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Monday, February 25, 2013

102

Family Budget Items We Could Spend the $48,000 Value of an Oscar Gift Bag On

- 943 XL cases of Pampers Swaddlers
- 192 weeks of daycare
- 872 three-packs of Costco brand baby formula
- 1,622 months of Netflix
- 817 pet insurance payments
- 960 gas tank fill-ups
- 112 car payments
- 248 months of cable
- 600 CTA card charge-ups
- 23 mortgage payments
- 600 visits from the cleaning lady
- 1,920 haircuts for my husband including tip
- 4,166 falafel salads + Diet Pepsis at Food4Thought, my office building’s cafeteria

Previously: That Baby Wants to Break You Up

Claire Zulkey could also spend the money on 94 round-trip tickets to New Orleans.



102 Comments / Post A Comment

Lucienne

- Three years of my grad stipend.
- My student loan debt. Twice.

Amphora

@Lucienne My federal student loan debt, once :(

MEGA VENUTIAN SPACE SCORPION

@Amphora Umm, slightly less than half of my student loan debt (for two degrees!). :(((((((((((((((((

Amphora

@MEGA VENUTIAN SPACE SCORPION Yeah, let's not start tallying up the private student loans.

pajamaralls

@MEGA VENUTIAN SPACE SCORPION About 2/3 of my student loan debt. One degree, though. (Yay, private colleges?)

Blushingflwr

@Lucienne 95% of my student loan debt.

Ophelia

@Lucienne just about half of our remaining student loan debt. Or the remainder of a down payment.

lucy snowe

@Lucienne I fantasize about getting a large chunk of money out of nowhere and paying off our student loans, probably more than I fantasize about anything else. Even sexytimes.

Sigh.

sophia_h

@lucy snowe I have obsessively tallied what it would take to pay off my student loans and the consumer debt I accrued in school a crazy number of times. And yet I so rarely play the lottery.

mcleodglen

@Lucienne
student loan... i still have that.

lucy snowe

@sophia_h I don't play the lottery either! I used to, once or twice a year, when they'd do a pool at work.

I comfort myself that my chances of winning are only very slightly changed by not playing.

cuminafterall

- 11 tons of arborio rice
- 44 pounds of saffron
- 48 wheels of parmesan cheese

Who's up for risotto tonight??

Claire Zulkey@twitter

@cuminafterall "What am I gonna do with all this paella?!" --George Costanta's mom

frigwiggin

@Claire Zulkey@twitter "Kasha?"

milenakent

Thanks a lot for the share@n

wee_ramekin

Nicole, if there were ever a post that deserved the #IMMINENT BLOODY CLASS WAR tag, this is it.

Lucienne

@wee_ramekin The gift bag actually sounds kind of lame. But, yes.

wee_ramekin

@Lucienne Agreed. But the fact that that gift bag is worth more than I make in a year has me reaching for my fucking pitchfork.

hallelujah

@wee_ramekin Real talk. My eyes kind of started to bug out. Eat the rich, etc.

wee_ramekin

@hallelujah Yes, eat them. With Nutella.

I actually think this list is really informative. I've always known that the gift bags were ridiculous, but when you break down what that money would actually mean for the average family, that's when I start feeling like smashing some store windows and burning cars.

Verity

@wee_ramekin It's about twice my salary (although the cost of living doesn't necessarily translate across the Atlantic). I want to break things now.

Amphora

A down payment on this place.

area@twitter

-Student loan debt (all of it)
-Car loan (all of it)
-Credit card debt (all of it)

Once that's done:
-Probably the full cost of that Master's in Public Health degree that I'd like to get
OR
-enough for full spa manicures and pedicures every two weeks for the next eight years

area@twitter

@area@twitter ADDENDUM: Student loan debt is AFTER I have spent eight years paying it off already. Otherwise the mani/pedis are lasting a year or two at most.

up cubed

Arg. My comment got eaten. I was trying to say that I have a debt-free MPH and would be happy to talk with you about how I did it (savings, scholarships, working, public university)

area@twitter

@upupandaway !! Yes, I would LOVE to hear about this. I need to do part-time, so I can retain my health insurance; I know that's kind of a big stumbling block.

sandwiches

@area@twitter I would also love to hear about this!

up cubed

@area@twitter
My large public university provided adequate insurance to graduate students, including dental and vision.
Tuition was $22,000 annually (including insurance), but I never paid that amount. I also didn't have any debt going in (undergrad was heavily subsidized with scholarships).
Before school I worked long enough to have about $10,000 in savings and become financially independent for the FAFSA (24) and to establish residency in the state where I wanted to attend school. However, part of my salary was indirect, so it wasn't counted as income on the FAFSA. I had a few thousand in a tax free savings plan (529 I think).
My first year of tuition was nearly free via scholarships. I used my savings and part-time job to pay for (my extremely frugal) living expenses and my parents helped (family cell plan and car insurance).

