of candy. I wanted to be able to point to something tangible or recall a memory and say: “That’s where my money went.” I’m proud to say that I still do this. Keep reading »