Is Dating Dead? Does hook-up culture leave room for romance or are we all doomed?
battle of the beers Enjoy these brews guilt (and beer gut) free
easy workout tips They strengthen your core and cost you nothing
confessions of a shopaholic How she bought her way into debt â€” and got herself out
Best value cities in the South
( ) and theyâ€™re not what you think
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Save Shopaholic Confessions Cheap Date Ideas Cost of Living Coupon Craze Taxes Simplified Careful Cents Finds Under Fifty Battle of the Beers Digital Deals Excercise on a Budget
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Play DIY Wall Decor Traveling Fun on a Budget Easy Workout Tips Confessions of a Shopaholic Love Unleashed
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Live Is Dating Dead? Cost of Living Easy Workout Tips Dating Horror Stories What it Takes Young, Fabulous and Broke
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LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 3
Welcome to LiveitUP Magazine Your how-to guide for living in your 20s.
Editor Abby Moore Art Director Elizabeth Huegel Assistant Art Director Cacey Edlund Editorial Staff Kim Moore Zach Hamilton Melissa Abbey Caitlin Mcginnes Scout Spagnola Caitlin Covington Design Staff Corrinne Gaurd Elizabeth Groce Ga Ming Gao Kevin Uhrmacher ipad consultant Kevin Uhrmacher Design Consultant Nicole Yang Advertising Dana McMahan Special thanks to Linda Brinson and Terence Oliver
Live it Up is a national magazine that promotes an affordable lifestyle for young, single professionals. Our goal is to be a magazine that inspires conversation and fuels motivation. We are a trend-setting guide for how to live, eat, save and play resourcefully as you embark on your accelerated lifestyle. Whether you’re fresh out of college and searching for a job or you’ve just moved out of mom and dad’s
house – we’ve got you covered. Struggling to find meals that are healthy, cheap and easy? Lost when it comes to starting a budget? Searching for an affordable place to live? We want to be the thrifty resource for single men and women everywhere who want to save money, be healthy and still have fun. Our staff here at Live it Up is just like you – young people learning how to survive in this new and exciting realm of late nights at the office, almost empty refrigerators and overly tight budgets. We’ve been there, and want to make sure you have all the information needed to enjoy this time in your life. We provide you with ideas from how to drink for cheap to date inspirations that don’t empty your wallet. This magazine is for people who want to have a good time and stay fit without the nagging feeling of overdraft fees – people just like you. You only get to experience this adventure once, so learn how to live it up before you have to settle down.
Abby E. Moore Editor
Cheap Date? STORY BY Kimberly Moore
Four ideas that won’t empty your wallet
“Is that the Big Dipper?”
“Livin’ on a prayer..”
Yes, it seems cheesy. Maybe it sounds like it came straight out of a chick flick, but this will make fun memories for the creative souls. You can decide to draw your own constellations using your imaginations, or get help from your smartphone. Apps like Google Sky Map let you use the camera from your phone to map the constellations and show you exactly where they are. Bring a bottle of wine and a blanket for cuddling. You can chat and make lasting memories rather than hitting up the traditional movie theater. The best part about this date: It’s completely free!S
3 Local Concert
“I got us front row seats!”
Liv e it U
it Up p
This is for all the music lovers. Music clubs have been around for decades, fueling the underground music scene. Tickets to these shows rarely run higher than $25. If that’s still too much to shell out per person, check out what your area is doing. Many cities and towns, even small ones, often host a downtown concert series of some sort, some weekly. Supporting local and upcoming artists? Music lovers couldn’t ask for a better date.
Karaoke Those who get embarrassed together stay together. Or at least have a memorable date. It doesn’t get much more hilarious than horrible karaoke, especially duet-style. Although, this is all about fun (singing “Bohemian Rhapsody” at the top of your lungs is never not fun), this can also tell you a lot about your date. It’s a great way to find out he or she isn’t afraid to have a little fun, even at the cost of embarrassment. S
“Take me out to the ball game...” Sporting events are a great date whether you love sports or not. If your date is completely clueless about football, take the reins. If she doesn’t know anything about baseball, lay it out. It’ll give you a chance to get close and perhaps even learn something new. Obviously, the pro level of big sports like football and baseball require you to dish out a little extra cash. If you’re not willing or able, just go to a semi-pro or local team. Tickets are usually less than 10 bucks for a semi-pro team, and you’re still in for a fun game, shouting hot dog salesmen included! SSS
S :$25 or less SS :$25-$50 SSS :$50+ LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 5
Bringing the Chapel Hill Experience to Life.
Awardwinning Microbrews made on site.
A delicious menu with something for every taste.
Handcrafted spirits from our new TOPO distillery.
Stunning event space right on Franklin Street.
Restaurant & Brewery | BAck Bar | The Great Room www.topofthehillrestaurant.com
battle of the
Story by Zach Hamilton
et’s talk about beer. Not only is it the unofficial eighth wonder of the world, it’s practically a staple of our diet – the “other food group,” if you will. We love to use beer for a variety of social and culinary purposes – bonding with friends over a pitcher at your local hangout, washing down that perfect meal with a beer of complementary flavor and discovering new types and flavors so you can one-up your beer aficionado friends, among other things. For all its glory, beer has a dark side. We’re talking about calories. It seems not many people really want to think about healthiness while drinking. Maybe that explains why most beer cans and bottles lack nutritional labels, and why it’s difficult (read: nearly impossible) to locate nutritional information on most beer companies’ official websites. Go ahead, visit the official website for AnheuserBusch or Guinness, and see if you can locate information about calories in their beers. Although none of us want to think about the nutritional value, or lack thereof, in our favorite beers, an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality won’t exactly cover up that beer belly once it starts to protrude. Not to worry though, we have your back! To help you educate yourself about your favorite brews, we have found the caloric content (per 12 oz.) of eight popular types of beer. Additionally, follow the flow chart to discover which (relatively) healthy beer choice is right for you.
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 7
Tap the answers below to find out which beer fits you best Low-cal
Light or dark?
Full or fun flavor?
Full American or imported?
110 calories Mild taste, slightly watered down Drink of choice for tailgates Runner up: Bud Light Lime (116 calories)
YUENGLING • • • •
135 calories Full flavor, fewer calories Oldest US brewery Runner up: Pabst Blue Ribbon (144 calories)
BUD LIGHT • •
GUINNESS • • • •
126 calories Full flavor, fewer calories Imported from Ireland Runner up: Heineken Lager (150 calories)
PURPLE HAZE • • • •
128 calories Made by Abita Great taste with a hint of raspberry Runner up: Blue Moon Belgian White (171 calories)
Fun on a
STORY BY SCOUT SPAGNOLA
They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch, and the truth is, fun isn’t always free either. A lot of things happening that young people love to do – dancing, band concerts or road trips – can take a big bite out of your wallet. Sticking to a budget might mean forgoing some Friday night clubbing with your friends or cutting back on the number of concerts you go to every year. As you make your budget, you might worry that keeping your finances in line will result in spending every weekend at home watching television reruns and scarfing potato chips by the dozen. Never fear – there are plenty of ways to have a great time without breaking the bank.
get involved Do you have a generous heart, but can’t spare money for your favorite nonprofit? Volunteer your time instead! With the economy moving at a snail’s pace, there are plenty of people and animals in need of a helping hand. Organizations such as Habitat For Humanity and The Humane Society of The United States are always looking for volunteers to build houses, empower recent immigrants, or save the life of a pet. Check your local senior center, animal shelter or public school system for tons of fun and fulfilling volunteer opportunities. You’ll be getting out of the house and giving back to your community.
get active Like sports? Always wanted to try your hand at a new game? Seize the day, get off the couch, and get in shape! Take advantage of free facilities at your local park, or map out safe and scenic routes for running and jogging. If team sports are your thing, find out if there’s a community league for your sport of choice – you’ll meet new people and improve your game. If you need equipment, look at online classified sites like Craigslist or stores like Play It Again Sports to find deals on used hockey sticks, tennis rackets, baseball bats, and more. Now, get moving!
get creative If you’re the artistic type, there are plenty of ways for you to get your creative juices flowing without breaking the bank. Sites like Pinterest and Craftzine are great sources for craft inspirations. Dollar Store Crafts is another great resource for learning how to make everything from a UFO-themed lamp to a soda bottle coin purse using materials from your local dollar store. Whether you’re into paper crafts or painting, there’s bound to be something out there that tickles your artistic fancy.
Cost of Living
The ﬁrst thing to kno Each index is listed a calculate an annual a
STORY BY ABBY MOORE
Sweet Southern CITIES
Population: 5.2 million Cost of living: 95.6 Unemployment rate: 9.4 Perks: Atlanta has a relatively low cost of living for a big city and a wide variety of fun things to do, including Braves games and trips to the aquarium. Downers: A big thumbs down to the high unemployment rate. Atlanta is probably best for individuals who have a solid start to their career.
Population: 6.4 million Cost of living: 91.9 Unemployment rate: 7.1 Perks: They say everything is
bigger in Texas, but living costs in Dallas are among the lowest in big cities. It’s an ideal city for career building and great Mexican food. Downers: With low living expense and a below average unemploymen rate, the only downer in Dallas is th hot summers.
Population: 1.7 million Cost of living: 93.2 Unemployment rate: 10.3 Perks: Charlotte is ideal if you’re trying to save a few bucks and still want to enjoy a big city with a Southern hospitality twist. Downers: If you’re into football, you’re going to have to be a dedicated Carolina Panthers fan for a few more years
is consistently beautiful and you’ll probably meet several famous people – or even become one. Downers: With a high cost of living and unemployment rate, LA probably isn’t the idea place to start a career on a low budget – unless you want to be a movie star.
all seasons and you will probably be able to find a job… Downers: …but it probably won’t cover your rent, especially if you’re working at a low paying job. If you’re set on living in the Big Apple, Brooklyn is right across the bay with a significantly lower cost of living.
Population: 12.8 million Cost of living: 136.4 Unemployment rate: 10.6 Perks: Hello, it’s LA. The weather
Population: 1.6 million Cost of living: 216.7 Unemployment rate: 4.7 Perks: Manhattan is fabulous in
variety of coffee options, it’s also home to many technology corporations. If you’re tech savvy (or better – you work in the tech industry), this is the place for you. Downers: It might be hard getting by working at Starbucks, but if you’ve landed a job with Microsoft or Google, footing the grocery bill shouldn’t be a problem.
Population: 3.4 million Cost of living: 121.4 Unemployment rate: 7.8 Perks: Seattle not only has a
Los Angeles, CA
There’s no denying it; we’ve all wanted that fabulous big city lifestyle. Who would say no to a fourfloor walk-up in the midst of bustling Manhattan? Unfortunately, our bank accounts don’t always match up with the living expenses of our favorite metropolis – something to keep in mind when choosing where to start a career or find a job. Live it Up has done the legwork for you when it comes to researching city living costs – we’ve also added our Top 4 Sweet Southern Cities into the mix!
Population: 637 Cost of living: Unemploymen Perks: Downtow
famous for its bea ity and safety. Wit pay and a low emp Greenville is an ide start a career. Downers: It’s sti compared to NYC.
Population statistics come from the U.S. Census Bureau 2010 and represent each city’s greater metropolitan area, exclu
understanding cost of living
7 thousand 90.3 nt rate: 7.7 wn Greenville is auty, walkabilth low bills to ployment rate, eal place to
ill pretty small .
Population: 2.5 million Cost of living: 106.6 Unemployment rate: 9.6 Perks: Compared to other large
cities, Miami’s cost of living is reasonable. If you love sunshine and the beach, you’re pretty much set. Downers: High unemployment, hurricanes and alligators.
Population: 1.5 million Cost of living: 88.9 Unemployment rate: 6.9 Perks: What’s not to love about Nashville? Music City is an ideal place for aspiring musicians. Downers: Smack dab in the middle of Tennessee, Nashville is pretty far away from the excitement of East and West Coast cities.
