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.

(more…)

Read More

The Frugal Introvert’s Guide to the Weekend

Ah. Thursday afternoon.

The perfect and natural time to begin contemplating your weekend plans.

We learned from our Myers-Briggs and finance article that we have quite a lot of introverted readers. In particular, we have a veritable army of female INTJs. Y’all are only 0.8% of the population! So since there’s five or six of you, we can assume that literally every female INTJ alive is present and accounted for in the comments section of BGR.

I made this post especially for all of you. I know how much you guys enjoy plans, backup plans, schemes, machinations, and gambits (an INTJ somewhere is rushing to the comments with “DON’T FORGET STRATAGEMS”). I’m also aware that your drug of choice is that sweet, sweet Get Shit Done feeling. Yet you struggle with prioritizing self-care and have difficulty enjoying lazy, unscheduled time. Don’t we all!

That’s why I have developed this Frugal Introvert’s Guide to the Weekend. It’s a bunch of free and low-cost stuff you can do in your home that will make you feel rested, tested, and invested (TM, TM, we’re starting an MLM and that phrase is gonna be part of our cult-like sales culture).

(more…)

Read More

Whisper "any investment you make in yourself is an investment toward your retirement" three times.

How to Save for Retirement When You Make Less Than $30,000 a Year

Retirement is a difficult concept for young people to wrap their heads around. It’s hard enough figuring out how to be An Adult, let alone An Old.

We’ll be talking more broadly in the near future about the general concept of retirement. (Spoiler alert: it’s as outdated as an avocado-colored refrigerator.) But today I’d like to talk directly about the concept of saving for retirement while pretty legit poor.

For purposes of this post, I’m going to define that as someone making $30,000 a year or less. Obviously there are lots of factors that can stretch this figure. A mom of three with a high school education in Washington, D.C. is going to have a much harder time than a single, highly-educated person making the same amount in Woodstock, Alabama. And actually, that number is still more than double the official so-called “poverty line,” which is just over $12,000.

But Piggy and I feel strongly that there isn’t enough realistic, valuable advice for people in this general bracket, and so we’d like to talk to them.

(more…)

Read More

Dispensing advice about the Latte Factor to those who live one medical emergency away from complete financial ruin sounds a helluva lot like poor shaming.

The Latte Factor, Poor Shaming, and Economic Compassion

There’s a piece of conventional financial wisdom that goes like this: if you’re looking to save money or pay off debt, start by skipping small luxuries like lattes and instead put that money toward your financial goals. The single digit savings will add up to a significant amount over time, all because you had the fortitude to practice a little self-control. It’s a simple, effective way to find some wiggle room in your budget and a great first step toward living a frugal lifestyle.

The Latte Factor, as it’s known, is both virtuous and practical. It gives its frugal practitioner a sense of self-righteous superiority over those who continue to waste their money on overpriced, over-sweetened, caffeinated beverages every day. And because it’s such a simple solution, those preaching the gospel of frugality peddle it like a magic elixir. Can’t seem to save money? Just skip the latte! It works miracles.

Yet to those who truly struggle with systemic poverty, getting advice about the Latte Factor feels horribly condescending. In fact, being told that skipping a small luxury here and there will raise you up out of your low-income status feels downright cruel and deliberately ignorant. Because in cases of economic disenfranchisement, a lack of frugality is not the root of the problem.

(more…)

Read More

What's your Lucky Charms methodology?

The Magically Delicious Intersection of Financial Discipline, Generational Poverty, and Marshmallows

What’s your methodology for eating a bowl of Lucky Charms? And in a related question: how’s your financial discipline?

RESIST.

Do you peck the marshmallows out first, like a marshmallow-loving chicken? Or do you eat around them, creating a cereal-free pleasure palace of marshmallows, swimming together decadently in their milk? Or do you dig in holistically, indiscriminately, with marshmallows and cereal intermingling freely, devil-may-care, eating whatever ends up on your spoon?

The answer could reveal a whole lot about your life, your personality, and the health of your personal finances. We know this thanks to a fascinating series of studies conducted on children eating marshmallows.

(more…)

Read More

Buying something you don't need can be an act of defiance against your current situation.

Buying the $7 Chocolate Bar

Yesterday I watched a friend who was struggling with homelessness unpack her few belongings. Inside her purse was a large, rather expensive, luxury-brand chocolate bar. She held it up and twiddled it back and forth in her hands, letting the silver foil catch the light. “Sweetie, I’m homeless,” she said, very matter-of-fact. “You’d better believe I’m getting the good stuff.” And boy was she making a great point.

(more…)

Read More

If you think of quilted toilet paper as a small luxury, you are bad at thinking and should be punished.

You Deserve Cheap Toilet Paper, You Beautiful Fucking Moon Goddess

In my short lifetime, I have heard more than one perfectly sensible person tell me they “can’t do” single-ply toilet paper.

Rick knows how I feel.

I don’t know why people tell me these things. It’s like they want me to cry out to Father Dagon and Mother Hydra and bid them raise an army of Deep Ones from the many-columned depths of Y’ha-nthlei to sweep over the land and drown the humans in a cosmic flood as recompense for their innumerable and unpardonable follies.

(more…)

Read More