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I'm not one to keep my fridge and cupboards stocked but I had a few items from my last trip to Trader Joe's and they would get the job done.
May 8, 2010 10:04 AM   Subscribe

"What would be it like to go a day without spending any money? I've thought about this before but I've never considered actually trying it. I couldn't imagine going a day without spending a single penny -- is that even possible? How would I get from A to B? What about food? Turns out, a day of living expense free is possible and you'd be surprised by the overwhelming sense of satisfaction and feeling of elation that comes from it. " The Huffington Post's Alexa van Tobel tells the astonishing and empowering tale of How I Went 24 Hours Without Spending Any Money...In New York City. Unfortunately, "this experiment is unsustainable for a long period of time."
posted by Legomancer (158 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
What would be it like to go a day without spending any money? I've thought about this before but I've never considered actually trying it. I couldn't imagine going a day without spending a single penny -- is that even possible? How would I get from A to B? What about food? Turns out, a day of living expense free is possible and you'd be surprised by the overwhelming sense of satisfaction and feeling of elation that comes from it.

Please tell me this is joke. If it isn't, I want to murder this writer in the face.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 10:09 AM on May 8, 2010 [92 favorites]


Wow, what?
posted by delmoi at 10:11 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I realized that this was the perfect opportunity to use up those unopened cans or boxes that have been sitting in my cupboards....whipping up a delicious pasta dish at the stove and singing along to my Billy Joel favorites.

This was as far as I cared to go. Murder in the face indeed.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:13 AM on May 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


Oh, gosh, here's someone whose life is different than my own. What is the protocol here?
posted by sageleaf at 10:13 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


hate
posted by found missing at 10:15 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, New Yorkers, if you've ever wondered why people seem to dislike many of you, this is why.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 10:15 AM on May 8, 2010 [16 favorites]


Having been flat broke in NYC for days at a time on a number of ocassions, I can't describe the feeling of elation that comes from having money again.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2010 [19 favorites]


Positively the stupidest thing I've ever read here.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:16 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


On a typical day, I usually grab breakfast on my way to work at the deli below my Flatiron office. But yesterday I had some time to spare and I poured myself a bowl of cereal, adding banana slices on top. Not so bad. In order to prepare for lunch, I made myself a turkey sandwich on wheat bread, an apple and a granola bar and packed it up in a Ziploc bag. I'm not one to keep my fridge and cupboards stocked but I had a few items from my last trip to Trader Joe's and they would get the job done.
oh my god how arduous.
posted by bewilderbeast at 10:17 AM on May 8, 2010 [32 favorites]


So, this is a story about how this lady made her own food instead of buying it? Do New Yorkers not regularly use their kitchen or something?
posted by Think_Long at 10:18 AM on May 8, 2010


This person would not have lasted long on the Oregon Trail.
posted by mmmbacon at 10:18 AM on May 8, 2010 [69 favorites]


This lady is SO not ready for the zombie socialist apocalypse.
posted by hegemone at 10:19 AM on May 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


"24 Hours Without Spending Any Money...In New York City." ..Also known to millions of less insufferable Americans as "Wednesday."
posted by applemeat at 10:20 AM on May 8, 2010 [92 favorites]


"Astonishing and empowering"? Are you fucking kidding?

Perhaps it is, if you're the kind of cretinous halfwit that spends $32.50 on takeaway pasta and a salad, I guess.
posted by metaxa at 10:20 AM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


When I was in college I went to visit New York City and stayed with a friend who had grown up on the Upper East side. His parents owned a flat on Madison avenue. They ordered out for EVERY meal while I was there. I was shocked. My friend couldn't remember the last time his Mom had made dinner. They even ordered out for breakfast. It was the food that clued me in to how rich they were, not the fact that they owned the place.

I know not everyone does it, but there definitely does seem to be a culture of ordering and eating out in NYC, if you can afford it. I guess if I lived in a city with some of the best restaurants in the world, I'd want to eat out a lot too.

On a side note, my wife and I are doing a similar thing as the author right now, cutting out the extra, unneeded expenses in our life and competing to see who can spend less. We're eating in 6 nights a week and spending more time together as a result. It's nice.
posted by mikeweeney at 10:20 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just a few weeks ago, I managed to survive a whole week on $5. I should get some kind of medal.
posted by empath at 10:20 AM on May 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


I don't know if I would call her day expense-free - I mean, she did have to buy groceries for her lunch and dinner. Just because she bought it on a different day doesn't mean it still didn't come from her wallet. The title should probably be "The Day I Didn't Buy Anything But Utilized A Bunch of Shit I Found In My Apartment"
posted by kerning at 10:25 AM on May 8, 2010 [31 favorites]


Her name certainly does indicate she leads a somewhat aristocratic lifestyle: Alexa von Tobel
posted by Think_Long at 10:25 AM on May 8, 2010


I frequently go days at a time without spending any money. I have this thing called a fridge that dispenses food that has already been paid for. My car has a gas tank that stores fuel instead of running on coins inserted as each mile ticks over. If I'm in the closest city, my prepaid metro card allows me to get from here to there. And if it's empty, I found these things on the end of my legs that help me ambulate.

Yes, my life is an adventure! Where's my book deal?
posted by Never teh Bride at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


Oh for fuck's sake. I hadn't known my class hatred could be so rejuvenated. Thank you Alexa, for telling me you are a clueless dipshit who deserves a punch in the face the next time I get you in my taxi.

no longer drives a taxi, and never in NYC, but i will keep my fantasy, you bitch.>
posted by RedEmma at 10:27 AM on May 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


Alexa von Trobel
Founder and CEO, LearnVest


From the LearnVest website:

It is our mission to provide unbiased financial information to all women so that they can make the best financial decisions possible.

Irony-meter explosion. Where is the line for murdering in the face?
posted by drpynchon at 10:28 AM on May 8, 2010 [29 favorites]


I vote Aye on the motion to face-murder.

In the meantime, I think I'll make myself lunch, and remember to feel astonished and empowered. Sadly, I do need to get some more groceries this afternoon, so my astonishing power levels will drop after that. But in the next few days, my empowerment might even climb above astonishing and into wondrous!
posted by Drastic at 10:29 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


btw, i haven't eaten out since like 2008. so fuck all y'all.
posted by RedEmma at 10:29 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Not trying to apologize for this woman's obliviousness, but I can at least understand where she's coming from. I regularly work 70 hour weeks in Manhattan and the last thing I want to do when I come home from work after a 14 hour day is cook dinner in my hallway/kitchen in my 500 sq foot apartment and eat on my coffee/dinner table. On top of that, the grocery store in my neighborhood (W Village) charges like $83 for an apple, so cooking your own food isn't exactly a huge money saver. Does that $32 pasta take out sound like such a bad deal after all, now?
posted by gagglezoomer at 10:31 AM on May 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


I had a swear-filled post all ready to go, but instead I'll take the high road and merely note that this reads like something Rebecca Eckler might have written.
posted by The Card Cheat at 10:31 AM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


in my earliest years in nyc, i house sat one summer, for 2 weeks. had no money, no job at that moment. the young lady who i was sitting for, let me have an industrial size of tuna. a really big can, i have never seen another like it. i lived on that for 2 weeks. and yes, i still like tuna.
posted by billybobtoo at 10:33 AM on May 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


What the fuck? I, too, want to murder this person in their face, possibly all the way to their stupid brain. Sometimes I go weeks without spending money in New York City.
posted by fuq at 10:33 AM on May 8, 2010


But, gagglezoomer, you appear to be aware that groceries exist and that pantries are for food and that staying in is an option.

