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Disney vacations and their ilk are marketed to parents as experiences so magical you would be A Terrible Parent if you deprived your kids this holy formative experience.

Splurging on Kids: When It Works, and When It Doesn’t

Piggy and I have a general policy against giving childrearing advice.

It’s not because we don’t have opinions on the subject. Trust and believe: we have opinions on everysubject. For example…

  • Opinions on land use in Paraguay? The Bitches say: Keep the grazing cattle in the Chaco region. Although we are Team Yerba Mate, everyone knows that the climate is just too arid—although better land management practices are needed to prevent desertification.
  • Thoughts on the performance of the current mayor of Fair Haven, Vermont? The Bitches say: We strongly approve of Lincoln, the Nubian goat. Eating the paperwork itself may be the best way to combat bureaucratic creep. Honestly, Lincoln the Goat 2020.
  • Was Paris wrong to give the Golden Apple of Discord to Aphrodite? The Bitches say: Absolutely! Athena clearly offered him wisdom because she could see he was sorely lacking in sense. Women are not prizes, Paris, so stop using your magical fruit like a fistful of arcade tickets you’re hot to trade in!

See? We’re a bottomless pit of opinions!

But because we don’t have children ourselves, we try to keep our big mouths shut on the subject. Especially when talking to actual-factual parents. We’ve lived the experience of mansplaining; we can only imagine that DINKsplaining is similarly annoying.

But today we wanted to explore an interesting topic for our readers who are becoming, thinking of becoming, or trying to become parents:

Think back to the times your parents “splurged” on you. In hindsight, you probably know which things you truly enjoyed, versus stuff you just put up with.

So which expenses were worth it? Which ones weren’t? If you could go back in time, what would you tell them to stop doing, or do more of?

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Clementine: A Heartwarming Case Study in Risk Taking

This post originally appeared on our Tumblr, where we frequently answer reader questions and sometimes post random unrelated things. This is one of those random posts, but it got quite a lot of positive feedback—so we’re posting it in full again here on the blog.

I just got a cat.

When New Cat is named and fully acclimated, she will def join the dogs, guinea pigs, and chickens as a Tumblr/Instagram regular.

But I have… mixed feelings.

My last cat died six months ago. We didn’t get another cat to replace her—c’est impossible, she was irreplaceable. Rather, we did it because we know two things:

  1. A house that’s had a cat in it will always feel empty without a cat in it.
  2. We have money and space and time and patience and love, and shelters are full of cats who don’t got none of those things.

Still, I’ve been thinking about my last cat Clementine a lot. And I think it would be healing to me to share a few photos of her.

A slow start

This was Clementine. We adopted her when she was 14 years old. That’s old. If she were human, she would’ve been in her early seventies. Her previous owner had moved into a nursing home. She was lucky to land in one of the few no-kill shelters with enough resources to accept a cat of her age. Many don’t.

Clementine was terribly stressed out being in the shelter after so many years in one person’s home. Her fur started to fall out, and she refused to eat. She hid all the time and hissed if approached. No one applied for her.

We saw a lot of great cats at the shelter. For some reason, she was the one my partner and I both couldn’t stop thinking about. We talked about it, and decided we had the patience, emotional maturity, and financial stability needed to address the realities of adopting a shy geriatric cat. So we took her home and released her under the bed.

“We might never see this cat,” I told my partner. “We might just know she’s here by periodic dips in the level of the food bowl.”

“I’d be okay with that,” he said.

“I would too.”
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I am declaring open season on myself.

How Can I Justify This Deeply Unethical Purchase?

Readers.

I have a confession to make.

I am not the righteous and principled person I pretend to be on Tumblr.

When we were in Orlando for FinCon, I had one extra day and night to spend any way that I chose.

On my one night free in the city, I walked a three mile pilgrimage from my Airbnb to visit Pulse. Like most people who visit the site of horrible violence, I processed by considering that violence through a selfish lens. These people were my people. This could’ve been me. I thought a lot about the kind of life I want to lead, and how much that life depends on the kindness of others. It left me feeling somehow rejuvenated and drained at once.

The next morning I visited the Harry P. Leu Gardens, because I am the world’s oldest young person. I confess that I have a fascination with this one very niche kind of tourist attraction: the palatial estates of long-dead industry barons transformed into indoor/outdoor botanical art museums. I. Love. Them. I posted many cute photos on Instagram, which were liked by all the people at FinCon I’d drunkenly passed out my personal Instagram to. (By the way we are on Instagram now, but it’s all just pictures of food, dogs, and chickens. If you’re into that, add us @BGRKitty and @BGRPiggy!)

But then…

With my last remaining afternoon in Orlando…

I…

…went to SeaWorld.

