money·7 min read

Skimm Money: Remote Work, The Cost of Severe Weather, and Tips for Splitting the Check

Woman sitting on mountain looking out over landscape
Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock
Jul 25, 2022

theSkimm turned 10 this week, so we’re partying like it’s 2012. The year that gas hit a national average high of about $3.60 per gallon (which was cute). Fast forward to this week, and us celebrating average gas prices dropping below $4.50 per gallon. Happy birthday to us.

Headlines, Skimm'd

  • Who’s the boss? With more and more companies requiring employees to return to the office, remote work is becoming less of a thing. But some employees are WFH anyway and banking on their bosses not checking…or caring. According to one survey, about 35% of respondents said nothing happened if they didn’t show up in person to the office on mandated days. And data shows employees aren’t coming into the office on Fridays. Shocking. TGI virtual coworking spaces?

  • Real big earn-egy. Investors and analysts alike kept their eyes on big banks (think: Citigroup, JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs, and Bank of America) this earnings season, watching for signs of a coming recession. But the economy showed more signs of strength, including increased borrowing and steady spending. Which some bank execs say means that people aren’t deterred by rising rates and prices as they keep cash flowing. Read: The US may keep a recession at bay for now. (Just don’t check your portfolio.) 

  • The bare minimum. While inflation has taken a bite out of everybody’s paycheck, it has almost completely devoured the federal minimum wage. Which is currently $7.25 an hour — and hasn’t changed since 2009. Right now, it has the least buying power it’s had since 1956, according to the Economic Policy Institute. For perspective, the federal minimum wage in 1956 was 75 cents, which would be about $7.19 in 2022 dollars. Mayyybe it’s time for a raise.

News to Wallet

Design: theSkimm | Photo: iStock

Severe weather has been dominating headlines this week. A “heat apocalypse” is devastating Europe, disrupting daily life and taking hundreds of lives. Authorities in England issued a red extreme heat warning for the first time ever. And wildfires are burning in parts of Spain, France, and Greece. In the US, cities in Oklahoma and Texas hit record temperatures as high as 115 degrees Fahrenheit and wildfires are burning across at least a dozen states. Such severe weather is getting more common — and more costly. Estimates show that major weather events (think: heat waves, hurricanes, and flooding) have cost the US more than $788 billion in damages in the last five years alone. We Skimm’d what you need to know about how severe weather can cost you and the economy, and how you can protect yourself.  

Make Good (Money) Choices

If your summer catchphrase is “let’s get the bill (purr)”...

Download a bill-splitting app. Data shows that inflation isn’t stopping restaurant-goers from hitting their favorite spots. But prices are too high to overpay for your portion. Because you love your friends, but you also love your budget (hi, villain era). Enter: A bill-splitting app, which can help you skip any awkwardness when the check comes and give you an in for talking about money with your friends. Psst…get the $$$ conversation started with these tips.  

If you often doubt the accuracy of “best by” food dates…

Trust yourself. Because you can probably ignore them. In fact, one UK-based grocer is doing away with them on hundreds of produce items. Because spotty regulation for how these dates are created is leading to food waste. Which is bad for the environment, and your budget. Make your groceries (and your paycheck) last longer by storing food properly and finding new ways to put items to good use. Skimm more tips to get the most out of your grocery trips.

If your wedding schedule rivals Katherine Heigl’s in 27 Dresses

Make a budget. For every wedding you’re RSVPing ‘yes’ to. Because not everyone’s JLoping like Bennifer. A survey conducted by Zola found that people are attending an average of at least four weddings this year. That’s a lottttta cake. And a lotta costs. On average, guests are spending over $550 to attend a local wedding in 2022 and over $1,300 if they’re flying there. But remember: You’re allowed to say ‘no’ to those invites from distant cousins, especially if it doesn’t fit your budget. Check out all our tips for surviving wedding season.

Thing to Know

FIRE

Which stands for “financial independence, retire early.” Aka work hard now — by living well below your means and saving and investing up to 75% of your income — so you can play hard in retirement sooner. Because Beyoncé has us wanting to release our jobs ASAP. And contrary to popular belief, FIRE doesn’t always mean scrimping on fun things to get ahead on your savings. Example: The Fat FIRE method lets you keep your current lifestyle while prioritizing investing for retirement. Learn more about all the different ways to FIRE up your retirement planning

Crypto, Decoded

Earlier this month, crypto platforms Celsius and Voyager filed for bankruptcy. And Sam Bankman-Fried, the CEO of the crypto exchange FTX, predicts that many exchanges won’t survive the so-called crypto winter. So what happens to your crypto if the exchange you use goes under? The answer: it depends. 

  • If your crypto is stored with a company, you probably have a custodial wallet. Hint: A crypto exchange manages your transactions and you don’t have a private key (i.e. a string of numbers that identifies your wallet). In this situation, you could be last in line to receive your money. Because assets held by the exchange could be sold to cover the company’s debts. If the exchange goes under, your crypto could be frozen in your account. But you may get it back when the exchange settles its fees. 

  • If your crypto is stored in a non-custodial wallet, you’re probably safe. These wallets can still be online, but don’t require a third party (i.e. a company) to complete a transaction. In this scenario, the exchange transfers crypto to your wallet and you hold the (virtual) key. 

  • If your crypto is stored in an offline wallet, or cold or USB wallet (hint: also a non-custodial wallet), you’re in the clear. That crypto’s all yours, baby. And keeping it offline adds an extra layer of protection. 

PS: Skimm more about how to store your crypto safely

theSkimm’s 10th Birthday

theSkimm is 10 years old. We’ve been with you for your first day of college, your first paycheck, and your most recent promotion. And women today (read: you) are leading in every way, yet we’re still facing some pretty big challenges. For our birthday, we’re looking ahead to help you tackle any problem that comes your way. Get a head start by reading our founders’ reflection on the past decade, listening to our special podcast ep with Hoda Kotb, and checking out our billboard in Times Square.

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