Fomo is real. But.

You Won’t Regret Your Frugal 20s

The topic of regret is a controversial one, especially in personal finance. Whole treatises have been written on the premise that if you live frugally during your twenties and make sound financial decisions for the future, you’ll regret wasting your youth as a joyless loner.

We reject this characterization of a frugal youth for a couple reasons:

  1. It doesn’t take a lot of (or any) money to have fun with your friends.
  2. You can (and should) pursue fun long past your twenties.
  3. You’re at more risk of regretting not saving for retirement than you are at risk of regretting not going out to da clerb that one time.

And yet fear of this kind of regret persists.

I get it! No one wants to constantly feel left out. FOMO is real! But I also firmly believe that no one wants to get to retirement age only to realize that all the money they could’ve lived on for another twenty to thirty years got puked out after a night of binge drinking.

Depending on a single, barely funded income stream after retirement, one that could easily go up in a puff of smoke… that’s something worth regretting.

I firmly believe that no one wants to get to retirement age only to realize that all the money they could’ve lived on for another twenty to thirty years got puked out after a night of binge drinking.

One of our adorable and beloved Tumblr babies asked recently:

“I’ve been reading this blog for the past three hours or so and just finished the post regarding financial vampires. This reminded me of a dilemma I’ve been struggling with. I’m young and I want to have fun. I don’t want to be 35 and realize that I wasted my 20s worrying about saving money and being responsible. But on the other hand… I really want to be financially well off. Help me convince myself that I won’t regret not going out every Saturday night.”

Honey child, we are here for you.

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I've tried making debt visualizations to help me stay on track. I'm going to share two with you today, including one that is fucked up and embarrassing.

Share My Horror: The World’s Worst Debt Visualization

Some days I wake up ready to crush my debts. I am filled with fire and vinegar. (No, the vinegar does not put out the fire.) I double down on everything I do on that day—I spend less, work harder, and plan more.

Other days, I wake up feeling like Idgaf, Queen of the I Don’t Give a Fuck Tribe of Greater New England. On those days, I find myself wasting time with stuff that distracts me rather than enriches me. I play old video games I’ve already beaten three times before, and mewl at my partner to take me to Five Guys. On those days, it can feel like the sacrifices aren’t getting me anywhere.

What can I learn from this? Besides the fact that I suffer from intermittent depression, because I already knew that.

I have a sprinter’s attention span and marathon financial goals. My current financial goal will take at least nine years to achieve. Maintaining momentum and motivation over such a long period of time is really hard.

I have a sprinter’s attention span and marathon financial goals. My current financial goal will take at least nine years to achieve. Maintaining momentum and motivation over such a long period of time is really hard.

I’ve tried making visualizations to help me stay on track, and I’m going to share two with you today. Including an old one that is weirdly fucked up and embarrassing.

Embarrassing!!!

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It's not a goal, it's a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep.

Raising Awareness About “Raising Awareness”

Our spectacular, gleaming, aerodynamically-sound Patreon patrons have once more voted on the topic they’d like us to explode with our thermodynamic wisdom and our nuclear gifs. Their selection was:

“What’s the deal with raising awareness?”

Okay, okay, my language was actually a good deal more colorful. I think the phrase I used was “raising awareness is a fucking scam” or “raising awareness is the biggest scam of all time,” something like that. Yes, I could look it up, but no, I will not. The past is in the past! We live in the now!

Yes, it’s true. I have some… strong thoughts on raising awareness.

Snap on your LiveStrong bracelets, fill you ice buckets to the brim, and get ready to drill down into this topic—with a Susan G. Komen branded drill, of course.

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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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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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You know how much we love reminding you that you are human.

Take a Break: The Importance of Rest and Relaxation

In my capacity as a non-scientist, I have observed that when it comes to stress, there are two kinds of people.

One is the kind of person who feels the effects of stress first in their body; the other feels it first in their mind.

Piggy and I both fall into the first category. We’re skilled jugglers, and we tend to think “Sure, I can add one more ball into the mix.” We don’t really register how stressed we are until we get migraines (her) or muscle spasms (me). Other people in this category might experience digestive problems, insomnia, frequent colds, loss of energy, chest pains, racing heartbeats, panic attacks, and other such unfair bullshit.

Folks who fall into the second category don’t get off lightly either. Stress can make them feel overwhelmed in a way that manifests very strongly in their moods. They might feel agitated, frustrated, moody, avoidant, lonely, or depressed. These kinds of emotions can tarnish their self-image, strain their relationships with loved ones, and make them feel socially isolated when they most need support.

Everyone feels both kinds of stress; it’s just a question of which way it manifests first.

The unfortunate thing about both the physical and emotional symptoms of stress response is that both tend to exacerbate existing stressors. If you’re super busy at work and you start getting stress headaches, congratulations: you’re now both busy and in pain! If you’re super busy at work and you start crying at your desk, congratulations: you’re now both busy and humiliated!

Piggy and I spent a bit too much time in our twenties ignoring the signs our bodies were sending us, and had to learn our limits by suffering the consequences of overextending ourselves.

We are older and wiser now. We know that it’s better to take breaks before you “need” them. And we want to model that behavior for all of you, which is why we took a vacation and publicized it!

Hint hint: we think you should take a vacation too. Here’s why.

Chill, bro.

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