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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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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You don't want to work for any of them.

Looking Weird at Work

This morning I was clip-clopping through the third floor stairwell of my office building. I don’t work on the third floor, it’s a completely separate department that I have no contact with; it’s just where the good coffee lives.

I passed someone on the stairs, and we glanced at each other and gave polite smiles. Then I heard her do a double-take behind me.

“Hey,” this perfect stranger said, “I don’t mean to be weird, but can I ask where you work within the company? My friends and I have seen you in the hallways and we keep trying to figure out where you work.”

It’s a strange question, right? But I know why she was asking.

It’s because I’m weird-looking.

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You know how much we love reminding you that you are human.

Take a Break: The Importance of Rest and Relaxation

In my capacity as a non-scientist, I have observed that when it comes to stress, there are two kinds of people.

One is the kind of person who feels the effects of stress first in their body; the other feels it first in their mind.

Piggy and I both fall into the first category. We’re skilled jugglers, and we tend to think “Sure, I can add one more ball into the mix.” We don’t really register how stressed we are until we get migraines (her) or muscle spasms (me). Other people in this category might experience digestive problems, insomnia, frequent colds, loss of energy, chest pains, racing heartbeats, panic attacks, and other such unfair bullshit.

Folks who fall into the second category don’t get off lightly either. Stress can make them feel overwhelmed in a way that manifests very strongly in their moods. They might feel agitated, frustrated, moody, avoidant, lonely, or depressed. These kinds of emotions can tarnish their self-image, strain their relationships with loved ones, and make them feel socially isolated when they most need support.

Everyone feels both kinds of stress; it’s just a question of which way it manifests first.

The unfortunate thing about both the physical and emotional symptoms of stress response is that both tend to exacerbate existing stressors. If you’re super busy at work and you start getting stress headaches, congratulations: you’re now both busy and in pain! If you’re super busy at work and you start crying at your desk, congratulations: you’re now both busy and humiliated!

Piggy and I spent a bit too much time in our twenties ignoring the signs our bodies were sending us, and had to learn our limits by suffering the consequences of overextending ourselves.

We are older and wiser now. We know that it’s better to take breaks before you “need” them. And we want to model that behavior for all of you, which is why we took a vacation and publicized it!

Hint hint: we think you should take a vacation too. Here’s why.

Chill, bro.

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This is exactly the kind of mindless consumption that could send our species into extinction.

Five Reasons to Love the Tiny House Movement

At times, our series on tiny houses ventured toward… scathing. Which isn’t even original, as evidenced by articles like this, this, this, thisthis, this, this, thisthis, this, this, this, and this. Jeez. Maybe this counts as punching down?

So as promised, we will conclude our series by refocusing our discussion on what’s great about the tiny house movement. As the movement begins its slow fade into obscurity, these are the five points I pray leave a lasting impact on our culture.

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The solution to systemic issues in our mortgage industry isn't "live in a rustic wheeled broom closet bought with your mom's cashed-out 401(k)."

Bullshit Reasons to Live in a Tiny House, Refuted (Part 2)

“If you believe that having a tiny home will lead you to a more focused and purposeful life, you probably also believe that buying a Slap Chop will lead you to eat salad every day.”

-Mister Kitty

Welcome back to the enormous mansion that is my overness with tiny homes. It’s so large and spacious here! You can twirl through the front door like Julie Andrews, arms outstretched, lungs full of crisp alpine air, yodeling your appreciation for an efficient and well-designed 1,200 square foot home.

The first five points we discussed last week were mostly logistical. We raised questions about such issues as financing, insurance, time-management, and other such boring topics.

What is this?

The final five points we’ll discuss today get down to a deeper, more emotional level. What is the purpose of a home? Of family? Of travel and adventure? Such topics are of essential importance to people considering the tiny house lifestyle. And in order to explore them to the best of my ability, I’m going to share AN EMBARRASSING PERSONAL ANECDOTE before the end.

So if you don’t agree with this article, go ahead and read it anyway because you’ll be rewarded with a story that depicts me in very unflattering terms!

Let’s get right back into it, shall we?

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Owning a three-bedroom home does not mean the three-bedroom home police are gonna come peep in your windows.

