Health Care 
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Concierge medicine provides options ahead of Obamacare deadline

Concierge medicine may help young people get more bang for their buckThere are just over 2 months to go until the March 31 deadline to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare, and not everyone is sold on purchasing the kind of comprehensive and often pricey plans offered in the insurance exchanges set up under the law.

One alternative that may hold some appeal, especially for those under 30, is concierge medicine. With concierge medicine, you pay a regular retainer monthly or annually for the right to have a doctor manage your health care and perform basic procedures such as checkups and tests.

Paired with a high-deductible health insurance plan, it can meet a broad variety of health care needs without having to do the messy insurance dance for most of your medical care. Certain concierge practices, including AtlasMD, even offer house calls as a membership benefit.
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 Billshit 
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Your electric bill: so much Billshit, so little time

Your utility bill: so much Billshit, so little timeSince October, I’ve spent only about $25 a month on electricity. Impressive, eh?

Well, maybe I shouldn’t toot my own horn quite so loudly. Because last summer, I spent an average of $130 a month on electricity. Since then I’ve made an effort to reduce my energy usage, and it looks like it paid off. As you can see from the screenshot below, my total energy bill for October-December was $49.32. That’s for two months, and that’s the lowest my electric bill has been. Ever.

In this edition of Billshit, I decided to inspect my energy bill to learn more about each charge and see if I could cut it down even more. Let’s check it out.
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 MoneyDerp 
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Before you renovate that place you’re renting, don’t forget to pick up some Bad Idea jeans

Renovating a rental can be hazardous to your financial healthThere’s a classic “Saturday Night Live” ad parody called “Bad Idea Jeans” where a bunch of 30-something white guys wearing stonewashed dad jeans (with a “bad idea” label, of course) stand around talking nonchalantly about a bunch of really dumb things they have planned.

One guy says he’s going to donate a kidney to a stranger; another says he’s taking in an ex-freebase addict for a couple of months so he can turn his life around.

“Hey, we’re gutting our apartment,” a young Kevin Nealon says to start the sketch off. “Ripped up the floors, pipes, wiring — having everything completely redone.”

“You’re renting, right?” asks David Spade.

“Yep.”
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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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 Science Says 
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How big numbers short-circuit your brain and how to fight back

Math and finances are closely linkedSorry to be the one to tell you this, but your brain is just not evolved to process big numbers.

In our journey from hunter-gatherers to wage slaves, homo sapiens never quite evolved the mental machinery needed to efficiently process the high numbers we typically face when doing things like buying cars, taking out mortgages and saving for retirement.

It makes sense in evolutionary terms that we wouldn’t necessarily need to be able to deal efficiently with big numbers, says Sara Cordes, an assistant professor of psychology at Boston College.
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 Observations 
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Target, other retailers sorry about data breaches but somehow they just keep happening

Target data breach just more of the same for consumers

This week I got an electronic mail from Target containing some sad news.

Addressed with maximum sincerity to “Dear Target Guest,” (I always get a warm fuzzy feeling when they call me that) the email notified me that in addition to the theft of 40 million customers’ payment information reported in December, thieves had also gained access to the personal information of 70 million customers, including our names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and maybe other stuff.
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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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 Money Lab 
5
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How I got $132 worth of clothes for free

A clothing swap allows you to freshen up your wardrobe without a pricey shopping spreeA clothing swap allows you to freshen up your wardrobe without a pricey shopping spree.

It’s totally unfrugal, but sometimes buying new clothes and shoes and accessories just feels good. But know what doesn’t feel so good? A busted budget.

Good news is, there are ways to satisfy your inner shopaholic without going broke. One of my favorite ways to scratch a shopping itch on a budget: swap parties.

Yes, swap parties. (And get your mind out of the gutter. This ain’t the ’70s.) I’m talking clothing swap parties: get-togethers in which you and your friends sip wine, snack, and then trade awesome outfits.
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