Apparently, these things were a huge revelation to Ms. von Trobel.
posted by Never teh Bride at 10:35 AM on May 8, 2010


She's a Harvard Business School grad, fwiw.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


OK I got as far as the 'oh wow... I walked 20mins to work'... I mean really. I'd never even consider getting any form of public transport, never mind a taxi for that. I'm joining the face-stabby line.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 10:38 AM on May 8, 2010


I knew that my success relied heavily on morning preparation, so I set my alarm clock 30 minutes earlier than my usual wake-up time. There were four morning spending hurdles that I had to tackle: the commute to work, my morning coffee, breakfast, and lunch. As a die-hard Le Pain latte lover, avoiding coffee was going to be a challenge.

In general, I try my damnedest to avoid LOLZ pile-ons, but in this case it proved to be a bit too much of a challenge.

This woman's either the driest wit in HuffPo history or the most self-involved person in New York - which would put her in the running for most self-involved worldwide. In either case, she does indeed deserve a medal.
posted by gompa at 10:38 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Surely You're Joking, Ms. von Trobel!
posted by gwint at 10:39 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have never spent any money in New York City, ever. In my whole life. Just thought I'd put that out there.

I'd like to request that no one threaten my life, please.
posted by amtho at 10:40 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't fucking wait until she shows up in the NY Times Style section. That will be another ruined Sunday morning.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 10:45 AM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


The title should probably be "The Day I Didn't Buy Anything But Utilized A Bunch of Shit I Found In My Apartment"

Before I read the link I was thinking, "BFD, I can go DAYS without leaving my home, and provided I don't buy anything on-line, I don't spend a dime. But then I got to thinking that, no...I might run the water, or turn on the lights, or use the oven and all that stuff costs money, it is just deferred to the end of the month-- really no different than eating out and putting it on the credit card. Plus, let us just say that I don't use any of the utilities, there are still mortgage payments, insurance payments, and taxes. Every minute that I am breathing, I am spending money.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:47 AM on May 8, 2010 [18 favorites]


$83 for an apple? Yeah, with a coupon maybe.

I'm hoping for Poe's law on this one, my murder-in-the-face queue is getting lengthy as is.
posted by Skorgu at 10:48 AM on May 8, 2010


I just noted that she is responding a bit in the comments section of the article. In response to pauldeba's dry (maybe too dry?) remark that he managed to not spend money on most days throughout his college career, she replies encouragingly, "I am trying to get 20 somethings to realize how easy this is to do! Starting to build this good habits early is very important. Good for you!"

I'm just... having a really hard time with this.
posted by hegemone at 10:49 AM on May 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


Her name certainly does indicate she leads a somewhat aristocratic lifestyle: Alexa von Tobel

I looked to see if she was from old money, but she doesn't seem to be. Her grandpa was a welder, her brothers are both doctors, her mother seems to be a nurse and her step-dad is a lawyer. I think its just a 'high-achieving' family. (five minutes of googling can find you a scary amount of info on people). I can't find anything about wealthy 'von Tobels' anywhere.
posted by empath at 10:49 AM on May 8, 2010


So this is the sort of drivel HuPo comes out with when they aren't just copy/pasting wholesale from other news sources? Colour me shocked!
posted by furtive at 10:50 AM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, this is a story about how this lady made her own food instead of buying it? Do New Yorkers not regularly use their kitchen or something?

Friends of mine recently moved from Manhattan to Toronto. As they turned the corner to their new west-end residential street and pointed out their new house to their primary-school-aged children, one of them (who knew no existence but the Upper West Side) burst into tears. "But Mama, how will we eat? There are no restaurants on this street!"
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:51 AM on May 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


the young lady who i was sitting for, let me have an industrial size of tuna. a really big can, i have never seen another like it. i lived on that for 2 weeks.

Hah. That reminds me of that scene from Sophie's Choice when the writer, Stingo, buys a case of Spam to live on while he writes his novel in New York City.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 10:55 AM on May 8, 2010


But wait! There's more! After a commenter pointed out that not everyone lives with the kind of choices she has, here was Alexa's response:


The main point is not that spending zero cash in a day is a feat -- the point is that the average American is overspending and there are simple ways to cut back. The average American spends $1.33 for every dollar earned, according to the Census Bureau. What’s more, the average college senior graduates with approximately $4,000 in credit card debt, according to Sallie Mae, and as a result, will spend his or her twenties paying down that debt. There are some people who aren't as disciplined as you nor do they live as frugally, and as a result they can often make common financial mistakes. If they can start saving $5 or $10 per day on small expenses, they can start putting that money towards their debt repayments, their short-term or long-term savings, and or a charity.

So we're getting a lecture on running up our credit cards and saving $10/day on small expenses...from someone who not only spent $32 on takeout pasta, but also is not exactly being frugal with her rent, if she can walk to work in Manhattan.

On preview: hegemone, I'm having a really hard time with this, too.
posted by bakerina at 10:57 AM on May 8, 2010


I have read over the years any number of articles by people who have entered a different way of life to see what it is like. This includes:
working a garbage truck; prison, being black rather than white, being a woman, being on welfare.

Alas, what none of these reports seem to recognize is that for those people who live such lives year after year after year, there is a sense of hopelessness, desperation (often) but for those "playing dress ups,"it is simply a matter of one full week at it, or one day, or three months...then freedom from that which is so seemingly difficult. In sum: you can never truly fully walk a mile in those shoes.
posted by Postroad at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


Aw, rest easy, folks. Creatures like this von Tobel will still have a purpose in the coming economic apocalypse: livestock. But remember to harvest them early before confusion sets in. Without functioning neighbourhood stores, restaurants and convenient coffee shops, they will run frantically from door to door demanding pasta, or a latte, or "a slice for God's sake, please, anything." Fortunately, catching these beasts is easy, as a the odour from a pastrami-on-rye will bring them in droves. With care, one sandwich can last for up to two weeks and will produce a catch of upwards of 200 ready-to-clean carcasses. Be sure to use a metal detector to keep bluetooth headsets and genital piercings out of your processing machinery; no one wants that kind of downtime when Yuppie Swine are surging.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:59 AM on May 8, 2010 [25 favorites]


singing along to my Billy Joel favorites

that's really weird
posted by bhnyc at 11:05 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


This would have been much more interesting (and hard to do) if it was "What it's like to go a day without spending any money in New York...as a tourist."
posted by ghharr at 11:06 AM on May 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Let me confirm that this is annoying and stupid even if you are a restaurant-eating class enemy like me.
posted by grobstein at 11:08 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I met this guy on the east side, the rapping jesus, he claimed that the streets provided everything he needed. If he needed a smoke, he went and got one. People just walked up to him and handed him hamburgers. If your willing to subsist at a very low level, NYC can offer you quite a bit!
posted by kuatto at 11:11 AM on May 8, 2010


...her logic, it does not resemble our Earth logic.

