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Dafuq Is a Down Payment? And Why Do You Need One to Buy Stuff?

Dafuq Is a Down Payment? And Why Do You Need One to Buy Stuff?

“What is a down payment?” In an ideal world, no one would need to ask themselves this question because no one would need one! Expensive things like cars and houses and college educations would be a lot more affordable. Enough so that we could pay for them with the money that we already have. And we’d all have mountains of it.

But unless you have a Scrooge McDuckian money vault at your disposal, buying a car or house or bachelor’s degree in cash is probably impossible. Down payments are necessary because of how our world works. Today we’re going to teach you what they are, when you need them, and how to use them to your advantage.

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Be Somebody’s Eliza with a Simple Yet Life-Changing Act of Kindness

Piggy and I are going to take our annual short break. Running BGR is always hard work, but this has been one for the record books! We’ve absorbed a lot of confusion, panic, and sadness through our inboxes this year. So we’re going to do our best to unplug and mentally refresh ourselves with a nice long vacation.

… Hahaha psych! We’re gonna use that time to catch up on tedious admin work. If anyone tells you blogging is an easy way to get rich quick, kindly punch them in the chest. Aim for the heart.

It’s been a helluva year, y’all. I wanted to leave you with a story to contemplate over the holiday. Given how shitty everything has been, I felt compelled to make it a happy one. Or at least a hopeful one. In fact, I’m gonna give you the most hopeful story I’ve got.

Today I’m going to tell you about a person who changed my life.

It’s a true story about how our everyday actions have wider and deeper impacts than we can ever know. It’s a little star that’s always helped guide me, especially in moments of personal cynicism and despair. When I feel powerless, it reminds me I’m not. As we face a winter that feels magnitudes longer, darker, and more isolated than usual, I thought everyone could use a story like this.

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When I started freelancing, I bumbled around like a drunk baby panda until I fell into success by happy accident.

11 Awful Mistakes I Made as a Self-Employed Freelancer, and How YOU Can Avoid Them

A few weeks ago we introduced you guys to our new favorite term: “survival entrepreneurship.” It’s all the rage, now that mass lay-offs and unemployment in The Plague Times have forced so many of us to pivot into full-time self-employment. When you’re out of traditional employment options, survival entrepreneurship is often your only option.

That’s why we brought in Katelyn Magnuson, the Freelance CFO, to walk you through all the concrete steps you need to take to start your own business. If you missed our interview with Katelyn, go back and read it now. Because unlike your humble Bitches, she knows what she’s talking about!

Did you read it? Ok good. Now that you’ve heard from the professional business-starter, it’s time to hear from me, a decidedly unprofessional freelancer who has turned flying by the seat of her pants into a competitive sport.

Specifically, it’s time I told you all the freelancing and self-employment hacks I’ve learned through trial and error over the years. That’s right, kids…

Learn from my mistakes, children. And LEARN WELL.

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This is a horrible mistake to make because there's no way to really fix it.

PLEASE Tell Me You’re Not Making This Disastrous Beginner Mistake with Your Retirement Funds

It has come to my attention that there may be a particularly disastrous beginner retirement fund mistake we’ve failed to warn our readers against. As they say in the extremely dramatic anime I’m currently watching: moushiwake arimasen!

Worse, it’s exactly the kind of mistake we proudly specialize in addressing: a mistake that makes you feel so freaking inept and self-conscious that you act like it didn’t happen, never speak of it again, and quietly add to the self-critical monologue that plays inside your head on nights when you cannot sleep.

No? Just us? Humph! Very well.

This mistake has to do with your retirement funds. I can’t sugar-coat this one: it’s a horrible mistake to make because there isn’t really a way to fix it. It’s like burning your popcorn: what’s done is done, there’s no way to un-burn it. But the faster you yank that stanky shit out of your microwave, the sooner you can chuck it and move on with with your life. And a fresh batch of popcorn. Make it kettle corn. Invite me!

For those of you who don’t have retirement accounts yet, read on anyway. Trust me! This is something you’ll want to keep in the back of your mind for whenever you finally do.

