utility expenses

I understand that it sucks when you can’t afford to pay for things you love. It really, really does! And it’s kind of a shitty move when something that was once free moves behind a pay wall.

But at the same time, artists deserve to be paid. That goes for the people you love to watch, who create the things you love to consume, as well as the artists you know in fandom. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with artists saying “here’s a venue that’s willing to help us financially to do some of the things we love, so let’s create new stuff exclusively for that venue.” It sucks that the audience for those things is limited by people who can pay for them, but … until someone smashes capitalism for good and makes it so that none of us have rent or utilities or food expenses, that’s the way some things are going to be. 

Artists deserve to be paid. Art costs money, in many many ways, especially when you’re making it for a larger audience. It sucks if you don’t have the money to pay for art you love, but the answer to that is not to bitch at the people making the art. They don’t owe you free art or free entertainment. No one does.

Please Help!!!

I’m a trans girl engaged to my nonbinary partner. We’re both disabled and chronically ill, so work is hard to find. We’ve both done our best, but expenses don’t pause even if income did.
I’m in the red in my bank account. Internet charged automatically and the overdraft fee sent me to ~$100 under. I need this in five days, or SunTrust will charge me again.
Then at the end of the month are utility expenses. I don’t know how much those will be. Together, Jay and I have a couple gift cards to feed ourselves but it’s looking bleak.
I had some amazing news and it’s looking like I won’t be living in my car, but I need to fix my debt. Jay also has student loan payments.
I can provide proof of all of this if needed.
Jay (@efficacie) can send you a thank you (either a wand or a wrapped stone) if you donate over $15! Send them a message with your name and what you want!
My paypal is unity.mccanless@yahoo.com, please donate there if you can.
And please signal boost if you can’t donate (I understand)!


the expense of bringing up the sextuplets paid by their parents (2017)

according to a writer who did this trial calculation, it cost at least about one handred twenty-nine million yen in total until the sextuplets became twenty years old.
i wonder what their father do. and apparently their mother doesn’t work full-time…in Tokyo area, the cost of living is high.
(average annual income in Japan is 4.15 million)
utility bill and living expenses of their parents aren’t included in this calculation.

【the cost of delivery】
the avarage cost is about four handred thousand yen.
but for children born of multiple birth(twins, triplets…and sextuplets), the mother must enter hospital a week before the delivery, it cost five hundred and fourty thousand yen.
plus, seventy thousand yen per baby of multiple birth.
540,000 yen + (70,000 yen ×6) = 960,000 yen.

and, in Japan, the Lump-sum allowance for childbirth is four hundred twenty thousand yen.
420,000 yen × 6 = 2,520,000 yen.

2,520,000 yen - 960,000 yen = 1,560,000 yen. run in the black.

【the cost until the sextuplets became twenty years old】
at 0 years old - about 4.5 million yen
at 1 years old - about 4.1 million yen
at 2 years old - about 4.5 million yen
at 3 years old - about 5.2 million yen
at 4 years old - about 6.2 million yen
at 5 years old - about 5.9 million yen
at 6 years old - about 6.3 million yen
at 7 years old - about 5.7 million yen
at 8 years old - about 5.3 million yen
at 9 years old - about 5.8 million yen
at 10 years old - about 5.9 million yen
at 11years old - about 6.4 million yen
at 12 years old - about 6.6 million yen
at 13 years old - about 8.4 million yen
at 14 years old - about 8.4 million yen
at 15 years old - about 8.9 million yen

at this point, it cost almost one hundred million yen, and annual average is about 6.4 million yen.
from 16 years old to 20 years old, it cost about 32 million yen for 5 years.

and, avarage monthly food and clothing expenses in Japan are about fourty-five thousand yen.
plus other living expenses, the monthly cost per person is about ninty-five thousand yen.
at least the montly cost for the six neets is about five hundred and sixty thousand yen.

still, the neets don’t look for jobs. what overprotective parents!!!!!!


HEY THERE I edited this past post to it’s most updated form. This month has been really rough on me financially, so I’m opening up commissions again to help! My car has needed and still needs some unexpected repairs, I’m still struggling to pay off my past medical bills, utilities are super expensive this month (more than I pay for rent tbh) because of some issues we’ve had, on top of other things. I’ve been taking a lot more hours at work but I’ll still need some extra help <3 
 I will ship any traditionally done commissions for a small shipping charge (about $3)! You just have to be willing to give me your address. Must have a parents permission if you are under 18 please! 

