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Mountains of debt cannot be repaid just by packing lunches and cutting cable. Those are comforting bedtime stories we tell ourselves about capitalism.

The Real Story of How I Paid Off My Mortgage in 4 Years

As of fifteen minutes (and one very cold beer) ago, I officially own the beautiful house I’m sitting in right now.

My partner and I have been refreshing our mortgage account every few hours today, waiting for the final payment to process. (Weirdly, you have to WIRE the final payment. Seriously? After this years-long relationship of sending personal check after personal check, our mortgage lender refuses to trust us at the finish line? Fine, whatever…) Just before the close of the day, it happened.

Current principal balance: $0.00.

$0.00.

My mortgage is gone. I am done paying rent. If all things go according to plan, I will never ever pay rent again for as long as I live. Let’s talk about it!

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Season 2, Episode 3: "Why is my girlfriend pissed at me for being generous?"

Season 2, Episode 3: “Why Is My Girlfriend Pissed at Me for Being Generous?”

We have friends in real life.

No really, we do!

Why don’t you ever hear about them? They, uh, live in Canada…?

This week’s question comes from one of our IRL pals, whom we’ve called Will. He’s in conflict with his girlfriend over money. Specifically, she seems to be giving a lot of side-eye to his personal generosity—especially when the beneficiaries of that generosity are her family members.

Luckily for Will, one of our main skills is guessing why women are mad.

This week’s question

Will (who definitely isn’t a former prosecutor and current Senator for the state of California) asks…

My girlfriend and I are sort of fighting over money. When we first met, I had NOTHING. Like, sleeping-in-my-car nothing. But in the last three years my career miraculously rocketed into the stratosphere. I’m making SO MUCH MONEY. Meanwhile, her career has kind of plateaued. She’s working hard, but not getting ahead. Meanwhile I’m getting tired of winning.

But the real issue is she’s mad about how I spend my money. I don’t mean I waste it all. Nope, instead I’m making up for all the times friends helped me. Humble brag, but I’m ridiculously generous right now and I love it. I give friends gifts, pay for dinner, and tip big all the time. I’m sure this attitude will wear off eventually, but right now I’m just enjoying spoiling the people I love, INCLUDING MY GIRLFRIEND.

But recently when her sister said she couldn’t afford a $300 class to finish getting her social work degree, I just gave her the money. I was happy to do it: it would improve her life, the money was nothing to me, and I’m sure she’ll pay it forward. But my girlfriend was PISSED and I don’t quite understand what I did wrong. Can you do your feminist-to-dumb-guy translation here and help out ya boi?

– IRL Pal Will

Oh, we have theories. In fact, I’d say this whole episode is brought to you by “women’s intuition.” Which is a thing that has actual scientific basis! Yeah, man, it’s just like, soooooooo weird that people who are socialized from earliest infancy to pacify and accommodate others under implicit threat of physical violence get pretty good at reading the intentions of others… I wonder what kinds of exciting shit we already know that science will discover next!

Like our ~romantic~ advice? I mean, okay, here’s some more:

Thanks again to our generous Patreon donors for their support. Without it, this season simply would not be. If you want to join the ranks of Bitches Get Riches supporters (and get your name read aloud on an episode of the podcast) head on over to our Patreon!

As Johnnie Cochran would say: if the interest rate's nil, don't pay that bill!

Ask the Bitches: “The Government Put My Student Loans in Forbearance. Can I Really Stop Paying—or Is This a Trap?”

So… I made a mistake.

Our Patreon donors have been so wise with choosing quality topics in the past. So this month, I invited our supporters to pitch article topics directly to us.

Sounds great, right? WRONG. This was a huge mistake because all of our supporters’ ideas are fucking great! Now I have no choice: I simply must write them all. When am I supposed to do my life’s most important work: incorrectly cutting the wood for my woodworking project, then driving to Lowe’s to buy more wood???

This is technically incorrect. Piggy is the Chip.

