Being Citybroke is about perspective. It’s about seeing glitter in the gutter and a sense of humor when life is giving you everything you don’t exactly want and you’re hanging on for a dream that you sometimes can’t remember.
It’s not sales or survival - it’s an electronic letter from the trenches. It’s what suits who make $60K in at age 24 can’t even imagine. It’s Freedom. It’s Poverty. It’s Broken. It’s Beautiful.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Free Tax Advice from the Peacock

If you still haven't done your taxes (or did them yourself and wound up owing the government $2000 so decided that there is no shame passing them off to your parent's accountant one last time), you have exactly 16 days left. While the free tax services, such as TurboTax, are great, they do charge you if you need certain sections explained. Avoid the fee and call up the tax experts the Today Show has standing by just for today to answer all your tax questions (what the hell is a AMT tax and should I care?) for free.

Call 877-NBC-4-TAX (877-622-4829) between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m. EST, Monday, March 31.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Finanical Wingnut Explains Crisis...Amusing.

This nymag article actually tickled me. Read it.

"I don’t know anything about money. I don’t mean that I’m not a financial expert. I mean that, when it comes to money, I’m functionally illiterate. I don’t like to think about finances, and on the rare occasions that I do, my thought process goes like this: I have a job. I earn money. I spend most of it. The rest I put in a savings account. That’s it. People who know about money are always yelling at me, because they can’t believe I’m still throwing away money by renting (mortgages are confusing) or not diversifying my portfolio (what portfolio?). And I freely acknowledge that people who think a lot about money will invariably accumulate more of it than I will. And I’m okay with that, since the trade-off is, I don’t have to spend my time thinking about money. "

The State Department Addresses "Romantic Scams"

My roommate got a check for a thousand bucks for living abroad in 2003 and I want a piece of that action. I'm fishing around on the Gov't's site and what! alongside health advisaries for int'l travelers there is a Romantic Scams section.

Birthday Girl with Ben Chapman was a great movie, but can heart-string tugging really be that big of an issue?

I guess so. These are all real excerpts from the State Departments run-down on "Romantic Scams."

"the targeted person is led to believe that he or she has a chance to attain something of very great personal value (financial reward, a romantic relationship, etc) in return for a small up-front monetary outlay."

Elements of a Scam – Key Warning Signs: Scams involve one or more – sometimes all – of the key signs below:

• Photographs that the scammer sends of "him/herself" show a very attractive person. The photo appears to have been taken at a professional modeling agency or photographic studio.
• The scammer has incredibly bad luck-- often getting into car crashes, arrested, mugged, beaten, or hospitalized -- usually all within the course of a couple of months.

Gorgeous People in Trouble – The Damsel in Distress

"The Expected Payoff: If he is sympathetic and assists her through her sudden crisis, the boyfriend stands to gain a large degree of gratitude from the young lady. If all goes well, her gratitude for his emotional support will translate, he hopes, into significant goodwill and affection from her when they finally meet. "

Scammer: How re you today?
American: I'm doing well. You are SUCH a pretty woman!
Scammer: Where did we meet -- on African Singles or Single Me?
American: Dreammates, maybe?
Scammer: How’re you doing?
American: I'm doing fine..............are you in Hawaii?
Scammer: Nope get hooked up with little problem here
American: "Hooked up with a little problem?" Explain, please.
Scammer: You care to know? I don't think you can help me out of this mess.
American: Well..........tell me and we will see.
Scammer: My dad he's from us and my mum is from Spain. So I’m a honest lady. And I’m trustworthy lady. And I don’t like people cheating. Right now I’m in west Africa. There was a guy that I met when I’m still at home in Florida (two month ago) so the guy told me that he love me. And I told him that I love him too. So he traveled to west Africa. He called me and chat with me on the phone. He really felt in love with me. So he said I should come and visit him in the hotel. So I went down to west Africa, to the hotel and we meet each other in person. But I don’t really know that the guy doesn’t love me. We have fun and know much more about each other together in the same room. And the next day I can't find this guy any more he ran away with all my money and my goods. All I need now…
American: All you need now?
Scammer: Your help. If you can help me to raise fund and I will pay you back when I get back to the States.
American: How much do you need?
Scammer: $500 US dollars.
American: Don't you have a credit card?
Scammer: Yes that [swear word] stole everything away from me.
American: Which credit card is it?
Scammer: American Express.
American: Did you call them to let them know?
Scammer: Yes, I did and there is nothing they can do about it.
American: Not true.
Scammer: Please help me out of this mess and I will pay you back. If you don't believe me then bye.
American: For someone who seems to need help, you have very short patience, why is that?
Scammer: Oh, patience? Is that all you have to tell me when I am stuck here?
American: No, but I would like you to explain what you did to extricate yourself from your situation first. You might have some options.............
Scammer: What option? Please tell me.
American: Is Amex your only credit card?
Scammer: Yes.

