This week: The high cost of prison care packages, the high cost of booze, and the high cost of fixing the New York City subway system.
The big business of prisoner care packages
We’re past the holiday season, so gift-giving will be on the back burner for a while. But there’s one area where it’ll keep going: Prison care packages. Turns out, it’s very expensive to send loved ones things they need while they’re in prison, partly because of tight regulation and partly because…well, businesses can do it. Options are limited — there are only a handful of authorized companies — and even within the same state costs of sending a care package can vary wildly. The result? Expensive gifts and even more expensive lawsuits. The Marshall Project breaks down the costs on Vox.
The Financial Diet
How Much My Weekly Alcohol Consumption Cost Me At Age 22
Most of us aren’t honest about our finances. Even when we make a budget, we forget expenses or are embarrassed about things we spend money on. There’s not a lot to Lauren Patten’s article on The Financial Diet — it’s basically just a list of alcohol purchases she made one week — but it’s surprisingly refreshing (and funny). TFD has a habit of making financial tips and goals relatable, so seeing someone be upfront with their spending and say, “It’s upsetting to look back and think of all the other things this money could have gone to, like my student loans or saving for a new car. “ is helpful in realizing everyone is irresponsible every now and then — and it’s not the end of the world.
The New York Times
The Case for the Subway
If you’ve visited New York City, live in New York City, or have read news over the past year or so, you know that our subway system is struggling. It’s literally falling apart at the seams. The New York Times has done a some great reporting on the issue, from the misappropriation of funds to what needs to be done to fix the system. Their latest article highlights the importance of the subway: How it made NYC into NYC, how subways have built other cities around the world, and why it’s crucial for the future of physical, economic, and social mobility. It’s a long read, but the tl;dr version is: It’s probably worth fixing.