However, I am glad to know that, by her rubric, I only pay rent (and transit, with my monthly passes) twelve days a year! I'm *really* bad with my finances for those twelve days though. Maybe her financial services could help me.
posted by ilana at 11:13 AM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Y'know, on the (many) days living in NYC when I had no money, I, too, found walking to work satisfying and invigorating. Granted, I didn't live quite as close to my workplace as she does, having to get from the Halsey stop on the L train to Canal St some 6.5 miles away. And after the 2 hour walk home, I found that I could dine and relax frugally with the foods remaining in my cupboards from the last trip to the supermarket: rice and dried beans.

Actually, now that I think about it, that wasn't very invigorating, relaxing, or satisfying at all.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 11:19 AM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I skimmed this article initially, so when I read the first comment about $32 takeout pasta, I thought the poster was using hyperbole. Then I saw it again and again, and I went back and looked... $32.50 for pasta and a salad? Are you freaking kidding me?
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 11:20 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Articles like this are why I never read comments at HuffPo... or articles at HuffPo.
posted by aaronetc at 11:21 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Of course, there are some expenses, like the morning commute, that are unavoidable. If you live far away from the office and must travel by train, taxi or subway, you will have to spend some amount on travel.
Someone really should tell her about transit passes. Does she really think that people who take the subway wait in line to pay their fare every day? Has she ever actually been on the subway?

I'll admit, I do sort of get a kick at seeing my pretty ordinary, middle-class American lifestyle depicted as some sort of epic adventure. I make coffee at home in the morning, pack lunch, ride my bike or use my bus pass to get to work, make tea at work rather than buying coffee, and cook my own dinner. I might as well be climbing Everest!
posted by craichead at 11:21 AM on May 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


When I was really low on dough last December ('cause I wasn't working over my college's winter break and some other reasons) I tried to stretch my cat litter out a little further. I scoop out the box every day, but if there isn't fresh cat litter to add one of my cats becomes offended and refuses to use the box.

I am here to report that there was no elation associated with cleaning cat shit off the floor.
posted by angrycat at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


A taxi to work every day? EVERY DAY?! No one in New York does this. Her conceit that she's showing twenty-somethings how to cut back is patronising and asinine. If you understand basic math you know how to budget and are making decisions to balance a variety of goals, wants and need. People need a functioning economy not a lecture from a Sex in the City character.
posted by edbles at 11:27 AM on May 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


> How I Went 24 Hours Without Spending Any Money...In New York City.

Pfft, I haven't spent any money in New York City since October!

Granted, that is because I currently live in Los Angeles, but still.
posted by mrzarquon at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think you guys have been trolled.
posted by fungible at 11:31 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know about trolled, exactly, but I think this is a smart woman who is affecting a very dumb voice because she thinks her audience is stupid and will relate to it. And I don't think I'd want to take financial advice from someone who assumed I was a moron.

Or maybe she really is that much of a dingbat. But it's funny, because I'd probably be the target demographic for her website, and I'm thinking that's a no.
posted by craichead at 11:41 AM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


angrycat: "I am here to report that there was no elation associated with cleaning cat shit off the floor."

eponypropriate
posted by idiopath at 11:41 AM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


"A taxi to work every day? EVERY DAY?! No one in New York does this. "

Uh...if you live kinda close to your work you can get a taxi for, say $6 whereas taking the subway would cost well...let me think...you get a %10 bonus...so each ride costs about $2.

So $4 a day to save some time and energy, I think a lot of people would do that.

I have to say that if I did this experiment I would be okay until the part where I wanted to buy a drink. I am really obsessed with buying some sort of non-water beverage every day.

Also $32 for pasta and a salad makes sense if you're eating at the kind of place where stuff costs $10+ per dish, which is easy to find in Manhattan. That plus tax and a good tip is easily $32.

Don't get the face stabbing, really, although maybe that is because my recent reliance on tortilla chips, crackers, Top Ramen, and booze to fulfill my caloric needs is making me soft in the head.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:42 AM on May 8, 2010


Man, how much is this "LearnVest" outfit paying this woman if she can afford to spend almost a hundred bucks on food every damn day? Plus, I'm sure, a gym membership to keep her fit (since "walking to work" is such a new concept to her), and who knows what else?

Either that or she's digging one hell of a hole with her credit card.
posted by egypturnash at 11:44 AM on May 8, 2010


Apologies for the sloppy analogy, but I've put my finger on why this bothers me other than for the obvious "what do you mean, cook at home? I'm a New Yorker!" aspect -- which is another GRAR for another time...

I lived in New York for almost 20 years, the first three in Manhattan, the rest in Astoria, Queens. During the summer of 2006, my neighborhood was one of many in western Queens that lost power when some Con Ed feeder cables blew out. We were without power for 10 days. Some people were without power for 2 weeks. In late July.

Because so many affected neighborhoods were full of multifamily houses where the connections to the electrical grid were (discreet cough) haphazard and whimsical, you'd have situations like at our house, where the first floor apartment got the power back a full week before the two apartments on the second floor (one of which was ours) and the basement did. You'd ride through neighborhoods and see entire blocks where the first floors were powered on one side of the street and the second floors were powered on the other side, or where there was just no discernible pattern. Added to the hilarity was the fact that the Con Ed station that provided power to most of New York City was three blocks from our neighborhood.

My husband and I were lucky in that MeFi's own miss-lapin is a close friend, and she is not only beautiful, she is also heroic. Her neighborhood (in Manhattan) was not affected. She not only let us stay with her, but she spent ten days sleeping on her couch so that we could sleep in the bed and retain a modicum of sentience when we went to work the next day. But one of us would ride back to Astoria every day to check on the apartment, to see if the power was back, to pick up the mail and to generally do anything that needed doing. The day we went back to the house to throw away everything that had been in the fridge and freezer, including a pair of sourdough starters I'd been maintaining for five years, was not a happy day.