LA, living expenses in Chicago are remarkably low for a leading city. Downers: It’s called the “windy city” for a reason, but if you can stand the cold and secure a steady income, Chicago is an exciting place to be.
es nt he
Population: 9.5 million Cost of living: 116.9 Unemployment rate: 9.3 Perks: Compared to NY, DC and
ow is that the nationwide cost of living average is 100, and the basis for each city’s score. as a percentage of the national average. Actual and estimated prices are collected to average price for each spending category - such as housing or groceries. Annual Average
Population: 5.6 million Cost of living: 140.1 Unemployment rate: 5.5 Perks: We love the low unemployment rate, and the area is packed with museums and monuments. It’s also gorgeous in the spring. Downers: The cost of living may be worth it for history buffs, activists and politicians – but if you’re starting from scratch you might end up spending money you don’t have.
Population: 348 thousand Cost of living: 93.5 Unemployment rate: 8.8 Perks: With hanging moss and cobblestone streets, Savannah is beautiful and has that old town feel. It’s right off the water and an ideal spot for artists. Downers: It’s still small and pretty hot in the summer. Live It Up | Summer 2012
5 1 8 W . J O N ES ST R EET | R ALEI G H , N C | 9 1 9 . 8 2 9 . 2 5 1 8 | 5 1 8 W EST . CO M | @ 5 1 8 w e s t
Quinoa Stir-Fry STORY BY: CAITLIN COVINGTON PHOTOS BY: REBECCA YAN
Stir up this easy meal any day of the week in less time than it takes to change your Facebook status. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but certainly in less time than it takes to watch an episode of How I Met Your Mother. This quinoa stir-fry makes an impressive date-night dish or the perfect post-workout snack. In fact, it’s even tasty enough for a Sunday morning hangover; just don’t forget the Advil. Not only is this stir-fry as flavorful as it is colorful, but it’s actually super healthy. Sure, there are many good reasons to get in the kitchen and start cookin’, but what’s really the best part about this recipe? The leftovers will keep you fed all week long.
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 13
What is Quinoa?
This recipe’s secret ingredient is quinoa, a funny-looking word pronounced KEEN-wah. Quinoa is an edible seed that’s similar to rice but packed with protein, like meat. It’s rich in all nine essential amino acids and particularly high in lysine, the amino acid responsible for tissue growth and repair. It also boasts fiber, iron, magnesium and manganese. Known for its nutty flavor and a fluffy yet crunchy texture, quinoa can be found on the rice and pasta aisle of most grocery stores.
Quinoa Stir-Fry PREP TIME: 20 min SERVING SIZE: 5
cup dry quinoa cups water tablespoons vegetable oil ounces chicken breast, chopped carrot, peeled and sliced red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced 1/4 onion, diced 1 cup snow peas 2 teaspoons grated ginger 1 clove garlic, sliced 2 tablespoons soy sauce Sesame seeds (for decoration) 1 2 2 4 1 1
Place quinoa in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring the water and quinoa to a rolling boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook, undisturbed, about 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook chicken until golden brown on each side. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and set aside. Add onion, carrots, peppers, peas, ginger and garlic to the skillet. Cook on medium-high heat, until vegetables are tender and bright in color. Add chicken and soy sauce to the vegetable mix and continue cooking for 2 minutes. Divide quinoa into bowls and spoon stir-fry on top. Sprinkle sesame seeds for decoration. Serve warm and enjoy!
E A S Y & versatile
D E COR STORY BY MELISSA ABBEY PHOTOS BY REBECCA YAN
Use plywood and fabric to create wall art
When I moved into my first apartment last fall I hated the sterile, white abyss above my bed but couldn’t afford a headboard. I wanted a unique way to fill the space and incorporate the colors at play in the rest of the room. My solution? Slightly padded squares of fabric and plywood, tiled on the wall above my bed. It’s a remarkably versatile project.
You can stick to solids or mix prints, use several small tiles or four huge ones. If and when you change the color scheme in the room, pry out the staples and put on different fabric to avoid spending money for new wall art. Have a bunch of old T-shirts you’d be willing to cut up? Save money on fabric and use them instead!
YOU WILL NEED Plywood squares Fabric Batting (padding) Scissors Staple gun Mounting tape and/ or nails
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 15
Getting ready Before doing anything else, decide what size you want your plywood tiles to be. If you want the finished product to be the same width as furniture beneath it, measure that piece of furniture, subtract 2 inches (the batting will take up space later) and divide by the number of tiles you want across the width.
Most home improvement stores will cut the plywood for you. For each tile, the square of fabric and batting will need to be 2 inches longer and wider than the plywood square, so be sure to purchase enough. Batting, a fluffy padding that comes in packaged rolls, can be purchased at any fabric store.
Building your tiles
1 Cut fabric and batting into squares 2 inches longer and wider than your plywood squares.
4 Gather the material at the corners and fold or bunch it so that it lies as flat as possible against the square.
Lay fabric face down, line up the batting on top and then center a plywood square.
Wrap fabric and batting around the edges of the wood, stapling to the back of the square at the center of each side. Be sure to pull the fabric tight so itâ€™s taut on the front side.
Cut away excess fabric to help the square lie flat.
Mount your tiles on the wall using small nails or mounting tape. Mark the wall with pencil ahead of time to make sure your tiles end up straight. (If you use mounting tape, put one nail beneath each tile on the bottom row â€“ this simple addition will support all the tiles above.)
Confessions of a Recovering Shopaholic STORY BY CAITLIN MCGINNIS PHOTO FROM MYYEARWITHOUTCLOTHESSHOPPING.COM
ew things feel better than buying that new pair of shoes you have been lusting over or scoring a deal on the latest smartphone. Shopping is an essential and fun part of everyday life. We shop for groceries, go to the mall with friends and buy presents for loved ones. Buying clothes can even become a therapeutic experience for some. But how do you recognize when you lose control of your spending? The bubbly Australian Jill Chivers, founder of My Year Without Clothes Shopping, a program that aims to help individuals with compulsive shopping Jill Chivers disorders, always enjoyed fashion and beauty but never imagined one of her favorite pastimes could turn into a serious problem. “It became clear to me that I had a problem in late 2009,” Chivers says. “I went on a business trip to San Francisco, and I spent more than $1,000 on a single shopping trip.” Chivers says everything she bought was something she already owned in multiples. “I would buy two pairs of jeans when I already had 10. Clothes were essentially busting out of my home.” At this point her closet already took up two very full rooms of her house. “That trip was my big a-ha moment. I decided I couldn’t go on this way anymore. This was the first time I had actually added up everything that I had spent, and frankly it shocked me. “I am not sure how I was able to find time to do that much shopping on a business trip, and none of the things I size 7
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 17
Signs of a Compulsive Shopper You feel shame from shopping You hide receipts and purchases from your friends and family You are unable to pay your bills because of your shopping habit You have purchases piled up in your home to the point that it’s cluttered, which is very similar to hoarding You tell yourself to stop shopping but are unable to
bought was anything that I needed.” Because of her previous job, Chivers was financially able to maintain her shopping addiction. “Everything was in proportion to my income, so I didn’t think that I had a problem.” But in 2009 she had to switch jobs, which resulted in a substantial pay decrease. Despite her life change, her shopping habits remained the same. “There came a point when there was a very large disparity between what I was earning and what I was spending. That’s when you know you have a big problem...I didn’t have the income to be buying these things, and I already had a very large wardrobe.” Compulsive shopping is a prevalent problem in the United States. According to a study conducted by Stanford University in 2006, the first of its kind, roughly 6 percent of Americans have compulsive shopping
disorder. This disorder is not limited to just those who spend beyond their means. It also includes people who spend an excessive amount of time shopping or who chronically think about buying things, even if they never purchase them. Terrence Shulman, director of the Shulman Center for compulsive spending, theft and hoarding, says according to current statistics, there are roughly 30 million Americans with a compulsive shopping disorder. “Many people think it’s just women, but men are affected by this as well. Roughly 5 percent of men have this problem... I mostly treat women but I don’t think men are comfortable addressing this problem,” Shulman says. While in the throes of her problem, Chivers says, her relationships with others suffered. She rarely spent time doing activities with friends that weren’t shopping. “At the time, I wouldn’t have said my
“It became clear to me that I had a problem in late 2009. I went on a business trip to San Francisco, and I spent more than $1,000 on a single shopping trip” -Chivers
problem was affecting my relationships, but after I stopped shopping I noticed a huge difference,” she says. “I was not really building meaningful connections with people. It’s important to explore shared interests with friends.” It is often difficult to escape the messages in the media to buy. Our culture is saturated with images of material goods. They are often considered the mark of success in our society. “Our lives have been stripped of its richness,” Chivers says. Shopping has become way too much of a central focus of our life... Life is about contributing something, and you certainly can’t find that in a shopping mall,” she says. THE HEALING POWER OF BLOGGING To keep herself accountable, Chivers started blogging about her recovery process twice a week on her website. “I started amateur blogging to keep my recovery public. I started blogging twice a week on my progress just so I could keep the process public.” Chivers says after the fifth month, she started to receive local media attention in her base of Queensland, Australia. “I really didn’t think my blogging was any good, but after about the fifth month a
morning show gave me a really long spot.” Her 100 blog posts explored a wide range of topics including skinny jeans, “The Princess Bride,” poor customer service and the meaning of clothing. After her personal success and the subsequent media attention, Chivers decided to start her own compulsive shopping recovery program. “After all the media attention I received, I realized that there is a lot of interest in this topic. So I decided to create my own online program in 2010.” “I am a corporate facilitator, which deals primarily with adult learning, so I used those skills. I also hired four finance experts to help me with the other aspects of the business.” In addition to these experts, Chivers’program attracted another 15 faculty members. “The great thing about this program is that anyone with a computer can access it,” says Chivers. Chivers’ program My Year Without Clothes Shopping sends out weekly emails to participants with tips and tricks to help combat compulsive shopping. The program delivers 12 themes over the course of the program. She crafted these based on her previous recovery experience. “The aim of the program is to make
you conscious of every purchase you make. Consumption has become such a big part of our society.” “We are constantly shown marketing, which creates a never ending cycle of want.” The program’s website also provides a message board for participants to discuss their progress and receive support from others going through the recovery process. Chivers says it’s hard to stop anything for a year, and it’s important to find activities to fill your time. Her program gives you examples of activities to avoid feelings of resentment. “I have worked with some women who have had shopping problems for over a decade. It’s very important to recognize that,” Chivers says. Chivers started the company with under $5,000, and there are participants in multiple countries, including the United States, Australia, Spain and New Zealand. “This was really a shoestring startup. I am so proud of what we have accomplished.
