The week's buzz: Living on very little, office (fridge) politics

Sep. 30, 2011 at 10:54 AM ET

John Makely / /
Beware office refrigerator politics - they could cost you your job.

Could you live on $9 an hour? Prove it.

A computer game that simulates the hard budget choices of people living on low wages got plenty of people talking this week about how they would – or do- live on little.

“I don’t need a game for that it’s called life,” one reader noted on our msnbc Facebook page.

You may be living on unemployment if you don’t play your office politics right, particularly when it comes to the refrigerator.

A post this week about a CEO who threatened to fire any employee who dared put a nearly empty carton of milk back in the refrigerator instead of replacing it brought out a lot of the frustrations many of us have about communal office kitchens — and particularly coffee pots.

More than 54,000 people weighed in on whether he did the right thing, and about 40 percent of readers sided with the boss. But we suspect some of them may have been being sarcastic.

“That is almost as heinous a crime as leaving two sheets of (toilet) paper stuck to an empty roll.....OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!” one commenter wrote.

The memo partly got so much attention because even white-collar jobs aren’t nearly as secure as they used to be. For a post looking at the unusually high unemployment rate among white-collar workers, we asked readers if they had been affected by the jobless crisis. Many tweeted their responses to our @msnbc_business callout.

“I have a wife and a child on the way. I have been looking for work for over 8 months with no relief in sight,” one reader tweeted.

Let’s say you have a secure job and are making more than a subsistence wage. You may want to start saving some money, but where to begin? New research shows that people have more success saving money if they focus on one goal, like buying a house, rather than trying to simultaneously save up for a few things.

However, our readers were equally divided on whether they like to save for one thing, save for a few things at one — or just don’t have any money to save at all.

Finally, Today financial expert Carmen Wong Ullrich dropped in for a chat this week. In a wide-ranging personal finance discussion, she touched on everything from refinancing to reward credit cards.

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