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When the check arrives, who pays?

Take Pride in Being a Cheap Date

I have no idea how to date. I accidentally fell in love with the boy next door at eighteen, married him at twenty-seven, and I don’t think you could call my high school floozyism before then “dating” by any stretch of the imagination (#noregerts).

So picture my horror when my single friends tell me about how goddamn expensive it can be to date. On top of dating being an often excruciatingly awkward, painful, nerve-wracking, and misery-inducing experience, it can also feel like throwing good money after bad dates.

My girl Gabby says of the dating experience, “Dating revolves a lot around going out for meals and activities. We went to Top Golf for an hour and a half and he spent over $100… for a casual weeknight date. Concert tickets at the best venues in town are no less than $50 a pop before you even add in any drinks or food. Not only is dating expensive because you’re going out, but it also means you want to look your best so you may get a few new articles of clothing, get your hair done (on your head or otherwise…), get your nails done…”

All of which is just financially dire enough to convince me there has to be a better way. And I don’t mean taking vows of chastity and poverty and joining a convent. Though that’s a truly tempting option in light of some men’s behavior.

So buckle up, kids, and let this old married hag tell you how to save money while still finding Prince or Princess Charming. Surely it can’t be that hard, right?

… right?

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Hashtag rustic shit is really having its moment.

Wait… When Did DIYing Become As Expensive As Buying New??

I often fall into the trap of seeing a cost estimate online and thinking, “Ah, I, savvy anti-consumer than I am, shall devise a way to get the same results for a fraction of the price!” So I slave over making something, fixing something, finding something… and then I pass by the exact item I just made, sitting on the shelf of Home Goods, for twenty dollars less than the price I just paid to make it myself.

Why does this happen? I was raised with the general truism that making something yourself is less expensive than buying it new. And I think this used to be the case with almost everything.

But our world has changed a lot in a short amount of time. Certainly for our grandmothers, it was cheaper to sew their own dresses than buy them from a catalogue. But big, global economic factors have pulled down production prices for almost everything under the sun. And that has a huge effect on whether DIYing something is really going to save you money.

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An unusual amount of effort has been expended tearing this author down.

Econ Nerd Book Review: Hand to Mouth by Linda Tirado

“Pulling yourself up by your bootstraps” originally meant “impossible.” Think of it: you can’t defy gravity just by pulling up on your shoes. It can’t be done.

And yet this phrase has become both a command and an insult wielded by those who insist that anyone can make it in America. “Quit whining and pull yourself up by your bootstraps!” is the refrain from news anchors and radio hosts who seem to think that being poor is a choice and poverty an indication of moral failing.

Enter Hand to Mouth: Living in Bootstrap America by Linda Tirado. I was pretty psyched to read this one, as most of the books on economics and inequality I’ve read recently have been written by academics or historians.

Linda Tirado is neither. She’s a person who has lived the reality of being poor in this country. She’s one of the millions of Americans who lives hand to mouth, told to pull herself up by her bootstraps, who has fought to navigate the maddening labyrinth of government welfare, been mistreated and shat upon in minimum wage jobs, whose life has been stressful and precarious because of a lack of money, and whose health and quality of life has therefore suffered.

This story on poverty in America is from the horse’s mouth.

Tirado answered a question on an online forum about what life was like for the poor and her post went viral. From there, she was offered a book deal. This book is basically an expansion on her original blog post. It is angry, frustrated, passionate, filled with the pent-up rage of years of being downtrodden.

Here’s what I learned.

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My only wedding financial regret is that I didn't pay $8.99 to get my officiant ordained as a Jedi Knight.

The Only Advice You’ll Ever Need for a Cheap-Ass Wedding

Ah, summer! Wedding season! Love is in the air, and it’s time to express that love in front of everyone you know in a legally binding and probably permanent way! No big deal!

Enter the Wedding Industrial Complex™: that wicked machine that chews up formerly sane couples and spits out crazed people who shout things like “I don’t give one single fuck about fucking hundred-dollar napkin rings why is this all so fucking expensive?!” at one another.

Expressions of enduring love strained through the colander of financial stress tend to come out a little… wrong.

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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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How i spent my summer vacation, part one: severe testicular injuries.

I Think I Need to Go the Emergency Room?

Or, How I Spent My Summer Vacation, Part One: Severe Testicular Injuries.

General content warning: this post discusses medical stuff that some people might find squicky. Possibly men in particular. As if they needed more reasons to not read this blog!

Last Sunday was a pretty damn perfect day. It was my wedding anniversary—FOUR MORE YEARS! It was also the last weekend before my little brother (who lives with us) leaves for a life-changingly awesome two-month working vacation overseas.

So we drove into the Big City to celebrate. We marveled at nature’s weird-ass creations at the local aquarium. Afterwards we ate an obscene amount of oysters, shrimp, scallops, and hot buttered lobster rolls. Then we drove home and laid out in the king-size hammock in the backyard, reading The Subtle Knife aloud to each other. The air was warm; the world was still; and the late-afternoon light was hazy and golden. It was a perfect day.

