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If you're constantly shilling out money for cheap, subpar necessities then at what point can you invest in high-quality, long-term solutions?

It’s More Expensive to Be Poor Than to Be Rich

Terry Pratchett had a really perfect explanation for one of the many reasons why it’s more expensive to be poor than to be rich:

“Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of ok for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars.

But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.

This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”

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"My New Year's Resolution was to go to the gym six days a week, but it's February 10th and there's a new season of OITNB and I'm too ashamed to cancel my membership SO HERE WE ARE."

You Probably Don’t Need That Gym Membership

Ok I know I just told you to start working out as a way to stay healthy and wealthy, but listen up: you can do it all without a gym membership.

Gyms are smelly, crowded, and over-priced. Their hours are sometimes inconvenient, and there’s no guarantee you’ll get a turn on the equipment you want to use or fit into that over-crowded aerobics class.

Even the most affordable, at $30 a month, are a big chunk of change that you could surely use for more lofty goals. And while the most expensive ones also offer things like saunas and in-house massage therapists, do you really use those services often enough to justify paying $500 or more a month?

Answer’s no, snowdrop. When you get right down to it, a gym membership is a great way to tell the world “My New Year’s Resolution was to lose ten pounds by going to the gym six days a week, but it’s February 10th and there’s a new season of Orange Is the New Black on Netflix and I’m too ashamed to cancel my gym membership so HERE WE ARE.”

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Getting in shape can save you money in surprising ways.

Run With Me If You Want to Save: Exercising Will Save You Money

Being unhealthy and generally unfit is expensive. Living a truly sedentary lifestyle (one in which the word “exercise” is avoided at all cost and bursts of physical motion are vanishingly rare) is associated with all kinds of expensive illnesses and health risks. It literally costs you money to be lazy and out of shape.

But being fit and healthy is affordable by comparison. You can save yourself all kinds of money on healthcare costs and lifestyle expenses just by working your muscles periodically throughout the day. As far as frugality goes, physical fitness is an all-around genius tactic for saving.

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There's no faster way to sour a friendship--and jeopardize your future trading opportunities--than to mishandle the intricacies of the friend trade.

The Delicate Art of the Friend Trade

When you’re short on money and long on time you get creative about paying for things. And a great, creative way to save money on goods and services is by trading for them with other goods and services.

I haven’t paid for a haircut in literally years. My hairstylist friend just happens to be a mom, so I trade babysitting for haircuts and we both walk away happy. This friend trade is a mutually beneficial arrangement: we both get something we really need, we both save money, and we both get the satisfaction of helping a sister in her hour of need.

But the friend trade is a delicate art. There’s no faster way to sour a friendship—and jeopardize your future trading opportunities—than to badly mishandle the intricacies of the friend trade.

Let’s examine how you can save money by navigating the waters of friend trading without being a total garbage person.

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Everyone's dreams are probably dumb.

Two-Ring Circus

This is the wedding ring that I wanted.

Dinosaur/Antler/Meteorite Ring.

Hand-crafted by a bearded artisan, it’s made from dinosaur fossils and deer antlers and meteorites. Is there anything cooler? A lot of people like diamonds because they represent eternity, but this strange mishmash of textures represented it much more clearly to me. The bones of things long dead. The pieces of ourselves that die and renew each year. Starstuff from dark, unknown, unknowable places our species will die without ever setting eyes upon.

AMAZON PRIME HEYO!This is the wedding ring that I got.

It was available on Amazon Prime for $25.

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Our most essential human freedom is the right to control our own bodies and have our decisions regarding them respected.

Three Legal Documents You Need NOW (and Can Get Cheaply Online)

A while back, a mutual friend of the Bitches unexpectedly found herself in the ICU. She was very young, very healthy, and due to be wed to her deeply devoted partner within weeks. She was unconscious and totally incapacitated, and needed someone to make healthcare decisions on her behalf.

The funny thing about engagements is that they aren’t legally binding. So even though her fiancé absolutely knew her wishes better than anyone, all medical decisions reverted to her mother. I should say: the alcoholic, emotionally abusive mother she’d moved thousands of miles to escape from.

Maybe you’re one of those lucky people with a spouse, or living parents, who understand and agree with your decisions 100% of the time. But maybe you’re like our friend above, and your default healthcare advocate is dangerous, untrustworthy, or completely out-of-touch with your wishes and values. Failing to plan for unforeseeable medical emergencies can put your body and your life into the hands of someone who you don’t trust. And that is a very, very scary situation. Read More

Graduating in a recession leads to earnings losses of nine percent. But there are some things you can do to get yourself back up to the level you deserve.

A Millennial’s Guide to Growing Your Salary

I don’t attach the word “millennial” to topics willy-nilly. A lot of our advice is aimed at everyone living in these strange times! But this advice is tailored specifically to those who came to adulthood immediately before or after the 2008 recession.

Graduating in a recession leads to earnings losses of about 9% compared to those who graduate in balmier financial climates. The pay gap takes a full decade to become statistically insignificant. For the average worker, that amounts to five grand in a single year. The lost opportunities to invest some of that income—as well as the recession-graduate’s stymied options for other jobs—creates a staggering wealth gap.

Worst of all, it’s completely fucking unfair, because we were kids when this hot mess was cooked up, yet we’re still the ones who have to eat it. We have every right to be salty about that.

There are some things you can do to get yourself back up to the level you deserve. Here’s what we suggest.

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When you say your number aloud, you'll know it's the right number if a part of you is scared that they will laugh in your face.

Salary Range: Are You Asking for Enough?

“Oh god, oh god, the hiring manager just asked me about my salary range” is a text I’ve gotten a dozen times from friends and coworkers over the years. For a young professional, it’s usually the most fraught moment in the entire hiring process. And for good reason! Your answer to this question has enormous financial consequences. The right answer can catapult you forward—and the wrong one can set you back years.

How do you know that the number you’re asking for is the right number? Here are some tips that will help you make sure you’re not selling yourself short.

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You don't want to find yourself financially preparing for your own retirement years only to find without warning that you suddenly have two aging dependents to account for in your annual budget.

You Need to Talk to Your Parents About Their Retirement Plan

I don’t give a flying nun about inheriting money when my parents eventually buy the farm. As far as I’m concerned, it’s their hard-earned dough and they should use every goddamn penny of it to enjoy their retirement and live comfortably until the day they die. In fact, I truly hope they do!

But one of the greatest gifts they can give me instead is the knowledge that their retirement and passing won’t be a financial burden on me. Knowing that my parents have a solid retirement plan will grant me enormous peace of mind. It will allow me to focus on growing my own wealth so that when I get to the age where I’m allowed to be embarrassingly blunt in public, I won’t be dragging down the finances of my younger relatives.

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Gently-used pre-owned shit is often just as good as band-spanking-new shit.

Almost Everything Can Be Purchased Secondhand

Shit’s expensive. If you need to buy shit, you should try to make it less expensive. Spend less on the shit you need to buy, and you’ll have more money to spend on your other financial goals. A great way to do this is by buying your shit secondhand.

Gently used, pre-owned shit is often just as good as brand-spanking-new shit, and can always be purchased less expensively than new shit. It can even be free! To really drive this point home, I’m going to start with a by-no-means comprehensive list of shit you can (and should!) get secondhand.

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