Bullshit Reasons to Live in a Tiny House, Refuted (Part 1)

“I would rather bathe in 10,000 scorpions while singing the entire libretto of Rent than live in a tiny house.”

-Piggy

For awhile there, I was ready to breathe easy, thinking that the tiny home craze had finally passed. I saw far fewer think pieces, pins, and aspirational hashtags than I once did. The advent of television shows describing the movement seemed to announce its loss of counter-culture status, typically a sure sign that the end is nigh.

… Then I started writing a financial blog.

Like a recalcitrant UTI patient, I’d stopped taking my antibiotics when my symptoms went away. My reward was the metaphorical equivalent of pissing a mixture of broken glass and lava: boundless renewed fascination with tiny houses.

It’s easy to understand why this is. Tiny homes are singularly appealing to frugal people. On paper, they are everything a traditional home is, but optimized: cheaper, greener, less constricting. But the proliferation of tiny homes has begun the slow process of revealing a less rosy truth.

I think the tiny house movement is already being lowered into its coffin, but allow me to secure the lid with ten big nails. The following list comes from the Tiny House Blog’s Top 10 Reasons to Join the Tiny House Movement. (I selected this list from a hat, more or less. It’s the first entry that popped up when I googled the phrase “reasons to get a tiny house.” Interestingly, the second one is Forbes’s 5 Reasons Buying a Tiny House is a Mistake.)

I’m going to dismantle each one because I’m a neoliberal killjoy and secret corporate shill for Big Housing.

Hold onto your butts.

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Pets enter our lives not as idle playthings, but mirrors held up to ourselves.

So I Got Chickens, Part 2: Tragedies and Lessons Learned

I believe that in life, we meet the people we need to meet. Every person—whether you like them or not, know them intimately or only a little—has something to teach you. Sometimes the lesson is about yourself and sometimes it’s about how the world works. This perspective makes dealing with even difficult, trifling people edifying, productive experiences.

I think that pets are very much the same. They enter our lives not as idle playthings, but mirrors to show us our true selves. Sometimes those mirrors are harsh—like, dressing-room-at-a-foreclosed-T.J.-Maxx harsh. Every animal has something vital to teach us, should we choose to learn it.

I thought about this as I buried Edie, one of the six chicks I brought home three months ago.

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Let's call her "Tina" because her name was fucking Tina.

How I Chessmastered Myself into a Promotion

Those of you who follow us on Twitter already heard that I’m up for a promotion at work.

It feels unwise to talk about it because it’s not official yet. There’s no contract in place, and we haven’t done title or salary negotiations. It’s possible that circumstances could fail to come together. But I’ve interviewed for the role with all stakeholders and each one has given a green light to the role change. The woman who will become my boss has already added me to her regular staff meetings and tasked me on a new project. It feels like a done deal, so I’m taking the karmic risk of telling you all about it now.

Plus, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to give you all rolling updates!

It’s the first promotion I’ve ever received while working at a large corporation. (I was promoted in my first job from unpaid intern to intern with a stipend, basically. After I cried in front of my boss about money issues. A STORY FOR ANOTHER TIME!) I’m not entirely sure how to navigate it gracefully, but I’ll certainly invite you all along upon my journey of discovery.

The better part of getting this promotion was luck. And I think that’s likely true of any promotion.

But luck is boring to blog about. And it ain’t everything. I Underwooded a good portion of this shit. So let me tell you what I tried and rate how well it worked.

Welcome to Washington.

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Friends, if you're going to jump, jump like there is no ceiling.

The Fascinating Results of Our Job Hopping vs. Career Loyalty Poll

Guys, Bitches can’t thank you enough for stepping up and volunteering your salary histories for our recent article on job hopping. If you haven’t read it yet, go check it out and feel free to skip straight down to those juicy, delicious, nutritious comments.

We discovered some really interesting trends, and we’re going to break them down for you now!

Overall, commenters were big fans of a hybrid approach. Job hopping was universally endorsed as an essential move, regardless of career path, even by serial job monogamists. But occasionally stopping to rest once you’ve landed in a good position was also extremely popular.

Here are some of the factors that made people stay… and go.

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