And then all hell broke loose.

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It's our royal duty to provide you with some entertaining and enlightening free content while we go do internet-grandma vacation things.

Bitch-Approved Podcasts for Your Summer Vacation

We’re going on vacation! This is a thing that not everyone can do, but everyone deserves—so consider this your friendly reminder to help shift the culture by taking a break of your own!

We would never leave our beloved Bitch Nation with nothing to do for two weeks. So it’s our royal duty to leave you with some entertaining and enlightening FREE content while we go do internet-grandma vacation things. Like gardening and criticizing television shows made for a much younger demographic.

That’s why we’re highlighting some of our favorite podcasts, in both money-related and non-money-related categories. Because you know what I won’t be doing for the next two weeks? Listening to any of the money podcasts. Sorry about it. When I’m off, I’m off!

Tee hee! Tee hee!

So: what kinda podcast would you like to listen to?

Our Five Favorite Serious-Business Money Podcasts

If you answered…

“I want to hear some snappy stories about financial news and the economy, and I want it to be informative, but kinda light, with no big, anxiety-inducing bummers.”

We answer…

Planet Money

Length: 10-30 minutes

This twice-weekly NPR podcast was started in late 2008, after the financial crisis casually knee-capped the American public. “What the fuck!” we all cried. “What happened to my knees!?” Planet Money was there to help explain economic issues in plain language with engaging, almost hand-holding stories. And they’ve been there ever since! This is a no-brainer, especially if you have money in the market and need help understanding what’s causing your investments to go up and down. (Just assume it’s China. The answer is probably always China.)

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A lot of employers use software to sift through job applications.

How to Write a Cover Letter like You Actually Want the Job

Welcome back to another episode of The Bitches Teach You How to Get Your Ass Hired! Last time we reviewed some cardinal rules of resume writing. And today—you guessed it!—we’re gonna learn how to write a coherent and effective cover letter.

But first, a caveat. While I have sat on both sides of the hiring table over the years—both as my last company’s internship coordinator and in my recent successful job search—I am by no means an expert. That’s practically the secondary motto of our blog!

Bitches Get Riches: Finance. Feminism. We have no idea what we’re doing. 

So don’t make the mistake of beginning and ending your cover letter practicum here at BGR. Go read Ask a Manager at least. It’s their whole area of expertise. But here are some of the most important rules, based on my own personal experience… and a twenty-second text conversation with Kitty.

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There is nothing shameful or gross about sex--but it is intimate. Just like there is nothing shameful or gross about mental illness--but again, it is intimate.

Ask the Bitches: “How Do I Protect My Own Mental Health While Still Helping Others?”

We’re going to cap off our series on mental health with a question from one of our Patreon donors! This question comes to us from Patron Zoë. And it is SO GOOD and SO IMPORTANT! I am thrilled that she allowed me to share my response.

Here’s Zoë’s question:

In a recent article, Kitty recommends peers as an alternative to therapy. Philosophically, I think it’s a great recommendation. US culture seems increasingly dependent on monetary fixes rather than social fixes.

Here’s my problem: as a friend of some people with severe mental hurdles who can’t afford/don’t want therapy, sometimes it’s just… too much.

I feel stuck. I want to love them and assuage their anxiety, depression, or suicidal thoughts. But I also find myself hitting a wall where they aren’t getting well or coping any better than they did before I tried to help.

It’s not fair to expect someone to just suddenly overcome a mental health issue just because I talked them through one incident. It’s also not okay to treat a friendship as a transaction. (“One breakdown for you; one breakdown for me: that’s the deal!”) But it also starts to become a pretty huge emotional burden and an unbalanced relationship for a while. In my case, the friends most reliant on my care are on the internet, which means they have fairly unlimited access to me.

I don’t think it’s selfish to want to draw a line… but it feels selfish. And I don’t know what to do.

I really can’t understate what a powerful and difficult question this is. Whether your mental health seascape is placid or stormy, being a constant source of support for other people’s struggles takes tremendous psychic energy. Here are my suggestions on how to manage this incredibly tricky situation.

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Miss me with that Papyrus, James Cameron.

How to Write a Resume so You Actually Have a Prayer of Getting Hired

Resume writing is one of the clearest markers of the generational divide. My dad insists on having a fucking dissertation of a resume, complete with hyperlinks, an “objective” (shudder), and paragraphs of description on every task, no matter how insignificant.

The strategy seems to be “Shock and Awe”: Shock that anyone would think such a cumbersome resume is acceptable, and awe that they made it so far in their career with that kind of overkill.

But as with everything from breastaurants to paper napkins, we millennials have opted to kill the lengthy and dry resume market. Like arrogant, disrespectful kids on the lawn of traditional careerist wisdom, we’re ignoring the advice of our elders and doing our own thing!

So let’s talk about resumes for the modern age. Having sat on both sides of the hiring table, I understand a thing or two about the art of condensing applicable experience into a written document. And it’s time I imparted that wisdom to you.

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