DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 25 years old, and I just finished my master’s degree. I want to start my own businesses from home. I’ve begun an online closet, and I am studying to receive my real estate license. I still live at home with my family and pay a majority of the bills because I happen to be the biggest breadwinner. Lately, I’ve been feeling congested -- like I don’t have my own workspace to develop. Since quarantine, I do everything within my small bedroom: sleep, relax, work, exercise. I have nowhere else to extend myself. I need a desk with a workspace and a place to keep my store inventory separate. Living in New York City is expensive, and I can’t find anywhere affordable to move. What are my options? -- Living in a Box
DEAR LIVING IN A BOX: Patience is key here. It would be best for you to get one of your businesses off the ground and making money before you take on more debt. Can you give yourself 12 to 18 months to work toward this goal? If you can do that, you will likely have a better chance to make a smooth transition to independence.
You should also look outside of New York City proper for housing that may be more affordable. Consider getting a roommate. I know you share space with your family now, but moving in with a roommate may seem like a luxury compared to your current situation.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I just got back from my hair appointment at my usual salon. When I made the appointment, they said their protocol is that I had to come with clean, dry hair. There would be no shampooing or blow drying -- what they call a dry haircut. So I went in to get my haircut, and when going to pay, not only did they charge their normal fee ($65) but an additional $3 for their costs for PPE. I totally understand they have been closed down since March, but is it right to charge full price when you’re only getting two-thirds of the service? They are using no shampoo, conditioner, electricity to dry -- not even any hairspray! I would think they would adjust their prices accordingly. I love my hairdresser, but I will NOT be going back. Am I right to be annoyed? Maybe there’s something I’m missing? -- Price Gouging
DEAR PRICE GOUGING: Your hairdresser made one critical mistake by not telling you everything about the new protocols, including the price for reduced services. Yes, it is understandable that they need to figure out how to make up for lost time. The challenge is going to be how to do so without offending their customers. You should speak to them and lodge your complaint. Ask for whatever compromise you want before completely walking away. If enough people complain, they may amend their policy. If not, it is likely that you can find a hairdresser with different pricing for services.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)