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When the check arrives, who pays?

Take Pride in Being a Cheap Date

I have no idea how to date. I accidentally fell in love with the boy next door at eighteen, married him at twenty-seven, and I don’t think you could call my high school floozyism before then “dating” by any stretch of the imagination (#noregerts).

So picture my horror when my single friends tell me about how goddamn expensive it can be to date. On top of dating being an often excruciatingly awkward, painful, nerve-wracking, and misery-inducing experience, it can also feel like throwing good money after bad dates.

My girl Gabby says of the dating experience, “Dating revolves a lot around going out for meals and activities. We went to Top Golf for an hour and a half and he spent over $100… for a casual weeknight date. Concert tickets at the best venues in town are no less than $50 a pop before you even add in any drinks or food. Not only is dating expensive because you’re going out, but it also means you want to look your best so you may get a few new articles of clothing, get your hair done (on your head or otherwise…), get your nails done…”

All of which is just financially dire enough to convince me there has to be a better way. And I don’t mean taking vows of chastity and poverty and joining a convent. Though that’s a truly tempting option in light of some men’s behavior.

So buckle up, kids, and let this old married hag tell you how to save money while still finding Prince or Princess Charming. Surely it can’t be that hard, right?

… right?

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An unusual amount of effort has been expended tearing this author down.

Econ Nerd Book Review: Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado

“Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” originally meant “impossible.” Think of it: you can’t defy gravity just by pulling up on your shoes. It can’t be done.

And yet this phrase has become both a command and an insult wielded by those who insist that anyone can make it in America. “Quit whining and pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” is the refrain from news anchors and radio hosts who seem to think that being poor is a choice and poverty an indication of moral failing.

Enter Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. I was pretty psyched to read this one, as most of the books on economics and inequality I’ve read recently have been written by academics or historians.

Linda Tirado is neither. She’s a person who has lived the reality of being poor in this country. She’s one of the millions of Americans who lives hand to mouth, told to pull herself up by her bootstraps, who has fought to navigate the maddening labyrinth of government welfare, been mistreated and shat upon in minimum wage jobs, whose life has been stressful and precarious because of a lack of money, and whose health and quality of life has therefore suffered.

This story on poverty in America is from the horse’s mouth.

Tirado answered a question on an online forum about what life was like for the poor and her post went viral. From there, she was offered a book deal. This book is basically an expansion on her original blog post. It is angry, frustrated, passionate, filled with the pent-up rage of years of being downtrodden.

Here’s what I learned.

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I looked up the leading cause of death for women on the job. It's homicide.

One Reason Women Make Less Money? They’re Afraid of Being Raped and Killed.

God bless our Patreon supporters. Seriously. In our April topic poll, I gave them several non-depressing softball article topics. But the one they wanted to read most was about the relationship between sexual assault and the gender wage gap. GOD. DAMN. You guys are the fucking best. We are so happy to be supported by people who are willing to embrace the difficult stuff.

The gender wage gap is a many-tentacled hentai monster. What is its primary driver? Is it choice of career? Education? Lack of mentors and sponsors? Familial commitments? The high cost of childcare? Lopsided domestic dutiesIngrained sexist attitudes in the culture? Unconscious bias during the hiring process? Biological differences in the brain?

Research demonstrates that it’s almost certainly a gnarly combination of all of the above. But there’s another element that doesn’t get much attention, and that’s fear of rape and sexual assault. Harassment and isolation are known contributing factors for so-called “pipeline” problems, but I’m talking about something that goes even beyond that. There are instances where the threat of rape acts as a professional barrier to women.

So today, we’re going to look at three different case studies: two from my own life and one from recent news. The last one is very exciting to me, because it’s basically the perfect case study for examining this issue.

This article talks about the existence of rape and sexual assault, but does not go into details about specific acts. Some linked articles do. Use that information as you will.

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My primary hobbies are fostering rescue dogs and writing this blog. I do these things because I am a bitter crone who thinks most people are trash, yet has not fully abdicated her responsibilities as a member of society. Go figure.