We currently have members in countries all around the world.” After her tenth month in a year without shopping, she says she has finally obtained control over her problem. However, Chivers says that even after a year-long recovery process, she still needs to set limits on her shopping and spending. “I still very much consider myself a recovering shopaholic. I have to limit my time in stores, and I don’t allow myself to go shopping with anyone else... If I wasn’t vigilant, I believe I would slip back into having a problem.” Recovery from a compulsive shopping disorder has a very different goal than alcohol or drug abuse. The goal with those addictions is abstinence. “It’s very important to practice mindful shopping because shopping in of itself isn’t a bad behavior. You need to shop during your life,” Chivers says. HOW TO TACKLE THIS PROBLEM It’s important to learn the ways to recognize a compulsive shopping disorder. Debt is a serious problem that affects many young adults. “Many people are still using their parents’ credit cards after college,” Shulman of the Shulman Center says. “This can lead to a skewed perception of how much you can
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 19
“It’s very important to practice mindful shopping ,because shopping in it of itself isn’t a bad behavior. You need to shop during your life” -Chivers spend and result in lots of problems.” University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill junior Julia Cluceru says that after she graduates, she will have to re-evaluate her spending. Cluceru’s parents pay for the majority of her spending. “The way I shop now isn’t going to be sustainable after I graduate. I’ll buy a new top or a pair of shoes every two weeks. But that’s because I am not paying for it. I don’t feel like I was ever really taught to manage my money. I could definitely see my shopping habit becoming a problem if I don’t start planning out my finances,” she says. Shulman says the best way to tackle this disorder is to figure out the underlying reason for your over-shopping. “Compulsive shopping is like any other
addiction; it is fueled by emotional problems. It’s generally comorbid with anxiety, depression and sometimes substance abuse.” Shulman says he is seeing a surge of this problem in younger generations. “One of the big tragedies of modern times is young people are getting into addictions earlier and earlier. There are more and more online advertising that convinces people they need these things. Online shopping is a whole other monster.” “This is really the disease of this generation. In most families, both parents work and end up buying their children gifts to compensate for not spending time with them,” Shulman says. He cited the recent popular trend of haul videos. Many young adults post videos
displaying their purchases and even prices. By late 2010, nearly a quarter million haul videos were posted to YouTube alone. “These videos get millions of views, and it’s just them posting what they bought. It’s ridiculous,” he says. Shulman says he noticed an initial belt tightening in response to the poor economy. In 2008, people were very concerned with being thrifty and frugal, he says. However, he says after a year many people reverted to spending. “Even in the recession, people are encouraged to spend money. To combat poor sales stores have deals that are considered too good to resist,” Shulman says. “The government also encourages us to spend money to stimulate the economy and be good Americans, but these messages are not good for over-shoppers on a budget.”
Seeking Help It’s important to consider getting professional help if you have an over-shopping problem. “There are several steps you need to take if you recognize you have a compulsive shopping disorder. The first step is you need to tell someone,” Shulman says. Schulman recommends seeing someone who specializes in compulsive shopping disorder. There are many resources on the Internet that offer web support groups and contact information for specialists. “General doctors may over-simplify the issue. Over shopping can often be a symptom of depression, so medication might be needed,” he says. There are easy steps to take if you need to start controlling your spending. There are many activities that are easy and free! You often need to set limits with friends. If you don’t have the money to go shopping, suggest a walk, a bike ride or another outdoor activity. Shopping is a fun activity that shouldn’t be a source of stress!
a e k li l a i Soc rfly e t t Bu
STORY BY Melissa Abbey
Jen Friel is arguably the most fascinating person rising in media right now. At 19 she left her home in Connecticut and moved to Los Angeles without having found a job. Since then she’s crashed the Grammies, won The Price is Right, danced on stage with Prince, been skydiving and met Harrison Ford. She went on 103 dates in nine months. She gets paid to blog about her life. Oh, she also traveled around the United States for a year with only $10. This tech and travel savvy minimalist knows a thing or two about going and doing for next to nothing.
n May of 2010, then 25-year-old Jen Friel did the unthinkable: She gave up almost everything she owned in exchange for a nomadic lifestyle. She launched a blog, donated the belongings filling her Los Angeles apartment and left – immediately beginning to barter social media as a way to live. With only $10 to her name, Friel traveled around the United States for exactly one year. She mostly couch surfed, staying with fans of her website for two to three weeks at a time. She was invited to prestigious events, went on thrilling adventures and met hundreds of fascinating new people. “Literally for one year I couch surfed, traveling all around the country with only $10 to my name, bartering,” she says with a laugh. “It was fantastic. Pretty scary, but fantastic.” HER OWN PATH Friel grew up in West Hartford, Conn., a town her longtime friend Adam Reisinger describes as affluent, quiet and predictable.
“She always seemed, well, not to rebel against it, but you could see it was holding her back,” he says. “As she got older and older she tended to kind of break out.” Friel graduated from high school at 16 and studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in New York for a year. When she was 18, she and her father took a cross-country road trip. The teen fell in love with the West Coast and shocked her community by up and moving to L.A. at 19 years old. Reisinger, now an editor for ESPN. com, remembers the response when she left. “I think people were definitely surprised,” he says, chuckling. “It was this, ‘I’m not going to go to college, I’m not going to follow the path that other people have laid out for me’ kind of thing.” But Friel speaks pragmatically about it. “I always wanted to be in production in some capacity,” she says. “I didn’t just want to act – that really bored me – but I didn’t know really how else to do
anything in the industry. “So I just found an apartment [in L.A.] on Craigslist, at 19 – cost $400 a month. I had $300 to my name so I basically gave myself 30 days to find work.” And she did. For her first job Friel worked as a temp for Jerry Bruckheimer, helping with post-production. In January 2005 – just a few months after moving to town – she and her roommate made it onto The Price Is Right, and she won. “Literally, Bob Barker furnished my first apartment,” she says with a laugh. “Insane.” Over the next few years Friel worked a few jobs, cultivating her marketing, media and web skills. “I was literally doing anything I could to see how the process worked,” she says. “I’m just so interested in production.” Her interest took a turn toward social media when she was hired as a lifecaster for LiveVideo.com, a company started by Myspace founder Brad Greenspan that launched in February of 2008.
“Litera ll one ye y for ar I couch su travelin rfed, g around all t countr he y only $1 with 0 my nam to barteri e, ng.”
PHOTO BY Michael Vegas LIVE IT UP
When LiveVideo.com closed later that year, Friel moved to Florida to do commercial modeling. But a few months later, in 2009, she moved back to L.A. – and in with a man.
PHOTO FROM talknerdytomelover.com “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life and what taught me exactly how to do what I do now,” she says. “All I did was just connect with people in a very real and honest way.” Basically, she explained, all she had to do was broadcast her life. She would live stream videos from her apartment or take a computer with her on adventures. “This was late 2007, and all of my friends thought I was doing webcam porn because here I am working for this start-up,” she says, laughing. “Social media wasn’t even a phrase yet. That whole concept was pretty foreign at that point.”
INSPIRED BY HEARTBREAK That summer Friel had fallen in love – with a mentalist, a young man who made a living using psychological methods to read minds and manipulate others. In March 2011, Friel rehashed the affair on her website, saying: I’m sure he profiled me, figured out what type of person I was so he knew how to play me... again, this guy does this for a living. I am not ashamed to admit that I fell for it (a bit embarrassed, but not ashamed). ... I found the fact that he could figure me out super sexy; it certainly kept me honest knowing that I couldn’t tell a lie (which of course I tried a few times, and was immediately called out on). They lived together at his apartment in L.A. for a couple of months, though she admits the parameters of the relationship were iffy from the get-go. But as in love as she was, she didn’t care. Until she found out he’d been sleeping with multiple other women and lying about it. Needless to say, Friel needed a change. Broken and angry, she moved to the west side of town. The idea to start her own website was born out of that frustration. “In 2009 I just hit a personal funk,” she says. “I was so frustrated and so angry with so much of my life. “I just wanted to go back to what I was doing, go back to lifecasting, but no one was doing it. So I literally just built my own brand and built my own website.” She started coding the website on Nov. 3, 2009, a date she remembers well, given how far the project has
come. She blogged on the site daily, and her posts often involved videos reminiscent of her LiveVideo.com days. About six weeks later she crashed the Grammies in an effort to meet Pete Cashmore, the founder of Mashable, her favorite blog. Wait – crashed the Grammies? “Yep,” she says. “I just showed up. I had no plan of attack, but it’s amazing what you can do when you just act like you know what you’re doing.” By looking the part, behaving confidently and following anyone with a press pass, Friel found herself on the red carpet – and in conversation with Cashmore. (Read about Friel’s Grammy experience on her website, TalkNerdyToMeLover.com, in a post titled “#TrueStory: I crashed the 2010 Grammy Awards to meet @PeteCashmore.”) JUST RUN WITH IT The experience boosted her confidence and got her thinking about the possibilities. She wanted a job in social media and knew she needed to develop a presence online and build a following. “In May of 2010 I gave up everything that I owned and never really looked back,” she says. “I didn’t plan any of it. I said, ‘OK, I have $10, let’s see how many places I can go with it.’” She’d planned to use the trip to attract readers to her website, which she in turn would use to boost her resumé. “When I first started the site I was just using it as a way to create a resume for myself,” she explains. “My days were spent talking to other companies. I got scouted by Apple and a couple of other bigwigs and stuff like that.” But as the trip progressed she realized its power. “It was so accidental it wasn’t even funny,” she says. “All I did was show up for life every single day and by documenting it and blogging about it,
Check Out Jen’s Blog : talknerdytomelover.com Follow Jen on Twitter: @JenFriel
people came to me. “I was like, ‘Hey, this is my Twitter handle, here’s my Facebook, this is my email, contact me.’ And they did. Morning, noon and night.” Fans of her site and Twitter feed would offer her places to stay, send her plane tickets and invite her to events. “Just by saying to the world, ‘Hey, here I am,’ I became like the universe’s perpetual plus one,” she says. “People just kept inviting me places.” She started the trip with a sponsorship from Ford, which was launching a social media campaign. In an article on Mashable titled “Ford Fiesta Movement: Can Social Media Sell Cars?”, Ben Parr described the project, saying: While Ford has had several initiatives, by far their most ambitious one has been the Ford Fiesta Movement, a grassroots social media campaign to promote the new Fiesta model by placing Fiestas in the hands of 100 social “agents” and having them promote Ford’s new vehicle through Twitter, blogs, video, and events, all without spending a dollar on traditional media. Friel, of course, was one of those agents. For months she traveled and documented adventures with her Fiesta. She admits to even having to sleep in the car on several occasions. But by the time the campaign was over her name was out there and fans provided her with the transportation she needed. “They would send me anything,” she says. “Literally, planes, trains or automobiles, people would send me tickets for. And I would just go and have an adventure, sleep on their couch.” The approach sounds risky, but Friel said she never encountered any dan-
gerous or uncomfortable situations. “I’m really good at reading people, and I’m really good at analyzing situations,” she says. “We think that we are anonymous still to a certain degree online but if you stare at someone’s habits in social media long enough you’ll be able to get a good read on them.” For a full year she lived this way, bouncing from place to place at the mercy of her readers. “I was so active in the space and just talking to people and by being vulnerable and saying, ‘Wow, you know, I’m sleeping in the car. Like, wow, this is happening,’ people connected the dots for me,” she says. “I’d be talking to someone and they’d be like, ‘Oh, come crash on my couch for a bit,’ so I’d stay there for a couple of weeks. Or people would say, ‘Oh, I have this extra guest bedroom. I love what you’re doing. Come stay here.’ And then I’d end up there for a couple of weeks. This was all just by documenting it and posting it on the site.” As Friel built a name for herself, companies started to note her influence and wanted in. She said that during the trip she didn’t take cash sponsorships from these companies, but instead would promote them in her videos and posts in exchange for supplies or a place to stay. She went skydiving with a sponsorship from a bedding company, to a Prince concert thanks to SpiritHoods (where the hood – a huge, fluffy animal hat – won her favor with the ticket clerk, security guards and even Prince himself ). A public relations company invited her to the premier of Extraordinary Measures, and she met
Harrison Ford at the after-party. In exchange for a sponsorship from dating site OKCupid she documented going on 103 dates in nine months. “It was feeding my soul,” she says, sighing. “I was so inspired by what I was doing I didn’t need to get paid, I didn’t need to get anything because I was already sort of figuring out what I wanted to do. “I just kept getting sent all these places, ‘Hey, come cover this,’ but not as a journalist, as a lifecaster.” MAKING IT A BUSINESS When Friel finally returned to L.A. in May 2011 she had built up enough of a name for herself to turn the website into a business. “I didn’t know it was going to be so big,” she says. “Bottom line, I had literally zero idea. I had no idea someone could even do this. I knew that I was crazy and fearless enough to at least try. “I had no idea that it would actually work. I had no idea I could actually turn it into a business. It just started from love and from passion and the space being so knew I thought I might as well see what’s out there and see how far I can really go with this.” She laughs thinking about her original intentions. “In the beginning I was looking to use this for my resume, like, ‘Oh, look what I did, I’m this person,’ but thank God no one hired me,” she says. Today Friel still runs TalkNerdyToMeLover.com, sponsored by products she uses in daily life and features in her posts. “I took the bartering, and what I do is called narrative advertising,” she
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“Basically how I see Jen is that every night I can go look at her feed and it can be like, ‘How the hell did you do that?’ It’s pretty much like that every day. I’m always shocked by the kinds of things she’s doing and the kind of shit she pulls.” - Ben Parr, CNET Columnist Jen’s guest blog in Suicide Girls Blog this past March
Jen’s banner for her blog, and brand, talknerdytomelover.com
explains. “I go have all these adventures, and they’re fueled by products. So, for example, I danced on stage with Prince, but that was with my SpiritHood; they’re a sponsor.” “People give me products and stuff and I integrate those products into the story. So it took me one year to measure my influence and see how many I could sell, and then from there I took all of those stats to this year and am now building that out and we’re doing well, really, really well.” She’s caught the attention of Hollywood producers, too. “They are turning my life into a TV show: ‘103 Dates in Nine Months,’” she says excitedly. “I also have an unscripted TV show in development, and
I’m writing my first book. And we have a stage show in Hollywood. “The scripted show, it’s kind of a fictionalized character based on my life.” Ben Parr, a friend of Friel’s, CNET columnist and previous editor-at-large of Mashable, has been keeping tabs on Friel for about two years. “When I really noticed her was when she crashed the Grammies,” he says. “I was thinking, ‘Is she insane?’ “Basically how I see Jen is that every night I can go look at her feed and it can be like, ‘How the hell did you do that?’ It’s pretty much like that every day. I’m always shocked by the kinds of things she’s doing and the kind of shit she pulls.” He’s not surprised that producers are
planning a show about her life and worked with her as a startup advisor for her new media production company, NerdsUnite Productions. “It’s such an interesting story,” he says. “It caught my attention, it caught the attention of producers in Hollywood, of brands.” She’s living in L.A., and while she doesn’t plan to take another nomadic trip anytime soon – saying that now it would be too easy – traveling is still a regular part of her job. “Traveling is in my soul,” she says. “But I do so very, very inexpensively or for free. Everything is a case by case basis, just with sponsorships, fans, anything.” -
Jen and Ben’s Guide to Cheap Travel
PHOTO FROM talknerdytomelover.com
Do something you love and be good at it, because you can barter with anything. Are you a great landscaper? Fantastic! Offer your landscaping services to someone in exchange for a place to stay, or to a business in exchange for supplies or food. “Just do what you love,” Friel says. “When you’re good at what you do, whatever that means – for me that’s writing and documenting things on the site – people connect the dots for you.”
