Today’s question asker works in the service industry, which means their job doesn’t offer retirement accounts like a 401(k), 403(b), or a pension. This is the case for lots of people! Although these tax-advantaged retirement accounts are a cornerstone of personal finance advice, they’re only offered by 14% of U.S. companies. If you work for yourself, part time, in a tips-based job, or for a very small employer, a 401(k) may not be an option for you.
Does this mean you should just give up on the idea of saving toward your retirement?
Good news, bitches. You don’t need a traditional retirement account to save towards your retirement. The classic 401(k), 403(b), and pensions are not your only options! Good options for retirement savings exist for everyone, regardless of their industry or employment status. We’re going to tell you about them today.
It’s that time again! The time of year when we gather with our fellow witches closest friends around a glowing green bonfire kitchen table to determine which village baby to steal away name-brand snacks are worth it… and witch which are not!
Last time we settled the ancient blood feud of which cheese cracker is best. There were lots of surprises in that test! And the results permanently altered the course of our cheese-cracker-buying habits.
This year we’re talking about chocolate and vanilla sandwich cookies: a thin layer of vanilla cream resting in the loving embrace of two chocolate cookies.
Yes… we’re talking about Oreos and Faux-reos.
Guided by our extremely awesome Patreon donors, it is time to answer the question: can a store brand cookie knock the Oreo from its throne and/or cast it down into the darkest pits of hell?!
As promised, I’m back with an update about my early retirement. It’s been six months since I stopped working. As I alluded to in a recent article, shit kinda went off the rails for me since retiring early.
You know, I didn’t have a solid vision for what my first six months of being permanently funemployed would be like… but whatever I had in mind, it sure wasn’t this! Life is full of twists and turns, ain’t she?
Do I have extra juicy, highly personal anecdotes to share? WHY YES, I DO! Navel gazing of the highest degree—dead ahead!
Today’s article is published in collaboration with the Plutus Foundation’s Impact Series. Their theme for October is the financial independence movement. Seems like a fine opportunity to give everyone an update on how my own financial independence is going! If you don’t already follow them, please consider doing so. The Plutus Foundation has amplified a lot of amazing voices over the years—our own fried and scratchy drawls included! They share amazing content. We’re lucky to have them as a leader in the personal finance space.
We, the Bitches, have said many times that emergency funds are absolutely foundational to financial stability—which makes it wild that today, I’m here to completely contradict myself and say you might not need an emergency fund at all!
When we first started this blog, our frame of reference was regular folks. We gathered experiences from friends and coworkers who were mostly young and broke, with neither interest nor experience in managing money. Overwhelmingly, those people needed emergency funds and often didn’t have them.
Now we have a healthy readership of self-identified personal finance nerds… and we’re seeing the opposite problem! These people took the “build an emergency fund” step and ran with it. But like, past the goal post, straight out of the stadium, and deep into Parking Lot B. They’re sitting on shockingly large piles of cash, afraid to spend or invest, chasing ever-higher amounts for “safety.”
So today I want to talk about why you might not need an emergency fund. Or at least, why you might not need a classic emergency fund (i.e., the giant pile of X months’ expenses in cash). In some cases, it’s a smart, strategic decision to have a smaller or less traditional emergency fund. Especially if there may be better uses for your cash right now.
It doesn’t apply to everyone—but if you’re reading this blog, odds are good it applies to you!
Coming at you today with a life hack for getting cheap pet medication without a prescription. We rarely do these kinds of “one neat trick” articles—but when we do, they’re bangers. This one’s no exception.
I have a whole passle o’ hounds. My budget for routine flea, tick, and heartworm preventative medication used to be $360.00 per dog, per year. And that didn’t include fees for the annual vet exams or tests to get the prescriptions in the first place! I don’t need to tell you this was way too much fucking money for me. For years, I’d just accepted that price without question because I was too busy with work to think about it.
But at long last, I have the luxury of time! After an exhaustive amount of research (brought to you by coffee and Adderall, breakfast of neurodivergent champions), I found myriad other ways to get cheap pet medication. And I’ve identified what I think is the very best one.
I got my cost per animal down to just $32.50 a year.That’s 90% cheaper, for the exact same medications!
Also known as “the magical six-word question that’s saved me $1,140 in the last three months.” Sounds like clickbait, right? But miraculously, this tip is 100% legit and may one day save your (financial) life.
It’s a special little secret called… the cash discount.
I’m a little wary of asking for discounts, especially from very small companies. When it’s just one or two people running the show, it means those one or two people spend an inordinate percentage of their time doing things they don’t like to do. Nobody starts their own business because they love filing quarterly taxes—they soldier through it for the 10% of the time running their business in which they’re actually doing the thing they love.