Pencil: $15 
Color (digital OR Traditional): $20-$25 

Pencil: $30 
Color (digital): $35 
Color(traditional): $40 

Waist & Up-
Pencil drawing: $35 
Color (digital): $40 
Color (traditional): $45 

Full Body-
Pencil Drawing: $50 
Color (digital): $55 
Color (traditional): $60 

Message me for any other details like backgrounds or additional characters! I draw OC’s, Fanart, Furries…etc. (If OC’s/Furries you must have some sort of reference).
I’ll draw just about anything as long as it’s PG-13 :) Again, message me if you are uncertain, and we’ll work something out!! <3 

Please if you don’t want or can’t afford a commission yourself, reblog so others can see!
Also don’t forget my Etsy is open if there is something I already have that you want! (use code SHIPFREE50 to get free shipping off orders $50+)


anonymous asked:

This is Diya and I'm mad so I'm resorting to tumblr messages instead of creating a tumblr myself. Ok people who apparently know so much about the financial considerations of being a Production Assistant let me break it down for you. One makes, after taxes, about $500 a week. That's 2k per month. 1k easily goes towards rent and utilities. Non optional expense. $500 of the remaining 1k goes towards bills: health insurance, car insurance, car payments, and student loans. Non optional expense. (1)

(2) That leaves you $500 for groceries and miscellaneous. If you hardcore budget you can get groceries per week on $50. Thats $200 per month gone. So, $300 left. To save. During a job that usually lasts around 9 months. Also, shitnugget, writers staffs go through something called “staffing season” where most shows aren’t running & there are therefore no jobs for about 3 months. Based on the aforementioned calculations we know we need to budget about 1700 a month to simply LIVE.

(3) Actually, throw in another $50 to the grocery budget bc now you have to provide your own lunch instead of getting fed at work. So $1750 x3 so $5250 at a minimum is comfortable savings to have a career in Hollywood. Everyone is aware of this. Everyone respects this as the cost of trying to break into the industry and we show that by having side jobs. One person I work with takes shifts at a comic store. One, reviews scripts for money.

(4) The side hustle is such a normal part of this industry it is downright laughable how ignorant you are of reality. I’m glad you live in a world where you think people who want to make art are consistently rewarded and nurtured in their journey but HA and double HA your naivety does not change reality. The reality is that we have to claw ourselves up every day, be on every day, always be seeking out our next opportunity, and yes, making money to support ourselves. Don’t cheapen that struggle.

Diya is brilliant listen to Diya. (Also $500 a month doesn’t even cover my car payment, insurance and student loans) because everything is terrible and student loans are terrible. 

Diya you should come on my podcast and we should talk about money and working in entertainment at the lower level and SIDE HUSTLE. 

please read

hi guys,
as some of you may know, i lost my job recently. i had no savings or other work lined up so its left me in a bit of a financial lurch. i receive some government assistance but its just enough to cover rent and food, i dont have enough for extra expenses like utility bills, medication (i have bpd, depression and ptsd) and transport. my parents are also incredibly poor and cannot afford to support me. i’ve been selling off my possessions to raise extra cash but its not enough. until i can find another job, i desperately need help. if you have anything to spare, i would be hugely appreciative if you could donate to my paypal: r.pomi94@gmail.com. reblogs are also appreciated.
thank you for reading.

anonymous asked:

Hi! So I have a money saving/spending problem. I get direct deposit so I only carry my debit card and I have my banks app so that I can transfer money when I need to. Do you think that's really hurting my ability to save money? I always pay off my bills first but the rest I have left over doesn't last long until my next check. I've heard of the envelope method with cash but I don't know much about it and don't know how well it'll work

By “envelope method with cash”, I think you’re referring to a budgeting technique. The idea is that you decide on a sum of money, and keep that amount in your wallet. You use this money on things like gas, snacks, shopping, etc. Once the money runs out, it runs out. You don’t replenish the money or revert to your card to buy anything.

It’s important that this money is not used for things like rent or utility bills. Those are expenses that need to be paid, regardless.

A friend of mine uses this method, and she finds it very effective. Try it out, and decide whether it works for you! Start out with anywhere from $75-$50 of cash per week, depending on how much you’re looking to save per paycheck.

PSA - Help out a friend?

I have a friend in need who’s a member of this community, but for personal safety reasons needs to keep a low profile, so I volunteered to post a request for donations on their behalf. If you’re in a position to help someone who’s been placed in financial hardship by their own mentally and physically abusive family, read on.

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Examples of Circassian traditional dress

The traditional clothing of the Adyghe people are very colourful, rich and diverse varying according to region, tribe, class and occasion. Frequently seen colors are red, white, black and brown, bright shades are rarely utilized. Expensive fabrics such as silk and velvet are used for holidays, festivities and weddings and are usually completed with beautiful embroidery, jewelry and belts.