But anyway. Every day we'd go to work, in our respective well-air-conditioned office towers, and NY1 or some other local news would be on in the break room, and every single day, Mayor Bloomberg and some Con Ed weasel would be on the news, saying what work had been accomplished the previous day, and they'd always, always manage to hector the people who'd just got their power back, to the tune of "The grid is still unstable, so even if your power has been restored, be smart with it. Don't just turn on your tv. Don't just turn on your air conditioner. Think about your neighbors. Be responsible." And then at lunchtime, I'd go outside, in midtown Manhattan, and I'd lose count of how many businesses would have their doors flung open and their a/c cranked to meat-locker levels, to try to entice customers inside. Everyone from Emporio Armani to Best Buy was doing this shit -- which they could do freely, of course, because their part of the grid wasn't unstable.

To this day, I think about that. I think about the Mayor telling us outerborough plebes that trying to return our homes to a liveable state, or trying to get information about what had happened, was jerklike behavior, while remaining silent about the retail a/c shenanigans. (If he ever *did* say anything like "hey, retail, you're not in any danger of losing your power, but this might not be the smart thing to do during an infrastructure crisis affecting 100,000 New Yorkers," I never saw or heard any reports about it, and I'll totally own up to it if I'm just being ignorant here.) And we were the lucky ones. A lot of our neighbors didn't have friends or family nearby with working a/c, and had to stick it out as their buildings got hotter and hotter. A few of our neighbors ended up hospitalized. Three ice cream stores in our neighborhood closed, because their refrigeration systems were destroyed. The health food store around the corner survived, but between destroyed inventory and lack of sales, lost $150,000 in a single week. When it was all over, Con Ed agreed to reimburse residents and businesses who were affected. Residents got $300/household. Businesses got $7,500, full stop.

That's what Alexa's advice reminds me of. Someone who not only has enough resources to live in an expensive, but who also can commute via freaking taxicab, is finger-wagging about the average American spending $1.33 for every $1 earned, and telling The Kids to stop buying so many damn lattes, as if lattes alone were the cause of those $4,000 credit card balances. That's what's giving me the most heartburn about this.

Well, that and the "ZOMG I DONT COOK CUZ IM A NEWYORKER" thing, but that one's a looooooooong rant.
posted by bakerina at 11:48 AM on May 8, 2010 [69 favorites]


final paragraph editfilter: "Someone who not only has enough resources to live in an expensive NEIGHBORHOOD..." Ye gods.
posted by bakerina at 11:55 AM on May 8, 2010


"Walk to work, bring your lunch, and make coffee at home" is the grand moral of this? How is this not a joke?
posted by punchdrunkhistory at 12:15 PM on May 8, 2010


The average American spends $1.33 for every dollar earned, according to the Census Bureau.

Oh come on, that doesn't even make sense. The median American family is something around $53,000 a year. So she's claiming that the median family debt increases each year by about $17K - 18K?

In other words, after a lifetime of working (call it 45 years), the median American family will be around $800K in debt?

Somehow, I doubt it.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 12:25 PM on May 8, 2010


Yeah, this was seriously weak sauce. "Hmmmm, how will I go a day without buying stuff I don't need to buy? WAIT A SECOND GUYS... I COULD USE THINGS I ALREADY HAVE! Feel free to use my genius strategies. You're welcome."
posted by 23skidoo at 12:28 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Assuming taxi there and back and a 9-5 M-F schedule: She's paying $12 * 5 = $60 a week $240 a month. A monthly metro is $120. Now If that's how she wants to spend her money so be it. But acting like cutting the taxi to work out of your daily budget is applicable advice for a reasonable portion of the population is mentally subnormal.
posted by edbles at 12:32 PM on May 8, 2010


Her name certainly does indicate she leads a somewhat aristocratic lifestyle: Alexa von Tobel

Nah, Vons and Vans and Dis are a dime a dozen in NY.
posted by madajb at 12:34 PM on May 8, 2010


I went into this suspecting it was a satire of My Year of Living book-contract-salably/rich people living pseudo-simply conceits.

I wish I could still believe that.
posted by Zed at 12:43 PM on May 8, 2010


Yeah, this is ridiculous. I've lived in NYC my entire life, and have had all sorts of various habits regarding money, depending on my income, my job hours, and what neighborhood I spend most time in, but I would never have considered it notable to go a day without putting out cash. At the moment I make most meals at home (except a few times a month going out for fun kinda thing). We have Trader Joe's, and plenty of other supermarkets and outlets, and farmer's markets, so expensive grocery stores aren't the issue. Those are for when you have a craving at 3 in the morning, not for weekly supplies.

So $4 a day to save some time and energy, I think a lot of people would do that.

This reminds me of the opening of a mini-documentary about rich people I saw on maybe HBO years ago, where the son of the Whitney museum family was shown riding on the subway for the first time in his life - he'd always just taken taxis and had no real idea what the subway even was. To me, $120 extra per month - $180 extra per month if you could walk anyway - is insane. But it's common to just spend whatever money is available, live according to income rather than needs. If people get used to taking taxis, and it doesn't diminish their ability to pay other bills, then they'll feel it makes sense, whereas if you're used to walking, biking or metrocarding, taking a taxi every day sounds as indulgent as hiring someone to bathe you and feed you grapes.
posted by mdn at 12:43 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


ATTENTION: alexa von tobel has announced her next challenge.
posted by the aloha at 12:45 PM on May 8, 2010


Do New Yorkers not regularly use their kitchen or something?

I have known New Yorkers that have used their stoves for storage.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 12:50 PM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


empath: "Just a few weeks ago, I managed to survive a whole week on $5. I should get some kind of medal."

The von Tobel Prize for Economic Science, it's a $25 Starbucks gift card.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:54 PM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I was increasingly incredulous as I read this. This woman is the president of a company that provides financial advice? Jesus.
posted by maxwelton at 12:55 PM on May 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


$32.50 for pasta and a salad? Are you freaking kidding me?

It's been years since I was in NYC, but I imagine that like other major cities - San Francisco, for instance, where I live - it's entirely possible to get excellent takeout for not very much money if you know where to go and what to order. The super burrito from my local taqueria may cost nearly eight bucks, but it will also feed me for at least three meals. But I'm not thinking that her pasta+salad is more than one meals' worth of food, based on the rest of what she says about things and what her expectations seem to be.

*joins the face-murder line*
posted by rtha at 12:57 PM on May 8, 2010


ATTENTION: alexa von tobel has announced her next challenge.

