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We were blown away by this update.

Update: I Know How to Struggle and Fight, but I Don’t Know How to Succeed

We have a super special treat for you today. It’s our first ever official follow-up from an Ask the Bitches letter writer!

You may remember Hope from this article. Hope is a Patreon donor at the $5 level, which earns her the right royal privilege of asking us questions directly. This was her original letter to us:

I’m a single mom and have spent the last 7 out of my son’s 10 years of life struggling HARD. I’ve climbed my way up my professional ladder with no formal education or degree. I accrued $20K in debt during these hard years, but I have a plan to pay it off over the next two years, and overall my prospects are good.

My problem is this: I’ve always dreamed of putting away money for a down payment on a house my son can grow up in. But my son will be 12 by the time I’m ready to start saving. By the time I can afford a house, we’d have little time to enjoy it together. I can’t see myself being stuck with a house at 40 years old and my son gone off to school or whatever he ends up doing.

I know it sounds like this isn’t a problem, but I’m afraid that without a plan or goal, I’ll end up squandering anything I’m able to save once I get this paid off. I’m afraid of having money and not struggling and wasting money. I’m thinking of starting a college fund, a travel fund, I have no idea fund, but other than the small-scale budgeting I can do, I have no idea how money works. 

How can I “get riches” and be smart and not lose them for lack of a plan? is it too late to set my son up for success in other ways? Should I just be talking to an accountant? 

Any advice you could give would be great. I know how to struggle and fight, but I don’t know how to succeed.

That was last February. And what a difference a year can make! Because last week she sent us an update, and it’s a freaking doozy.

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January is for goals!

Actually, Fuck Big Goals

Dear ones, this will be our last post of 2018. After that, we’ll be taking our usual two-week winter vacation. But don’t worry, we’ll be back in 2019.

And let’s be real here—we’ll be at our worst. Doughy from cheese plates; mildly queasy from eggnog; loaded down with gifts of questionable usefulness; viciously introverted from mandatory holiday interactions with people. December is a month during which I often feel overfed and slothful, yet also exhausted and kinda seasonally depressed. But January is better. January is for goals! My Catholic guilt over nonstop holiday partying conspires with hardcore New Years Mood to shove me off the couch and make me strike at my goals like a holly jolly king cobra!

My goals for this year are modest. And that’s how I like it. I think we spend way too much time talking about the benefits of huge goals, and far too little on tiny goals.

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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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Yankee Candle should make a Corporate Money scented candle, because that shit smells AMAZING.

Bitches Get Riches Merchandise is HERE AT LAST!

We want to quit our jobs and do this full-time.

That sentence may have been easy to read, but you have no idea how hard it was to write!

I mean, I doubt it’s shocking. If given the opportunity, who wouldn’t want to be a caring Internet grandma slash pushy rich best friend who gives great advice but also needs to take it down two notches on a full-time basis?

We’ve been running Bitches Get Riches for just about two years now. We’ve started to get lovely, heartfelt emails from our readers. “I asked for a raise and I got it!” “My first job starts Monday and I wouldn’t have aced the interview without your help!” “I finally moved out and I’m so happy!” Absolutely nothing feels better than hearing you’ve helped someone improve their lives. Nothing.

And that got us to thinking: How many more people could we reach if we could give Bitches Get Riches our all?

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41% of trans people attempt suicide in their lives.

Queer Finance 101: Ten Ways That Sexual and Gender Identity Affect Finances

Ah.

Gay rights.

That thing we don’t have to do anymore because they’re finally getting married!

Hold on please, my producer is speaking into my earpiece… Okay, my producer is saying that evidently legal integration into the institution of marriage is actually not the final and defining achievement of queerdom.

Our clear-eyed, big-hearted Patreon donors have requested an article on how queerness affects people’s finances. It’s good timing because I just finished watching The Haunting of Hill House and I’ve never felt bi-er! (And yes, before you ask, my official order is Theo > Shirley > Luke > Nell > dead kitten > Steven.)

I am ready and raring to accept my crown as queer queen of bummer-ass articles!

Note: Throughout this article, I will use the word “queer” to encompass all people who are not both cisgender and heterosexual. I’ll talk a lot about gay people and trans people specifically because those are the populations that usually have all the good scientific studies and economic surveys to shellac my ramblings with a gorgeous patina of Facts.

But we love all you aces, aros, bis, enbies, pans, polys, intersex individuals, questioners, queens, and whatever the hell other gender and sexual minorities I left out.

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I wanted to feel like my very first vote mattered.

Don’t Boo, Vote: If You Don’t Vote, No One Can Hear You Scream

The first time I ever voted was in 2004. I had just turned 18 a few weeks before election day, and I was at least as excited to get a hall pass to go to the gym during my free period as I was to cast my ballot. (Welcome to Small Town America! All public elections and blood drives take place in the high school gymnasium.)

I skimmed through most of the ballot. Dafuq did I care who was town treasurer? Old Mr. Farwell had held that post for centuries. SKIP. And town selectmen? Why couldn’t we just have a fucking mayor like everyone else? SKIP. State Senator? SKIP. Representative? SKIP. SKIPPITY. SKIP.