Here we go again
As most of my followers probably know I gave birth to my son Kendrick three weeks ago.  He’s perfect in almost every way - except he only has one kidney.  It’s currently not functioning at it’s full capacity and will likely require corrective surgery.  Unfortunately, his specialist isn’t in our insurance network and they are refusing him care because we can’t put up the down payment for his treatment. I tried other specialists but we’re basically at a stand still - it’s the same problem with all of them - they’re all not covered and we can’t get a referral due to issues with his coverage.
I can’t work right now because I have to spend my time taking him to doctors and hospitals AND I can’t exactly afford daycare for him so we’re really tight for money.  Between the hospital bills he already has, our normal utility expenses and being down to one income, I honestly don’t know what to do. I can’t get any assistance for food or formula for him because my fiance makes too much money.  We’re poor, just not poor enough.
So I hate to ask for handouts or help, I’m too much of a prideful person but it’s not just about me anymore.  I have to make sure my son will be okay too. I took the donate button off my blog, PayPal was taking a lot of money from the donations i was getting, so if you’d like to help us out, my email is breemariew@yahoo.com - you can send it there. Also keep us in your thoughts.
Anyone who donates I will find something to give you in return but right now I have nothing to give.  Anything helps, it’s all appreciated.  And if you can’t donate, share and we’ll hopefully figure it out.  I’ll probably be starting a gofundme, but I’ve heard something about a percentage being taken off for the website or smth idk, I have to do some research,  but anything helps.  Thanks for reading, Kendrick thanks you!

A Lazy Morning

FLUFF FLUFF FLUFF for @punslinger as part of the Mr. Robot Fanfiction Secret Santa! Mostly Tyrell/Elliot with some Mr. Robot thrown in for fun. ;)


Elliot wakes to the tantalizing smell of coffee.

Well, he also wakes to Mr. Robot pushing him out of the king-sized bed and onto his ass.

“Wake up, sleepyhead, our Swedish twink boyfriend is making us breakfast.”

My boyfriend,” Elliot grumbles.

“He fell for me first, kiddo,” Robot grins, reclining on ridiculously high thread-count sheets.

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mtxdan  asked:

I'm going to be living on my own for the first time, starting next week. Any advice?

Hey Dan! I mean, so much of this really depends on whatever your circumstances and personality are like (apartment or house? urban or rural? completely alone or roommates? do you prefer privacy and space or do you like having people around often? etc.), but in general:

Download Mint (iOS | Android) to help you keep track of all of your bills and utilities, general lyf expenses, and just to help you easily and lazily create a budget that works. It’s the best.

Prep the fuck outta your meals to save on $$$ and time.

Houseplants and succulents are therapeutic, mood-improving, uplifting, and ~aesthetics~ af. Go to the nearest plant nursery, garden, or hardware store and get some easy-care, hard-to-kill green things.

Get to know your neighbors; eventually you’ll need shit and otherwise they’ll just be like “but who are you tho?” or if you end up dating an obsessive psychopath or have meth heads cooking meth in the woods around your house they can let you know if they see any fishy shit at your place when you’re away. 10/10 would get to know neighbors again

GET BOOTY you’re alone now go wild try new things yolo 420

Keep in touch with your family and friends tbh, bc living alone can be insular af and this is a big part of how and why people often drift away from family and friends as they get older, try to keep that from happening as much as you can, your 10-years-later self will thank you for it.

Living alone is great even if you’re not a primarily private, introverted hermit; you’ll become a much more self-sustaining and confident person. Good luck, and let me know if you have any specific questions, these were all pretty general suggestions.

anonymous asked:

are you guys fulltime cosplayers? i've always worried about money being a constraint for when i'm older/out of the house and bless the fact that my parents support my cosplay habits, but i'm not really good enough to be a fulltime cosplayer and be able to afford flying to cons. how do you afford cosplay, especially when you're in college or just out of college?

Hmm. I feel like I’m going to go into a few tangents here, so bear with me. 

First of all, virtually no one is a full-time cosplayer, including us. There are probably less than a dozen people in the western world who make “being a cosplayer” a full time job, but even then, it’s a melange of people who are craftspeople in the costume field (like God Save the Queen’s Catherine, who is a professional costume maker but occasionally cosplays) or models who happen to cosplay (like Jessica Nigri.) People like Yaya, who bring home the bacon[?] on both making their costumes and wearing them, are… well, virtually non-existent. There’s so few that they’re basically statistical anomalies. And even then, so much of being a “full time cosplayer” the way they have is owning a business, building a brand, producing content, etc. The actual act of wearing cosplay is a tiny part of it in the end (even if it is the most visible part.) 

We’re making a go at business on the craftspeople end –– after all, our business is based on making things for cosplay, not the act of being cosplayers. It’s not enough to support one person exclusively right now, let alone support multiple people. It might never be! But we’re working on it, and we’ll see.

The other thing I want to touch on is this recent community-wide fascination with being a “full-time cosplayer” or a “professional cosplayer”, as if it’s even a financially viable thing.