Don’t be afraid to accept help. Instead, seek it. Humility is everything here. You’ve got to be willing to accept others’ graciousness – and beg for help when you need it. If you’re too proud to announce you’re in need, you’re not going to have that need filled.
Build up your social media presence. “Start a Twitter account, get active on Facebook, start a blog,” Friel says. “You can do it very simply and for free – you can use tumblr. Just start building out anything that you can online as far as an identity is concerned. Find your niche. As long as you’re talking about places, things, products, people will pay you to do it.”
This applies not only to basic needs like supplies and shelter, but to entertainment. “Maybe you can find someone to show you around, someone to invite you to things,” he says.
Seek out companies for sponsorships, but already be doing something. “Anytime I’ve approached a company with an idea they’ve shot me down,” Friel says. “Literally every single Think beyond basic needs and established time. The first step is to just do it. Start there and then show friends. “Maybe you have a friend who used the company what you’re doing. People are inspired by actions, to live in London, ask them to help you get in so if you’re able to get back to touch with someone they know them and say, ‘Hey, look what I’m doing, look at these promos that is there now,” says Parr. “Social media is all about con- that I gave you, I’d really like to expand upon this idea, can I necting people, not just your have dot dot dot.’” friends.”
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John Raleigh, N.C, 27614
Taxes April 15th!
x a T c i as B l e Som om Actua fr ts n a Tips t un o c c A
As the old saying goes, only two things in life are certain – death and taxes. While paying income taxes each year is a certainty, there is much uncertainty surrounding the process for many of us inexperienced taxpayers.
STORY BY Zach Hamilton
As an independent twentysomething trying to build your career, find love and maintain sanity, you probably don’t have the time or energy to comprehend confusing tax codes, much less learn all the new tax laws passed each year. So what should you do? Should you hire a professional accountant or try to do it yourself? And what about the rest of the year after April 15? Should you save every receipt? The questions seem to pile up, and the whole affair can be quite overwhelming. That’s where we at Live it Up can be of service. First, we’ll
offer some general instructions and advice that apply to everyone, regardless of your level of income. Then, we will present some generalized financial scenarios in which you’re likely to find yourself. For each situation, we will provide accompanying analysis of relevant tax help from a professional accountant. Although no two people’s financial scenarios are identical and the situations presented are somewhat generalized, we feel that the information and suggestions will answer all of your pressing questions and ease some of your tax-related worries.
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 27
Ask the Accountant
When trying to decide the method you’re going to use to do your taxes, do some online research about the resources available in your area. If your budget is really tight, you may be able to find an organization nearby that will help you file your tax return for little to no charge. The Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, has a program called the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) that generally offers free tax help to individuals who receive a yearly income of less than $50,000. According to the IRS’ website, most VITA sites are located at convenient locations in the community such as schools, libraries, malls and community centers. VITA uses volunteers from the community who train and then complete the IRS certification test, which qualifies them to be a volunteer in the program and assist people in preparing tax returns. For example, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has a VITA chapter that is run through the UNCChapel Hill School of Law and consists of volunteers from UNC-Chapel Hill students and faculty. Kader Crawford, 29, the president of the chapter, says that in 2011, the UNC-Chapel Hill chapter helped prepare 160 people’s tax returns. “Of that number, I’d say about 50 percent were (undergraduate and graduate) students,” Crawford says. Crawford, a current law student, says he worked as an accountant for three years in Charlotte before attending UNC-Chapel Hill, so the transition to volunteering for VITA was easy. “Because the program is for (individuals) with incomes less than $50,000, we really want to focus on helping lower- and middleincome people in this community of Chapel Hill and Carrboro,” Crawford says. He says that a typical volunteer-assisted return time takes about one hour. Think about that. In just one hour, you could get your tax return prepared by certified volunteers for free! Talk about a load off your shoulders. The bottom line is to make sure you do some research and see what’s around you. If you have a relatively straightforward tax return, don’t waste money hiring an accountant when you can take advantage of free programs such as VITA that use certified volunteers.
Now we’ll examine a few general financial scenarios in which you’re likely to find yourself. Live it Up interviewed Diane Marine, a certified public accountant from Marietta, Ga., with 21 years of experience, to learn the best advice, suggestions and tax tidbits for several financial situations. We present the first two situations through the context of a recent college graduate who is now living independently (away from the parents) in a rented apartment or townhouse, rather than owning a home. However, this information can easily be applied to those who did not attend college and have recently moved into a rented place. The third situation explains the benefits of eventually purchasing a home.
Situation One: The Lucky Ones
First, we’ll start with the scenario of those lucky dogs who graduate with a degree and are fortunate enough to find a job right away in their field of study. If you find yourself in this position, you will almost certainly be working for a company that will pay you with a Form W-2. “In theory, a W-2 employee…you would go to their workplace (every work day),” Marine says. “They provide training; they provide an office, a facility, everything.” This categorization encompasses many occupations; essentially, it’s the 9-to-5 job. The main advantage of working for these types of employers is that it simplifies your personal responsibility come tax season. “If you’re a W-2 employee, (the company you work for) withholds taxes as you go,” Marine says. This means Medicare and Social Security are withheld automatically and you do not have to keep track of that during the year. Because your Form W-2 tax return will be pretty straightforward, Marine and Crawford both say it is very possible for you to do your own taxes, especially if you rent rather than own a home. Companies such as TaxSlayer offer free online tax return programs. This way you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your apartment to successfully file your tax return. Alexandra Paulson, a 21-year-old nursing student at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., says she used TaxSlayer last year to file her tax return. “I worked two
It is also possible for you to deduct interest paid on student loans, regardless of whether you itemize. The IRS states that, generally, the amount you can deduct is the lesser of $2,500 or the actual amount of student loan interest you pay.
jobs that year – one in California during the summer and then my regular job at Appalachian State as a secretary,” Paulson says. She says she had no problems with TaxSlayer’s free program and found the process very easy. “I got maybe $100 back from California and owed North Carolina about $90, so I came out pretty even.” If you feel your taxes are becoming too complicated to do yourself, you can always use your local VITA site for free – if you qualify.
Situation Two: Looking for Work Many people in today’s economic climate have graduated from college but have not found a job in their field of study. Of course, being unemployed is a drag on your mental health as well as your bank account, but it does give you some options as far as taxes are concerned. If you are currently unemployed and looking for work, you should keep track of any potential businessrelated expenses; these expenditures can possibly be deducted from your taxes if you gain self-employment or employment as
“I worked two jobs that year – one in California during the summer and then my regular job at Appalachian State as a secretary, I got maybe $100 back from California and owed North Carolina about $90, so I came out pretty even” -Alexandra Paulson
an independent contractor later in the year, rather than gaining employment at a W-2 job. Though most people do gain employment at a W-2 type of job, self-employment and employment as an independent contractor use a 1099 tax form instead of a W-2. Examples of 1099 jobs include outside sales, consulting and freelance journalism. “A 1099 job, in theory, is you’re independent. You could work for several people,” Marine says. Basically, the employer hires someone to do a job, but doesn’t necessarily tell that person when to be there or how to go about completing the job. If you have a 1099 job, your employer doesn’t automatically withhold Social Security and Medicare, so your tax return becomes more involved as a result; however, an advantage of having a 1099 job is that it opens the door for possible tax deductions. This is why Marine advises that you keep track of potential business expenses even when you’re unemployed. “If you think about it, your self-employment starts the day you graduate,” Marine says. “Let’s say you graduate in May and you’re not really sure what you’re going to do. Keep track of any receipts that may have a business purpose.” This same line of thinking applies if you have been laid off from a job because, essentially, you are selfemployed at that point. Purchases such as a new laptop computer or even office supplies
Form W-2: Your employer automatically withholds Social Security and Medicare. Most traditional office jobs
and If you’re unemployed track looking for work, keep ted of your business-rela s of se receipts on purcha . You items such as laptops ct might be able to dedu in ga u these items if yo employment later.
can be deducted if you gain a self-employment opportunity later in the year. “Even if you’re not working through June and July, but then you pick up a self-employment opportunity later in the year, the receipts from the beginning of the year would also be deductible because you were looking for work. You were actively searching for work,” Marine says. Because of the complications that come with deductions and paying the Social Security and Medicare when filing a 1099 tax return, Crawford warns against attempting to file your tax return yourself. “Deductions, itemized deductions…if it’s more complicated than just one or two W-2’s, you really shouldn’t be doing your taxes yourself,” Crawford says.