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Starting your own business is the lemonade many have made out of 2020's nasty-ass lemons.

Becoming a Millennial Entrepreneur (in the Midst of a Pandemic) with Katelyn Magnuson

HOO BOY, WHAT A YEAR, AMIRITE?

In these trying times, it’s good to know we can still come together to celebrate what’s most important in life: raising chickens and naming them after TV characters.

This is Katelyn Magnuson, the Freelance CFO. More on this majestic Mother of Chickens in a moment.

With record numbers of layoffs and unemployment rising like a helium-filled dumpster, a lot of us have turned to what we call survival entrepreneurism. That includes full-time self-employment, freelancing, and stringing gigs together like so many Hobby Lobby clearance rack seed beeds. Not only is this #entrepreneurlife a way to make ends meet when absolutely no one is hiring, but it’s a method of advancing one’s career. Starting your own business right now is the lemonade many have made out of the nasty-ass lemons 2020 has given us.

I myself transitioned to full-time self-employment when I lost my job just as the coronavirus hit the fan. Yet while this makes me a card-carrying millennial entrepreneur, it’s not something I’ve written (or thought) much about!

To be honest, starting my freelance business and then making it my full-time job was, in the words of our Lord and Savior Bob Ross, “a happy accident.”

As usual… I have no idea what I’m doing.

Every so often when I’m researching money topics, I sigh dramatically and collapse onto my fainting couch, limp wrist held to my clammy forehead in the very picture of Victorian femininity. “Oh woe!” cry I, “This money shit is so confusing and complicated! If only some genuine professional would do the research for me and just let me copy their homework!”

Which is usually when I decide to interview an expert instead of doing the work myself.

Enter Katelyn Magnuson, the self-styled Freelance CFO and Mother of Chickens (long may She reign). Katelyn’s whole thing is working with small business owners and freelancers to take the practical steps necessary to bring their passion to life. Her courses, Facebook group, and free resources are not just full of empty platitudes and cheerleading… she actually has made her own business out of setting up the businesses of others.

So when Bitch Nation clamored for information on becoming “solopreneurs” (Katelyn’s word, but I’m stealing it), I knew she was the hero we needed and deserved; someone to cut through the bullshit and give us some step-by-step guidance.

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If blogs were corporeal, ours would be covered in Cheeto dust.

Holy Shit, We’re the Year’s Best Personal Finance Blog?!

Well, butter my bread and call me a biscuit! Bitches Get Riches just won the 11th Annual Plutus Award for Personal Finance Blog of the Year.

We’ve actually been up for this award every year since we launched this blog in 2017. But of course 2020 would be our year, wouldn’t it?!

I’ve decided I find it the ultimate compliment to be considered the best personal finance blog in 2020. This supremely wretched year has been packed with so much darkness and chaos. Maybe the traditional advice-dispensers—the people who really know what they’re doing, and have perfect faith in our world and its systems—found themselves as lost as everybody else.

Luckily, our tumultuous lives have trained Piggy and I in the crucial survival skill of making absolutely fucking everything up as we go along.

Perhaps we aren’t the noble lions of this world, but the crafty raccoons! We’re adept at digging through garbage with our creepy little trash!panda hands to find the next morsel of sanity and stability. And since there’s never been a year with more garbage to sort through, doesn’t it make sense that this was our time to shine?

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These tips may help the 42% of Americans who abruptly joined Team Work From Home.

My 25 Secrets to Successfully Working from Home with ADHD

I’ve been working from home with ADHD for the last five years.

I mean, I didn’t know I had ADHD until recently. I went to a neuropathologist at age thirty-two after years of procrastination, convinced I was a depressed, lazy, narcissistic underachiever with early onset dementia. Turns out I just had a norepinephrine deficiency in my locus coeruleus, lmao.

Living with a lifelong undiagnosed mental illness sucks shit. But you know what’s a pretty okay consolation prize? The naive tenacity you develop when nobody tells you it’s okay to expect less of yourself!

To be clear: I can’t recommend spending three decades white-knuckling your way through adult life… but you will have the thick, powerful knuckles of a silverback gorilla when all’s said and done!