One question stood out as being particularly time-sensitive, so today I’m answering this question from Patreon Rachel, who we all know to be so glitteringly beautiful that she’s regularly mistaken for an ice sculpture of herself:

I’d love to know your thoughts on U.S. federal student loans currently being deferred with no interest. Is it smart to continue to make my regular payments? Or should I stop making payments and use that money to invest in other things?

– Patreon Donor Rachel

An excellent question! Today we’ll address the basics of student loan forbearance, including how it pertains to the CARES Act. (That’s the $2 trillion stimulus package we explained here.)

Luckily there’s a fairly definitive answer, which I am just barely capable of explaining in human speech. Let’s get into it!

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Podcast Season 2 Episode 1: "I'm financially stable, but my friends aren't. The guilt is crushing!"

Season 2, Episode 1: “I’m Financially Stable, but My Friends Aren’t. The Guilt Is Crushing!”

“We’re back” isn’t just a dinosaur’s story anymore. Or it is, but it includes these dinosaurs! (we said, gesturing at our own wrinkled selves).

That’s right, kids, the Bitches are back with season two of our podcast!

This week is all about friendly debate. What’s the line between the nearly extinct middle class and The Rich, Who Must Be Eaten? Who has the most responsibility for driving change? Most importantly, who does the better Ursula?

(We meant to settle this with our very loud and obnoxious Poor Unfortunate Souls-off, but I’m not sure a clear winner was established???)

This week’s question

An anonymous Tumblr follower asks…

Hi Bitches! You guys have been so helpful to me. I graduated last year with no student loans thanks to my parents, I got a job in that field with a pretty good salary for an entry level position, I’m contributing to my 401(k) and I’m close to paying off my credit cards. So that’s fantastic!

But as I’m looking at the near future of actually having a decent amount of money in the bank, emergency/retirement funds, living a bit more comfortably, I’ve started feeling really guilty.

Most of my friends come from a less fortunate background than me, whose parents aren’t able to be as generous, and also haven’t been as lucky with jobs. I feel like I have no business having money in the bank when people I care about are struggling. And then I feel ridiculous for complaining about a problem that boils down to “I have too much money.”

I’ve helped a couple of friends by covering a bill until they get their check, for example… but sometimes I overextend my budget by doing that, which obviously isn’t ideal. But I keep doing it because I feel awful that I have a safety net (with my parents) and they don’t!

I want to help my friends, but I also want to be financially stable myself. As money-savvy folks who are also very aware of the state of the economy, have you had any similar feelings? Do you have any advice?

Yes and yes, and plenty of ’em! Listen and let us know how this question made you feel.

A few suggestions for further reading…

Thanks as always to our generous patrons for their help creating another season of our podcast. Patreon donors get direct access to our nefarious and not-very-good-working minds. Donors can pitch us questions directly, and get private answers from us directly in their inbox. Join us over at our Patreon page!

How can you work toward new financial goals with $2,000 in fixed costs?

Case Study: Swimming Upstream against Unemployment, Exhaustion, and $2,750 a Month in Unproductive Spending

Hi, it’s me: your Good With Money Friend.

If an old acquaintance reaches out and asks if I’d like to grab drinks, I know it’s not because they miss my sparkling personality. It’s because they just cracked open their investment statements for the first time in five years and they need to talk to someone who actually understands whut dafuq it says. It’s okay! I don’t take it personally.

The Good With Money Friend is a very valuable part of any friend ecosystem. A squad without one is like a Pokemon team without a dragon type: our rarity and fussy movesets make us only situationally useful, but there’s no getting through the Elite Four without at least one of us.

Obviously Piggy shares my genus and species. We started this blog so that we could save time by sending people a link instead of tapping it all out with our thumbs in a text!

Now, we ain’t professionals. (CFPs are lawful good. We’re chaotic good; we tell you which parts of your taxes you can cheat on. Key distinction!) But if your budget for financial advice is “here, take this six pack,” then BABY, we’re here for you! Talking to a Good With Money Friend can give you the gut-check you need when you can’t afford professional advice, or need insights from someone who knows you better than a paid professional you just met.

This week I Zoomed with two of my closest friends. We talked through their goals and identified a strategy for getting there. With their permission, I’m going to open up that process so you can see how I arrived at my conclusions. 