Woke at Work: How to Inject Your Values into Your Boring, Lame-Ass Job

I generally don’t find it hard to live my values in my personal life. I vote. I’m conscious of where I spend my money, which is another kind of voting. My primary hobbies are fostering rescue dogs and writing this blog. I do these things because I am a bitter old crone who thinks that most people are trash, yet hasn’t fully abdicated her responsibilities as a member of the human race. Go figure.

Where I struggle is in my working life. Like lots of folks, I work in a white collar job that doesn’t have anything to do with any kind of social issues. My background is graphic design, and my past clients have mostly been super lame and boring. Think commercial real estate databases, catering associations, paper shredding companies.

Nevertheless, over the years, I have managed to find unexpected opportunities to live my values at work. I started out as an SJW ninja, finding sneaky ways to slip in and shift the culture. Since then, I’ve graduated to bigger and bolder actions that are getting me a lot more traction.

If you want to be a good ally in the workplace, I believe that the first and most powerful thing you can do is to be solid and cool to your fellow workers. Be kind and respectful. Don’t be a shitty, judgmental, gossipy, mean coworker. Don’t work unpaid overtime. Take your vacations. Share salary information. Support unions. Expose harassment. Use your privilege for good.

But today we’re going to focus more on what you can do in your job roles.

… Job rolls?!

............BACK ROLLS?!

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Our Single Best Piece of Advice for Women (and Men) on International Women’s Day

This post is part of the #WomenRockMoney Movement, a group of female personal finance bloggers who have come together to inspire more women to own their finances. Thanks to Chelsea for putting together this collaboration and the amazing homepage for the movement!

As part of International Women’s Day, we’ve partnered with other personal finance bloggers under the hashtag #WomenRockMoney. Our task was to:

“Write your one most important piece of advice you wish all women know. This is your ‘shout from the mountaintops,’ inspirational speech for women. It can be something you wish you knew when you were younger, something you’ve learned from experience, or something you are still working on mastering today.”

This is an overwhelming question. We started this blog because we’re a bottomless pit of unsolicited opinions! How the hell are we supposed to boil it all down into one single piece of solicited advice?

But all right, all right. There is one piece of advice that ticks all of those boxes. It’s our shout-from-the-mountaintops, inspirational speech for women—and men! It’s something we wish we knew when we were younger. It’s something we’ve learned from experience. And it’s something we’re still working on mastering today.

Conveniently, this advice fits neatly into a single word:

Radicalize.

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This is Bitches Get Riches. If we need an example of an awesome intersectional hero, we'll obviously go straight to a G-rated 90s film that no one remembers.

A Little Princess: Intersectional Feminist Masterpiece?

People really don’t like to be called “privileged.” We’ve had a small number of readers who’ve felt compelled to leave comments rejecting the term. Most of these fit into one of three categories:

  1. “I am really offended that you would assume I’m a racist, because I’m not.”
  2. “I am really offended that you would assume that I am rich, because I’m not.”
  3. “I am really offended that you would assume that my life has always been easy, because it hasn’t.”

These comments speak to three of the most common misconceptions/misinterpretations of the meaning of the concept of privilege. Namely:

  1. Having privilege implies bad moral character.
  2. Having privilege implies some degree of monetary wealth.
  3. Having privilege implies that you have never known struggle, and that nothing bad or unfair has ever happened to you.

These three things are categorically untrue. But it’s hard for some people to see a more nuanced vision of the word’s meaning. It conjures up visions of sneering 1980s rich-jock villains with cashmere sweaters tied around their necks. The kind of people named ~ C h e t ~ or ~ T i n s l e y ~. That is an idea with which, very understandably, no one wishes to align themselves!

Both history and fiction are filled with privileged people of strong moral character who undergo extreme setbacks and losses. And privileged characters can make amazing heroes. There’s nothing at all about their privileges that excludes them from being admirably brave, loyal, clever, compassionate, fearsome, ambitious, or generally fascinating.

Now, this is Bitches Get Riches. If we need an example of an awesome intersectional-yet-privileged hero, we’ll obviously go straight to a G-rated 90s film that no one remembers.