To be blunt, barely anyone is going to make any money off cosplay. If someone does happen to make a little bit of money, they’re still not very likely to make any profit, and they certainly won’t make enough money to cover expenses of cosplay, let alone support themselves. There’s lots of stupid puff pieces floating around lately about cosplayers (read: cosplayers who model) capitalizing on cosplay and making it their profession. It’s simply not true. There are people who think starting a Patreon and building a fanbase on there is enough to be a professional cosplayer –– say you manage to get $1000 a month. That’s a lot of money! There’s a fuckton of hopeful “professional cosplayers” on Patreon who make like, $36/month. But can you support yourself on $1000/month? And not just rent, groceries, utilities, transport, taxes, other expenses, pets, leisure, etc… you also have to factor in the cost of cosplay itself, and the time sink to produce enough content to continue giving patrons reason to continue supporting you.

So no. There is no money in cosplay. It’s foolish to chase money in cosplay unless you’re a dedicated craftsperson with the intention of making it your profession orrrrrr someone who can make modeling work, and even then it takes a lot of grinding, a lot of time and sometimes money (it costs money to start a business!) and an assload of luck.

So on to your question:

How do you afford cosplay, especially when you’re in college or just out of college?

You get a job and keep cosplay as a hobby, putting it on the back burner when necessary.

I know that’s kind of shitty advice –– oh, just get a job! Let me climb into my job cannon and fire off to job land where jobs grow on job trees, or whatever the quote is! –– but it’s the simple truth.

Cosplay is a hobby. It is, at times, a very expensive hobby, especially if you have lofty plans and are always experimenting or want to make a lot of things or any number of factors. But that’s life!

So I’ll tell you this, as a person who has funded her own cosplay, her own travel, her own conventions for over a decade: you just have to set realistic expectations. Money gets tight in college, and you suddenly have new expenses, and transitioning to “adulthood” post-college can be rough. I know, I did it! I definitely made way fewer costumes once I got into college because of money and time constraints, and it’s been a lot of trial and error learning how to budget for cosplay now, as an adult. While you’re in school, you might only be able to do one costume a year. And that’s okay.

To a minor degree, it’s also what you choose to prioritize: cutting down on recreational shopping, subscriptions, eating out, and even spending on other hobbies (video games, concerts) means you have more room in your budget. But you might not have room in your budget for those things anyway –– lots of people in college, after groceries and rent and other expenses, end up with like $20 spending money a month. And it’s hard to make costumes on $20/month, but what’s the alternative? Starving so you can cosplay?

I have seen so many people who do asinine, stupid shit like not buying groceries because they HAD TO have this wig for their costume, or not being able to make rent when they JUST went to a convention. Within days they’re begging for money online to make expenses –– I have seen this over and over again for years from many, many people, and they are almost always people who are in college and don’t have much money management experience. They’re usually late teens, early twenties, making their first independent financial choices in their lives, so whatever, you know, it happens. But if you can avoid those kind of financial missteps, it’s best to. Cosplay is an expensive hobby. It sucks when you can’t participate in something you love to the degree you want to, but that’s life. You either find a way to make more money, even if it’s picking up a babysitting job or getting a retail job or whatever, or you go without.

I didn’t make many costumes in college, personally. When I did, I tended to buy the things for them during the summer when I was working full-time, but I tended to keep a tight budget anyway. I stopped using hotels for local conventions and started commuting. I went to fewer conventions, or only dropped by for a day instead of spending the whole weekend. I made a lot of costumes out of existing fabric I had from before. They were lean years! But we all had them. School had to come first.

Out of college, it might take you a bit to find a job. It sucks, I know, I’ve been there! But cosplay can wait. It’ll still be here when you get your shit sorted out, and it’s not like you don’t have old cosplay to wear in the meantime. Once you do have a job, it might also take a little bit to get your finances stable enough to have enough money to comfortably spend on hobbies like cosplay. But once you’re in order and have a consistent budget, it’s not a big deal to spend money on cosplay. 

Money may be a constraint for a while, but if you focus on college while you are in college, and work hard and study and make connections and get lucky (oh god I hate this economy) then hopefully when you are out of college, it’s all downhill from there :)

tl;dr: work work work work work work.

- Jenn

zemyla  asked:

Is there anything you can tell us about how to move to Ireland?

Well, you could do it the way I did. I married an Irish guy. Or more specifically, someone entitled from birth to an Irish passport and Irish citizenship. Since @PeterMorwood’s parents were born on the island of Ireland before 1922 (and the establishment of the border between Northern Ireland [presently part of the UK] and the Republic of Ireland, he was entitled to either citizenship, or both.) When I married him I acquired UK residency (because we were running around England and Scotland for a while there: SPOCK’S WORLD was written in a cottage attached to a Scottish castle near Ayr) and then, a bit later, Irish residency when we moved over here. Google “UK Ireland Common Travel Area” for some of the ramifications. Five years after I moved here, I acquired Irish / EU citizenship in my own right, secondary to marriage to him.