One of our key missions at BGR is to create more Good With Money Friends, especially in historically underserved communities. So open your mind like a flower in the morning and absorb our baseless opinions! One day you, too, will be rich in grateful friends, a more stable immediate community, and/or six packs!

CHEERS M8
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The area known as "Black Wall Street" started as 40 acres of empty land. Within a few years, it was a nascent metropolis and a living testament to Black Excellence. So what happened to it?

The Biggest Threat to Black Wealth Is White Terrorism

You know what I love?

The American Dream.

Maybe that’s a surprising thing to hear me say, as I so often use this blog as a platform to criticize our current system and express deep cynicism about many aspects of American life. But nah, man! I adore that shit. Devoid of the context of its shortcomings, stripped of its more recent associations with a generic sort of upward mobility, in its pure and original form, the American Dream is actually one of my very favorite things.

James Truslow Adams coined the phrase “the American Dream” in his book The Epic of America. He describes it as…

“… That dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement. It is not a dream of motor cars and high wages merely, but a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable, and be recognized by others for what they are, regardless of the fortuitous circumstances of birth or position.”

– James Truslow Adams, The Epic of America

Freedom, liberty, independence, opportunity: that hopey changey stuff. I believe all the star-spangled buzzwords so often used to describe the national character of America are attempts to capture the light reflected by the glittering facets of this idea: that America is a place where everyone can rise to become their best selves, and that those best selves have equal value despite their differing contributions.

Like I said, I love and treasure this idea. And it’s because of that love that I taste such bitter disappointment in its failure. Nothing stings like seeing something fail when you really, truly believe in its inherent goodness. In the famous words of Tyra Banks: “I have never in my life yelled at [an idea] like this. When my mother yells like this, it’s because she loves me. I was rooting for you. We were all rooting for you. How dare you?!

… Yeah. That’s how I feel about the American Dream in practice.

It’d take a galling amount of ignorance to fail to see the major cultural, political, and socioeconomic realities that make the American Dream more attainable for some than others. In this context, you can talk about the struggles of any number of marginalized groups—women, people with disabilities, queer folks, immigrants, minorities, and “out groups” of all kinds. But today we’re talking about race.

There are many systemic, structural, institutional impediments to black excellence. Today we’re looking at an itty bitty pie slice of history that serves as an example of how white people have used terrorism to destroy black wealth. You know—a lighthearted topic, best served at lunch, with tea and cucumber sandwiches!

We’re going to talk about the Tulsa Massacre of 1921. For the sake of readers who may be sensitive to this topic, let me clarify that our focus today is specifically on the economic impacts of violence. That necessitates acknowledging the existence of slavery, segregation, lynching, false sexual assault allegations, and other upsetting topics. But I see absolutely no reason to repeat racist language or include detailed descriptions of physical violence to meet that goal. Gonna go ahead and miss y’all with that.

Also, we’re gonna keep this history lesson fast and shallow, because I ain’t any kinda damn historian! (Plus if I send Piggy another 5,000 word article for editing, she will divorce me.) We’re going to leave a lot of interesting stuff out, and sum up historical context with our signature house laziness. Slake any remaining thirst on the additional reading links provided at the end!

(You may have heard in the news that Donald Trump selected Tulsa, Oklahoma as the site of his first campaign rally of 2020—on Juneteenth no less! If you aren’t familiar with why this pissed so many people off, get excited! This article is about to shellack you in fresh knowledge like rejuvenating dewdrops on the morning flower!)

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I drove my car so infrequently it died. So as usual, don't be like me!

How to Maintain the Car You’re Barely Driving

During the winter, our powerful, pleasurable, indestructible Patreon donors voted for DIY car maintenance in one of our Patreon exclusive content polls. And I decided to sit on it, because spring is the ideal time for a lot of routine car maintenance. I thought I would be topical.

Well, now it’s become either entirely too topical… or not topical at all? Perhaps both at the same time. On the one hand, I have never driven less than I have over the last month. In the last two weeks, I’ve driven just once: to the local grocery store and back, a round-trip of less than one mile.

