How to Start Small by Saving Small

How To Start Small by Saving Small

“If you don’t start saving your money when you’re young, you’re going to die impoverished, overworked, and alone!” says every personal finance guru ever to young people just starting out in the world.

And while it’s only a slight exaggeration, this kind of enormous pressure can be overwhelming and demoralizing when you’re just starting to get your financial life under control and barely bringing in enough money to make ends meet.

So what’s a young, financially inexperienced person to do? What’s anyone with bills and debt to do with the specter of an empty savings account looming and no solution in sight?

The answer, as with most personal finance, is to start small. Because when saving, your little savings really do add up.

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Season 3, Episode 7: "I'm Finished With the Basic Shit. What're the Advanced Financial Steps That Only Rich People Know?"

Season 3, Episode 7: “I’m Finished With the Basic Shit. What Are the Advanced Financial Steps That Only Rich People Know?”

When people ask us about the target demographic of Bitches Get Riches, we tell them “It’s for the children.” You can tell because of the G-rated content!

True, our readers-slash-listeners trend young and untested in the ways of the financial world. We wouldn’t have it any other way, of course, which is why so much of what we write concerns the problems of early-career personal finance.

But what about those who have “made it”—gotten through the lean years and succeeded financially? What do we have to say to the children once they grow up and leave the nest?

Getting to the advanced financial steps is harrrrrrd...

In today’s podcast episode, we’re talking about Advanced Financial Steps: the shit you want to get to, but can’t until you get through the boring slog of paying off debt and establishing a financial safety net for yourself.

To this end, we focus a lot on investing: investing in yourself, in your goals, in your community. We don’t simply mean stock market investing, or even financial investing. Treat those investments like the horcruxes they are and spread ’em around—diversify! (Just fulfilling our contractual obligation to include one Harry Potter reference per episode. Read the fine print.)

But how does one determine those post-making-it goals? How do you choose where to stash your horcruxes investments once you’ve joined the ranks of the rich? What’s the most effective way to spread the wealth and lift up those around you?

I wish I could say “all will be revealed in this week’s episode” but really, that’s a lofty fucking goal for a twenty-minute podcast by two day-drunk dumbasses with a microphone. So, uh… adjust your expectations accordingly!

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How to Avoid Lifestyle Inflation … and When to Embrace It

A strange thing happens every time my income increases. My life magically gets… easier, better, and happier.

Getting my very first raise at work made it easier for me to pay off my student loans ahead of schedule. That meant the money I used to spend on student loans could instead be spent on making my life more comfortable. And that meant moving out of the house I rented with six roommates and finally buying decent food.

Getting a job that cut out my daily commute allowed me to spend more time doing things I love instead of impotently cursing the traffic. I could get drinks with friends after work, or go to the climbing gym, both of which cost money. Or, for free, I could stand by the highway yelling “SUCKERS!” at passing commuters at 5:30 p.m. every day!

And getting a new job at almost double my previous salary meant I could afford things I previously thought would take years of saving. Plane tickets to a friend’s destination wedding in Mexico. Drywall for my unfinished basement. Eating at a shmancy restaurant without checking the menu for prices.

If all of this sounds suspiciously like lifestyle inflation, that’s because it is! And yet I feel no guilt over inflating my lifestyle from time to time when my income significantly increases.

This is generally considered a cardinal sin of personal finance. It’s right up there with buying lattes or taking the name of Dave Ramsey in vain. So let’s unpack that.

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Budgets Don’t Work for Everyone—Try the Spending Tracker System Instead

On a recent episode of the highly respected, laudable, and deserving-of-awards Bitches Get Riches podcast, Kitty and I came out with a controversial take: You don’t necessarily need a budget.

Next to “You can buy a latte sometimes,” it’s just about the closest we’ve come to outright heresy in the halls of money writers. We expect to be shunned and excommunicated any moment now.

Yet I firmly believe that budgeting doesn’t work for everyone!

Yes, for some people it’s an incredibly useful, indispensable tool. I know people who flailed around with money like a noodly-armed fan man on a used car lot before they made a budget, and afterward approached their finances with the serenity and enlightenment of a monk.

Seen here: Actual post-budgeting bliss. Results not typical.

I also know people who make budgets, fail at them, and enter a cycle of constant self-loathing and financial stress that ultimately harms more than it helps. Some of us chafe against the rigidity of a budget. Others thrive within its strict boundaries.

Seen here: Actual post-budgeting death throes.

So budgeting ain’t for everyone. But that doesn’t mean you’re excused from managing your money altogether. Even without a budget, it’s still useful to have a system for keeping an eye on your money. Today I’m going to teach you my system: the spending tracker.

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{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Saving Money and Being Frugal

{ MASTERPOST } Everything You Need to Know about Saving Money and Being Frugal

The Colosseum teems with unruly members of the plebeian class. As the sun beats down upon their heads, a riotous energy gathers and surges through the gathered masses. “Masterposts, masterposts, masterposts,” they begin to chant in unison.

The charioteer’s horses stamp their feet in agitation as the chant grows louder, reverberating around the stone walls of the arena. The captive tigers and lions pace back and forth as their handlers exchange nervous glances. How much longer can they hold their deadly charges back? How much longer will the people be denied?

Co-Empresses Piggy and Kitty—looking extremely classy in complimentary but not matchy-matchy ionic chiton gowns—stand and extend their golden and white respective arms. The crowd falls silent, awaiting their judgement.

Thumbs up.

There will be masterposts. And our first one is on ways to decrease spending. Are you not edutained?! Is this not why you are here?!

Look, there are really two basic ways to get more money: increase your income or decrease your spending. Through a clever application of both methods, you can end up with enough money to live comfortably and stress-free without having to sell your organs in the process.

Let’s focus on one half of the equation today: decreasing your spending. The less you spend, the more you have to work with. And living a frugal life means you’ll need less money to get by. It’s all a beautiful circle!

So here it is! The complete list of everything we’ve ever written about being frugal and saving money. Your mileage may vary, so try different stuff until you find what works for you.

And hey. We’re all in this together. Don’t give up.

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Take Pride in Being a Cheap Date

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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5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Fucking Now to Help Your Finances

5 Easy Things You Can Do Right Fucking Now to Help Your Finances

When you wake up from the capitalist, consumerist nightmare that is our socioeconomic system (#SJW #eattherich), the thought of getting your financial shit together can be daunting. Where do you begin? What can you do right away to make an improvement in your financial prospects? How do you avoid fucking everything up even further?

It can all be a bit overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be.

Here are five easy, lightning-fast things you can do right fucking now to help your financial situation. Do them.

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You Must Be This Big to Be an Emergency Fund

You Must Be This Big to Be an Emergency Fund

Here’s a horrifying fact. 46% of Americans can’t come up with $400 to pay for an emergency. Instead of an emergency fund, those people have to use credit cards, borrow from friends and family, or just… not pay for the emergency.

Scary, right? That means almost half of my countrymen are one fender bender, one slip on the ice, one infant with pneumonia away from—at best—massive debt. And at worst, massive bankruptcy. Homelessness. Abject poverty and desperation.

Think I’m being dramatic? I’m not.

My purpose in bringing up the nightmare that is living just above the poverty line is not to nag those who can’t afford an emergency. What kind of monster would belittle people so poor they have no way of saving themselves from one minor stumble on the road to making ends meet?

I’m also not here to advocate filing for bankruptcy multiple times (let’s say six) as a legitimate means of making emergencies go away.

Instead, we’re here to plumb the depths of one of personal finance’s most enigmatic puzzles:

How much money should you have in your emergency fund?

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