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Hogwarts Arithmancy classes clearly do not cover compound interest.

When Money in the Bank Is a Bad Thing: Understanding Depreciation Expense

Here’s a riddle: when is $100 worth $97? 

The answer is: when you put it in the bank a year ago.

Being frugal and being money-savvy are actually two very different skills. The former requires self-discipline, planning, and a strong sense of the relative importance of resources. The latter relies more on understanding how to take advantage of existing financial systems, economic regulations, and mathematical quirks.

Think of it this way: a frugal person packs their own lunch, whereas a money-savvy person itemizes it.

Depreciation expense is one of those mathematical quirks. It sounds tricky, but it’s really not! And if you know how it works, you can make it work for you.

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We promise to continue our mission.

It Takes a Village: Become a Patron of the Bitches

Piggy and I launched this blog in January of this year. The level of positive engagement we’ve received in only eight months is completely shocking to us.

We’ve received a number of site comments, social media shares, and private messages with folks thanking us. According to these beautiful people, our little blog has pushed them to ask for raises, encouraged them to seek new jobs, inspired them to refocus their finances, and absolved them of unnecessary self-flagellation.

And guys, that makes us feel really, really, really, really fucking good.

As we’ve stated before, the reason we run this site is to help. Bad, outdated, irrelevant, damaging financial advice is everywhere. Seeing it—and knowing that many people must fall for it—makes our actual hearts turn into cartoon hearts that break along perfectly triangular jagged edges. Knowing there are good people out there getting tricked, swindled, guilted, ripped-off, shamed, and drained makes cartoon steam come out of our ears. (The cartoon steam gives us actual second-degree burns. Please send Neosporin.)

For this reason, we’ve never had a plan to monetize the site. The easiest ways to do so just didn’t sit right with us. Sponsored content disguised as our own words… product reviews and advertisements for stuff you likely do not need… irritatingly pervasive pop-ups and click-to-exit ads. We get offers to do this stuff in our inbox every single day. And we reject them all because they go against our core mission.

But now we’ve run into a problem.

We’ve gotten too popular for our own good.

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Investing Deathmatch: Managed Funds vs. Index Funds

Two methods of investing in the stock market enter the ring.

Only one will leave victorious.

Welcome to… INVESTING DEATHMATCH!!!!!!!!!

Hey! Get back here! Don’t you dare click away. This is fucking important and I am stretching a goddamn WWF metaphor past the bounds of decency to make it interesting for you.

So sit your ass down and learn a thing.

Before we ring the bell and start this fight, we should get the basic concept of investing out of the way. Investing in the stock market means you buy tiny chunks of various companies and in return you get tiny chunks of their profits. These tiny chunks add up over time so that you make more money than you would if you just put your money in a savings account.

Got it? For more on investing, check out this beginner’s guide over at Half Banked.

Ok. Now I want a good, clean fight…

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Dafuq Is Credit and How Do You Bend It to Your Will?

We’ve been getting a lot of variations on the same question recently: “How dafuq do I credit?”

How indeed? A lot of our readers are struggling with not only maintaining a good credit score, but with even understanding credit in the first place.

It’s one of the many money terms I have the sneaking suspicion everyone else in my high school class was taught on a day I was absent.

Thus, I’ve been left to figure it out for myself over the years. And what I’ve found is reassuring: credit is not nearly as scary or complicated as you’ve been led to think. But like a pack of trained raptors, it must be treated with care and attention lest it rend you limb from limb.

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If the only time I hear from a friend is when she needs to borrow my car for the afternoon, I start to assume she likes the car a lot more than she likes me.

Are You a Frugal Mooch?

Sometimes, the quest for frugality can drive us to do ugly things. One of those things is mooching.

You probably know some mooches in your life. I know I do! In every social group, there’s That One Guy who comes to every party, eats and drinks as though he’s storing up for a long winter’s hibernation, and never offers to bring anything or chip in. He begs rides and never offers gas money. If you do him a favor, you’re extremely unlikely to be thanked with a kind word, a gift, or a return favor in the future.

On the other hand, in the rare instances where That One Guy actually orders a pizza for the group, out comes the calculator. He’ll send you a dead-serious Venmo request for $2.40 for your 1/8 of the pie. And no, he did NOT forget to factor in the tip, sales tax, or delivery fee.

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If Kerry Washington has worn it in Scandal, it is suitable job interview attire.

What to Wear (and What Not to Wear) to a Job Interview

They say first impressions are important. What they don’t say is that they’re also not fucking fair. Like, not at all.

When you go in for a job interview, the first impression you make on your potential employer could determine the outcome of the hiring process. In fact, 30% of hiring decisions are made within the first five minutes of an interview. That’s why what you wear and how you present yourself are so important. So make it count.

Appearance-based discrimination happens all the time in the hiring process. And while you can’t help the color of your skin, your body size, or your gender, you can do something about what you wear and how you wear it to give yourself a fighting chance.

I interview job candidates all the time. I’m my company’s internship coordinator, and I also visit one of the local universities every year to practice mock interviews with their students and recent graduates.

So I’ve seen it all. Including the girl who dressed like Professor Trelawney on a bad hair day… and the guy I smelled before I saw him… and the girl who looked like she was dressed for our first date rather than an interview… and all the motherfuckers who dared to wear flip-flops to a goddamn job interview.

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The most complex thing my parents taught me to make was a slice of cold cheddar cheese placed upon a dry Wheat Thin, a culinary innovation known in some circles as a Protestant Patty Melt.

Why You Should Learn to Cook

I take cooking pretty seriously. The fact that I catered my own wedding should give you a pretty good benchmark for just how seriously. I’m in the background of most of my own wedding photos as a blur in a white dress and a stained apron.

Nobody taught me how to do it—I taught myself the moment I realized the extent to which buying premade food was killing my budget.

The amount of money you can save by preparing your own food is staggering. But as cooking became my habit, I discovered all sorts of unexpected additional benefits to my social life, physical health, mental well-being, and even my sex life.

Please go into this article with a basic working knowledge of the works of Frank Herbert, as there is a joke later that I think is really funny.

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But what about investment jewelry?

You Deserve Cheap, Fake Jewelry, Just Like Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel, 1930s fashion icon (and alleged Nazi sympathizer, let’s not play), had many wise things to say about beauty. Like, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off,” which is both tasteful and minimalist.

Most importantly though, she said: “Costume jewelry is not made to give women an aura of wealth, but to make them beautiful.”

Costume jewelry is cheap and fake, made to look like real precious gems and metals. So she’s making a statement about the purpose of jewelry. But she’s also saying that you don’t have to be wealthy to be stylish and attractive. In other words: your monetary worth does not determine your worth as a person.

Chanel went on to say, “It’s disgusting to walk around with millions of dollars around the neck because one happens to be rich. I only like fake jewelry… because it’s provocative.” Now this is the kind of opinionated anti-bullshittery I can get behind. And I’ve kept it in mind with all my jewelry purchases.

This timeless genius of style believed there was no shame in wearing fake jewelry because economic circumstance should not determine beauty. And also because the Nazis stole every precious gem in Paris. But I digress.

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