Situation Three: Buying a Home and Increasing Your Deduction Options When it comes to tax deductions, you get a standard deduction or you can itemize your deductions. The importance of a deduction is it subtracts from your overall taxable income, thus reducing the tax money you owe to the IRS. For 2011 returns (paid on April 17, 2012), the standard deduction, if you’re single, was $5,800, and the standard deduction for singles increases to $5,950 for 2012 returns. Essentially, if you are single and have a typical 9-to-5 W-2 job, you won’t be able
When you are planning on itemizing your deductions, keep track of charitable donations (write a check or get a receipt).
to itemize your deductions because your deductions won’t exceed the standard deduction rate, says Marine. That is, until you purchase your own home. “If you have the opportunity and the wherewithal to purchase a home, generally you will do better than if you’re renting – you’ll have more write-offs,” Marine says. “Chances are even if you purchase a small starter home, your mortgage interest – which is one of your deductions – is going to be more than ($5,800), so you’d be able to itemize,” Marine says. Examples of expenses eligible for itemized deductions are mortgage interest, property taxes and charitable donations (both cash and non-cash, such as items donated to Goodwill). Through itemization, you will be able to exceed the $5,800 standard deduction rate and, as a result, further reduce your tax burden. “Anytime you do make charitable donations, you need to either get a receipt or write a check if you’re going to itemize,” Marine says. In this way, you will have official documentation of your donations and can apply it toward your itemized deductions. To make a long story short, if you can purchase a house, do it! It will help you keep more of your income from the IRS, which is always a good thing. We like to keep the money we work hard for, after all.
Form 1099: Your employer does not withhold Social Security and Medicare (or you’re selfemployed)
As you get olde r and accumulat e some savings, buy a home! It help s decrease your tax burden
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l ve un eashed STORY BY SCOUT SPAGNOLA
hen Jessica Anderson brought her new dog home for the first time, she was dealing with an animal that was not trained, housebroken or spayed. Alba, a beautiful white dog with short hair and a comical patch of brown on her face, had spent most of the first few months of her life stuck in a crate. Alba’s first owner, a well-intentioned young college student, had just given her dog to Anderson after realizing that she didn’t have time to train, care for and play with an enthusiastic young puppy who was spending far too much of her life confined. “She’s a pit bull and Australian cattle dog cross, which is kind of a high-energy breed. They like to have a job,” says Anderson, a 22-year-old pre-veterinary student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. “And [the owner] got more and more involved with her sorority and school and left Alba in her cage. She took her out I don’t know how many times a day but she was using the restroom in her crate. She was not spayed, had none of her shots, and she was losing a lot of her hair.” Today, Alba is a happy dog whose uneasy start in life is an all-too-familiar story. Every year, many people with warm hearts and happy prospects bring dogs, cats or other animal friends into their home without fully realizing the massive investment of time, money, energy and affection required to take care of another living creature that relies entirely on you for care. Introducing an animal into your life isn’t a decision that should be made at the drop of a hat or the wag of a tail. Simply put, pets may steal your heart, but they also take a bite out of your bank account. “Young people should think long and hard about it,” says Candide Jones, 62, of Winston-Salem, N.C. She is a volunteer for the Forsyth Humane Society in Winston-Salem and has seen more than her share of pets turned over to animal shelters because their owners couldn’t care for them. Jones
suggests that young singles who find themselves wanting a pet look themselves in the mirror and ask themselves if they’re ready to commit time, money and resources to take care of an animal that may live for 15 years. “If you are young and single, and want to be out with friends a lot – and who doesn’t? – do you really have the time and the patience to be a loving, conscientious pet parent who will spend lots of time with your pet?” Jones says. So what should you do if you’re ready to make the leap? For one thing, Jones recommends adopting a pet rather than purchasing one. It’s cheaper than spending hundreds of dollars for a puppy or kitten, and it saves lives in a country where pet overpopulation is the norm and where many animals have to be euthanized by shelters when homes can’t be found. “I would encourage everyone, young and old, not to ever buy a pet from a pet store or puppy mill. Ever. Ever. In Forsyth County (North Carolina) alone, approximately 6,000 to 7,000 animals are euthanized every year because of pet overpopulation,” Jones says. Meet Your New Best Friend Sarah Leonard, a 28-year-old graduate student at Georgia State University in Atlanta, agrees. She found her two kittens, Josette and Barnabas, by searching sites like Craigslist. “Don’t pay for a kitten,” Leonard says. “There are plenty of free kittens out there who need loving homes.” Another thing to take into consideration is your lifestyle. Pets - dogs in particular - need lots of affection from their owners, so it may not be advisable to get one if you like to spend all your free time out on the town or partying with friends. You should also make some honest assessments about your lifestyle before selecting a pet, as different breeds and individual pets will have vastly differing energy levels. Do you love dogs but hate getting off the couch? Don’t get a border collie. Do you want a running buddy? Then a lap dog prob-
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 31
ably isn’t right for you. Like quiet cats? You should stay away from vocal breeds like the Siamese. The sheer number of things to take into consideration and the number of pets available can seem overwhelming, but never fear. Help for potential adopters and profiles of available pets are only a click away. Sites like Petfinder. com, which brings together available pet listings from hundreds of county shelters and private rescue agencies, make it easier to find a pet that fits with your lifestyle. Diane Wilkerson, director of volunteer programs at the American Society For The Prevention of Cruelty To Animals in New York, N.Y., says that her agency offers online resources such as an adoption checklist to help potential adopters figure out what they want in a pet. In addition, the ASPCA offers a “Meet Your Match” program that pairs dogs and cats with potential adopters based on personality tests and pet-person compatibility. “You know, like Match.com but for pets,” Wilkerson says. Money Matters Cat owner Liz Marvin found her match through the Internet. Marvin, a science teacher in Rocky Mount, N.C., wanted to adopt a kitten, and tried searching local animal shelters’ websites. She ended up finding her new best friend in a slightly unorthodox place – the website for a local veterinary clinic. Someone had dropped off a litter of kittens at the clinic’s doorstep in a cooler. Marvin was able to save money on initial care costs for her new kitten,
a gray tabby named Bruce, when the buy lots of unnecessary kitten toys clinic offered her a month’s supply of and accessories,” Leonard says. “Your pet food and some free heartworm baby will be just as happy playing with preventative as well as giving her a dismilk rings, pens, wads of paper, ponycount on getting Bruce neutered. Ever tail holders, bits of string and empty since, Marvin has been making smart, cardboard boxes. Everything is a toy to budget-conscious pet care decisions to a kitten!” keep Bruce happy and healthy without Toy costs for dogs can also be kept breaking the bank. One thing Marvin low if you’re careful and know where advises young pet owners to do is plan to shop. Anderson says she has bought their pet shopping. stuffed animals for Alba to play with at “I find that if you plan things in adplaces like Dollar General. (Just make vance it’s cheaper,” Marvin says. “Besure that anything you buy is safe for cause, you know, if you get a PetSmart pets!) In addition, Anderson likes to get card they’ll mail you coupons, and if rawhide bones for Alba from the pet you don’t wait until the last minute you store. The bones give Alba something can generally find a coupon or you can to do when Anderson needs to get some shop around, which is handy.” schoolwork done and encourage dogs Initial pet expenses can burn a hole in your wal“When you get a dog or you get a cat let if you’re not careful, they’re your No. 1 thing. It’s not hangand you need to give a ing out with your friends; it’s not going lot of thought to ongoing out to the movies. They are your No. 1 costs as well – there are monthly food expenses to thing.” - Jessica Anderson take into account as well as veterinary bills, grooming expenses for pets with long hair, and to chew on them and not on, say, your other things like toys and bedding. Mar- grandmother’s heirloom table set. Health and Happiness vin saves money by buying cat food in Veterinary care expenses are an incredbulk and not going overboard on toys. She estimates that she spends about $40 ibly important consideration for any potential pet parent. When Alba first to $50 a month on cat food and kitty came to live with Anderson, she was not litter. Marvin pays a $10 monthly pet fee to her apartment complex. Potential feeling or looking her best. “She came unspayed, no vaccinations,” pet owners in apartments should look Anderson says. “She only had one toy. into their apartment complex’s rules on She had a cage she was outgrowing, so pet ownership and any potential fees. Like Marvin, Leonard, advises new pet she pretty much had to be housebroken or I would have to find another cage.” owners to avoid expensive pet accesIn addition, Alba had developed sories. mange, a type of skin disease, and her “Although it may be tempting, don’t
hair was beginning to fall out. “I had to have her treated for that and tested,” Anderson says, looking over the veterinary clinic’s bill for Alba. “In total, the bill for all her vaccinations and the testing only for her mange was $194.54. And that was not including the medication I had to give her for her mange.” Al Ross, a technology support analyst in Greensboro, also had to contend with medical expenses for his kittens soon after he adopted them. He picked out his kittens, Fiolina and Alistair, from a litter that his friend’s cat had given birth to. When Ross’ friend first brought the kittens home to him, they were extremely energetic. “When they finally slowed down they’d stop and scratch behind their ears really frantically,” Ross says. “And they did a lot of dragging their butts across the carpet. Anyone who’s done a lot of pet care knows that those two things mean fleas and worms respectively. They were just completely infested. I picked one up and he was crawling with fleas.” It turned out that the kittens, who had never been outside in their short lives, had picked up an infection from Ross’ friend’s older cats, who were allowed to go outside. “The first vet visit we had to take care of not only the immunizations but medicine to get all the other stuff cleared up,” Ross says. “We had to get this highdollar flea spray. It was about 60 bucks for that little bottle. Granted that stuff lasts forever. Once a month per cat two months in a row, guaranteed to be rid of fleas.” Ross said that the justification for the flea spray
was at his kittens were only four weeks old at the time – far too young for the vet to try any commercially available anti-flea medication. Deworming the kittens proved to be much less expensive. However, it was certainly a hassle. “They each had to have like a squirt of this nasty pink stuff twice a day for two weeks,” Ross said. “And that was in addition to their other immunizations.” Many pet owners choose to purchase pet insurance for their animal companions. Anderson emphasized the importance of having money set aside for the care and keeping of your fluffy buddy in case of dogfights or other accidents. “A really good idea if you’ve got a pet is to have a savings account. Put aside some money just in case something happens, because you don’t want to be in a situation where you can’t do something for your pet,” Anderson says. Decisions, Decisions In nonemergency situations, you can afford to use a little more financial discretion in meeting your pet’s medical needs. Leonard advises other young pet owners to shop around for a vet they can afford. “Some vets are more expensive than others,” Leonard says. “Read online reviews, ask your fellow animal-lover friends, or consult the yellow pages to find a good, inexpensive vet. If you’re having trouble paying a vet bill, ask your vet about a possible payment plan.” Anderson and Ross both encouraged pet owners to look into low-cost veteri-
nary wellness clinics available in many cities as a way of keeping your pet’s medical costs under control. Many of these clinics offer spay-and-neuter services as well as vaccines at an affordable price. “They were a godsend,” Ross says of his local low-cost pet wellness clinic. “Their rates for everything were so fantastic.” Even with low-cost veterinary clinics and smart shopping for food and toys, not everybody is going to be able to afford to properly care for a pet. Wilkerson advises those who want animal companionship but who can’t afford to care for a dog or cat to get their furry fix by volunteering at a local animal shelter. “Shelters are always in need of volunteers, and jobs can range from socializing cats, to taking the dogs out for walks, and of course administrative tasks,” Wilkerson says. “Volunteering is the perfect way to get your animal fix while giving back to the animals who are in desperate need of your help and time.” Back in Greensboro, Alba is living the good life. The mange is gone, she’s learning how to behave and socialize with other dogs and she gets to look forward to frequent trips to the park where she loves to play tug of war and fetch. Anderson, for her part, believes you get out of your relationship with your pet what you put into it. “When you get a dog or you get a cat they’re your No. 1 thing,” Anderson said. “It’s not hanging out with your friends; it’s not going out to the movies. They are your No. 1 thing.”
A S V r I N o f G s Tip PLAN YOUR PET SHOPPING
DON’T BUY PET TOYS “If you get a PetSmart “Your baby will be just as card they’ll mail you FIND A FREE PET happy playing with milk “There are plenty coupons, and if you don’t wait until the last minute rings, pens, wads of paper, of free kittens ponytail holders, bits of you can generally find a out there who string and empty coupon or you can shop need loving cardboard boxes.” around, which is handy.” homes.”