Due to the wonderfulness of Ireland, you too can marry an Irish person of the gender of your interest / choice, whether you are yourself of that gender or of another. I’ll leave you to look into this.

(I’m sticking a cut in here, because this thing just keeps growing…)

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Vive Tu Vida (pt 1/?)

I done wrote something! It’s not Fall, true, but it is a story you’ve seen before! I’ve just added an actual plot and characters and all that fun stuff. And tbh, I’m quite excited for this mobster!finn story to unfold. It’s going to be great.

It takes place in Los Angeles, which is quite a far ways away from good ol’ England. What can I say? I love putting my characters in unknown territory.

Things will get graphic in this story, but if you take into account the kind of life they lead, it’d be irresponsible of me to gloss over the violence Finn and co live with daily. I will try to make it as easy to stomach as possible, but there are aspects to cruelty that I just can’t sugarcoat.

Also! I’m trying to become proficient in Spanish, so I figured what better place to test my abilities than in a story in Southern California! That being said, I still have troubles with the language, so if someone would take pity on me and walk me through some things, I’d 10000% appreciate it. Phrases, spelling, that kind of stuff. (google leaves a lot to be desired.)

Message if you would like/be willing to help me!

Does anyone want to be tagged for this story?


Finn leads a life of misery, pain, and regret. The gun in his hand and the money in his pocket have been there since birth, and the older he gets, the more his hopes of freedom begin to turn into a pipe dream. But one fateful birthday brings a person into his life that promises greener pastures. In the end, he has to make a decision: stay with what he knows, or explore the unknown.


Finn shut his eyes and heaved a great sigh. The three of them had been here almost two hours, and absolutely fuck all was happening. Chop was beating a loose piece of road against the curb, and Finn got lost in the repetitive beat. It echoed in his mind until all he could do was listen and stare at nothing.                           

“Finn. Jesus Christ, mate. Snap out of it.” Finn blinked away the unfocused image of buildings as the sound cut out almost violently from his head. He looked at Chop’s wrinkled, slightly dirty suit and smiled.

“Right, sorry. Just zoned out.”

“Alright, well your dad called. We’re done.”

Finn blinked once more in confusion and set his mouth in an annoyed moue, “We’ve been here hours. What happened?”

“I dunno, mate. I’m sure we’ll see soon enough, eh?” Chop shrugged into his leather jacket and flipped the collar up, to protect against the biting cold wind that would sting their skin as soon as they left the glass enclosure. Finn sighed again and wrapped his scarf around his neck; twisting into the action as he looked for Archie behind him. The brunette was slouched in a hard, plastic lawn chair; his face propped up uncomfortably on his hand as his mouth hung open. Finn could almost feel the sore pain his friend would experience, and stepped forward to wake him.

“Arch, get up, mate. We’re finished here.”

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African American in Africa: Meet Jamal in Kenya!

Meet Jamal in Kenya!  Jamal first landed in Mombasa as a study abroad student in 2000.  After making fantastic friends in his host community, Jamal ended up making the beautiful coastal city of Mombasa home.  He’s also spent time living in Oman!  He is a true testament to the phenomenal paths a life abroad can take you!

How long have you been living in Kenya and how did you end up there?
During this time, I’ve been living in Kenya since July 2013. My initial move to Kenya is a much longer story. I first came to Kenya as a study abroad student in the fall of 2000. During my time as a study abroad student, I became very close with a local family who essentially invited to become a part of their extended family. This was the family of a well respected man named Mzee Ali Abubakar and he was the director of Fort Jesus Museum, which is one of the largest museums in Kenya. After my study abroad ended, I returned to Kenya a number of times. A few years later, this same family introduced me to my wife, whom I subsequently got married to in the summer of 2004.

Is Kenya the only country you’ve visited in Africa?
No, I’ve had the opportunity to visit a few other countries. I’ve been to Tanzania, which is just next door. I’ve also been to Madagascar, which is amazing. Finally, I’ve been to Egypt which was a wonderful experience.

What are you doing professionally there?
I have my own company here in Kenya, WakeUp International. We offer consulting and regional representation services for international companies seeking to enter the East African and Kenyan market. I have regional representation for companies based out of the United States, Turkey, China and Oman. (It may sound like I’m doing it big but I’m not there yet, lol).

Do you have any job or immigration related advice for potential expats in Kenya?
I would honestly suggest an individual do some research on what opportunities or products they intend to engage in before making the jump. Also, be sure that you have reliable connections in different places to facilitate business and professional opportunities. One important thing is to plan financially, and then plan again. While the impression is that since its Africa, things must be cheap, the reality is very different. Life can be quite expensive and you have to plan accordingly.