Why is the link in her tweet going to the iTunes app store?
posted by rtha at 1:02 PM on May 8, 2010


Because she's a halfwit?
posted by Nothing... and like it at 1:04 PM on May 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


I live in New York and cook about one real meal a month. For the record, I don't count toast or cereal making a meal. However, before I moved here, I would cook regularly as I really enjoy it. In my opinion, nothing eats opening a bottle of wine and grilling steaks while my partner makes a salad. That's living and that's the American dream for me. But that's not possible when you live in a box. Leaving work at 8pm is considered early for me and the kitchen I come home to more resembles the one you had in your college dorm than the fantasy kitchen New Yorkers have on TV (you know, with the marble countertops, hanging copper pots and pans, and a SubZero refrigerator full of fresh produce and foie gras and shit like that). So yeah, I usually grab a burrito or some hummus on the way home and sometimes I even order a $30 pasta and I certainly don't feel bad about it. And I also eat out a lot at nice places. This is the best city in the world for food and I might as well take advantage something here considering I pay a gazillion dollars a month for rent for the "privilege" to be in Manhattan. And next time you think this type of behavior is overly entitled, go sit on your porch or drive your car and park for free or walk to the other room in your house or pay your mortgage instead of your rent or walk your dog around the neighborhood, and you'll see that everything is more or less equal, on balance.
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:12 PM on May 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


I almost made it through this whole day without pending a damn thing even without Ms. von Trobel's article, but then I found myself logging on to MeFi, reading this post, and then high tailing it down to the Sporting Goods Emporium to buy face-stabbing knives for everyone here.

Turns out I couldn't do it though. The clerk at K-Mart & I are both too uncultured to know whether bone-handle or steel handle with rubber grip is the proper knife for face stabbing. It simply wouldn't do to use the wrong utensil.
posted by beelzbubba at 1:14 PM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


You could make pasta primavera at home in 20 minutes, with plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. Surely that's better than waiting 40 minutes for it to arrive.
posted by vickyverky at 1:16 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


And next time you think this type of behavior is overly entitled

Hey, I lived in New York for years working long hours and eating (mostly) out. It's not the behavior that irks, it's the self-backpatting for managing to refrain for TWENTY-FOUR WHOLE HOURS.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 1:17 PM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


And next time you think this type of behavior is overly entitled, go sit on your porch or drive your car and park for free or walk to the other room in your house or pay your mortgage instead of your rent or walk your dog around the neighborhood, and you'll see that everything is more or less equal, on balance.

Sooooo, if I rent an efficiency with no porch and I don't have a car or a dog, I can think you're overly entitled? Because people like that exist, you know.
posted by 23skidoo at 1:20 PM on May 8, 2010


But dogs are so awesome; you should at least have a dog!
posted by gagglezoomer at 1:24 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Alexa will be second against the wall.

First is reserved for whatever soulless moron pays her to write this dreck. Fuck her and fuck anybody who does not see this for what it is: clueless class war.

[YES, CLASS-WAR-IST]
posted by joe lisboa at 1:27 PM on May 8, 2010


Why is the link in her tweet going to the iTunes app store?

Because it is her world and you are just paying to live in it?
posted by joe lisboa at 1:28 PM on May 8, 2010


When she goes a day without using the internet, then I'll be impressed.
posted by Obscure Reference at 1:29 PM on May 8, 2010


alexa von tobel has announced her next challenge

Um: Let me guess:

How I Went 24 Hours Without Showering...In New York City!!!!

What would be it like to go a day without showering? I've thought about this before but I've never considered actually trying it. I couldn't imagine going a day without spending a single penny on personal cleanliness -- is that even possible? How would I function? What about smell? Turns out, a day of living shower-free is possible and you'd be surprised by the overwhelming sense of satisfaction and feeling of elation that comes from it.

On Tuesday night after a long day of work I decided to relax at the Ohm spa. Forty minutes later, the masseur arrived and I handed him $322.50, including tip. Pretty steep for a massage for one, I thought. I returned to my apartment, and it was then that I had a moment: I reviewed my hygiene spending for the day and I realized that I had spent well over $80 over the course of the day on menial expenses. I hadn't gone shopping, I hadn't gone for an express mini facial combo, and I hadn't joined my friends for the 60-minute Premium Facial (ChromaWhite, Manuka or Actifirm Enzyme Peel). It dawned on me that the green tea pedicure, stops at the Spa Chakra on Fifth, the hot stone massage, the mid-morning or mid-afternoon reiki, the deep pore cleansing, and other trivial expenses really added up; realizing the total cost of it all was a painful but eye-opening experience.

That night, I decided to go on a mission to live a full 24-hour day without spending a penny on hygiene. A self-proclaimed female A.J. Jacobs, I pledged to wake up Wednesday morning and eliminate all hygiene expenses from my daily routine. It would be a feat but I was determined to test my discipline and my creativity. I would prove to myself and to those around me that a day of living shower free is possible - and a worthwhile experiment."
posted by storybored at 1:31 PM on May 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


So her big pro-tip to see what life is like without spending money is to use things that, and let me double-check here, she has ALREADY SPENT MONEY ON.

Well blow me down, she's a fucking GENIUS. America, your debt problems have been solved!
posted by modernnomad at 1:32 PM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Manhattanite here. We cook six nights a week, and it doesn't cost a whole lot less than the night we eat out/bring in take out, unfortunately.

We definitely do spend more than we should. On a Saturday night, we might spend $50 or for drinks when we could easily drink at home for a lot cheaper.

Taking a taxi back and forth to work... that's where I'd draw the line, I think. The MTA is awful, but it's better than sitting in traffic.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:08 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most of my GRAR has been covered. And so, instead, I will say this: Every time I see a comment by RedEmma, I like to pretend that Emma Goldman herself is, in fact, commenting on Metafilter.

Maybe I liked Angels in America a little too much, but I really enjoy the idea of keeping a few old school, lady-activist apparitions around so they can call bullshit on things.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 2:10 PM on May 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


This is part of an ARG for Very Mary-Kate, right?
posted by odinsdream at 2:16 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I hate those people who love to tell you
Money is the root of all that kills
They have never been poor
They have never had the joy of a welfare Christmas
posted by Ironmouth at 2:17 PM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


So as far as I can tell this chick is pretty much the female Patrick Bateman.
posted by signalnine at 2:53 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


An anagram for Alexa von Tobel is "Eat bollox, Eve".

I'm jes' saying.
posted by chavenet at 3:08 PM on May 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


How I Went 24 Hours Without Spending Any Money...In New York City

Ha! I've gone four years without spending any money in New York City. As long as you don't count my purchases from B&H.
posted by b1tr0t at 3:16 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


This should be posted word-for-word on The Onion. Maybe with the heading, "New Yorker makes her own lunch".
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 3:43 PM on May 8, 2010 [37 favorites]


Incidentally, LearnVest have raised 1.1 million! Surprisingly, it looks like a sensible organization. Maybe this whole article is a very clever awareness raising joke.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 3:58 PM on May 8, 2010


in my earliest years in nyc, i house sat one summer, for 2 weeks. had no money, no job at that moment. the young lady who i was sitting for, let me have an industrial size of tuna. a really big can, i have never seen another like it. i lived on that for 2 weeks. and yes, i still like tuna.

