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I was making great progress on my student loans until the first of several large, money-sucking emergencies smashed into my life like the Kool-Aid man.

3 Times I Was Damn Grateful for My Emergency Fund (and Side Income)

Here at Our Lady of Financial Solvency (AKA the church we definitely didn’t start exclusively for that sweet, sweet tax-exempt dark money), there are two ways to be Saved:

  1. Having some kind of emergency fund.
  2. Having multiple streams of income.

An emergency fund is, of course, a lump sum of cash you set aside for emergencies. Break your leg? BOOM, emergency funded. Break your phone? BOOM, emergency funded. Break your heart? Sorry kid, no amount of money can fix that break. But you’ll still be glad you saved an emergency fund if your brokenhearted ice cream binge cuts into your rent payment for next month!

Having multiple streams of income means that in addition to your day job, you’re making extra money on the side. Whether it’s through a second job, selling shit on Craigslist, or passive income from investments, having that extra income stream means that you won’t be left high and dry if your primary source of income goes away. And in the meantime, you can do with that sweet, sweet extra money whatever you damn well please.

Our church is built upon these cornerstones for the literal reason that they will save your fucking ass in the event of an unforeseen disaster. For without them, you will have nothing to save you if you wind up with an expensive emergency, landing yourself squarely in the Ninth Circle of Debt (if I may stretch this recovering Catholic’s metaphor to its absolute breaking point).

So I am here to testify to the importance of emergency funds and side gigs! Bow your heads and listen as I tell you my tales of being grateful af that I had an emergency fund and an extra stream of income at hand.

Let us pray…

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Refinancing or consolidating your student loans can save you a lot of money, but only if you do it at the right time, for the right terms.

When (and How) to Try Refinancing or Consolidating Student Loans

Friends, does this sound familiar?: You’re describing the crushing emotional and financial burden of student loan debt, and the grown-up you’re speaking to says something like, “Wow, that sounds really rough, have you thought about *refinancing* and also ma’am this is a Wendy’s??”

And having no idea what the fuck that actually meant, you drove forward to the next window, dabbing at your eyes with the crumpled receipt for your vanilla Frosty, weeping in confusion and sadness and brain freeze?

I knew it. I KNEW it wasn’t just me!

Yes that’s right, my lambs: we’re talking about student loans again. This time we’re discussing your options for refinancing or consolidating student loans.

What the fuck do these mysterious terms even mean? What’s the difference between the two? How do you know if one is right for you—and if it is, how do you actually do it? Be amazed as we reveal the secrets!

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Season 2 Episode 12: "I work for everything while my peers lead carefree lives. How do I control the resentment?"

Season 2, Episode 12: “I Work for Everything While My Peers Lead Carefree Lives. How Do I Control My Raging Resentment?”

IT’S THE SEASON FINALE! And we’re ending it with a bang. Obviously by “bang” I mean a meditative quest to free oneself from the bitterness of resentment as we navigate this unjust and inequitable world. Because come on, it’s us!

The tl;dr of today’s episode is: comparison is the thief of joy.

If you’re constantly comparing yourself to your seemingly more successful, productive, and flush with cash peers, it can be majorly discouraging. We’ve talked before about why you shouldn’t hold yourself to the standard of the uber-successful, or why you shouldn’t long to splurge before you’re ready.

But one of the many, many horrible features of this global pandemic is that it’s becoming harder to avoid comparison. The internet—where we’ve all been forced to work and play while social distancing—is chock full of productivity porn and highly edited content specifically designed to make you feel like you’re not doing enough. Like you’ll never be enough.

So today on the podcast, we’re addressing how frustrating and hard it can be to stay motivated and encouraged when your peers seem to be crushing it… and you feel left behind in the dirt.

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Productivity porn is here to tell you how to fill your lonely, indoor, socially distanced hours.

I Am So Over Productivity Porn

As I write this, it’s six o’clock on a Saturday morning. I’ve been up since five. This isn’t normal for me. Normally, I sleep in till the decadent hours of seven or eight on weekends. (Ya jelly?)

Not today. Today I found my eyes springing open from dreams about wasting time and all the things I should be doing to… waking thoughts about wasting time and all the things I should be doing. So I got up. Because working on my goals is far more productive and important than sleeping, right?

Recently—actually, let’s be real—years ago I internalized the message, seared into me from intellectually stimulating op-eds, social media, self-improvement gurus, and our culture at large, that I could be “more productive.” As a result, I hate wasting time. I despise goal-lessness. Every year I brazenly make a New Year’s Resolution to better myself and the world around me and by god I get that shit done. I rarely spend a weekend sans plans and a rigid to-do list.

