All posts tagged: Green

I Bank at McDonalds: Confessions of a Personal Finance Writer

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) People assume that I’m good with money because I write about it. I’m better than most. I’ve managed to keep my housing costs below-market in one of America’s most expensive cities for the past two decades. I dutifully sock away 15 percent of my salary (amplified by that oh-so-nice company match) in a retirement plan. I’ve paid off my loans for grad school as well as a car. But I do make questionable financial decisions. Here are four of my deepest, darkest money secrets. 1. I bank at McDonald’s. I know where every McDonald’s is within a 20-block radius from my office. And it’s not for the Big Macs, Filet-O-Fish or French Fries. While I rarely (maybe one out of every 100 visits) consume any food at Mickey Dees, aside from the occasional black-and-white shake, it’s where I get cold, hard cash. That’s because I bank at a credit union which has limited brick-and-mortar locations. But the credit union’s banking network allows you to use ATMs at any New York City McDonald’s, …

Anatomy of a Working Relationship (and a Sustainable Skateboard)

Frieda Premo, Brooklyn girl, riding a Bucket Board. (Photo courtesy Mac Premo) The first time my husband told me his idea, I wanted to throw up. Not because it was a bad idea — but because it was an idea that I could envision really, truly coming to life. My husband Mac is an artist who has spent the last two decades building with junk, er, found objects. He shows in a Chelsea gallery that features collage art, and he recently turned a 30-yard dumpster into a traveling collage. So when he was approached by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to create a piece of art out of trash, it wasn’t totally surprising. The WWF’s “Do The Green Thing “ campaign, in conjunction with Earth Hour, invited 15 artists to create something to inspire conscious, sustainable living, and he was one of them. We were standing in our kitchen, arms folded and leaning against the counter, and Mac told me he didn’t want to make art out of trash, he wanted to make a thing to use: a …

Ditching the “Sorry” When it Comes to Getting Paid

(Graphic: Helen Jane Hearn/TueNight.com) In the board game “Sorry,” two players cannot occupy the same space at the same time. You roll the dice, and if you land on a space where another player is already standing, they’re knocked back to where they started. Their progress is lost, and you’re left apologizing. “Sorry!” you say — with or without sincerity. Sorry, because I took up space that someone was using. Sorry, because I went and put myself out there, rolled the dice, and got somewhere. Sorry, I got in another person’s way. This game made perfect sense to me as a girl, because I was taught to move through the world in pretty much that same way. It was impolite to take up space, even metaphorically, because somebody else might need it. “I’m sorry,” was the all-purpose reply if I drew too much attention, made too much noise or did anything that might possibly annoy anyone. You’re not greedy if you want to be paid well. And you’re not stealing from the women next to …

Free Bird: Learning to Work with Wild Animals

Ben the Bird at the Wild Bird Fund (Photo courtesy Lauren Oster) My voice goes singsong, as though I’m speaking to a baby or a small dog: “BEN, MY SWEETHEART!” With a series of high-pitched chirps like sneakers on linoleum, an apple-red cardinal swoops down and lands on my shoulder. He sidesteps over to my ear, gives it a quick nip with his beak and starts trying to pull out my earring. This is unquestionably the high point of my week. About a year ago, I was surfing around the cute-photo Internet and stumbled into a gallery of birthday parties for zoo animals — a weird, marvelous corner of the web where Komodo dragons are presented with frozen meat-cakes festooned with dead rats and elephants trumpet over dessert-shaped towers of vegetables. The zoo websites explained that the cakes were enrichment objects. Exotic animals and craft projects are some of my favorite things on this earth; why, I thought, I should make those cakes! I burrito-wrapped a swan in a beach towel and felt him stamp …

Why I Paid My Son to Learn

(Graphic: Nancy Gonzalez/TueNight.com) Last week, my son returned from visiting a school he may attend next fall and said, “Mom, they all know multiplication and I don’t.” I replied, “You can learn multiplication in a snap. Why don’t I teach you?” His response: “No, that’s okay, I just want to play Minecraft.” I’m not concerned with video games. As a young girl, I played many hours of Nintendo a day. Now as CEO of DailyWorth, I attribute much of my entrepreneurial prowess to skills I acquired maneuvering technology, facing death (“game over”) only to start again. But if there’s one thing I hate about modern video games, it’s that they sell “upgrades” within games. They charge actual money to advance. I find this grotesque and vehemently deny my son’s requests for purchased advancement. It’s a ridiculous thing to spend money on. I stand by that. But this night, when my son asked for a $30 upgrade pack, an idea hit. What if I was able to use this perfect storm (money! video games! multiplication!) to show …

Margit’s Note: It Ain’t Easy

It’s a Masters jacket, it’s a smoothie with healthy stuff in it, it’s an envious glare, it’s a recycling bucket, it’s cold hard cash and it’s tomorrow. (Oh, crap!) This week we’re going #Green. We’re being smarter about our cash and putting plastic forks in the right receptacle. Earth Day (April 22 officially) and Tax Day (I’m not hyperlinking you) are both about giving back, sigh. And sustainability isn’t just the grass on your roof, it’s having a stable economy, being able to raise a family, having money in the bank, saving for retirement. — and women really need to save. Today is also Equal Pay Day. So consider this week your lime-colored, give-back mash-up. It’s weird to think that our perception about taking care of Mother Earth has shifted in our lifetime. It wasn’t that long ago we were throwing out cans with the cat food — now I might even have a bin of mulch-making worms in my very own apartment. OK I didn’t say I did, just that I might. Ok, I …