Working from home pre-diagnosis required a lot of experimentation. Learning to keep myself focused and motivated (with crystal clear work/life boundaries) was tough. I’m going to summarize my very best tips for y’all today, sponsored by our Patreon donors.

Since 42% of Americans abruptly joined Team Work From Home in the last six months, hopefully these tips will help everyone who’s struggling—whether you’re riding the Royal Struggle Bus of Clinical Executive Function Disorders, or just riding dirrrty in your own messy minivan.

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Clutch your pearls and contain your shock: gender and racial inequality are still problems in America.

Coronavirus Reveals America’s Pre-existing Conditions, Part 2: Racial and Gender Inequality

This is Part 2. Click here to read Part 1.

Hello friends, and welcome back to Everything Hurts and I’m Dying with your hosts, the Bitches!

Last week I hit you with a massively depressing article on how the coronavirus has simply exacerbated problems the United States already had before the pandemic ever reached our shores. If you had the mental fortitude to wade through all that, then you have my admiration and respect. Can I also get you a cup of tea and a massage? You earned it.

If not, here’s what you missed:

  • Coronavirus took an already unfair and unaffordable health insurance industry and exacerbated the problem, throwing still more Americans into medical debt and outright killing others who couldn’t afford treatment.
  • All the problems labor rights activists have been fighting to fix for decades were illuminated in stark relief by the mass unemployment that followed coronavirus lock-down relief efforts.
  • The eviction epidemic in the United States, which was already at crisis levels, became an utter catastrophe when low-income workers who were recently laid off couldn’t pay their rent anymore. Eviction and rent moratoriums were but a band-aid on the wound.

All of these issues disproportionately affect low-income and impoverished Americans. So this week, in Part 2, I’m going to address the demographics who are disproportionately represented among the poor and low-income. Hope you didn’t expect sudden egalitarianism in the midst of a pandemic and recession!

Let’s get to it.

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The American healthcare system was already like a Dickensian Sorting Hat separating the rich from the dead. A universal killer like COVID-19 perfectly illuminates exactly how fucked up that is.

Coronavirus Reveals America’s Pre-existing Conditions, Part 1: Healthcare, Housing, and Labor Rights

This article is continued in Part 2.

My fellow Americans… we’re currently in month 784 of 2020, aka The Plague Times, so let’s take stock:

It’s… a lot, I know. The facts are grim, and they’re only getting grimmer.

But if you’re feeling like all of this death, economic destruction, and tragedy came out of nowhere, I have even worse news for you: it didn’t. For the sad effects of the pandemic are neither sudden, isolated, nor unpredictable.

Rather, they are the results of a system that has been balancing on a precipice for decades. A global pandemic was simply the last push needed to send this car over the cliff and hurtling spectacularly to the rocks below.

The coronavirus has singlehandedly revealed the pre-existing conditions our country has been ignoring, denying, and dismissing since dinosaurs Ronald Reagan roamed the Earth White House.

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I respect entrepreneurial spirit but my respect evaporates when people use their talents to knowingly peddle snake oil.

Why Are Hot Young Instagram Babes Using MLM to Sell Shady Personal Finance Products?

I’m used to pretty Insta-people hawking all sorts of things that will never, ever make my face more symmetrical—but what’s the deal with the recent trend of influencers selling financial products?

This week’s question comes from Patreon Donor Mara. Their question prompted a lot of deep thought about the aspirational nature of wealth, and our complicity in that paradigm. It’s self-recriminatory af, you’re gonna love it. 

Mara writes…

I’m writing to ask if you guys had any thoughts on all these Personal Finance Flavored MLMs that are popping up like crazy on social media.

I work in the entertainment industry. Recently I’ve noticed that a lot of young actors are selling “classes” and the like on their Instagram pages. It seems like they really target young artists/musicians/models and tell them that selling Forex or Bitcoin is the key to intergenerational wealth and stability.

It seems super sketchy and predatory to me, but I would love y’alls thoughts.

– Patron Mara
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