Personal Trainer For Rich Peoples' Pups

We've discussed second jobs before and in light of current economic trends, we're going to make side gigs a regular topic.

Today I check out Craigslist part-time jobs and this one was my favorites:

Running Paws, Inc ( the original dog fitness company is looking to add another Dog Runner to our expanding team of athletes.


* Comfortable with dogs of all sizes (and truly loves animals) * Able to handle 2 large dogs at a time * Able to run at least 4 miles daily (you must be in exceptional shape) * Cold/Snow/Slush/Wind/Rain/Heat/Humidity resilient * Own a cell phone * Have a clean criminal record (for bonding purposes) * Hold U.S. citizenship or legal working documents. * Minimum 5 month commitment * Available to begin working immediately * AVAILABLE FOR WORK BETWEEN 11am-3:45pm (MON thru FRIDAY). Please do not respond to this listing if you can't work 11am-3:45pm (MON. thru FRI.)
Expect to earn between $175-$225(free and clear) weekly (aprox. 2.5-3.5 hours daily).
IE $15 bucks an hour for running large dogs. If no taxes involved, this could improve your fitness and your wallet thickness level. You'd have to be unemployed or work nights or be a student for it to work. Or a writer.
On a scale of 1-10 - I give this job a 8 for cool/rewarding, 3 for pay per hour, and a 2 for benefits to your career.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

How We Should Benefit From A Recession - But Won't

A recession is good for people who don't have a lot of money because they can buy stocks and homes on the cheap. Home prices are falling, but not enough and especially not enough in New York.

The Gov is working to stabilize home prices by creating safety nets for homeowner's who got into mortages that they now cannot afford. Government-backed lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have been given the leeway to lend more aggrressively to people facing foreclosure to help them get into homes they can afford.
Two effects of this policy: people get out of contractual agreements and the new terms lower profits for the bank. Losses in profits always trickle down to consumers (unless its Uncle Sam on the losing end.)
The second effect is that the indirect government bail-out will keep people in homes they never should have bought. The market should be correcting itself by gettting these folks who bought beyong their means out of their homes causing the price of homes to plunge starkly. That's when we step in and buy a house. This isn't going to happen.

Oh, yeah. And all this D.C. tampering is definetly being paid for with additional taxes.

We Don't Pay Much In Taxes - But This Still Sucks.

This awesome MarketWatch article explains in plain language how the last 5 years years of willy-nilly government spending (especially in regards to the Iraq War) will be paid by us...soon.

"Well, folks, the party's over. Campaign rhetoric won't hide America's excesses, denial, incompetence and arrogance much longer. No matter who's elected, taxes will increase to cover massive debts. Greed has driven America's great economic engine into a "debt contagion" ditch with a recession, bear market, price inflation, and weak job and housing markets ... you bet your taxes will increase. "

READ IT 10 reasons your taxes are going up

I Am Not A Sheep...My Company Made Me.

To the anonymous party who came out to defend their "my brain is empty, but my heart is full" signature saying it's company policy:

In the best possible scenario, that only means your company doesn't "get it." In that case, you should change the words to read: "Please consider my intelligence before replying to this email."
BUT far more likely you work for a company that is exploiting green marketing ploys to grow profits. If you work for a hedge fund, car company, oil company or monster truck company that is claiming to be green - take a closer look at their kind-hearted moves to benefit Mother Earth. It probably fattens wallets more than saves baby seals.
I'm not alone, AdAge agrees that corporate greed is motivating green moves and I think between the two of us - all of you with furrowed brows and wagging wooly tails can just take our word for it that Green doesn't = good.

Which Candidate Has the Most Online Friends?

An article in the Times today, Finding Political News Online, the Young Pass It On, looked at how the "young" are spreading information via social networks and blogs (like here!). How enlightening. However, there was another really fun presidential candidate list tucked in the article that I thought I would add to our gathering of Which Candidate Sells the Most Bling?

