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Is Cable Television Worth the Cost?

Every evening when I get home from work, I usually run 10 miles and then follow that up with completing a new 500+ page book. Just kidding. I sit in front of the tv and veg out. For better or worse, mindlessly flipping through the channels is what I do. It helps calm me down after a long day. It is a huge waste of time yet it is one of those things that brings a little joy to my life. Who doesn’t love falling asleep to a House Hunter’s marathon?

I haven’t actually watched a ton of TV living with my roommates in my previous apartment because they had control of the living room area and I generally hibernated in my room, where my cable connection didn’t work. I still spent some time when they were out on the living room couch enjoying a few hours of random shows. And I always thought that one day when I moved in with my boyfriend in my own apartment I’d finally have access to the television whenever my heart desired.

Now, however, I have quite a first-world dilemma on my hands — determining whether I should get cable television, an alternative, or avoid tv altogether (maybe so I can run 10 miles a night and read a few classics at the end of a long day.) My bf isn’t interested in television so he refuses to split the cost with me, so it gets quite expensive as a solo bill. With internet connection, for the first year cable (without the fancy channels like HBO and Showtime) will be $70 per month. That seems somewhat reasonable, but that’s just the year one special. It can go up to $100 or more per month the second year. Yikes. Do I really want tv that badly?

There are a few different options… AT&T vs Comcast. Alternatives like Hulu Plus or Netflix or Apple TV. Yet I’m not much of a series watcher, I’m more of a channel surfer. It’s a guilty pleasure and I miss it. Yet the cost, which was reasonable split 3 ways in my last apartment, is no longer something that makes sense when I have to cover it on my own. Cable TV for $600 per year (year 2) OR… well, spend it on something more useful than rotting my brain with repeats of law and order SVU.

How much per month do you currently spend on internet and/or cable?

 

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grad school dreaming. for real this time.

Money isn’t everything. Beyond food and a shelter over your head and some savings for the future, it doesn’t make life that much better. The older I get, the harder it is to face the substantial, life-altering decision that is pursuing that next level of education. With an income of $150k a year, give or take, makes that decision all the more challenging – or maybe just stupid. Regardless, the longer I age into a fine wine of the workforce, the more I realize that undoubtedly I’m in a patch of the wrong grapes.

My dream graduate program — throwing rationality out the window — is a three year long masters program in design at a renowned STEM institution in the northeast where I’d study interaction design focused on wearable technology. Getting into the program is a daunting task alone — while my professional experience is mildly relevant my lack of ability to memorize vocabulary and mathematical equations has left me avoiding the GRE year after year (don’t ask me how I scored slightly above average on my SAT back in the day, I guess my brain just worked better then.) Even if I did get in, should I really throw away three years of earnings to earn a degree in a field that will, for quite some time after graduation, pay less than I’m making now? Continue reading

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The Percentage Budget: How much should the single working woman spend on clothes?

There should be some criminal penalty for allowing me to enter a Nordstrom. The lighting, the quality-made clothing, the hip fashions that should be in my closet — not on the store rack — are too enticing. Luckily, I’m terrified of buying designer items that cost a small fortune, so I only buy items that cost a miniature fortune. Still, they add up, and I feel guilty for buying just about any item.

I wonder how these stores stay in business selling $300 shirts and $400 shoes, where a decent outfit complete with shoes and accessories costs $1000-$2000. While it doesn’t make sense for someone in a lower income bracket to shop at Nordstrom, I have to assume that this type of store and pricepoint would be targeted towards a mid-career professional earning over six figures. Not that I have to actually follow through with their marketing persona, but why can’t I enjoy the fruits of my labor in the form of a Joie blouse or Ted Baker suit? Continue reading

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Overwhelmed without a Cause

My 61-year old, obese, diabetic, cancer-ridden, often miserable (as a personality trait, not due specifically to the illness), hot-tempered father is not the first person one might go to for advice, but he always has some to give nonetheless. Our phone conversations — only triggered by my calling for mindless chit-chat with my mother and her not being home — follow the same exact plot:

  • How is your job going? Are you wealthy yet (semi joke)?
  • How’s your man doing? Does he have a stable career yet?
  • You know, you’re getting older. Life flies by. Don’t waste it. Do you have a plan? You need a plan. I don’t think you know what you’re doing. You’re going to regret it not having a plan, your life will fly by.

At 30, there’s a physical change happening within, or maybe it’s imagined, but it’s a feeling as if my entire body is running a thousand steps ahead of me and there’s no way I can catch up. The child I once was is clearly many years deceased. I look at my hands, garnering wrinkles at the knuckle by the day, skin thinning over blue blood lines, and see my mother’s hands, not my hands. I look down and see a body that is no longer my body. Continue reading

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My New American Dream: A Backyard, Family, and Freedom from Chasing the Chase (Iowa?)

My hair stylist is my backup therapist. She is this perfect blonde who always seems to be in a good mood despite it being way too early on Saturday morning. She is consistently perky, routinely, as I go in to the salon on random infrequent intervals to get my frayed locks trimmed, to maintain some air of exterior professionalism and polish while my mind remains frayed and in desperate need of its own snip.

While I think of my hair stylist as old(er) and myself as young(er) she’s actually 31 and I’m 30, but she’s married with older kid(s?) and I’m single and finally moving in with my long-time boyfriend. Her life is very different from mine, and who knows if she’s actually happy, but she seems to appear calm and content. Still, we both share a longing for a house with a backyard, for her, a place for her kids to roam free, for me, a place for my future children to cut themselves on sharp blades of grass and dig up worms under the slip-and-slide on long, hot summer days.

Continue reading