I worked during the summer and lived at home, saving a few thousand.

In my second year I only had need-based financial aid. However, the aid was based on my previous nonworking year of being a student, so it was pretty generous. My grandmother gave me an inheritance(!) early (about $5,000). I didn't have much left in savings at the end, but I also didn't have any debt.
What I made coming out of school is about $15k more than I made before my MPH. I could have taken loans, but I wanted to be debt-free because I was worried about my job prospects in a recession.
Please let me know if there's anything I've missed that you'd like to know.

area@twitter

@upupandaway Just getting back to this after a trip. Thank you so much for the details! I did the math a little while back on health insurance at my (excellent) local state university, and it wouldn't cover my admittedly large needs at the time, but hopefully the ACA will have changed some of that. And the earnings boost post-MPH is very useful to know. Thank you for sharing with us- I'm going to look at some of those options.

frigwiggin

weight-loss retreat

*grinds teeth down to nubs*

area@twitter

@frigwiggin Yeah, on the other hand, I would pay to NOT go to some of the things in that gift bag.

Judith Slutler

@frigwiggin(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

iceberg

ALMOST THREE YEARS WORTH of the weekly wage the "too expensive for us" nanny quoted us for the triplets *ragey eyelid flicker*

iceberg

@iceberg although my math may be off #sleepdeprivation

likethestore

@iceberg I've worked as a nanny - any nanny brave enough to take on triplets deserves every penny.

iceberg

@likethestore Oh she absolutely deserves it! It's just we don't have the pennies in question, because, well... triplets.

edited to add: 4 days a week not five please don't judge us we can't afford it!!!

likethestore

@iceberg Oh no, I wasn't judging! I just can't personally fathom an amount of money that would tempt me to care for 3 children simultaneously. (Although I'm sure your children are lovely...I keep putting my foot in my mouth.)

iceberg

@likethestore Hahaha - well, I wouldn't stay home with them, sooooo. No foot in mouth at all, I completely agree with you.

Scandyhoovian

All of my student loan debt. All of it. Yeesh.

TheLetterL

Circus classes for your children? Vampire facelifts? What the what?

Judith Slutler

@TheLetterL VAMPIRE. FACELIFTS.

TheLetterL

@Emmanuelle Cunt VAMPIRE FACELIFTS!!!

dj pomegranate

@TheLetterL "The procedure reportedly involves drawing blood from a patient and then re-injecting it into his or her face to plump the skin." This sounds actually exactly the same as when I had bone grafts. I needed oral surgery but the bone was weak so they took my own blood and GREW BONES in my gums. Awesome for dentistry, but not something I'd go through for a facelift, ever.

Megasus

@dj pomegranate You guys have never heard of vampire facelifts?? I guess I DID have a Vogue subscription for a year and also interned at a magazine that has a lot of plastic surgery stuff in it...

area@twitter

@dj pomegranate I am flashing back to that article about the woman who grew teeth in her eyes.

raised amongst catalogs

@TheLetterL Worked for a plastic surgeon who did this procedure. Guess what -- it doesn't work! He stopped doing it, though, because he is not a soulless monster who just wants money.

TARDIStime

All of my student loan, with enough left over for that classy-as-shit trip to Lizard Island (the tariff is over $1000 a night?!?!)

stuffisthings

@TARDIStime It's actually more of a peninsula.

Full of lizards.

Tularosa

@stuffisthings I've been there, actually. The lizards are enormous and only slightly terrifying.

Coal Tar Epoxy

Granted, I realize I made it through university without accumulating much debt (hi summer job in Fort McMurray!) but I could pay off my student debt and my car in full, and have a nice down payment for a condo. Jesus

pallasathena

@The Angels Have the Phonebox Fort McMurray! You deserve that no debt education. :)

Dandyliongirl

That is two and a half times my yearly income and I want to die.

sox
sox

@Dandyliongirl you are living off of $19,200 per year?!?! Before or after taxes?? Like how? What do you eat, wear, etc? Are you a student? Where do you live?