Here is Which Candidate Has the Most Online Friends:*

McCain: about 140,000
Clinton: about 330,000
Obama: about 1 million

And Obama wins again!
This total includes MySpace and Facebook friends and is according to the Times. I half-heartedly did the math myself, and it looks about right. I'm not too concerned since I got the info. from such an established news source and I would never, ever, question their accuracy.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Spring begins in the northern hemisphere around the months of March, April, May, or as reckoned astronomically extending from the vernal equinox. As in summer, the axis of the Earth is tilted toward the Sun, and the length of daylight days rapidly increases as latitude increases. The northern hemisphere begins to warm significantly, causing new plant growth to "spring forth", giving the season its name. Snow begins to melt, and streams swell with runoff and spring rains. Most flowering plants bloom this time of year, in a long succession beginning even when snow is still on the ground, and continuing into early summer.

Severe weather most often occurs during the spring, when warm air begins to invade from lower latitudes while cold air is still pushing from the polar regions.

Umbrella, Trench, and cab tricks to follow.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Which Candidate Sells the Most Bling?

The Village Voice has a piece, How to Wear Your Vote, on D.C. jewelry designer Ann Hand, who has been creating rhinestone pins for presidential nominees since 1996. I guess cool, but the best part is that she keeps track of which nominees sell the most pins. As of right now the scores of those still in the race are:

Clinton: 190
McCain: 246
Obama: 648

WOW! Now, I could have a lot of fun finding as many stereotypes as possible admist the results of which candidate can sell the most bling (and speculate why certain others cannot), but I'll leave that up to you. Feel free to share!

Please consider the environment before printing this blogpost.

Having a little green tree and "please consider" on your email signature pretty much says you are well-meaning, but don't get it.

Can the hoards of people doing this consider the fact that almost no one prints electronic mail?! Can we throw all these people in one room and figure out what there shared DNA is so we can map the "sheep" gene?

Please consider my nerves before reminding me on the half-hour that you are concerned about paper waste while you sit smugly at your energy sucking PC, in your air-conditioned building in your child-labored produced threads.

Happy Monday.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

So That's What's Going on with Our Economy

There's a great - and very accessable - piece in the Times today by David Leonhardt explaining exactly what the hell is going on with our economy, and why the word "subprime" is so important. Check it out: Can’t Grasp Credit Crisis? Join the Club

Monday, March 10, 2008

Oh, You Politicians are so Crazy

Well, it's good to see that even though the economy is going into a recession, we're poisening our earth, and it seems every country on the globe is involved in some kind of war, polititions are just as focused as ever on finding ways to be coniving and hypocritical. Eliot Spitzer, the Governor of New York, has just been caught meeting up with a high-priced prostitute in a Washington D.C. hotel, as reported today by the NYTimes. Well, hopefully his wife Silda will do as Hillary did, empowering women everywhere by pretending that nothing ever happened.

Update: being the cheap-ass I am I was curious how much a "high-priced" hooker really costs. Hufington Post answered that question with blurbs from the wiretap, one which says, "Client 9 - believed to be Spitzer - paid $4,300 for a woman named "Kristen" to come from New York to D.C. A portion of that money, however, likely went to credit for future appointments". As Suze Orman says, if you purchase thinking ahead you'll always save. See the full piece on Huffington Post here

How Cute, My First Credit Card

I have finally applied for my first credit card. (Ok, so I did open a Banana Republic card for the 25% discount, but I've only used it twice.) After doing some careful research I decided I was willing to get a credit card with a higher APR but better benefits. Being the frugal (some would say cheap) person I am, I know I'll never spend more than I can pay off each month. But, even with that in mind I decided against a reallly "benefit friendly" card and stayed a bit more conservative with American Express Blue. AmEx Blue has 0% APR for up to 15 months (we'll see what the "up to" actually means when I starting using it), and fixed 4.99% APR forever and ever after that. Now, I am definiatly a credit card virgin, so I might not be following warning signs, but all signs on Consumer Reports suggest that American Express Blue and Blue Cash are pretty "good" cards.

I'll let you know if I actually get approved (considering Lord and Taylor denied me just a few months ago). In the meantime, if you love your credit card let us know!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Check out the Mint!

Hello CityBroke brethren! I have been away but I need to tell you to join the Mint like today! It is totally kick ass! You register and then you log into your bank account and credit card accounts through the site. On one dashboard you manage your money. I can't even remember any of my passwrds so after I got that sorted out I was able to get everything important in one place. The BEST part is that analyses how you spend your money. Like, 52% of my income goes to rent. Seriously - GO MINT!