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STORY BY KIMBERLY MOORE
Couponing is the latest craze to sweep pennypinchers off their feet. Shows like TLC’s “Extreme Couponing” showcasing savvy shoppers saving thousands of dollars on a single shopping trip have enticed people to hop on the couponing bandwagon. But how time-consuming is couponing? In today’s fast-paced society, who has 20 to 40 hours a week to coupon? One couponer sat down and told us how to save hundreds by devoting just a few hours a week to clipping coupons.
The Coupon Queen Self-proclaimed North Carolina “Coupon Queen” Michelle Barnette started couponing when her family of four felt the economy’s downturn full-force after her husband was suddenly laid off. “They called him on Wednesday and said ‘Friday is your last day,’” the 37-year-old mother of two says.
The Concord, N.C., couple was blindsided. Their paycheck would be cut in half by the end of the week. Although she works a full-time job as a program director for an after-school program, Barnette had to do something to make up for the lost income. She turned to couponing for the answer. “I had couponed a little before,” she says. “But nothing like what I started doing when he was laid off.” Barnette began devoting six to ten hours a week to couponing. “There were so many times when I wanted to quit and just say it wasn’t worth it,” she admits. “But there really is a difference and you can tell you’re saving money. We see that little extra bit in the bank account, and we know exactly where that comes from.” Today, Barnette says she spends about an hour a week couponing. “You start finding shortcuts, and you know what you’re looking for,” she says. “You get to know pretty quickly what’s a good deal and what isn’t.”
PHOTO BY REBECCA YAN
“Coupon Queen” Michelle Barnette shows off her discount loot that she keeps at her home in Concord, N.C.
Barnette knows couponing is all about organization. She pulls out two zippered binders, one for food and the other for household items. She can close only one of them. The other is too full of coupons to close. At first, she was nervous lugging her overstuffed coupon binders to the store with her. She felt the inquisitive stares of the other shoppers. “It took me a while to get over everyone staring at first, but now everyone does it and no one pays attention anymore.” There are plenty of people, however, who do pay attention to
“I set a limit of about $100 a week that I have to spend, and everything else is bought with coupons.” — Michelle Barnette
Barnette. She was featured on TLC’s “Extreme Couponing”. “I didn’t want to do it,” she says. “My family kept pushing and pushing until finally I said yes. I filmed a short video showing my stockpile and talking about my couponing habits. “I just did it so they would stop begging me. I knew I wouldn’t get picked for the show. A few days later, I got a call from TLC, and I was on.” She explains that although she is an avid couponer, her appearance on the show was extreme, even for her. “They asked me to plan a trip where I would donate everything to my son’s football team,” she explains. “It was what I do but to the extreme. I’ve never worked so hard toward one shopping trip. It took the fun out of couponing for me just for that week.” Barnette says that to her couponing is not only fun, it’s an addiction. “It’s definitely an addicting habit,” she says. “I go shopping between two and four times a week, but if I miss a deal, I have to go back to the store and get it.”
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 35
The coupon queen, who is married with a stepson, 19, and a daughter, 17, regrets that she wasn’t doing this earlier. “Man, if I was doing this in my twenties. I used to deliver newspapers, and I would throw away so many coupons. I kick myself for that all the time.” Barnette has more than made up for lost time, however. Her stockpile room is lined with shelves and overflows into an adjoining closet. She has countless bottles of hair dye, gallons of laundry detergent and enough toilet paper to make any prankster jealous. But she doesn’t keep it all to herself. “If anyone asks me to help out in any way, I do,” she says. “I have an elderly neighbor who can’t easily leave her house, so I bring her stuff all the time. I donate to my son’s football team, schools, charities, friends and family.” This couponer, however, works hard not to deprive her family of any necessities or luxuries that couponing has afforded them. “The next thing we’re going to do with all the money we save from couponing is the kitchen,” she says. “The kitchen is too small for all of us to walk around and do everything we have to do,” she says. “It’s going to take a little bit of saving, but that is definitely what’s next on the agenda.” Barnette won’t have to save for long, especially since she estimates their savings anywhere between $500 and $1,000 a month. “I set a limit of about $100 a week that I have to spend, and everything else is bought with coupons.” Barnette’s extreme couponing is no longer a rarity. Holly Chester Moss, 22, says she’s been couponing for a few years. “It’s such an addicting habit,” says Moss. “I was a coupon psycho there for a while. Sometimes I would go shopping four times a week or even multiple times a day.” Coupon psycho or not, the Lenoir, N.C. native says she saves between 70 and 80 percent of her grocery bill per visit. Make sure to tune in to TLC in May to catch the newest season of “Extreme Couponing”. PHOTO BY REBECCA YAN
Couponing Couponing can be a daunting adventure. Here are a few tips to getting started and sticking with it from the coupon queen herself. Stay organized – This is the No. 1 piece of advice our team at Live it Up! got. Whatever you choose to do when it comes to methods of organizing your coupons, organization is key. Coupons expire, in-store deals run out, etc. The easiest way to get overwhelmed is to stop organizing. Make time to keep everything nice and neat to make sure there’s extra cash in your wallet. Find a method that works for you – There are a million different methods to organize your coupons. Research different methods to keep your coupons in order. Barnette uses the popular binder method to keep her coupons in order. Another popular organization is the box method. With this, the box is divided into compartments. Whatever method you use, make sure it works for you. Don’t be afraid to test as many methods as needed until you find one that best suits you. When we met with her, Barnette was
in the middle of trying a new method – unfortunately she quickly discarded the new organizational tool as all of her coupons couldn’t fit in the box.
“Like” companies and retailers on Facebook – Retailers often offer deals and online specials via social media. “Like” these companies on Facebook and the deals will pop up in your news feed… no extra searching required.
Be consistent – Pick a time to coupon and do it. “I wake up at 6 a.m. every Sunday to clip coupons,” Barnette says. “If I don’t, it throws my whole day off.” If you’re not looking to wake up at that ungodly hour on a weekend, pick a time that you know will work, and stick to it. “There have been plenty of times that I want to quit. You have to keep pushing yourself in order to stay on top of it,” she says.
PHOTO BY REBECCA YAN
Get help from friends – One of the best ways to find a good deal is through word of mouth. Find fellow couponers on Facebook or start your own circle of coupon-clipping penny pinchers. “I belong to a private group on Facebook where we all help each other out,” Barnette says. “We post about changing coupon policies in stores or a great coupon that someone may have overlooked. It’s so helpful.” Always look for a coupon code when shopping online - Obviously not everything comes with a coupon. Big ticket items like TVs, iPods and other major electronics aren’t usually coupon-friendly. That doesn’t mean you can’t get it for cheaper though. “Always look for online coupon codes,” Barnette says. “They may not be for much, but every little bit counts.”
FREE Couponing tips According to the NC Coupon Queen Most coupon-friendly grocery stores:
Most coupon-friendly drug stores:
BiLo Harris Teeter Save-A-Lot
CVS Rite-Aid Walgreens
Know the store’s coupon policy – Some stores have a daily limit of how many coupons you can use, while others are picky about how many of the same type of coupon they accept. It’s a great idea to print it out and make sure you have them with you, just in case a cashier isn’t familiar with a store’s own coupon policy.
There are some things that you are just going to have to pay full price for – Unfortunately, there isn’t a coupon for everything. Some of the items that can be hard to find coupons for include: meat, fresh produce like veggies and fruit, and high-priced electronics.
Think outside the box – Coupon-clipping is no longer limited to scissors and a newspaper. Although that’s the best place to start, there are countless ways to find some great coupons. Popular coupon-buying services like Groupon are one great way to save some time. Also, buying coupons is a great timesaver, and will usually save you a bundle. Barnette combines all of these methods. “I clip my own coupons, search online and pay a service to send me coupons,” Barnette says.
Best couponing websites:
Afullcup.com Iamthecouponaddict.com Weusecoupons.com
This is not a real coupon. If you were confused, we are very sorry. This is, however, the real advice of the Coupon Queen. Check out these venues to get the best coupon deals. Happy shopping!
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 37
DOES HOOK-UP CULTURE LEAVE ROOM FOR ROMANCE, OR ARE WE ALL DOOMED?
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 39
STORY BY CAITLIN COVINGTON
ack in our parents’ decade, a boy in a letter jacket gave a poodle-skirt-clad girl his class ring, and voila! – boyfriendgirlfriend status; they were considered officially “going together.” Nowadays, you probably won’t find any boy wearing a letter jacket, least of all giving away his class ring to his sweetheart. In fact, the way that relationships function has vastly changed over the years, as well as the terms that we apply to them. At the center of all these changes is one vital question that I have to ask: Is dating in the 21st century dead? From my experiences in college, drunken hookups and casual sex encounters made up the social atmosphere that students lived in. I had several friends who were notorious for “hooking up” with new guys every month without ever actually entering into a monogamous relationship. Typically, it happened like this: They’d meet a guy at a bar, go home with him, and do the walk-of-shame home the next morning in their high heels from the night before. End of story. They might hear from the guy again, they might not. I’m not saying that all people in their twenties participate in this hook-up culture, but this type of behavior does exist… and it’s a far cry from the type of courtship our grandparents engaged in. Considering how things have changed, I was curious as to whether people are still dating after they’re done with dorm life, and it turns out the answer is pretty complicated.
“Sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G” Although the hookup culture does predominate in college, your later twenties might (or might not) look a little different. In fact, your dating life could solely depend on where in the U.S. you live. Andrea Syrtash, relationship expert and author of He’s Just Not Your Type (And That’s a Good Thing), believes that dating in your twenties isn’t dead, but it can depend a lot on where you settle down. “Certain cities and communities have a dorm-like atmosphere,” says Syrtash. “For instance, in New York, there are places where it’s almost as though you never left college.” Within these tight-knit communities of young people there’s not much dating going on, and casual relationships, including hook-ups, still exist in these areas. It’s something to be wary of when deciding where to live. Beka Hughes, 23, is in the University of Charleston Physician Assistant Program in Charleston, S.C. Even though she’s still in school, Hughes has found that for her, the hook-up culture has changed since undergrad. “I’ve seen a change in a lot of guys,” says Hughes. “They want something more than the guys in undergrad did. I can speak for all my friends when I say that a lot of them didn’t date in undergrad.” And now? “Every one of us has had at least one serious boyfriend since graduation, and a lot of us are dating people now.”
The Dating Dictionary Booty call Contacting someone in the wee hours of the morning, usually to have sex with them (and usually in a state of inebriation). Cohabitation The act of living together and having a sexual relationship without being married. Dating Two people are in the early stages of a relationship and going on dates. Domestic partnership A legal or personal relationship between two individuals who live together but are joined by neither marriage or a civil union. Exclusive relationship Both people decide not to see anyone else. Congrats! You’re a couple. Friends with benefits Two friends who have a casual sexual relationship without being emotionally involved or involving any commitment. Hooking up A vague term that can mean anything from kissing and touching to oral sex or intercourse. It’s complicated An official relationship status term, thanks to Facebook… does anyone really know what this means? Serious relationship A relationship in which two people have talked about their future and see themselves together in the long run. Significant other Another term for girlfriend/boyfriend. Talking When two people are getting to know each other better but are not exclusive and haven’t established their relationship status yet.
“...It happened like this: They’d meet a guy at a bar, go home with him, and do the walk-of-shame home the next morning in their high heels from the night before.
End of story.
