For Emergencies Only: Lessons on Personal Finance

My Personal Finance 101 journey began freshman year of college when my dad gave me a box set of Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University” CDs to listen to on my seven-hour drive to school. He told me if I listened to one CD every hour, I could buy myself lunch using the For Emergencies Only Credit Card he’d reluctantly given me.

The month after I graduated college, I cut up that credit card, filled an envelope with the shards, and sent it to him in the mail.

I’m lucky that I’ve had people in my life to teach me the basics and prevent me from making any catastrophic mistakes — but I’m still learning and adjusting as I go. I have a folder full of bookmarked resources, essays, and podcasts all about money: knowing your value, why it matters, and how to ask for it. Here are three of my all-time favorites.

“How Can I Make More?” 

And other questions you didn’t know to ask about work and money. I devour career-related content and I can confidently say that this is the most comprehensive, practical guide to discussing money that I’ve ever come across. It goes beyond the initial job interview to the negotiation process through yearly reviews, raises, worst-case scenarios, promotions, and beyond.

Why I Love It: Two of my internet friends (@alexlaughs and @juliaccarpenter) sourced this guide from a private Slack group we’re part of called #PayUp. It’s a community dedicated to helping women in tech earn what they deserve through fostering conversations about the gender wage gap. The women I’ve met there are a source of endless inspiration to me — and I’m thrilled their wisdom is being shared with the world!

The Story of a F*ck Off Fund

File this one under subjects that aren’t taught in school but should be. It’s amazing how many of us lack basic financial skills even after graduating college. This piece shows exactly how financial independence doesn’t just mean that you can cover your rent, groceries, and utilities — it means that you have the freedom to know what you deserve and not settle for less.

Why I Love It: “You wait to pay the electric bill while you’re gathering up the half you owe, and the lights go out. On your phone you see the email about the $50 late fee. Your boyfriend asks how you could be so stupid. ‘I am not stupid,’ you say. You would never be with someone who called you names, but you would never be able to make first, last, and deposit right now, either.”

The Call Podcast

The Call is a podcast from Man Repeller in which former political strategist Erica Williams Simon hosts intimate conversations with women who have answered their own professional and creative callings. She delves into the nitty gritty of what making these leaps looks like in real women’s lives: What is the journey actually like? What were the steps they took to get there? How can the rest of us do it too?

Why I Love It: It’s not just inspirational, it’s practical. My favorite episode so far has been with Jenna Wortham, a technology and culture writer for the New York Times and my current career icon. Jenna talks about how she got her first job as a writer, what she did to make money before landing a full-time gig, negotiating her salary, why she plans her life by quarters, and what she’d tell other women who are just starting out.

If this post inspired you, feel free to cut up your credit cards and mail them to me! Alternatively, just share it with a friend. Sign up to get posts like this sent straight to your inbox before they appear on the blog.

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