Skip to main content
The Financial Order of Operations: 10 Great Money Choices for Every Stage of Life

The Financial Order of Operations: 10 Great Money Choices for Every Stage of Life

One of the reasons personal finance can feel so overwhelming—nay, defeating—is that there’s so much pressure to do everything at once. I think it’s why so many people feel lost and incompetent with money. I did too, until I discovered a financial order of operations.

Money decisions are always intimidating. Every financial decision you make compounds over time! That can be good, like when investments grow. But it’s also terrible, because financial mistakes can haunt you for years after you’ve made them. With so much pressure to get it right, every single time, and always on the first try, it’s no wonder people freeze up.

I wish someone had sat me down and compassionately explained that I didn’t have to do everything all at once. If you want to stay motivated and make meaningful progress on a goal, it’s so much better to focus on just one at a time. And just like in eighth grade math, there’s a right order of operations to everything, depending on what stage of life you’re in.

Today I’m going to take you through my financial order of operations. It’s a basic blueprint of ten steps most people could follow to transform their finances for the better.

In my opinion, it’s the best order in which to save, invest, and pay off debt. It also takes into consideration the incredible importance of maintaining motivation and keeping financial decisions centered exactly where they should be: around your personal goals, dreams, and emotional well-being.

Best of all, anyone can follow the first two steps! You don’t need to have money or a job to get started. Woo-hoo! Gates are open—send in the teenaged overachievers!

Obviously, everyone is different. Think of this journey as the Oregon Trail. We all start in the Independence, Missouri of total ineptitude, and we’re all trying to get to the gloriously fruitful Willamette Valley of financial independence. Some of us may choose to raft down the Columbia River Gorge, and others will take the Barlow Toll Road. That’s totally fine! This guide will help you make informed decisions, even if you don’t follow it exactly.

Read More

How to Make Any Financial Decision, No Matter How Tough, with Maximum Swag

We get literally hundreds of questions on how to make a financial decision.

“O great and mighty Bitches, should I pay off my debt or add to my savings?”

“Our Bitches, who art in Bitch Nation, should I take a gap year or try to finish my college degree as quickly as possible?”

“Wise and benevolent Bitches, should I buy a house or keep renting?”

“Most beloved and humble of Bitches, how should I allocate my investments?”

“Bitches, I beseech thee: how much of my income should I budget for necessities vs. entertainment?”

One of the things about our blog I’m most proud of is that we answer as many of these questions as possible. Hence our Ask the Bitches series and the entire Q&A premise of our podcast!

It’s not entirely altruistic, though. We get off on being human Pez dispensers of advice tablets. And when we get multiple questions on the same topic, we often just write a whole ass article on said topic. BOOM! Question answered in perpetuity!

Despite the pleasure we take in our methodology, I’m about to shift it from a BGR-exclusive service to something even amateurs can do at home. With this article, I’ll wipe out about 70% of the questions people ask us in one fell swoop.

Read More
8 Genres of Productivity Music (Plus Our Secret Stash of Personal Favorites)

8 Genres of Productivity Music (Plus Our Secret Stash of Personal Favorites)

Recently I collected my twenty-five best work from home tips together into one place, and I briefly mentioned my favorite productivity music. I didn’t go into much detail because I assumed everyone knew about the lofi study beats phenomenon. But I was pretty shocked! Lots of people mentioned that it was their first time hearing about it.

Readers, I’m sorry. We try not to hold out on you—but we often accidentally do! Our favorite tools are so familiar that we can’t comprehend life without them. And then we fail to adequately hype them.

Music is a super valuable productivity tool. If I’m trying to get shit done, the wrong soundscape makes time crawl by. I’m agitated and grumpy after twenty minutes. But the right productivity music helps me find my groove quickly and stay in it for much longer. Time glides by. Before I know it, my tasks are complete.

Today we’ll highlight eight productivity music genres, plus a bunch of our favorite compilations and tracks. Y’all best bring the goods and drop your favorite productivity beats in the comments!

Read More

The Most Impactful Financial Decision I’ve Ever Made… and Why I Don’t Recommend It

Much is made in personal finance circles about personal responsibility, attributing success and failure to a particular financial decision. Not in the weird, political, shaming-you-for-being-born-poor way, but in the here-is-how-you-game-the-system-to-get-ahead-now-don’t-we-all-feel-clever kind of way.

In many respects, it’s solid advice! We talk about how making decisions based on ethical consumption saves you money and the planet; how you should be mindful and careful of where your money goes, lest you waste it on shit you don’t actually like or need; how every day the choices you make affect your financial future in large and small ways!

For a bunch of money nerds, gamifying personal finance by connecting calculated decisions to building wealth is exciting stuff. I’m getting a little hot under the collar just thinking about it!

Oo-la-la, hit me with that strong ROI, baybee...
Oo-la-la, hit me with that strong ROI, baybee…

I’ve made some pretty big money decisions in my time. Some decisions were purely financial. Others were personal decisions with a big financial impact. Sometimes I chose right. Sometimes I really, really chose wrong.

Today I want to tell you about one of the biggest personal financial decisions I’ve ever made… and why I would never recommend it to anyone else.

Read More

Be Somebody’s Eliza with a Simple Yet Life-Changing Act of Kindness

Piggy and I are going to take our annual short break. Running BGR is always hard work, but this has been one for the record books! We’ve absorbed a lot of confusion, panic, and sadness through our inboxes this year. So we’re going to do our best to unplug and mentally refresh ourselves with a nice long vacation.

… Hahaha psych! We’re gonna use that time to catch up on tedious admin work. If anyone tells you blogging is an easy way to get rich quick, kindly punch them in the chest. Aim for the heart.

It’s been a helluva year, y’all. I wanted to leave you with a story to contemplate over the holiday. Given how shitty everything has been, I felt compelled to make it a happy one. Or at least a hopeful one. In fact, I’m gonna give you the most hopeful story I’ve got.

Today I’m going to tell you about a person who changed my life.

It’s a true story about how our everyday actions have wider and deeper impacts than we can ever know. It’s a little star that’s always helped guide me, especially in moments of personal cynicism and despair. When I feel powerless, it reminds me I’m not. As we face a winter that feels magnitudes longer, darker, and more isolated than usual, I thought everyone could use a story like this.

Read More
These tips may help the 42% of Americans who abruptly joined Team Work From Home.

My 25 Secrets to Successfully Working from Home with ADHD

I’ve been working from home with ADHD for the last five years.

I mean, I didn’t know I had ADHD until recently. I went to a neuropathologist at age thirty-two after years of procrastination, convinced I was a depressed, lazy, narcissistic underachiever with early onset dementia. Turns out I just had a norepinephrine deficiency in my locus coeruleus, lmao.

Living with a lifelong undiagnosed mental illness sucks shit. But you know what’s a pretty okay consolation prize? The naive tenacity you develop when nobody tells you it’s okay to expect less of yourself!

To be clear: I can’t recommend spending three decades white-knuckling your way through adult life… but you will have the thick, powerful knuckles of a silverback gorilla when all’s said and done!

Working from home pre-diagnosis required a lot of experimentation. Learning to keep myself focused and motivated (with crystal clear work/life boundaries) was tough. I’m going to summarize my very best tips for y’all today, sponsored by our Patreon donors.

Since 42% of Americans abruptly joined Team Work From Home in the last six months, hopefully these tips will help everyone who’s struggling—whether you’re riding the Royal Struggle Bus of Clinical Executive Function Disorders, or just riding dirrrty in your own messy minivan.

Read More
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.

Read More
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.

Read More
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!

Read More
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!

Read More