Hughes says most of her friends met their boyfriends though work, friends, dating sites, and (you guessed it) bars. Although, for her friends, bar-hopping is now a different experience from college. “Instead of the guy saying, ‘Come home with me,’ and that’s it, now they ask for their phone numbers and call them later,” says Hughes. So is there hope for single ladies and men on the prowl? The twenties can be a difficult time, and dating isn’t always on the forefront of our minds. “When you’re in college you have a built-in network of friends, but it’s much harder to meet people when you’re in the real world,” says Syrtash. Abigail Forrister, a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill now living in Charlotte, N.C., says that she’s encountered a lot of guys in the working world who are still “in it for the hook-up,” but it’s easier to pick out the serious guys from the non-serious guys. “I’ve seen a lot more girls being asked out for coffee or dinner dates than I did in college. It does seem like guys let you know early on if they’re looking for something serious or long term,” Forrister says.
“A lot of people in their twenties are still figuring out where they want to live, what job they want to have. It’s a really dynamic decade, and until you really know yourself and feel settled, you shouldn’t worry about settling down.” For example, in the past, former generations picked a career and stuck with it for decades. However, that’s not the case today. “This generation tends to hop around a lot,” says Syrtash. It’s normal for twenty-somethings to move to different cities and change jobs several times, and relationships are just a part of the change that comes with that. Hughes agrees with Syrtash that the generation of today looks a lot different from our parents’. She says more people, especially women, are starting careers and want to become their own person before they get married. “It’s hard for two people to start their careers at the same time and both be successful if they’re living in different cities,” says Hughes. The 23-year-old also attributed something else to the delayed marrying age: cohabitation. “Sex before marriage and living together before marriage is socially acceptable today, so there isn’t that rush for people to get married to live together,” says Hughes.
“First comes love, then comes marriage”
Ok, hold your horses! Let’s not get to babies yet – we still have a lot to discuss. Like how to meet people if you do want to get into a relationship. If you’re new to a city, or if you’ve been there awhile and are having trouble meeting people, there are definitely options out there for you. “Nobody wants to be the single person that’s hungry to meet someone. You don’t want to come off as desperate or needy,” says Syrtash. To avoid desperation, follow these tips for a successful dating life. You can thank us when you have kids in the stroller.
“Then comes the baby in the baby carriage!”
So if people are still dating in their twenties, why aren’t they marrying when our parents did? My mother walked down the aisle when she was 20 years old – before she could even legally drink. Now I’ve passed that age, and I’m still single. But you know what? I’m fine with it, for now, although that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to get married someday. Syrtash says that statistically, people across the country are settling down about five years later than their parents. “In Utah, people marry really young, around age 20, whereas in New York or L.A. that age is much higher. It varies across the country,” says Syrtash. Forrister agrees that the age of marriage varies around the country. “I think for the most part, the marrying age has increased to later twenties and early thirties. I think that this can differ from region to region, though. I am from a very small town, and I would venture to say the marrying age is still in the early twenties,” says Forrister. Syrtash says you shouldn’t feel pressure to settle down, even if your parents did at an early age, because in many ways our generation is totally different.
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 41
Live it Up’s Guide ONLINE DATING If you don’t mind paying, traditional sites such as eHarmony and Match.com have high success rates. These sites range from around $20 to $40 per month, but can be cheaper if you buy several months in advance. Watching the wallet? Free dating sites like OkCupid and Plenty of Fish can be helpful for meeting people on a budget. These dating sites now make apps for your phone and
iPad that you can connect to for easy access. What to do now: Decide which dating site is right for you! Visit each site, read reviews, and think about how much you’re willing to pay. Most dating sites require you to answer a lot of questions before they recommend suitable matches. Take your time with these questions and answer them honestly! No, guys, women won’t believe you if you put Brad Pitt as your profile picture.
MEET-UP GROUPS Most cities have meet-up groups that let you easily meet other people. Think of it as an online community that meets offline. “Whether you’re interested in art, hiking, music, baseball, basically anything imaginable… there are meet-up groups that gather in your town or city,” says Syrtash.
The best part? They’re free! And even if you don’t meet the love of your life, you’re guaranteed to make a few friends with similar interests. What to do now: Visit www.meetup.com and enter your interests and city to find meet-up groups around you. The next step: You have to actually go! Grab a friend if it makes it easier, and be confident in your ability to meet others.
GET A HOBBY And nope, your hobby shouldn’t be “drinking” or “going to bars.” Forrister says to stop looking for relationships in the same places you did in college, and get a hobby instead. “Sign up for city sports teams or join a local charity even club – you’re much more likely to meet someone that isn’t in it for
just the hook-up,” she says. What to do now: Find something that you love to do and get involved in your city – even if it was something you didn’t have time for in undergrad. You’ll meet people naturally, and you’re guaranteed to have something in common.
NETWORK Meet people for friendship and realize that they also have a network to introduce you to. “When you’re out in the real world, even if you’re single and looking, it’s not always about meeting a significant other; it’s about meeting a network that you don’t know. It’s just as important to pick up new friends if you’re single,” says Syrtash. Hughes agrees. “I would tell girls to go out and meet a girlfriend! Finding
things you like to do and meeting girlfriends is a good way to go out and meet guys,” she says. And of course, this works the opposite way as well. Guys: your new video-game-playing buddy could be a way to meet your next girlfriend. What to do now: Hold a house party. Invite new friends over for dinner or to watch the big game, and tell them to have their friends as well. Having healthy friendships will also help you out when you do snag a significant other.
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012
DATING HORROR STORIES
STORY BY CAITLIN MCGINNIS
e’ve all had our fair share of awkward encounters – from the guy who insistently talks about himself to running into a past hook-up in the produce aisle. Now that dating is so casual, it’s often difficult to tell what is – and isn’t – a date. These scenarios can often scare you off from having a social life. But take comfort in the fact that this happens to everyone. We’ve asked readers to send in their most embarrassing moments with the opposite sex.
SCALING A FUTON
PRINCE CHARMING’S FOIL
WANNA SEE ME SHIRTLESS?
“My best friend and I went to visit a guy I had been texting for a month, for a long-weekend trip. I was really excited to see him, but nervous at the same time. On Saturday we went on a bar crawl with his friends for St. Patrick’s Day. Thankfully, we continued to get along throughout the trip, and the crawl was a huge success despite being exhausted from the trip. Around midnight we got to back to his friend’s house where we were staying for the night. Luckily (what I thought originally) one of his friends was out of town so we were able to sleep on his futon downstairs. As we were making out, we got too close to the edge of the futon, which went from horizontal to a 180-degree angle. Thankfully, a table stopped us from falling to the floor. I told him to not move and I was forced to climb up the futon so it could return to its starting position. Needless to say the rest of the night we slept on opposite sides of the futon.”
“One night out I met a great guy, Steven, who was on track to being a lawyer. We exchanged numbers, and I excitedly waited to make plans. I was so excited to meet someone normal after a long streak of freaks. He promptly sets a date for drinks. The night of the date we meet at a bar and he immediately starts talking about his past terrible relationships (how these women were so awful, but yet he still missed them desperately). The bartender notices my despair and tells the man that it’s painfully obvious I am having a bad time. However, this does not deter him. He eventually moves on from that subject to making racist and sexist comments. When I am finally able to escape, he attempts to walk me home. My response is to tell him I hate him. He then proceeds to step on my shoe and break it in half. I reiterate that I hate him and tell him to never contact me again. Thankfully, I run into him the next day when I’m on a date with someone else.” -Haley Garrett, 22
“I have endured a lot of painful comeons, but this is my favorite. One night I went out with a new group of friends, not knowing any very well. At the beginning of the night, one of the guys, let’s call him Kevin, immediately latches onto me. Since I was trying to make a good impression on everyone else, I politely dismiss his advances. However, he does not catch on and accuses me of being awkward. He then asks me why I would not be attracted to him since he’s so handsome and intelligent. I reply with ‘attraction is very subjective’ but still he persists. He immediately asks me if I want to see him shirtless. Our group then decides to go on the metro to the next area of the city. As we are on the escalator he jumps onto the railing and proclaims he has superior balance. Shortly thereafter he falls off and tumbles down the railing. He didn’t hurt himself; he just looked like an idiot. One word: Karma.”
-Samantha Paulin, 22
-Claudia Nagel, 21
LIVE IT UP
FATHER KNOWS BEST? Sometimes, it’s true. Kimberley Moore gets parental advice on making sense of saving. Budget – just reading the word seems daunting and unpleasant. It reeks of old and boring and, even worse, threatens your lifestyle and your fun. But a budget doesn’t have to be so scary. At first, I thought I’d give our readers expert advice – a banker or financial advisor who does this for a living. But I wanted to talk to someone whose advice is tried and true – whose budgeting I’d seen in action. I wanted to make sure that my source wasn’t just talk. So I went to the source – the “big cheese,” if you will – to the best budgeter I know, my dad. He has a bachelor’s degree in accounting and has given me the best budgeting advice in recent years. How selfish would I be if I didn’t share his infinite wisdom? So I sat down with him to discuss my budgeting questions. Enjoy these nuggets of wisdom from my dad, Gary Moore.
Q: For young twenty-somethings who don’t really think about the future, what are the first steps a person needs to take to make a budget? A: Step 1: Be thorough. Copy down every penny that you spend. If you buy a candy bar, write it down. See exactly where you’re spending your money, exactly. And do it in minute detail. Once you’ve done that, you can get a realistic idea of how much you’re spending and on what. You get an idea of what is essential and what are luxuries. Figure out what proportion of your money is going to essentials and what is going to luxuries so that if it comes down to it, you can see what you can cut out and what you can’t. Step 2: Make a budget that is livable. You cannot make a budget that is so stringent and so restrictive that you cannot enjoy the money that you have. If it’s that strict and stringent, you’re not going to live within it. You’re going to end up blowing your money. A lot of people think a budget is about cutting out the fun, which is completely wrong! It’s about planning for it. Step 3: Plan for emergencies. Put money away so that you can pay for those things when they happen. Whether it’s something tragic like your car breaking down or a spectacular deal on something that comes along, you will have the money to pay for it. Step 4: Pay yourself first. Start your savings account and put a fixed amount in that account as quickly as you get it and only go into that savings account in the direst of emergencies. Pick a fixed amount or a percentage, but always pay yourself first.
Q: How much and how often should people save money? A: I think that depends on what your socioeconomic status is. They say you should be able to save 10 percent, although if you’re in your 20s and single, 15 percent would not be outlandish at all. The best thing is to determine what your future needs are going to be and what your goals are as far as retirement, and see what you need to do and save to get there. If you want to retire at 40, you need to be investing most of your money now.
Q: Oh, that’s another scary word – investing. What do you mean by investing? A: It means putting the money in something where it will increase in value rather than just sit there like in a bank or under your mattress. It means something that has a reasonable payoff versus risk, like the stock market or the housing market.
Q: Finally, with the recession going on and a stock market and housing market crash in the recent past, what should people know before investing in the stock market? A: You can look at the ROI (Return on Investment) for a lot of the different stocks. You need to understand that the payoff in the stock market can be very good but you can also lose your investment. It’s definitely a riskier investment. My advice is investing in mutual funds. There are mutual funds that are available that you can invest your money in. Anything and everything from things that are important to you, like saving the Earth, or things that you know a little more about, like technology have mutual funds. That’s a good way to invest without risking too much because they have a large portfolio that they can invest in, so if one of their stocks fails, they have backups. However, if they have one stock that does really well, you won’t get rich as quick.
Q: How would you tell someone who finds the whole task daunting to start a budget? A: It’s all about taking a few hours one day to start it. Analyze what you’re spending, make a budget of what you really are spending your money on and determine whether you’re happy with what you’re doing. If not, pick the things you want to spend less and more money on. It’s really simple to do, it just requires a few hours once a month to stay on track and be financially smart.