I hopped right down to the main event: George W. Bush vs. John Kerry for President of the United States. I filled in the little bubble next to Kerry’s name.

We all know what happened next. And it’s why you’ll never take the tour of the Kerry Presidential Library in Aurora, Colorado.

I was pretty disgusted. It’s not that I was excited about voting another gray-faced old Lego man wearing a mop wig into office. But I wanted to win! I wanted to feel like my vote mattered. Instead I felt like I’d wasted my free period when I could’ve been bullying my future husband out of his lunch money to buy orange creamsicles from the vending machine.*

Needless to say, Old Mr. Farwell stayed town treasurer. And I completely missed the lesson to be learned from my first election.

Read on, and you won’t make the same mistake.

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Like anyone optimizing your finances, the minimalist's ultimate goal is freedom.

Everything I Know About Minimalism I Learned from the Zombie Apocalypse

Dear readers, it’s time I made a confession. You need to know The Real Me™. I’ve been hiding myself for too long.

Guys… I fucking love zombies.

It’s true. Every year around Halloween I go watch a live theatrical performance of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I’ve met Max Brooks twice and both times he declined my marriage proposal. Same goes for Mila Jovovich. I finished The Last of Us in forty-eight hours. Zombieland is my favorite family-friendly, feel-good buddy comedy. I attend my city’s annual Zombie Crawl religiously.

I pride myself on having read the entire canon of zombie literature. Yes, even the one about zombies on the Titanic. Even the one where a zombie gets elected president. Even the one where a high school football team is reanimated as zombies just in time to win the state championship. Even the one where zombies played a pivotal role in the formation of ancient Israel. And yes, even the YA romance trilogy (no, the other one). I read Warm Bodies before it was published.

Having lived for years with this unhealthy obsession with zombies, you would naturally think that I would’ve learned something by now (besides the double-tap rule and how to steel yourself for mercy-killing a loved one, of course).

Turns out I did. I’ve learned a helluva lot about minimalism from the zombie apocalypse.

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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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What about that 800 point drop the Dow Jones experienced just last week? Yes! Let's address the steroid-addled gorilla in the room!

Investing Deathmatch: Investing in the Stock Market vs. Just… Not

It’s time for another thrilling episode of… INVESTING DEATHMATCH! In which we pit two forms of investing against each other and see which one escapes the struggle unscathed.

Today’s fight is an ancient grudge match between two opposing philosophies: extreme caution and risk-taking. In one corner we have investing in the stock market—an inherently risky proposition but one that comes with untold rewards. In the other, we have the option of the risk-averse everywhere: just… not with the stock market, and instead, playing it safe by sticking your money in a savings account.

It occurred to us that we needed to cover this battle to dispel some incorrect assumptions about money management.

After the Great Recession and stock market crash of 2008, a lot of young people coming of age in a new and fragile economy were scared away from the stock market. They saw the grownups around them ruined by plummeting stocks and improperly leveraged debt.

As a result, millennials are statistically less likely to have anything invested in the stock market—whether it be through a retirement fund or a managed portfolio. These younglings are choosing to play it as safe as possible.

But is that truly the way to win this Investing Deathmatch?

Fighters… TAKE YOUR CORNERS!

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I don't know how helpful these images are.

When Money is the Weapon: Understanding Intimate Partner Financial Abuse

Content warning: abuse.

Our culture’s view of domestic abuse lacks imagination.

A quick Google image search for the term shows image after image in the same composition: sad, broken-looking women with bruised faces and smeared mascara. There’s often a menacing figure looming somewhere in the foreground or background. A hand—either her own, or the abuser’s—covers their mouths, preventing them from speaking.

These images are certainly evocative. They’ve been burned into our cultural brain by many years of prevention campaigns.

And they work. Maybe not exactly how they’re meant to, but they certainly influence behavior. I’ve injured my face a few times—a split lip from accidentally head-butting the dog, a black eye from a too-quick turn near my own woodworking project. Every time that’s happened, I’ve felt the concern of acquaintances and strangers in full force. There’s skepticism in their eyes when I explain about the dog or the two-by-four. I can feel them watching me for other signs. It’s both annoying and affirming. The world is full of people with good intentions, and it’s nice to remember that.

But I don’t know how helpful these kinds of images are. There are a lot of people who are in abusive relationships and genuinely don’t know it. When there’s such a codified cultural idea of what an abuse victim looks like and you don’t look like her, it makes it easier to silence your own suspicions that there’s something very wrong in your relationship.

It’s hard to look at a staged photo of a cringing, weeping, blood-splattered woman and say “I think I deserve access to the resources set aside for her.”

There’s a huge spectrum of abusive behaviors and relationships that isn’t captured in this simplistic picture. Abusive relationships aren’t an exclusive plague upon heterosexual relationships. Victims aren’t always women. Abusers aren’t always violent, and the damage often doesn’t leave a mark. And we’re going to talk about one of the most prevalent kinds of abuse today: financial abuse.

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