Dale Carnegie wishes he were me!

I’m bitch enough to admit this isn’t healthy. I can’t take a break from working without seeing the window trim I need to refinish or the herbs I need to dry or the hangboard where I should be doing pull-ups. And I can’t pursue those personal goals without thinking of the work I need to do, the money I need to make. I can’t even be lazy without being bombarded by evidence of how productive and accomplished my friends and idols are through their carefully curated social media.

I could be so much more productive! I should be so much more productive. Sleep? Relaxation? These look more and more like indulgent wastes of time.

Recently it’s only gotten worse. And I know, with damning clarity, that I am not alone.

Guys… I am so over productivity porn.

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As tempting as it might be to toss the keys over your shoulder and just walk the fuck away, there is an etiquette to moving out!

Master the Logistics and Etiquette of Moving Out

On a recent episode of the award-winning highly acclaimed scandalous homoerotic merely adequate “moms love it!” Bitches Get Riches podcast, we discussed how to get your first apartment.

It’s an exciting time! You’re moving into your very own place, getting one of your very first Adulthood Merit Badges!

But what do you do when your time in that first apartment comes to an end? In short, how do you move out?

As tempting as it might be to toss the keys over your shoulder and just walk the fuck away, there is definitely an etiquette for moving out.

For one thing, it’s best to leave on good terms with your landlord, as you’ll likely need them to be a good reference for another apartment later on. Plus, you really want them to return your security deposit. And that means making your exit from the apartment with all the grace and aplomb of a Shakespearean actor leaving the stage.

(Exit, pursued by bear.)

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Season 2 Episode 7: "How do I throw my incompetent coworkers under the bus?"

Season 2, Episode 7: “How Do I Throw My Incompetent Coworkers under the Bus?”

It’s with great pride I warn you to brace yourselves: this is the best/worst episode we’ve ever recorded. Listen with fascination and/or horror as Kitty and I enter the absolute peak of our quarantine cabin fever, and dwell incessantly on the following topics:

  • Kitty won’t shut up about fried chicken sandwiches.
  • She experimentally combines the chicken sandwich theme with an absolutely disgusting sexual metaphor, for absolutely no reason.
  • Piggy blows a year’s worth of bottled self-confidence to boldly insist that Hugh Laurie was in Home Alone.
  • Shrek memes? Shrek memes.

It’s all in the service of answering a thorny listener question about coworkers. Specifically, the kind of coworkers that make messes and leave others to clean up.

Shitty coworkers: may you never know them, may you never be them.

Yet sometimes they can’t be avoided. This week on the podcast, we’re delving deep into the seedy underworld of shitty coworkers and what to do about them.

Do you try to manage their behavior, adding more work to your schedule by babysitting their incompetent asses? Do you confront them directly? Do you suffer in silence, hoping the misery they cause will guilt them into shaping up? Or do you bide your time, waiting for the right moment to sabotage their entire livelihood in the eyes of your supervisor?

Special thanks to J. D. Roth, who singlehandedly got the Hamilton soundtrack stuck in my head last week. He will pay for his crimes.

We discuss all these tactics and more in a particularly bitchy episode of Bitches Get Riches!

This week’s question

Today’s question comes to us from Tumblr follower Shrikeseams, or as Kitty kept saying, “ShrekMemes!” They ask:

Hey Bitches & Community! Any tips on throwing incompetent coworkers under the bus with grace and poise? Some friends in my former workplace (event planning) who do most of the “client facing” work are tired of getting screwed by incompetent coworkers fouling things up behind the scenes and leaving the front end to take the blame. How do you place blame where it’s due when the client can’t see it and your management team is too defensive/lazy to act?

Tumblr follower shrikeseams

For more on navigating the workplace:

Today’s episode was brought to you by fried chicken sandwiches. Specifically Beth’s Homemade Baked Spicy Chicken Sandwiches over at Budget Bytes, made with love by a life partner who labors over a hot stove while you scream-laugh inside the guest bedroom closet.

But there would be no fried chicken sandwiches without our Patreon community! While we don’t use their donations to buy our dinner ingredients, we do rely on them to pay for the recording equipment, editing software, file sharing, and podcast hosting that makes these episodes possible.

So if you enjoyed this HIGHLY UH INTERESTING episode, join our community! You’ll get to take part in group discussions about potential topics, pitch ideas to us directly, and pat yourself on the back for paying artists and educators for their work.

S2 E6: "Someone offered to mentor me! How do I be a non-sucky mentee?"