On the other hand…

I drove my car so infrequently it broke down.

Yep. My nine-year-old battery finally up and died! So as usual, the moral of the story is don’t be like me!

In retrospect, it’s obvious that trying to be a good girl and go on as few trips as possible would obviously backfire and create the need for more trips! I hadn’t planned on going to an auto supply store during a pandemic, but my new minimalist bike-everywhere lifestyle successfully murdered my geriatric battery. Cause of death: involuntary Mustachianism?

I had to leave my car idling and unlocked in the parking lot of the closest AutoZone because I was afraid it wouldn’t start again, but I refused to let my asthmatic partner join me on any errands while Rona’s out there, causing havoc.

I was able to get a new battery. Between myself, my partner, a set of imperial wrenches that didn’t quite match our metric nuts, and the living catalogue of human knowledge that is YouTube, we were able to replace the battery ourselves. But this got me to thinking about car maintenance for people who rarely drive.

Right now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, that basically includes… <checks notes> everyone. But it’s not exactly a niche topic, either. Many frugal people, minimalists, and environmentalists own a car out of necessity, but are interested in driving as little as possible.

So today we’re going to discuss how to take care of your car when you barely drive it at all.

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Your table needs bread, and modesty is the least filling carbohydrate.

How to Frame Volunteering on Your Resume When You’ve Never Had a Job

We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: the hardest job to get is your first one. Or at least, the first one that’s in your chosen field and not, you know, corn detasseling for Moon Pie money. Everybody who grew up in a flyover state say heyyyyy!

See, when you’ve never had a job before…

  • Your resume is as short as a sneeze.
  • You don’t have professional connections to turn to for help or advice, like mentors and old coworkers.
  • True entry level jobs are rarer than they used to be.
  • You don’t have much practice at the basic skills you need to get any job, like nailing an interview and writing great cover letters.
  • You have even less experience with next-level skills you need to get a great job, like learning how to understand your company or industry’s most pressing needs and position yourself with strategic accordance.

(Mmm, you know it’s going to be a good day when you’re an ENTJ and you get to use the phrase “position yourself with strategic accordance” before noon.)

Unfortunately, when unemployment is high, it all gets even harder. Because now you’re competing with a lot more people—and they likely have some of the advantages you lack.

We feel for anyone with a thin job history who’s stuck competing in a tough job market with wicked high unemployment. Y’all are skipping the Hunger Games and going straight to the Quarter Quell: head-to-head, not against other frightened children, but bloodthirsty professional-ass adults. So in the near future, we’ll be discussing lots of strategies that can help mitigate the shittiness.

Today, we’ll discuss how to use past volunteering to make your resume shine! Let’s get into it!

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Ask the Bitches: "Did Congress really give $1.5 trillion to Wall Street?"

Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round: “Did Congress Really Give $1.5 Trillion to Wall Street?”

Welcome to the Ask the Bitches Pandemic Lightning Round! We’re working around the clock to answer your questions about coronavirus, the impact of quarantine, and the recession of 2020.

Have you heard about this thing? This something, something, $1.5 trillion dollars thing? Today, we have a request to explain what’s going on there.

So… is it worth it?

Let us work it.

We’ll put our thing down, flip it, and (time allowing) reverse it.

We’ll be coming at you fast this week, answering as many urgent questions as we can. If you appreciate the extra effort, we would love a small donation on our Patreon. Thank you!

The question

Here’s a question we got from an anonymous asker on our Tumblr:

Any chance you can explain why the 1.5 trillion congress put into stocks/small businesses/whatever meant and how it worked? I do not understand economics well enough to figure it out on my own, so I can’t figure out if it was actually a waste of money. I’m leaning towards “yes it was” but for my edification I want to make sure I’m not way off base thinking that.

We absolutely can explain this!

I’m gonna explain it like y’all are five. Because that’s the explanation I would want. Because right now, I have the emotional fortitude of a toddler desperately in need of nap time.

If you’re already pretty savvy with federal economic policy, you can read a higher level explanation like this one. Today’s breakdown will be for other babies like myself!

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