I realize my astonishment may come off wrong here, but it's meant in sincere admiration and awe. Will you write a piece for Billfold? Because I've read calcs on what a person making minimum wage takes home after taxes living in NYC and my brain just crashes at how people make that work. Again, I'm grossly aware that there are huge swathes of our society living on this low of income, but I'm also genuinely curious at HOW you amazing people pull it off!

Dandyliongirl

@sox Wow, thank you for the admiration! It is probably important though that I am in the UK, and I did the conversion to figure out that it was 2 1/2 times but the cost of living still probably does not convert. But if you're still interested, I live off £14,000 per year before tax. I think it helps that I live alone, I rent a room over a whole property, and I am lucky enough to be able to walk/cycle to work every day.

Also I eat very little, I do a lot of repairs to my clothes, I budget strictly, and I am constantly grateful for free healthcare.

Onymous

@sox Well shit I live off 1100-1200 a month after taxes in Austin TX. Actually that's kind of a lie, I'm living off like 700 a month because I've been saving for a car.

thenotestaken

@Dandyliongirl The Oscar gift bag is four times my yearly income after taxes AHHHHHH

sox
sox

@Dandyliongirl Thank you for the insight! Agree- it wouldn't quite convert withe free healthcare and other differences!

@onymous, again I think that's amazing. Maybe it's because I screwed up royally in my early 20's and I'm still paying down that credit card debt. So maybe I'd I didn't have those payments it wouldn't seem so mind boggling (I'm now mid 30's, mid-middle class earning and def do not take it for granted.)

Lo and behold, Mike Dang DID link to two great (or terrible really...) editorials about living on minimum wage and supporting families.

Also, FWIW, I am wayyyyy more upset about Beyonce's $50M Pepsi contract than these $48k gift bags. Especially after doing that video with Michelle Obama, which I'm sure she did not do for free.

Dandyliongirl

@thenotestaken FOUR TIMES. That is ridiculous, I am angry on your behalf! This sort of thing makes me feel needlessly violent about society :(

chloe lum@twitter

@Dandyliongirl it's more than double what my boyfriend and I earn as a couple.

Craftastrophies

@Dandyliongirl I don't know that it's needless.

bellekaren

So much rage, I might just pass out.

dj pomegranate

“Even Hollywood’s most acclaimed stars are disappointed over this particular loss,” Fary told the news outlet. “And when our consolation gift shows up the next day, we like to think it is welcome distraction.”

One person's welcome distraction is another's annual salary.

Megasus

Ugh, cheapest in 5 years AND everything in it sucks.

ms. alex

@Megano! I know, right?! Whoever made this gift bags sucks at spending money.
God, if they're going to spend* that much money, they could at least do something interesting with it.

ETA: *"make gift bags valued at," I guess, to be more accurate.

Megasus

@ms. alex The only good that can come of this is that Jennifer Lawrence goes to that weight loss retreat and sneaks some Burger King in and video tapes it. Jennifer, if you're reading this, I would love to help you do this.

pajamaralls

For reals.

A nice used car and some Bonnaroo/other concert tickets. And paying off my one private loan and some credit cards. And still having half of it left.

And then still having half of it.

stuffisthings

Yeah but at least you don't have to sit through a bad comedy and song & dance routine.

SarahP

If I were to get a $135 bottle of hand sanitizer, I don't care how fancy the package is, I would expect it to be more than 1 ounce.

SarahP

@SchwenLarson But it's Purell!

Blushingflwr

@SarahP For $135/ounce, I want it to be made from the tears of a unicorn.

SarahP

Um, to be a wet blanket, I'm pretty sure at no point was that $48,000 represented in actual money. I bet almost all of this stuff was "donated" or offered up by the individual companies because if someone sees *CELEBRITY* use their hand sanitizer or wear their jewelry, or say to Elle Magazine "My dog's curls have never been shinier!", that's basically ad revenue for the companies whose products are in the bag.

area@twitter

@SarahP Yeah, I'm still enraged at the price, but I'm also wondering how much of this is like the "$75 gift with purchase" I frequently see advertised at the cosmetics counter. I wonder how many of those vouchers actually get turned in.

Claire Zulkey@twitter

@SarahP true dat, that's why I went with the value of the gift bag, not the money offered.

area@twitter

@Claire Zulkey@twitter Wait, was there a cash option instead? How do gift bags work? Because I'm taking the cash and having a spa day for my BFFs catered by In-n-Out.