YES, I AM ASHAMED

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It's young animals.

Twelve Reasons Senior Pets Are an Awesome Investment

I mentioned in my last post that my vacation was wholly suboptimal. The piss-icing on the shit-cake was that my little cat passed away. Yep, that was How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part Two: Digging a Grave in the Rain for the Dopest Cat Who Ever Walked This Unclean Earth.

WAIT! COME BACK!!

Don’t worry, don’t worry! This isn’t going to be a tearjerker. I swear on my honor that you can read this post while wearing non-waterproof mascara. My cat had a great life and a dignified death—that’s something to be happy about. That’s basically all I’ll say about her.

But I did want to take this opportunity, in her honor, to speak out about my experience adopting rescued pets—particularly seniors. This is a blog about money and adult responsibilities, but also about creating happiness and enjoying the human experience to the fullest. Pets have the potential to greatly influence all of those things.

If you want to add a pet to your family, I firmly believe that adopting a senior is a substantially better choice for most people than getting a puppy or a kitten. And I’mma tell you why. You’ll be surprised how many of the reasons are financial.

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Dropping our first egg into a pot of boiling water felt strangely like dropping our first grand baby into a roiling cauldron.

So I Got Chickens, Part 3: Baby’s First Egg

Guys, there’s been a lot of movement on the chicken front. And if you just pictured chickens in tiny military uniforms, good, that was my plan all along.

Military chicken.

It’s been just over six months since we got chickens. When I wrote the first post in this series, it was really about expectations. I wanted to lay out the pros and cons of the experience, and why I’d ultimately decided to pull the trigger on obtaining six little day-old chicks from my local agricultural store.

The second part was a major bummer, written after one of the chicks died. It was about how raising living things is hard fucking work, and it’s incredibly sad when they die before their time. But ultimately it didn’t shake my commitment to my choices. It reaffirmed them.

Today’s post is a significantly happier one. No ugly crying this time, I promise! Because as our Twitter followers already know, my chickens finally laid their first egg.

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Pets enter our lives not as idle playthings, but mirrors held up to ourselves.

So I Got Chickens, Part 2: Tragedies and Lessons Learned

I believe that in life, we meet the people we need to meet. Every person—whether you like them or not, know them intimately or only a little—has something to teach you. Sometimes the lesson is about yourself and sometimes it’s about how the world works. This perspective makes dealing with even difficult, trifling people edifying, productive experiences.

I think that pets are very much the same. They enter our lives not as idle playthings, but mirrors to show us our true selves. Sometimes those mirrors are harsh—like, dressing-room-at-a-foreclosed-T.J.-Maxx harsh. Every animal has something vital to teach us, should we choose to learn it.

I thought about this as I buried Edie, one of the six chicks I brought home three months ago.

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There are so many loopholes in pet insurance contracts that I assume they were constructed using Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It?

As we’ve discussed, Piggy and I are pretty obsessed with our pets. I admire Piggy’s restraint in having but a single dog. My house currently contains four dogs, one cat, six chickens, and two clinically narcissistic garbage disposals guinea pigs. Friends who know me to be an IRL Pokemon Master often ask me what my pet insurance rates are like.

My pet insurance bill is approximately zero dollars. Same goes for Piggy.

Neither of us have pet insurance. And there’s a reason.

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Thankfully, my spouse is DTF (down to farm).

So I Got Chickens

As I have already confessed, I love animals a bit too much. My husband and I, primates that we are, are minorities in our household. We have two dogs, a cat who believes she is a dog, and two maned pork tenderloins guinea pigs. And just this past Thursday, we came home from the feed store with six new additions.

Whoops! We now own chickens.

And from a financial perspective, we really couldn’t have done anything stupider.

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I've assumed that the hypothetical ideal pet loves you with all the platonic passion of a Nicholas Sparks protagonist.

Cold, Unfeeling Human Overlords Rank 30 Pets for Financial Efficiency

On the spectrum of compassion for fellow humans, I fall somewhere between Daniel Plainview and Vegeta, Prince of All Saiyans. I’m ruthless and self-interested and generally take a dim view of the collective worth of mankind.

But like many a cold-hearted misanthrope, I’m a secret, tenderhearted lover of animals. In fact, I’m a big gay pussy for animals and I can say that because <flashes QUEER WOMAN CARD>. Pets are the fucking best.

As bikevangelist Mister Money Mustache points out in his infuriating-but-factually-correct Great News! Dog Ownership is Optional!, pet ownership is expensive, lifestyle-altering, and entirely optional. Americans spend over $60 billion every year on their pets. It’s an enormous financial and logistical commitment that should be thoroughly explored before adding a pet to your family.

Which is why I’ve set out to rank the financial efficiency of the most common kinds of household pets.

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