For immigration, I would strongly suggest to be ready to spend money to stay if your intention is to be here long term. While you can get a 3 month single entry visa upon arrival, you can only extend it once. After 6 months, you have to not only leave Kenya, but actually East Africa. Thus, if you plan to reside in Kenya, either be prepared to get a investment visa or a long term residency visa. Both can take a long time, so also one should have patience.

What’s life in Kenya like for you?
Life in Kenya is interesting. However, because I’ve spent so much time here, things have become a bit normal. I know a lot of people in the city, and I’ve come to learn of the shortcuts for roads, where to buy the best food and the day to day living issues. I have my office, however, I do spend a good deal of time in Nairobi and some of the other counties on business related issues. Sometimes, I am very busy, whereas other times, I have a lot of time on my hands.

What do you love the most about living in Kenya?
There are a lot of things I love about Kenya. The people are very friendly and down to earth. They are very open and you genuinely make good friends here. I remember when I first came here in 2000 and I used to frequent one small store to purchase juice. I would have a small conversation with an older lady who was the owner of the store, and one day I didn’t have any change, so she said to me “don’t worry about it, you’re my friend.” Coming from the States and more specifically Philly, you almost never become friends with someone after knowing them for only a few months. However, in Kenya it was different. We had actually become friends and it was just a normal thing that if two nice people meet, and they speak to one another, they are friends. 

From a social and family perspective, it’s good for my family. We lived in the Gulf for a number of years (Oman, Saudi Arabia, along with a lot of visits to the United Arab Emirates) and in between, some time back in Philly. However, it got to the point in which as my children began to get older, I knew that it was important for them to be close to at least one side of the family. Thus with more business opportunities being apparent in Kenya, we decided to move here. Who knows, maybe at some point we’ll be going to Philly.

What have been the easiest things to adjust to?
The easiest thing to adjust to is not feeling like an outsider. I’ve been to a number of countries in which it’s obvious that I was not from there. While most people are friendly, some still do stare. However, here in Kenya, with the exception of people who know me, it would be impossible for anyone to know that I’m not from here. So from that perspective, it has been an easy adjustment.

What have been the most difficult things to adjust to?
From a business perspective, just the lack of movement and for the lack of a better term “getting things done”. It can take weeks if not months to get a simple response on business matters. That in itself is an article unto itself. 

For me, the food is okay and probably because I’ve been eating it for the past 10 years, although my wife has done a very good job in adjusting to cooking American foods.

Can you share a few details on the general cost of living in your community?
The cost of living can be high, because utilities and food are expensive here. Also, fuel prices are as high, if not higher than the United States. So the pricing is reflected in every other commodity. Also, because I live in the city, there is no way to avoid most costs. We’re working towards purchasing a home and this is the idea as my business grows and develops. However, in hindsight, I should have purchased property years ago. Note: If you’re reading this now and have the chance to buy some property near any major city in Africa, buy now! Regardless if you plan to live there anytime soon, buy now and it’s almost guaranteed to appreciate in value within the coming years. You can thank me later.

Do you miss home?
Yes. Next question. Lol. Yeah, I definitely miss home a lot and the older I get, I miss my family more and more. I come from a very big and very close family, both on my mother’s side and my father’s side. Additionally, I have some very good friends whom I’ve known for years. While Facebook and emails are great, there’s still nothing like sitting around and having a good conversation with friends and family. At the same time, this is offset a little bit by the fact that my wife also has a big and close family, along with the family whom I originally became close with here in Kenya. Thus, I have big families on two continents, which is definitely a blessing.

For a parent who is considering a move to Kenya but has concerns about moving their child into a different educational system, what advice and reflections could you share?
This is a valid question. I’ll say this, within my Kenyan family both close and extended, there is one engineer who is currently living in California, one who owns a pharmacy in North Carolina, two who are in college in Canada, professionals in the United Kingdom and professionals in the United Arab Emirates. My wife has a niece who is currently in medical school in Nairobi and when she left high school, her grades were so good that she could have gone to university anywhere in the world and would have gotten a scholarship. Her sister is currently at the same university and is in law school. Their younger brother is just finishing high school and is planning to study aeronautical engineering either in the United States, Australia or in Turkey. The bottom line is that, every single one of these people studied their elementary and high school in Kenya and have still excelled. The educational system here is quite good but you’ll have to put your kids in a private school, which is actually the norm here for parents who want their children to have a bright future and can afford it.

Did you always dream of living abroad?
In theory, no, but in hindsight I would say that I was prepared to throughout life. In early elementary school, one of my best friends was a Vietnamese kid and in late elementary school, and high school, I had a host of Hispanic, Italian, Irish and Jewish friends. In college, whether by chance or design, in my 4 ½ years of college, I had roommates from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Nigeria and Trinidad. In theory, it can be said that this was a natural result of growing up in a cosmopolitan city, but in reality, many people whom I went to school with rarely interacted with other people whom they considered different. I would say that I was different and I always felt comfortable around decent people, regardless of their background.

