This is why you’re broke Column


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 This is why you're broke 
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This is why you’re broke, Whole Paycheck edition

They don't call it Whole Paycheck for nothing
I try to be frugal with my meager fellowship earnings while I finish grad school — I really do. But at the same time I want to eat healthy, and this is why I’m broke.

It’s much easier to eat healthy at the grocery store than at the fast food places around campus. But guess what the nearest grocery store is to my school? I’ll give you a hint: the one that has parking attendants and the apples cost $5? I’m kidding about the apples costing $5/each — it’s probably more like $10 — but we’re not to that part of the story yet.
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 This is why you're broke 
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This is why you’re broke, going out to eat edition

going out to eat is expensiveGoing out to eat is great for a lot of reasons: no dishes, new culinary experiences, time to relax and share a meal with friends or my significant other, annoying the Internet by posting pictures of my food.

But those benefits come at a price. Going back to the days when I used to blow half my minimum-wage-landscaping-job paycheck at the local Chinese buffet, eating out has always been one of my biggest budget busters. I’ve been able to cut down on that over the years by learning to cook myself and having a wife who’s a really excellent cook (having two little daughters that aren’t amazing to take to restaurants also helps).
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 This is why you're broke 
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Can you own a pet in a big city without going broke?

Think long and hard before getting a pet in a big cityWhen I first adopted my cat one year ago from the rescue group with which I was volunteering in Manhattan, I naively believed, beyond basic necessities, she’d be relatively low-cost. It turns out the “basic necessities” of pet ownership equate to approximately those of raising an actual human child. Much like raising a human child, these costs rise exponentially when you live in a major metropolitan area.

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 This is why you're broke 
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Sock-of-the-month club a cool new way to squander money, dignity

Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be sock of the month club subscribersIf you’ve got a hundo burning a hole in your pocket and are looking for the dumbest possible way to spend it, have I got a deal for you.

A sock-of-the-month club is a subscription service for socks, and yes it is a real thing that exists. You sign up and pay on a monthly or per-year basis and get socks mailed to you that typically cost $12 to $14 a pair.
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 This is why you're broke 
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This is why you’re broke, auto pay edition

This is why you're broke, Netflix auto debit editionLike Wile E. Coyote and those canyon walls painted to look like a wide-open road, I can never seem to stop falling into the auto pay trap.

In theory, it’s great; having monthly subscription fees automatically debited from your checking account is so convenient it’s almost invisible, especially for smaller charges. But therein lies the problem for me: Even if I never use it I’ll wait much longer to cut back or cancel a service that’s auto pay compared to one where I actually have to log on and pay by hand, or God forbid, mail in a paper check.
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 This is why you're broke 
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This is why you’re broke, college football edition

College football fandom ain't cheap, but to this writer, it's worth it.My name is Alana, and I’m a college football fan. Most months of the year I consider myself a rational, level-headed young lady. But come the end of August, for 12 weeks (more if I’m lucky), I become obsessed with college football. More specifically the Florida Gators. 

Now don’t get confused; this is not a post about a gambling addiction. My vice is far simpler than that: I find it nearly impossible to watch a game by myself in the comfort of my own home. 
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 Personal Finance, This is why you're broke 
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This is why you’re broke, luxury water edition

As part of our new #WhyImBroke series, J. Money reminisces about one of the strangest, most face-palming money mistakes we’ve heard so far.

Luxury Water
I’ve done a lot of stupid stuff in the past, but the one that always stands out (and for good measure), was the time I blew $40 on a shiny bottle of “luxury” water. Yes, water. As in, something you can literally get for free by turning on your faucet and then cupping your hands beneath to retrieve it.

Back in the day I didn’t care much for that though. I liked “cool” things, and this company I sent my forty hard-earned dollars to — BlingH20 — promised to send back one of the most awesome, blingy’ness (new word), bottles of water I had ever seen in my entire 25 years on Earth, complete with “Crystallized Swarovski elements” that were “exquisitely made” in “Limited Edition.” Music to my young, naive, ears.

I still have it to this day – check it out:


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 This is why you're broke 
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This is why you’re broke, coffee edition

Is $5.27 too much to pay for a cup of coffee?My first time at Kaffee 1668, the line was literally out the door. When I got to the counter, I ordered a small mocha. I had barely uttered “no whipped cream,” when the barista looked me straight in the eyes and said, “We don’t do that here.” Still, nothing caught me off guard quite like the tiny beverage’s $5.27 price tag.

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