SarahP

@Claire Zulkey@twitter Yes, you're right on with your calculations (and your point!)--I was more reacting to the fact that some people are so upset about it. Like area@twitter implies above, it's not quite like the runners-up were handed $48,000.

Lu2
Lu2

@SarahP I was taken aback when I read the cost of the Oscar gift bags this morning, but when I saw what the contents were, I was not jealous at all. It seemed like a weird collection of stuff you can't use--not like, you know, jewelry and things you can hock, or Creme de la Mer or whatever. Just a bunch of promotional certificates and Windex or something.

OhMarie

@area@twitter I read something about the most expensive gift bag ever, and basically it was so expensive because it included a safari but nobody ever went on it. It said Robert Downey Jr. scheduled it and then cancelled and nobody else ever even called.

par_parenthese

@SarahP Totally true; it's the same deal with Oprah's bullshit Favorite Things episode, not that the stuff those people get is bullshit -- I mean, CARS and whatever! -- but that it totally makes it seem like she herself (or the Oscars... themselves...?) is giving away all these amazing products worth UmptyZillionDollars when really it's a promotional opportunity/probable writeoff for the company/free advertising.

MEGA VENUTIAN SPACE SCORPION

@OhMarie 1. I'm glad at least one person was like 'Sweet, free safari!' even if it didn't work out. 2. I wonder if there was a rule that only the celebrity could use it (for said advertising reasons), otherwise you would think that at least one person would donate it or re-gift it

OhMarie

@MEGA VENUTIAN SPACE SCORPION You must be right about the re-gifting. I also liked the RDJ tidbit. It's also funny to me that the only person who said "sweet, free safari" was famous. Are you telling me nobody who was nominated for Best Documentary Short Film needs a free vacation?

Or or or--maybe you only need to pay taxes on it if you accept the thing?

Lily Rowan

@SarahP When I was involved with nonprofit gala-type events, we charged companies to let them put stuff in the gift bags!

de-lurked

3,000 boxes of Thin Mints
3,000 boxes of Samoas
3,000 boxes of Do-si-dos
2,000 boxes of Tagalongs
1,000 boxes of Trefoils

After much thought, I believe this to be the ideal combination.

area@twitter

@de-lurked BRILLIANT.

pajamaralls

@de-lurked Yes.

I wonder if there's anyone else on the Hairpin who knows Samoas as Caramel Delights. That's what they've always been in my area. And I continually misread Samoas as Samosas.

Amphora

@pajamaralls YES and peanut butter patties. We're living in rival cookie manufacturer territory.

pajamaralls

@Amphora Solidarity!

Little Goose

@de-lurked Yes yes! I was a girl scout, even, and had no idea what Samoas were until I moved away from home. I much prefer the name Samoas, though they make me think of Samoans? Caramel DeLites seem like a diet food, which those delicious cookies decidedly are not.

par_parenthese

@pajamaralls I would be ALL UP ON some Girl Scout samosas. "Why, yes, little girl I would like to buy a piping-hot pastry filled with spicy potatoes and peas and deliciousness! Thank you for accosting me in the grocery store lobby!"

EpWs

@de-lurked The look of joy in that lucky Girl Scout's eyes upon receiving your order: PRICELESS.

(CAN YOU IMAGINE)

Ophelia

That will only buy me 120 weeks of daycare in Brooklyn.
#aaargh. #blargh.

EpWs

@Ophelia D:

Megasus

@ms. alex The only good that can come of this is that Jennifer Lawrence goes to that weight loss retreat and sneaks some Burger King in and video tapes it. Jennifer, if you're reading this, I would love to help you do this.

Hot Doom

Anyone else feel intense desire and motivation to become an Oscar nominee? I mean, 'Vampire Facelift' doesn't exactly inspire delight and anticipation, but I'll take that Australia trip thankyouverymuch.

OhMarie

@Hot Doom Also, if you get nominated you can vote and will get free screeners every year FOREVER, even if you are only nominated the once!

Anninyn

What is that in pounds? Because I'm pretty sure I could pay off between a quarter and a half of my MORTGAGE.

She is Me

@Anninyn £31607

dockzy

great site, keep so!
Filmes Online

tuttimut

With these money I would buy bicycles and accessories from LTRSports.com for all my family so we could get out of house more often and have a healthier lifestyle. Whoever made these gift bags should think more about having a healthier diet and maybe include a membership at the gym?

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