Season 2, Episode 6: “Someone Offered to Mentor Me! How Do I Be a Non-Sucky Mentee?”

Paying it forward! Not just a cheesy movie starring lil baby Haley Joel Osment anymore!

Before I got my first big-kid job, I benefited from three different internships. The super kind, super dedicated, and super patient people who supervised me at these internships had an incredible impact on my education and career. I’ll never know why they put up with me, I’m just grateful they did.

So when I got that big-kid job, I knew I needed to start an internship program for the company. My work ethic and on-the-job know-how had been shaped by my mentors, and I felt the best tribute to these kind people (all of whom I’m still in touch with to this day) was to pay it forward.

I’ve had dozens of interns over the course of my career. And Kitty is part of her company’s professional mentorship program. By our powers combined, we’ve got loads of advice on how to be a good mentor—and more importantly, how to be a good mentee.

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S2 E5: "What do I need to know about moving into my first apartment?"

Season 2, Episode 5: “What Do I Need to Know about Moving into My First Apartment?”

It is Bitches Get Riches canon that Kitty and I met when we were randomly assigned roommates freshman year of college. We bonded through the adversity of cohabiting in a forced triple with an infuriating third party who shall forever remain nameless. The two of us shared a bunkbed and ceded one entire half of the room to that creature’s baffling habits and excessive belongings. I won’t go into it except to quote General William Tecumseh Sherman: “War is hell.”

Yet BGR lore rarely tells the end of the story! For after that fateful freshman year, we went on to rent our first apartment together, taking our roommateship to the next level. Nothing tests a friendship like shopping for a shower curtain together.

We survived our fourth-floor walkup with its busted dollhouse dishwasher and coffin-like shower. But more importantly, our friendship survived.

And thus, we feel uniquely qualified to dispense advice on Baby’s First Apartment!

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If the cost of regular goods and services grows at a steady walking pace, higher education is galloping away like a Triple Crown winner whose ass just met a hornet.

How to Pay for College without Selling Your Soul to the Devil

Listen you lazy, entitled whiners: it’s easy to pay for college. Just get a summer job! Why, in my day I worked weekends as a fry cook down at the diner on Main, graduated without debt, and now I’m sixty-five years old and completely delusional about the inflated costs of higher education! Ask me more about the house I bought for $60,000 and how much I resent the respectful empathy of the children I raised!

Sorry, y’all. Probably should’ve started that with a trigger warning.

Whenever we write about student loans, we get at least one comment like this. Except with more caps lock. We delete them. We never silence interesting criticism, but come on, this ain’t a public square for every old man who wants to yell at a cloud! We pay good money for this web hosting!

At least where the cost of college is concerned, things aren’t what they used to be. Thirty years ago, it cost the modern equivalent of $8K per year to attend a public college and $18K per year to attend a private college.

Today, the same year of school would cost $21K and $48K. And you’re supposed to buy FOUR of them!

If the cost of regular goods and services grows at a steady walking pace, the cost of higher education is galloping away like a Triple Crown winner whose ass just met a hornet. I didn’t even mention the cost of textbooks, room and board, and other academic fees, which are all even worse. Can’t be giving you nightmares!

Meanwhile, average hourly wages have barely increased 11% (adjusted for inflation), making the wage-to-college-cost-ratio just fucking laughable. Yet college is still a barrier to entry into not only white collar jobs, but an ever-increasing number of blue collar jobs.

My purpose here is not to unpack the absurd inflation of higher education costs in recent years (I’d need another 2,500 words, and I can only hold your attention through so many gifs). Nor is it to debate the relative value of a college degree (another 3,000 words).

Instead, I want to focus on practical solutions for people who’ve already weighed their options and decided that college is right for them. Yes, a traditional four-year undergraduate degree is heckin’ expensive as fuck. Short of The Deep Magic, how do we mere mortals even attempt to pay for it?

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Season 2, Episode 4: "Does my career have to define me? Or can I just clock out?"

Season 2, Episode 4: “Does My Career Have to Define Me? Or Can I Just Clock Out?”

I like me a timely discussion. Especially when it’s completely unplanned!

Which is definitely the case with this week’s episode of the BGR podcast. We recorded it in… April? May? (Time is a flat circle infected with COVID-19 so who fucking knows???) And yet it directly links to my story about getting laid off, which we published just a few weeks ago.

Toward the end of my job, I was really struggling with work/life balance, and making choices to prioritize my employment—not even my career, but just holding onto a job it turns out I didn’t really need—over my happiness. In short, I was balancing work and life all wrong.

Which leads us directly to this week’s illustrious podcast question asker!

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