God, this cinematography...

THIS MOVIE ROCKS.

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It's not about paying people a dollar amount commiserate with the difficulty of their job tasks.

Raising the Minimum Wage Would Make Our Lives Better

Hello and welcome back to liberal propaganda rag Bitches Get Riches, where we strive to contradict aging Republican lawmakers at every turn!

Today’s topic is curated especially to bring various political dog whistles spewing from the mouth of Your Dad! Things like “job creators” and “small businesses are the backbone of our country.”

Yes of course: it’s time we talked about raising the minimum wage.

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Sometimes I'm fucking appalled by what I see.

Something Is Wrong in Personal Finance. Here’s How to Fix It.

We recently wrote an article about how raising awareness isn’t enough. Our thesis was that you need to pair awareness with some kind of action. Well, good thing we practice what we preach!

Last time we talked about some of the many ways being white brings unearned financial privileges. We got a ton of great responses from readers—many of them white—who are happy that the talk is being talked within the personal finance community.

Now let’s tell you how we think you can walk the walk. Here are our suggestions to make the personal finance community more realistic, more inclusive, more ambitious, and all-around better.

Let’s get to work.

Let's get to work.

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Today I'd like to talk about one of the things this community really, really doesn't like to talk about: the financial advances of being white.

The Financial Advantages of Being White

We were recently nominated for some industry awards! This was absolutely shocking. I have no idea who nominated us or how or why, but it instantly gave me two very strong, very different reactions.

The first was a  variation on Sally Field’s Places in the Heart acceptance speech. “I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” Borrowing, of course, the original speech’s explosively manic and self-congratulatory tone. We feel tremendously hashtag blessed to have found so many warm and welcoming people in our short stay in the personal finance community. And we are truly grateful to all of our readers.

My second reaction was, “Shit. We’ve been pulling our punches!”

See, one of the reasons Piggy and I decided to start this blog was that too much financial advice ignored the hard questions and contentious issues that drive personal finance. Take, for example, this question: why do some people have more money than others? 

There are so, so many potential answers to this question. People are different! They have different personalities, abilities, interests, advantages, backgrounds, opportunities, drives, beliefs, and knowledge sets that combine into a set of financial circumstances unique to each individual. The personal finance community seems inclined toward examining only a few of these differences—the ones that are easy to talk about, the ones that cast a flattering light upon ourselves.

Today I’d like to torpedo all hope of winning industry awards by talking about one of the things that this community really, really doesn’t like to talk about. That subject is race, and by extension, the financial advantages of being white in a white supremacist culture.

Friends, I’d like you to extend me a little trust. Take my hand and follow me on a journey. I’m going to try to inventory some of the gifts given to me by a white supremacist culture. I didn’t ask for these gifts—there was no registry, and I will not be sending thank-you notes. But they also didn’t come with a return address, and there’s no way to refuse them. The body I was born with—that of a white woman—comes with undeniable financial advantages. And the legacy of these advantages is terrible  to consider.

Let’s consider it anyway!

You ready?

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Disney princesses can be tomboyish, ambitious, martial, hoarding bookworms of any race under the sun--but under no circumstances may they have short hair.

Short Hair DO Care: Why Is Short Hair Still Controversial?

Our recent article on looking weird at work got a lot of great feedback, so I thought I’d do a follow-up on hair length as well. It’s a fascinating topic by the standards of someone who greatly enjoys very boring topics.

Hair is a very weird thing.

It’s a body part like no other. Science tells us it is made of rhinoceros horns. Don’t argue, it’s science. It is malleable in ways that our necks, toes, forearms, areoles, and most other body parts are not. It moves, sways, bounces, and whips around sexily when you’re standing on a beach thinking about the lover you left behind when time traveling back to dinosaur times. Again, this is science speaking.

OH HOW PRETTY.

It’s also one of the most immediately visible differences between men and women. And as such, it’s one of the most important cultural signifiers of femininity. Which is why women cutting their hair is so often interpreted as some kind of subversive act.

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