What’s your best advice for someone who wants to move to the African continent?
Do your due diligence. Before you make the move, visit the country more than once. For a one or even two time visit, you may get caught up in the feeling of being “in Africa”. However, its best to visit a few times so that you can peel back the layers of society and people and get a proper understanding of where you’re planning to live. Also, I strongly suggest people look for business opportunities. While employment opportunities are growing, there are tons of entrepreneurial endeavors just waiting to be taken advantage of.

Do you think enough African Americans visit Africa?  What would you say to encourage more to visit?
I don’t think African Americans visit Africa enough. To an extent, some people still hold onto the negative connotations that the media portrays about Africa. I’m sure that there are people who think that I’m living in some wild jungle fighting against the elements and living off the land. However, it’s a society! There is a culture, there are opportunities and things are happening here. I would strongly suggest people look at the business and development opportunities and see how they can either benefit or help others benefit. The reason why I do suggest the business aspect, is because at the end of the day, life in this world is not free. At the same time, you can gain another perspective on the world and your place in it, by visiting Africa. Europe is nice, I see a lot more people are visiting places such as Mexico and Brazil, but Africa offers a unique opportunity to see a society that you can contribute to in a meaningful way.

How long do you plan to stay in Kenya?
To be honest, the goal is to be here for the long term. My wife is from here, my kids speak both English and Swahili and we’re comfortable. Granted business continues to develop and we’re okay financially, so I can see us settling here. At the same time, I still do plan to spend a lot of time in Philly with my parents and family. Within that scope, I also intend to have my children spend more time in the States, so that they can truly understand that aspect of their identity and past.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Go for it. If a person wants to move to Africa, I would say go for it. Now don’t be foolish and move to a warzone but do your research, make a few visits, have an idea of what you are planning to do and then go for it. Also, do it while you’re younger. And if you’re older, don’t let that hold you back either. Just go for it.

Is there somewhere we can follow you’re experience?
As of now, not really. However, I have written a book about my experience (I’d like to get it published in the future but I’m in no hurry). Also, I’m looking to write a weekly or bi-weekly column about my experiences here. 

Thank you Jamal!

6 Easy-To-Follow Steps To Help You Save On Utilities

Besides rent, utilities are probably the second-highest payment you make every month. While groceries, going out and buying new clothes all add up, you at least can cut yourself off at a certain point by buying cheaper grocery items or going without new clothes for a while. Utilities are a hard expense to curb, however, because you can’t just go without electricity for the month. You need working lights and at least some air circulation, if it’s available to you. You can say “I’m not going to online shop anymore” and be done with it. You can cancel cable because you’ve bummed your family’s Hulu/Netflix/HBOGo accounts and no longer need all those channels. But utilities are an expense you’re stuck with, and therefore an even more important bill to cut down on.

I got to the point where my utilities bill was questionably high and it was no longer something I could avoid, or put off taking care of. Instead, I learned how to deal with the situation in the most straightforward way possible. I live in D.C., so I have to cope with the high cost of heating in the winter, as well as the very necessary air conditioning costs in the summer months.

Here are 6 simple things you can do to bring down that monthly monstrosity:

1. Control your climate

This is the most obvious and the best way to lower your bill. Resist the urge to make your home “just right”. Get to your perfect point, then dial it back at least two degrees. If your ideal temperature is 72, make it 74 or higher in the summer. (Or better yet, turn it off completely and invest in a good fan.)

Don’t warm your home to more than 68 in the winter. Just two degrees can make a huge difference in your bill. Remember, you don’t have to have your place at the same temperature all the time. I bring the temperature down another 2-3 degrees at night for comfort, then adjust it back to something warmer and more manageable during the day. Also, if no one is going to be home all day, tone down the control. If you’re going to forget, leave a note right by the door. You can always adjust when you get home. If you need help sticking to a temperature plan, many systems let you set automatic settings at different times of the day.

2. If it’s not plugged in, unplug it

This is probably the easiest thing to adjust if you make a point of doing it. But getting into the habit takes some getting used to. You know how you leave your cellphone/computer/tablet chargers plugged in at all times? Do you have one next to your bed and one in the living room? Unplug them. If they’re not charging anything, all they are doing is draining energy from your home. My recommendation is to get a power strip so you can unplug them all at once. If your device is charged, unplug it. Leaving on the charger when it doesn’t need to charge will shorten the battery life in addition to making your wallet lighter.

3. Turn down for savings

We all know to turn off lights when you leave the house, but turning off lights when you leave a room is also a great habit to get into. Turn on a lamp instead of using the overhead lights when you’re watching T.V. because it uses less electricity. When you’re not using lamps, unplug them so they don’t drain energy. There are lots of savings in lessening the light and there’s really no need for the kitchen and bathroom lights to be on once you’re in bed for the night.