The summer I was an unpaid intern in Munich, Germany (another one of the most expensive cities on earth, though luckily I'd been granted a tiny apartment usually granted to temporary-duty staff), I once made a tiny (maybe 1/2 lb? 3/4, tops) package of ground beef my boss had bought for me before I got there last for that long or maybe longer, with judicious use of bread crumbs.

Add me to the "stab her in the face" line.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 4:00 PM on May 8, 2010


I don't know why anyone is surprised. I mean, she didn't come out and announce it, but this woman lives in fucking Manhattan. Do you have any idea how much it costs to live in Manhattan? This isn't your cheap flat in Brooklyn that you can just afford because the paint's old and you don't say anything about the dying radiator – there are no such places left in Manhattan. If someone can afford to live in Manhattan, I imagine they'd be flat-out insane to take the subway. Why? Just - why? If you have piles of money, why worry about spending it?
posted by koeselitz at 4:04 PM on May 8, 2010


I live in Manhattan and have done so for the last 15 years. No, I don't have piles of money lying around. I take the subway and walk to work. I brown bag lunches and snacks. I cook 6-7 nights a week (ok I do this to control my sodium intake, but still). My rent may be more expensive than some places in Brooklym, but it's actually the same or lower than some places I know in Brooklyn. I admit I was lucky to get this place, but I suspect I'm not the only person in Manhattan who lives here and isn't obscenely rich.

koeselitz comment indicates the real problem with this article-that it re-affirms a stereotype about wasteful decadent New Yorkers. And that's what makes me all stabby about the article.
posted by miss-lapin at 4:25 PM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


You know, the expense of buying all these face-murdering knifes really adds up. I wonder what life would be like if I could go a whole twenty four hours without stabbing Alexa von Tobel in the face?
posted by fuq at 4:30 PM on May 8, 2010 [10 favorites]


koeselitz , meh, you can live in manhattan and pay a huge variety of rents and you can also live in manhattan and spend all your money on rent and take a job as a barback so you can steal beer
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 4:33 PM on May 8, 2010


I used to live in Manhattan. I (and my other friends who lived in Manhattan) took the subway every day. No offense, but have you ever lived in NYC, koeselitz?
posted by Mikey-San at 4:43 PM on May 8, 2010


(this lady is a world-class idiot, of course. that, or an excellent troll.)
posted by Mikey-San at 4:46 PM on May 8, 2010


koeselitz, plenty of people live in Manhattan and don't have piles of money. It's called : rent control, rent stabilization, roommates, living in the parts of Manhattan that are CHEAPER that Brooklyn, etc.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:48 PM on May 8, 2010


there are no such places left in Manhattan.

Is this the same Manhattan with Harlem in it, or that doesn't count?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 4:52 PM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't know why anyone is surprised. I mean, she didn't come out and announce it, but this woman lives in fucking Manhattan. Do you have any idea how much it costs to live in Manhattan?

Yeah, but she writes as if everyone lives in Manhattan on a six figure income. I live in the boonies on a lot less than that, but then again, I often go for days without pulling out my wallet. That doesn't mean there aren't incidental costs like rent, but I don't eat out very often and am not that casual about money. NYC is not the only place where this kind of insular view about lifestyle and income takes hold. When I lived in the SF Bay Area, I noticed a striking difference in the way people treated money compared to where I grew up, like it wasn't that important to budget or look for a better deal on anything, and lifestyle took precedence over practicality. Of course, things may have changed in the last five years since I left ...
posted by krinklyfig at 4:57 PM on May 8, 2010


Not to Four Yorkshiremen the thread, but I lived in Manhattan for a couple years and didn't have the money to take the subway. I walked forty blocks to class instead.

Also, while reading the article, I thought of another simple way to save money: We could eat the rich!
posted by jocelmeow at 5:13 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Despite what television may have told you, all Manhattan residents are not lighting their Nat Sherman's with burning Jimmy Choos while sucking down cosmos in the back of sparkling clean taxicabs.

Cooking, riding the subway, and listening to CDs are not outlandish concepts to most people living in Manhattan. The notion that not whipping out one's wallet for a single day is *whoa* amazing! and different! and a shining example to overspenders everywhere! because one lives in Manhattan is one of the dumbest things I have ever read.
posted by Never teh Bride at 5:13 PM on May 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


So, in short, her secret plan for not spending any money today is to consume things she bought yesterday (or in the recent past). Good thing she didn't do this the day her rent was due.

But man, the line to murder this person in the face is getting really long. I'm gonna get hungry before I even get to the front. Fortunately, I have this sandwich I made yesterday...
posted by el_lupino at 5:25 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Christ, what a New Yorker.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 5:26 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not one to keep my fridge and cupboards stocked but I had a few items from my last trip to Trader Joe's and they would get the job done.

And I buy rice in 50-pound sacks.

And yet the author thinks that SHE is qualified to sell ME financial advice.

I understand the desire for stabbiness - I know people who sometimes go an entire day without spending money because THEY DON'T HAVE ANY MONEY THAT DAY, and so, yeah, this is infuriating.

But me, I'm madder at huffingtonpost for
a) being out-of-touch enough to pay for journalism of this quality; and
b) assuming that their audience would learn something from this sort of advice. That's just insulting.
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 6:03 PM on May 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I made a great pork tenderloin... it was on sale, 3 lb's cost me about $6...

we only ate half of it...

I packed the rest up and sent it to von who'sit.. she's probably getting hungry...
posted by HuronBob at 6:05 PM on May 8, 2010


fuq said You know, the expense of buying all these face-murdering knifes really adds up. I wonder what life would be like if I could go a whole twenty four hours without stabbing Alexa von Tobel in the face?

Fortunately, I still have this extra knife I picked up at REI last week.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 6:06 PM on May 8, 2010


Despite what television may have told you, all Manhattan residents are not lighting their Nat Sherman's with burning Jimmy Choos while sucking down cosmos in the back of sparkling clean taxicabs.

Yeah, I know. One of my nieces lives in Manhattan. She shares a tiny apartment and pays an outlandish sum for her rent, and she's not making anywhere near six figures (I think her rent is at least half her income). But her dream was to live there. She lives on pennies. I saw this a lot in SF, too, which is why I lived in Fremont instead. She'd do a lot better living in Brooklyn, but she wants to work in the fashion industry, and so she barely gets by while living in a very trendy borough that is above her means. But more power to her. I've moved around a lot, and I used to get grief about my choices from family, so she can do what she wants and will be fine. Anyway, that's why I don't live there. I can see the appeal, but the lifestyle isn't worth the sacrifices.
posted by krinklyfig at 6:14 PM on May 8, 2010


Tomorrow I'm going to drive for an hour and be fed by my family. I filled the car with gas yesterday, and they're buying the food to marinate tonight. Sunday, we're all practically gonna be freegans!
posted by kafziel at 6:14 PM on May 8, 2010


If she had done this and donated the money (not spent) to a soup kitchen or shelter....I think the little experiment might have had a point...
other than quasi-literary masturbation.
posted by shockingbluamp at 7:54 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Alas, what none of these reports seem to recognize is that for those people who live such lives year after year after year, there is a sense of hopelessness, desperation (often) but for those "playing dress ups,"it is simply a matter of one full week at it, or one day, or three months...then freedom from that which is so seemingly difficult. In sum: you can never truly fully walk a mile in those shoes.

