Advice

Why Do Your Own Taxes When VITA Will Do ‘Em For You Free

VITA is a program run by the IRS that connects community non-profits with tax training, then utilizes volunteers to run free, low-to-moderate income tax sites.

---

How Networking Can Work

I’ve had the most success with informational interviews by treating them as regular conversations.

---

One Ring To Rule Them All … And Bind Them

1) what do we owe our friends and family in exchange for an unprompted, generous expression of goodwill; and 2) how important are engagement rings to a proposal, anyway?

---

Life Hacks

Experiences over things—that’s one of the top “life hacks” on this Quora thread about things that people say have made their lives better.

---

What Do We Pay For Vs What Do We Ask For

When do you ask your friends or family to help you move rather than hire movers? Only when you’re in early-to-mid twenties? And/or only when you’re seriously broke, or you seriously don’t care if something gets broken?

---

Marriage As A Strategic Life-Planning Decision

Essentially, a spouse is like a roommate who feels obliged to help you through hard times, so if you are looking to make your way in this cold, penny-pinching world without returning to your childhood home, go ahead and get hitched.

---

Illustrated Guides to Succeeding in Business

I’m feeling under the weather this morning, which is a very odd expression, now that I stop to think about it, and not up to much more than wondering, “Why can’t we take sick days when we’re well enough to enjoy them?” Perhaps it is a good time to share two fun illustrated guides I’ve found recently that will help you to experience workplace success.

The first is less funny and more useful, specifically for women but kinda for everyone: 7 Ways to Combat Manterrupting, done through comics. Here’s the original prose version of the guide, which appeared in Time magazine:

Sandberg and Grant cite research showing that powerful male Senators speak significantly more than their junior colleagues, while female Senators do not. That male executives who speak more often than their peers are deemed more competent (by 10%), while female executives who speak up are considered less (14% less). The data follows a long line of research showing that when it comes to the workplace, women speak less, are interrupted more, and have their ideas more harshly scrutinized.

Ugh, grim, right? But if you look at it from a solution-oriented POV and done up in fun fonts and colors, the distasteful truth becomes easier to swallow.  

---

We Never Did 1 Thing! So Here’s 1 Thing We All Can Do

We keep skipping 1 thing, now that we’re on our new publishing schedule. Our apologies. Here’s 1 thing we can suggest you do instead, a simple potentially money saving thing! As recommended by the Washington Post:

If your home has a smart meter, here’s an experiment: Log in to your power company’s Web site, and see how much electricity you use during the hour from 3 to 4 a.m. daily.

You were asleep (we hope), and surely nothing major was running. Maybe the heat (but it’s best to set the thermostat down at night). And the fridge — but if it’s a newer one, it’s probably very energy efficient.

And yet nonetheless, you’ll likely find a significant amount of power being gobbled up. “You can start spotting a time, depending on the home, where you can just see the minimum power consumption, and it’s really surprising how much gets consumed during that period,” says Alan Meier, an expert on energy technologies at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who recommends the 3 a.m. strategy.

I’ll recommend anything if you call it “the 3 a.m. strategy.” That’s just good marketing. 

---

A Guide To Anthropomorphizing Your Student Loan Lender

In the six-plus years that I had been paying the piper, the adorable name Sallie Mae always felt like an insult. I longed for them to just call it Student Loan Corp. or Purgatory, Inc. or something.

---