Beer is one of my financial vampires.

Slay Your Financial Vampires

For centuries they have lurked in the shadows. Stalking, hunting, draining their victims of their means of survival, they prey upon the weak-willed, the guileless.

I am of course speaking of financial vampires. And it’s time to slay these undead motherfuckers once and for all. Why? Because it’s October, the season for getting all spoopy.

A financial vampire is an activity, product, or person that routinely sucks you dry of money you didn’t plan to spend. It is tempting or unnoticeable, demanding or pitiful. They rely on you to spend unconsciously, or succumb to temptation.

Your financial vampires could be vices like absinthe and opium dens (or, y’know, cigarettes and beer). They could be the last-minute social invitations of your friends. They could be a beguiling advertisement for a fucking Amazon Echo (which I am as yet convinced no able-bodied person needs).

A financial vampire is an activity, product, or person that routinely sucks you dry of money you didn’t plan to spend.

A financial vampire can derail your careful budget and responsible savings plan faster than you can say,

Let’s slay these bumpy-foreheaded, melanin-depleted, fruit-punch-mouthed bastards once and for all.

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Unless you're a nineteenth century representative of the American government chatting with the Sioux, contracts are unbreakable without consequences.

Freelancer, Protect Thyself: The Importance of a Fair Contract

I can’t even believe this needs to be said, but… you deserve to be paid.

You deserve to be paid in a timely fashion, without a fight, and without jumping through flaming hoops over shark-infested waters. You deserve to be paid what you’re worth, for every billable minute, and neither you nor the people paying you should devalue your work or your worth in any way.

AND THIS SHOULD NOT BE A FUCKING REVELATION.

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You need to learn to forgive.

If You Don’t Eat Leftovers I Don’t Even Want to Know You

Did you guys know there are people out there who just… don’t eat leftovers? Yes! These wasteful, snooty heathens exist! And they’re coming for your delicious yet frugal lifestyle decisions.

To combat this slothful, repugnant, and uncreative attitude, I’m going to extoll the virtue of leftovers in all their glory. Because I think leftovers are the cat’s pajamas and you should too.

What do you take me for?

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Let's break the Equifax situation down into tiny morsels of suckitude that can be easily digested.

Dashit Just Happened, Equifax?

Because the horrendous disaster of two malicious hurricanes isn’t enough for people to worry about right now, a few weeks ago a storm of a different sort swept through the United States. Like those assholes Harvey and Irma, this one’s going to be an enormous, life-changing financial burden for millions of people. And like the hurricanes, it could take years to repair the damage.

Yes: it’s time we talked about the Equifax breach.

If you follow us on Tumblr, you’ll know we’ve been getting some panicked messages about Equifax recently. So to dispel panic (or encourage it, as the case may be), I want to break the situation down into tiny morsels of suckitude that can be easily digested. (more…)

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The cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney will someday, when thawed, be thrilled to know that I have learned a helluva lot from the Disney Princesses.

The Economic Strategies of Disney Princesses

The cryogenically frozen head of Walt Disney will some day, when thawed, be thrilled to know that I have learned a helluva lot from the Disney princesses.

I’ve learned how to dance like only freakishly friendly woodland creatures are watching. To ignore unworthy suitors. To pout prettily until some magical older woman with questionable motives offers to give me all my nearsighted heart desires.

Most importantly, I have learned from the Disney princesses’ various economic strategies. And it’s time I shared those lessons with you.

So here it is! A breakdown of the various financial lessons you can learn from each of the princesses’ personal finance decisions. For the purposes of this study, I’m assuming that every princess’s main goal is financial independence, not something trivial like finding true love or saving her village/family/culture from destruction. The metrics by which we judge them are merely how and if their in-story choices contributed to their fiscal future. Choices about contracts, marriage alliances, careers, trade deals, purchases, and investing all factor into this highly scientific examination.

Some of these Disney princesses are decent economic role models. Others are excellent examples of what not to do. Let’s read them for filth, shall we?

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You need to know the answers to these questions so you won't be blindsided during the job interview.

Prep Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself: Getting Ready for a Job Interview

You have a job interview! Now what?

Well for one thing, you need to dress the part. You also need to be prepared to answer the dreaded salary question. And of course, you have to get ready to negotiate for your life.

But you’re not done yet. Don’t you dare go into that interview without first doing your goddamn homework. Here are your assignments.

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I'm nervous to publish this. But you know what? It's okay to talk about your failures.

Confession: I Hate My Job and I Don’t Know How to Leave It

I don’t fancy myself a hypocrite. And yet I haven’t been practicing what I preach.

We talk a lot about career advancement as a path to financial independence here. You’ve got to angle for promotions and ask for raises and, most importantly, switch jobs on the regular.

And yet I’ve been stuck at the same company for almost eight years.

And I don’t want to be.

In that time, I’ve been promoted three times and I’ve received multiple raises. But it’s a small publishing house on a metaphorically small, remote island within the broader publishing industry.

And unless my boss gets torn apart by angry maenads sometime soon, I’ve literally reached the top of the ladder here. There’s nowhere else to go within my company, and very few options for other publishing jobs in the area.

I feel trapped. I feel like a failure. I’m bored, directionless, and frustrated. I want to enjoy going to work again. I want to feel challenged and get paid more.

So because I’m feeling rather… truthsome right now, I want to dissect my current career stagnation. I want to confess my failures and seek absolution. People of the Internet, be gentle with me.

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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 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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