Truth. At least Barbara Ehrenreich admitted that she had every conceivable advantage before trying to survive at WalMart.
posted by HumuloneRanger at 8:25 PM on May 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I live in New York. can go days without spending money. All it takes is a bike and a sack lunch. Really. I'm not big on face stabbing, but I might be willing to make an exception for this boob.
posted by orville sash at 8:39 PM on May 8, 2010


I started reading this hoping that Ms. von Tobel would have something interesting to say, but...wow. Just... wow. She takes a taxi to work every day? Seriously? Does she have a daily bath in goat's milk as well?

And here I was, feeling extravagant because I took the subway from my new place in Park Slope to the East Village for a $12 bowl of pork ramen. But hey, I can feel good now because I would rather knock my head into the wall than spend $32 on takeout pasta and a salad. That's what I would spend on drinks and dinner, including tip.

Seriously, this brain-dead yuppie douchenozzle is giving out financial advice? Can I join the face-stabbing line too?
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 8:46 PM on May 8, 2010


I'm pretty sure I spent around $32 on food this week.
posted by danb at 10:30 PM on May 8, 2010


There are days when I'm very glad I read the comments here before clicking the links. Keeps my blood pressure low.
posted by zarq at 10:50 PM on May 8, 2010


I am now heading to bed. I did not spend any money today. I just thought that everyone on the Internet—nay, in the world!—deserved to know that.

1) It's mostly 'cause my boyfriend did the grocery shopping today, while I studied on the couch.
2) The canned soup I ate for dinner was Progresso, not Campbells. This is clearly because I demand only the finest things.

posted by evidenceofabsence at 11:41 PM on May 8, 2010




Jesus Fucking Christ Harvard, what the fuckity fuck?
posted by bardic at 12:29 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I see this kind of article, I think: "Fish in barrel, meet machine gun." See also: Alexandra Penney.
posted by sdn at 4:51 AM on May 9, 2010


>>>A taxi to work every day? EVERY DAY?! No one in New York does this.

Dude, I have seen Barbara fucking Walters walk to work almost every morning. CPW to West End. Do you know how slow she walks?
posted by spec80 at 5:49 AM on May 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude, I have seen Barbara fucking Walters walk to work almost every morning. CPW to West End. Do you know how slow she walks?

Why are you stalking Barbara Walters? Also that's impressive, I will hereby never make a bugs bunny based accent joke about that woman again.
posted by edbles at 6:41 AM on May 9, 2010


She made cereal for breakfast? A salad for lunch?

Feh. Talk to me when she's gotten breakfast from the homemade date/nut/cocoa nib bread she made yesterday, and when her lunch is a full-on bento with yakitori, smoked clam nogiri, green beans with black sesame sauce, somen noodle salad, and homemade red bean daifuku.

(Hey. I went for AN ENTIRE YEAR on reduced income, and I fought back by learning to cook international cuisine. If I'm too broke for Nobu, fine, I'll cook my own damn Japanese food.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


But me, I'm madder at huffingtonpost for
a) being out-of-touch enough to pay for journalism of this quality;


HuffPo doesn't pay for all of its original posts. It's possible she posted it just to drive traffic to her site.
posted by ekroh at 7:14 AM on May 9, 2010


That article hurt me.

I shop at a large Whole Foods analog near my house because their produce is excellent and if you are careful a lot of things are cheaper than at putatively cheaper grocery stores. I adore the store, but I hate hate hate hate all the other customers, who are von Tobel's spiritual kin.

I think that certain breeds of affluent people are in fact so highly trained to ignore their social inferiors that they cannot perceive us or our life conditions at all. It is the only explanation for the way they have of being wholly unaware that anyone else exists. Certainly in the grocery store example the woman in a floor-length sable coat who is staring at a shelf with the vacant gaze of a drugged milch cow remains unaware of my presence until I cough pointedly about ten times. Écrasez l'Infâme!
posted by winna at 9:40 AM on May 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't want to get in the face-stabbing line, but I'll hold her down for ya'll.
posted by _paegan_ at 10:07 AM on May 9, 2010


"I shop at a large Whole Foods analog near my house because their produce is excellent and if you are careful a lot of things are cheaper than at putatively cheaper grocery stores. I adore the store, but I hate hate hate hate all the other customers, who are von Tobel's spiritual kin."

Oy! They're probably just people.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:13 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


People who wear floor-length sable coats to the dang grocery store are certainly not 'just people'.

I will adjust my statement to only include 91% of the customers, most of whom behave like entitled twerps. The other 9% are probably just like me and love produce items so perfect they resemble living gemstones.
posted by winna at 10:38 AM on May 9, 2010


yes, yes they are just people
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:52 AM on May 9, 2010


I've got no problem with people wearing full-length sable coats to do their grocery shopping. If someone writes an article about how he or she decided to forgo the full-length sable coat and go to the grocery store in a simple, homely North Face parka, and how to his or her surprise this turned out not to be that tragic or difficult at all, I'm going to conclude that person is probably a bit of a twerp.
posted by craichead at 11:12 AM on May 9, 2010


I actually wasn't sure what a sable coat was, so I went and looked it up. Oh they're made out of animals, and this one:

http://www.amazon.com/DRAMATIC-RUSSIAN-SABLE-COAT-22223/dp/B00065Q9CW

Cost $46,000.

So yeah, fuck those people. What a waste of money and animals.
posted by angrycat at 11:36 AM on May 9, 2010


Who the fuck buys a fur coat off of amazon?
posted by kuujjuarapik at 11:54 AM on May 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


me

no, really, I know a lot of people who inherit that stuff, and anyway, who am I to judge people, my annual pickle budget involves a comma.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 12:07 PM on May 9, 2010


No, I don't mean the coat necessarily. I mean the plonking down of $46.5K on Amazon and then awaiting the UPS guy. That seems incredibly unreal to me.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 12:24 PM on May 9, 2010


When I read the headline, I thought of Leona Helmsley and "Only the little people pay taxes".