4. Unplug the kitchen

This is potentially a big one, but it’s always the farthest from my mind. There are little things, like appliances, that if you unplug them while they’re not in use, will save you money. This applies to toasters, coffee makers, blenders etc. However, this also applies to larger appliances like the oven and microwave. It can be impractical to pull them out and unplug them, but if you really need the savings, it can be a game-changer.

5. Either wash your dishes by hand or commit fully to the dishwasher method

Obviously using a dish washer (if you’re lucky enough to have one) uses quite a bit of water and electricity. Decide to stop using your dishwasher entirely for a month and you can cut back on both those utilities. On the flip side, if you’re completely attached to your dishwasher (which is understandable), stop pre-rinsing your dishes. The fact is that most dishwashers built recently are made so that you don’t have to pre-rinse, and you’re just wasting water if you are doing both steps.

6. Air dry most of your clothes

If you have a washer/dryer in your apartment, you’re paying more every month with each wash. Unplugging them (as the points above suggest) will help, but cutting down on usage is also a good idea. We typically only think to air dry our delicates and sweaters that shrink, but instead you can try skipping the dryer altogether, and hanging your towels and clothes. Even if you have to buy a cheap drying rack, you’ll still end up saving plenty.

Keara is a freelance writer and producer based in Washington D.C. She formerly worked at The Washington Post and now writes and produces at WTOP News. She is on Twitter.

Pamela and Sienna.

Pamela sat in her flat and bit her lip. She was a little bit nervous since her new roommate was arriving today. She’d met her once before, but she kinda blended into the sea of other applicants. This one is the only one her parents would approve of though. The deal was her parents paid her rent, but since she was only going to school part time now to try and start up her career in publicity she now had to pay for everything else, such as utilities and other living expenses. 

That was nothing she’d let stop her though. With the huge flat her parents had bought her she had plenty of space for a roommate. So she put up a flier at school and ‘Bam!’, she had a roommate. The girl smiled to herself, knowing that it would be nice to not live alone anymore. Besides, if she recalled correctly, her new roommate was quite the cutie!

Update on Toby and Commissions!

Thank you so much guys. Our battle isn’t done but we’re making a dent in the bills. There’s still more to be coming unfortunately. I was just notified today after our visit that they looked at today’s xrays and found that they had missed a bone fragment and he may need to go back into surgery again on friday. I’ll be a bit upset with them if they charge me for this one but what can I do really. We’re in the process of trying to contact the previous vet who declawed him in the first place to try and get some sort of compensation for Toby’s discomfort and the financial strain this is putting on me. With luck hopefully it’ll be too much of a burden to try and fly out to California to fight this and they’ll just compensate me. 

I’ve got some shitty iphone photos for you all of his bills so far. I imagine his next bandage change will probably cost about as much as the last. I have no idea if they’ll do xrays or not. If he goes into surgery again… well we’ll see when we reach that threshold. I am going to do everything I can to make sure this cat will be able to live the rest of his years comfortably and if that means more surgery.. then thats what it’s gotta be. 

Day 1 is the initial visit. 

Day 2 is the surgery the surgery that happened on friday of last week. They forgot to give me a printout so the date reflects my having gotten it printed today.

And day 3 was today’s bandage change and some flea medication. I haven’t been able to bathe him since the surgery so his fleas that we were so so close to getting rid of rebounded. 

Right now we’re at  $1423.20 and I don’t expect that to be the end of it.. if he has surgery again and they don’t cover it because of their mistake or at least cover some of it then this could easily run me into the 2k zone. Not to mention this is just the first paw.. The second paw is going to happen. Its just a matter of when. This was a lot less daunting when the bill was expected to only be about $600. 

So far I have about $745 worth of commission work lined up including the stuff I did for that 20 minute sketch day. I’m going to be doing that again. I was too exhausted to do that on Sunday and I’m sorry for not notifying you guys. I am still taking on new commissions and I’ll just be taking them on until I am certain I have enough to cover this bill. Otherwise I’m just hoping I can get some compensation from the other vet. 

Toby himself is doing much better. He’s a bit constipated from the anesthesia still. I’m hoping once I get a little sweet potato or catgrass into him he’ll give me some poop. He’s still eating and drinking though he’s really tired. Today was a long scary day for him. But he’s been good. He’s behaving well and he’s not been going at his bandages. So no cone today. He was comfortable enough to take a long nap with me today as well. I got him a soft peacock feather to play with that he won’t hurt himself on so that we can fight some of the cooped up feeling. Being inactive because of injuries sucks. 

Here’s a link to another post about my commission information.


Please spread the word if you can. Even a couple of bucks in donations will help make a dent in this bill. I can cover it with what I’ve got but I’m doing it with my college tuition money right now and I still need that money to finish the next 3 semesters of school+rent+food+utilities+normal cat expenses.