LIVE IT UP
What it Takes to
Advice from a twentysomething who wouldn’t take no for an answer STORY BY ABBY MOORE
No one said finding jobs would be easy. In a job climate where national unemployment sits around 8 percent, that ideal job or dream career isn’t simply going to fall into your lap. Most successful careers these days demand extensive experience attainable only through unpaid internships, expensive networking programs or low-paying entry level jobs. For career starters and job hunters, the outlook may seem a bit bleak, but Live it Up is here to provide a ray of sunshine in the midst of a cloudy job market. We operate under the philosophy that everyone should have the opportunity to pursue his or her passions – so instead of raining on your dream job parade, we’ve collected some excellent advice on how to survive the first few years of career building. Jane Bianchi is a 29-year-old editor for the digital publication Daily Health News from Long Island, New York. Seven years ago, Bianchi graduated from Wake Forest University in Winston Salem, North Carolina, with a strong ambition to join the magazine industry. Although she held several unpaid internships during her college career, including work with College Music Journal and Delta Sky Magazine, Bianchi found herself graduating without any job offers in the field. Instead of giving up, Bianchi moved back in with her parents, waitressed at TGI Friday’s and applied for everything – everywhere. After months of making connections, informational interviews and unpaid internships, Bianchi landed a short-term stint with Glamour, followed by editorial positions at Good Housekeeping, Seventeen and Family Circle. Now an accomplished editor, Bianchi knows what it takes to make it, and she has some experiential advice for those of us stepping out into the “real world.” Bianchi’s final piece of advice is pretty simple – enjoy the experience. It takes a lot of work to pursue your passions, but you might as well have fun while doing it.
Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. Eventually it works; it just took me a while.”
BIGGER BETTER isn’t necessarily
I would say a lot of people want to work at big brands. I would challenge them to work at smaller brands because they offer you more money and better job security.”
FOOT in the door
Be AMBITIOUS “
You’re either ambitious or not. I just really wanted it. I was a stubborn ambitious kid, and it gave me really thick skin. I was rejected multiple times but didn’t let it get to me. You just have to be super proactive. I applied for a lot of things I didn’t get.”
Give it a year
A lot of people told me to give it a year. That seems to be pretty typical. I worked at TGI Friday’s, lived with my parents and interned the rest of the time. That covered my transportation, so I broke even doing that. It took me 10 months to get my first paying magazine job.”
The reality is it’s really competitive, and you’re graduating with people who have already worked at places like People or Cosmo. It’s not easy. But if you can get your foot in the door, then finding jobs gets much, much easier. You have no money, and you have no experience, and you know nobody. Once you’re in the door a little bit, you start meeting people.”
Network like crazy. No job is going to fall into your lap, I’ll tell you that. Part of it is luck, but you’ve got to meet enough people to put yourself in a lucky position. Even if places aren’t offering jobs, ask for informational interviews. You can contact editors and say, ‘Hey, can I buy you coffee or lunch and pick your brain?’ Show people you are valuable.”
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 43
Play Excersise it up!
Exercise on a Budget Here are a few tips and tricks that will allow you to strength train in or outside your own home or apartment for little to no money STORY BY Zach Hamilton
If money – and maybe your favorite pair of jeans – is tight, here’s what you can do to exercise on a budget.
Body Squats Stand in a normal stance (make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart).
Keep your legs out in front of you, slightly bent.
Keeping your back straight, bend from the knees and lower your body down into the squat position while keeping your heels firmly on the ground. As you lower your body, it should feel like you’re sitting down on a low chair or stool slightly behind you. Once you get to the bottom of the squat, use your legs to push yourself back up into a standing position. Repeat!
Have an extra $20 or $30? Lightweight dumbbells are cheap! Go to any sporting goods store and you can purchase 5-, 8-, or 10-pound dumbbells for less than $15 per dumbbell. These can be used for bicep curls, shoulder presses and a variety of other exercises you can do at home.
Keep your arms shoulder-width apart and put your weight on your palms.
Bend from the elbows and lower your body, keeping all the weight on your hands, not your legs. Then push yourself back up until your arms are at full stretch. You should feel it in your triceps and also slightly in your outer chest.
Running You don’t have to be a marathon runner to reap the benefits of running; instead, just do what you can. If you can only jog one mile, then jog one mile. You can build endurance and work your way up to greater distances. If running long distances isn’t your thing, try running shorter distances at a quick tempo.
Push-Ups and Sit-Ups A quick Google or YouTube video search will give you a good variety of abs workouts. As a starter push-up and situp workout, We recommend doing 25 push-ups and 25 crunches per day every other day. From there, you can work your way up to 50 of each exercise every other day, then 50 every day and keep going from there.
abcworkouts.com scoobyworkouts.com LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 45
oops, our seeds are showing
live | book review
STORY BY SCOUT SPAGNOLA
onfession time: I’m clueless about cash. No kidding. Having spent most of my college years buried up to my neck in research papers, I haven’t had nearly enough time to learn the basics of getting around on my own – and as I’m stepping out on my own, that’s really starting to sting. So this week I decided it was time that I seek out some advice. I’m not exactly well-versed in finance, so I looked for something that could demystify money for young, independent-minded folks looking to live free and frugal. Fortunately for me, my local library had a streaming video on file titled Suze Orman for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke. (The program is also available on Netflix and can be purchased for $17.99 on Amazon.com, while the print edition, The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke, can be purchased for $10.88 on Amazon.) I’d seen Orman on cable news a handful of times, but I was distracted by her big voice and bigger shoulder pads and I wasn’t sure what to expect from the program. What I got was a well-ordered and generally accessible 85-minute program in which Orman – thankfully sans shoulder pads – breaks down the basics of what it takes to survive in the real world to a studio audience of young people and their parents. Despite Orman’s flashy fashion choices and loud voice, she doesn’t display a big ego. She begins her program by admitting that young people have told her that her usual financial advice – keeping an eight-month emergency fund and debt-free living– just isn’t working for them in a world where jobs are hard to come by, starting salaries are low, and fuel and health insurance costs are spiraling. Orman retools and fine tunes her standard advice for the young strivers set, combining in-depth advice with bold presentation and old-school common sense.
If there is a weakness in Orman’s presentation, it’s that she has a tendency to talk too fast. There were times when I had to pause and rewind, and her entire section on housing was a blur to me. This problem can be solved by reading the book. Orman has an abundance of good advice to offer, and viewing her presentation or reading the book may be worth your while if you’re trying to make it on your own.
final verdict | 8 out 10
>>> Are you clueless about cash? Suze Orman offers insight on dealing with money
Enjoy your work
$ $ $
Choose the job you love Happiness is greater than money Hard work will pay off
Monitor your credit cards
Don’t close cards you owe money on Check your credit reports often
Come in to work early every day Show that you’re a hard worker
Good Debt Exists $ Good debt=money that you invest in $ $
your future Know that debt for people of our generation is inevitable Don’t spend on unnecessary things
Save Meet the Blogger
Meet Carrie Smith: Inside the mind of the creator of “Careful Cents,” the blog to help people like us manage our money. STORY BY Melissa Abbey
ou don’t meet many accountants who are passionate about their job, but Carrie Smith, the genius behind blog Careful Cents, says accounting is her love and her calling. She’s been working for 10 years and has some helpful hints about how to maintain balance in life as well as get – and stay – out of debt. Carrie’s blog Careful Cents, is both entertaining and remarkably helpful. She reviews credit cards, books and debt programs, and offers advice for developing personal finance strategies. She writes about bartering, when to put investing on hold and how to increase income. Her post titles include “5 Credit Score Myths That Most People Believe” and “A New Take on 5 Different Kinds of Budgets.” But Careful Cents isn’t all about money. It’s also about life. On her “About” page, Carrie writes,“The main reason I started this blog is to show that personal
and busi ness, money and career are all intertwined together.” Carrie knows well that financial stress can affect other areas of life – and vice versa. She doesn’t treat her readers or her clients like spreadsheets but like people with lives as complicated as her own.
An Unusual Start
Carrie didn’t have what you might consider the typical start to a career.
After her mom died of breast cancer, Carrie – then 15 years old and the oldest of four siblings – earned her GED early and went straight to work. Through a personal connection she got a bottom-level job in accounting at a local oil and gas company when she was only 17. She learned on the job, took some classes and now, 10 years later, runs the accounting department there. Carrie also does financial consulting on the side, as well as blogging and contributing to Yahoo! Finance. She’s proof that even today
you don’t necessarily need a college degree – or even high school degree – to be successful. The Key To Success She attributes her success to knowing the right people, learning in the workplace and being passionate. But passionate about accounting? “I really like helping people,” she says. “And finances are really, really stressful for people. “I believe that what I’m doing is quote unquote ‘my calling,’” she says, starting to laugh. “It’s so stupid to say that accounting is your calling, but it is. It’s my life.” Carrie takes consulting to the next level by simply getting to know her clients personally. “There are two people that are probably going to be the most invasive and all up in your space: your doctor and your accountant,” she says. “I want to be the person that somebody can be comfortable talking to about their finances.”
Check out Carrie’s blog at carefulcents.com Follow Carrie on Twitter: @applecsmith Like Carrie on Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/carefulcents
Ask Carrie: Q. What’s the biggest mistake you see young adults make?
A. The thing I definitely see the most is the use
of debt and getting into debt as a tool to fund the American dream. At least in the South, it’s very common. At 19, 20, 21 you find your soul mate, you get married, have a kid, buy a house – and you’re doing all of this before 25. You can’t really establish yourself financially by that time, so you’re using debt to fund all these quote unquote ‘American dreams.’ All of those possessions are things you should acquire throughout your life like our parents did. But instead we grow up in this wonderful lifestyle, and we jump out of college and think we deserve all of it too.
Q. Do you have any basic, daily advice?
A. Anytime I’m going to make a purchase, I think about it. I take my time with it, I guess. Also, I don’t like to take on a lot of, well, I call it “noise.” Lifestyle noise, money noise, stress noise, whatever. I just call it noise. So if it’s creating a lot of noise in my life, I try to shut it off. That’s my thing. Turn it all down. Simplify your life. That’s really what my blog is about: “making cents of life,” because even though we all try to keep work at work and home at home and personal and business separate, it really is all intertwined. You’ve got to learn how to make sense of it and be successful at all that noise at the same time.
Q. How do you counter that?
Q. What other problem do you see with the 20s to 30s demographic?
A. It seems really simple, but start small and work your way up. Be consistent; be faithful with the small things. For example, I purchased my first home at 23 and was like, “Please take this away from me,” by the time I was 25. It was a huge mess. You’ll definitely learn the hard way if you’re not ready to take on something of that financial responsibility. I definitely should have started small and should have been diligent with the small amount of money I made, the small amount of place to live and the small car, instead of trying to take on all this “keeping up with the Joneses.”
A. I honestly think that this generation of younger people my age, they don’t give themselves enough credit. I think they underestimate their potential. If they don’t want the American dream, I’m sure there’s still something they want to do, something they want to accomplish. We just are a little bit lazy, a little bit lax, a little bit unsure and don’t give ourselves enough credit. You really do have the skill and the potential to build wealth, to become debt free. It just takes some discipline and dedication but also believing in yourself that you can do it.
The Bottom Line: How to make “cents” out of your life Dont go into debt trying to fund the American Dream right out of college
Network, connect with the right people
Think about your purchases, disicpline yourself Give yourself credit, do not underestimate your potential
LIVE IT UP SUMMER 2012 51
STORY BY CAITLIN COVINGTON
Looking trendy doesn’t have to drain your wallet! We snagged these deals at H&M, and you’re guaranteed to love ‘em, too, with each item costing way less than fifty bucks. For women, we’re crushing on gold chunky necklaces paired with statement handbags and pastel nails. For men, go for simple but classic pieces this season, such as gunmetal grey jeans or a pair of sleek foldup glasses. Visit http://www.hm.com/us/ for a store nearest you.
3 Jeans, $39.95