Leona was right about that, of course, but people didn't like having it rubbed in their faces.
posted by Twang at 1:21 PM on May 9, 2010


I CAN TELL THAT YOU LIKE THIS GROCERY STORE FOR THE WRONG REASONS BASED ON HOW YOU ARE DRESSED
posted by 23skidoo at 1:28 PM on May 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't care where they shop. I'm just perplexed about the coat. Don't see why it's necessary. I can imagine some sort of justification for an expensive car, even if I don't agree with the justification. Clothes/coats/bags? Don't get it. /shrug. If most of the sable coat wearing people are wearing it because they got it from their Dear Aunt Minnie and it still smells like her and that's nice and o by the way they live in Siberia, then it makes more sense to me.
posted by angrycat at 1:38 PM on May 9, 2010


sure is easy not to spend money today when you spent the money yesterday.
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 10:17 PM on May 9, 2010


So, the week before last I discovered we had $0.20 in the bank. And somehow I managed to survive a week and a half without spending that $0.20. I'm waiting for my medal. If it doesn't arrive, I'll save up for one of those face stabbing knives.
posted by threeturtles at 8:47 AM on May 10, 2010


Twenty-four hours without spending money? Bah. A few times a year I'll go twenty-four hours without speaking to anyone. I don't specifically plan to do it, it usually just occurs to me as I'm getting ready for bed that I haven't spoken a single word to anyone all day. And I certainly don't write pretentious articles about it. But I do smile a little smile to myself as this realization occurs to me, because a day in which I haven't spoken to anyone has inevitably been a good day.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:50 PM on May 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


The quintessential HuffPo story--shallow and self-aggrandizing.
posted by Sassenach at 4:07 PM on May 10, 2010


I recently got suckered into going to a MLM dinner party showing off a line of amazing cookware. The saleslady showed how you could do amazing things with their cookware like:

(a) Cook sliced vegetables in their own juices by putting a lid on!
(b) Fry fatty meat in its own fat without adding extra oil!
(c) Setting a timer on a slow cooker!
(d) Stacking ingredients in a tall pot so that the stuff on top gets the least heat!

All the shit she showed us was ridiculously simple to anyone who cooks. But anyone who cooks isn't in the market for overpriced 1950's era cookware, since they know better.

Alexa von Tobel is using the same strategy to harvest gullible spenders with LearnVest - anyone with a lick of financial sense doesn't need it and won't pay for it.

LearnVest’s Board of Advisors includes ... Betsy Morgan (Former CEO, The Huffington Post).
posted by benzenedream at 6:13 PM on May 10, 2010


my annual pickle budget involves a comma

I don't think I've bought pickles since sometime in the mid 90s. But I also have a large garden and do a lot of canning.

A few times a year I'll go twenty-four hours without speaking to anyone.

I haven't actually spoken to anyone since April 19th. I work mostly from home, most of my friends live on the opposite side of the state, and I dislike talking on the phone.
posted by Tenuki at 8:13 PM on May 10, 2010


She didn't even cook. She poured sauce from a jar onto pasta from a box. I mean, don't get wrong -- that's a perfectly fine way to make a meal for the evening. But it ain't being Julia Child and it's not generally considered worthy of a dinner party. Also I found it funny that she happened to have the most bougie sauce of them all.

Also, I also was ready to read an article about not actually spending money and was pretty blown away that this money she was tearing through didn't include what I would call "normal" expenses -- groceries, rent, food. She was really just talking about not spending money on frills. The taxi was particularly obnoxious. Hey, know what? If you don't want to walk, you can also take the bus. They come by every 10 minutes or so, right?

Um, I mean, it's 2 am now and I have to head for work in 6-7 hours or so. I imagine tomorrow I may not have time to pack my lunch and catch the train (TrailPass of course). So I just might blow a couple of dollars on a sandwich from a lunch cart. Oh noes, I spent money.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:28 PM on May 10, 2010


Looks like the original post has just been un-published (just like most of the negative comments were a couple days ago).
posted by Gortuk at 12:49 PM on May 11, 2010


I'm amused by this thread, but could we please stop with the "stab her in the face" riff? It's unpleasant.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:10 PM on May 11, 2010 [5 favorites]


For those who, like me, are behind with their reading: Google cache.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:11 PM on May 11, 2010


I'm amused by this thread, but could we please stop with the "stab her in the face" riff? It's unpleasant.

FWIW when I started that (in the first comment) it was "murder" not "stab," (yes, there really is a difference) and I thought the author was a dude named Alex.
posted by Nothing... and like it at 3:20 PM on May 11, 2010


Looks like the original post has just been un-published

The price of the pasta dish she ordered had also mysteriously moved from 32.50 to 20.00 sometime before Sunday.
posted by odinsdream at 7:17 PM on May 11, 2010 [3 favorites]


Feh. Talk to me when she's gotten breakfast from the homemade date/nut/cocoa nib bread she made yesterday, and when her lunch is a full-on bento with yakitori, smoked clam nogiri, green beans with black sesame sauce, somen noodle salad, and homemade red bean daifuku.

Why should she wait to talk until then? What's wrong with a salad? I mean, good for you that you learned to make all that stuff but almost all of it makes me half-sick just reading it, nevermind eating it (and yes, I've tried most of it). Are homemade lunches of a salad somehow less than yours just because they are packed with more raw (and nutritious) cuisine from the individual's country origin instead of Japan? At least Alexa is trying to help people - you're just being holier-than-thou.

I can imagine some sort of justification for an expensive car, even if I don't agree with the justification. Clothes/coats/bags?

Do clothes/coats/bags have absolutely NO function? At all? Hell, at least our legs can provide us a little bit of function a car can, but our skin is no match for a coat and our two hands no match for a bag that can hold everything we'll need to use for the day AND leave our hands free to do work. I could walk or bike to work every day but there are very few days of the year I could roam around outside naked comfortably.

In terms of price, usually - not always, of course, but usually - more expensive clothes fit and feel better and are made out of higher quality and more durable material. They're usually cut and styled in such a way that they (and consequently the ones who are wearing them) draw the eye are more attractive to others (potential friends/employers/mates) resulting in a life benefit for the wearer. I'm not a fashionista - I can't recall the last time I bought a new article of clothing, and even then it was probably socks or underwear - but approaching it biologically, there is "fashion" in tribes of people who do not have cars (and thus do just fine without them). It must be important for some reason...
posted by Lt. Bunny Wigglesworth at 11:46 AM on May 16, 2010


Why should she wait to talk until then? What's wrong with a salad?
Nothing is wrong with a salad. There's something wrong with acting like you've discovered cold fusion because you've figured out how to do something that is pathetically obvious to most ordinary people. "I realized I could make a salad for lunch!" is kind of like saying "I realized I could take a shower and wash my hair in the morning!" There are people for whom that's a revelation?
At least Alexa is trying to help people
She's not really trying to help people. She's trying to run a business. Her business is giving financial advice to young women. This article was advertising for her business. I don't think it was very effective advertising.
posted by craichead at 12:00 PM on May 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seems like the Google Cache has gone AWOL, but here's a screenshot of the article, sans comments, sadly.
posted by blue andrea at 3:18 PM on May 24, 2010


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