And every small business owner I’ve known has lost sleep over their pricing. (Us included!) No matter what you’re selling, there’s local and global competition for it, and consumers have tools now that didn’t exist 10 or 20 years ago that allow them to find, compare, rate, and review similar services. The world is a buyer’s market, and it’s really hard to measure what you know your work is worth against what you know people are willing to pay for it.
This month, our wonderful Patreon donors requested an article on helping a sick friend. I couldn’t be happier, since this has become an area of special expertise for me!
I’ve spent the first months of my early retirement as a full-time caregiver. That definitely wasn’t the plan! My partner was diagnosed with a femoroacetabular impingement: the ball-and-socket joint of his hip wasn’t quite ball-enough, and the socket was too-sockety. So he had corrective surgery. Obviously, getting bone shaved off a weight-bearing joint ain’t something you bounce back from quickly. For him, it meant 6-8 weeks of bed rest, plus 5-6 hours of physical therapy every day, to fully recover within six months
And I wasn’t just taking care of him! While this was happening, a good friend got gender confirmation surgery. They stayed with us for the first part of their convalescence. And somewhere in there, our oldest dog got twelve teeth pulled. It was a lot to deal with all at once! Our house was overflowing with love and pills, pills, so many pills, and also sprays, and ice packs, but mostly pills.
So believe me when I say I’m bringing the full force of personal experiences into this guide to helping a sick friend. More than anything, it takes creativity to be helpful in situations where you feel powerless.
So I’m happy to impart this hard-won adulting wisdom. I hope you can use it to be the MVP of a loved one’s recovery.
Federal student loan forgiveness has been through a lot recently. She’s not looking pretty. She needs a massage. Her T-zone is breaking out. Which means this article does not reflect the current state of loan forgiveness. We’re leaving it up because we think it contains useful context. But if you want our most current news on student loan forgiveness, you can find it here.
When I heard that President Biden was pushing through a massive federal student loan forgiveness initiative, I knew exactly what I had to do. I dropped what I was working on and immediately grabbed my phone.
I texted Piggy, my coblogger, to let her know what truly mattered in this situation: thatI was right, and she was wrong, neener neener neener.
You see, back in March of 2021, I wrote a case study dissecting an IRL friend’s financial situation. In editing my article, a disagreement surfaced between Piggy and I over the likelihood of student loan forgiveness. She considered the possibility of $10K in student loan debt cancellation so remote that she strongly pushed me to remove it from the article altogether. We settled for explaining both our stances in editorial notes, which you can still read here. (Piggy: In my defense, I’ve heard this campaign promise since I was a starry-eyed 17-year-old college applicant at a John Kerry for President event.)
But I was right. As I always am! I’m a seer, a sage, a prophetess. If I had letters tattooed across my knuckles, they would say TOLD and YASO. I am Samuel Gerard, United States Marshall, ruff ruff ruff!
Okay, okay, gloating aside… A big chunk of federal student loan debt is indeed being canceled. At long last, Cancel Culture is ASCENDENT!
I know our readers have a ton of questions about how this student loan forgiveness package works. Follow me, dear children, and I will answer all of your questions in a rapid-fire FAQ.
If you are an American who is lucky enough to have health insurance, you almost certainly have free medical care coming your way.
Several annual and semi-annual services are available to you with no copay—and you have absolutely no reason not to use them. Technically, you have already bought them, as their cost is built into the premiums you’ve already paid. And your body will thank you for it! Even if you feel perfectly healthy, establishing a baseline of health will help your medical professionals detect problems early.
Pro-tip: don’t wait until the end of the year to do all this stuff! Every medical office I’ve ever been to is slammed during November and December as everyone tries to use up their benefits. Schedule it now to avoid the crush.
Recently we got a question from a reader about how to explain a caregiving resume gap. Meaning, they took significant time off from work to care for someone who was sick or disabled. And now there’s an employment gap in their job history that they worry is negatively impacting their resume.
I haven’t seen this problem addressed much on finance and career blogs. That’s surprising, considering how common it is. One in four American adults is a caregiver to someone with a long-term illness or disability. Millions of them are simultaneously working outside the home.
It’s unendurably difficult to be a full-time employee and a full-time caregiver. But the “second shift” is a reality for many people. Caregivers pay an incredible physical and mental toll to do what they feel must be done. It makes perfect sense that someone would choose to pause one to focus on the other.
But of course that doesn’t stop certain prospective employers from holding that choice against you in your job search…