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How Evangelical Christians Do Money: On Tithing

He doesn’t need my money. The church will continue to exist without my measly portion of income. But my heart needs to give it.

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How I Got $1,000 Back From My Pot-Dealing Ex

I shouldn’t have continued dating Jason once I found out he sold weed. I probably should have just called it quits when he angrily threw a small McDonald’s French fry at me because I didn’t read his mind and buy a burger. And, I definitely shouldn’t have loaned him $1,000 over the course of the few months we dated.

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My Spreadsheet Summer

I’ve never really put myself on a budget before, which I find kind of shameful. Fed up with constantly being a couple hundred dollars behind on my Visa, I’ve decided to do something about it. I set up a spreadsheet, planning my budget over the next few months and will be obsessively tracking my progress. I’ve got a pretty simple set-up: one column for the date, one for the balance of each of my bank accounts, one for my Visa, and one for notes. It looks like this…

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Office Small Talk: An Illustrated Typology

“I’m not sure I like California,” my mom said the last time she was out here to visit me. “You can’t order coffee here without them asking you how your day is going.” She’s a New Yorker. She insisted that her barista didn’t really care how she’s doing, and that this polite inquiry was just wasting her time.

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The Cost of Being Exposed to HIV While Uninsured

To spoil the end before the beginning, this is a story about being exposed to HIV while not having health insurance, taking actions to prevent infection, and ending up successfully still HIV negative (several years and counting). Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) (taking a combination of anti-retrovirals (anti-HIV) medications as soon as you know you’ve been exposed to avoid being infected) works in many cases. It worked for me, and I am endlessly thankful that I had access to credit and adequate care to make it happen.

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The Burrower, Part II

With your sleeping bag, travel-sized pillow and airplane blankets, you now have a bedroom that can be assembled in less than five minutes and stored away in your bottom desk drawer.

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Hobby Lobby Ruling Isn’t Just Anti-Woman; It’s Anti-Employee

My twitter feed lit up this morning with rueful jokes that the only hope women have of maintaining any reproductive freedom is if they incorporate their uteruses. It is easy to look at the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case as anti-woman. Frankly, it’s hard to argue that it’s not anti-woman, given the court’s care in limiting the reach of its ruling to contraceptive methods used by women. It’s also not hard to see how the decision, although technically about contraceptives, is also anti-abortion.

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From Botanical Gardens Intern to Anthony Bourdain’s Assistant

I quit the PR assistant job after three weeks, and my dad said, “You should probably stop quitting jobs for a while.”

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A Father-Daughter Duo Answers Your Questions: Is This the Right Time to Leave My Job?

I’ve worked for eight years at a job that I’ve mostly loved. In the past three years I’ve learned an enormous amount from my supervisor, and have grown tremendously in the position. This supervisor is moving on to another position, and the people above will most likely replace her with someone who’s vision I don’t share. She’s done an incredible job in the past three years of shielding me and her other employees from the powers that be, who don’t seem to understand the realities of our work. For the first time in eight years I’m looking very seriously at new positions. I have interviews, but I don’t have any offers yet. I’m pretty hopeful about one position in particular coming through. Here’s the dilemma that I face: If I leave the job, I would be one of the four people in leadership positions to leave all at once. The thought of what that would do to the organization, and how it will be managed after we leave, is quite devastating to me. But is that enough to stay? To complicate matters a bit more, I’m a very new mom and I worry about how the stress of a new job will make parenting in the first year that much harder. Help!

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The Woman We Hired to Help Us Communicate With Our Cat

Brenda Cunliffe is an animal communicator. That is, she communicates telepathically, even over long distances, even if your pet has passed on, with your beloved furball. You might call her to try and decipher why your pet might be acting in a particular way, to share your feelings about an upcoming move or new roommate, or if you are simply interested in finding out why your companion stares for hours at the corner.
Brenda is not a psychic—she can’t look inside a cat’s brain and tell you things that the cat itself doesn’t know, and in this way she is definitely not a replacement for veterinary care—but she might be able to tell you, for example, why your cat is shitting on the kitchen floor every afternoon.

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I Went to Germany to Be an Au Pair and Get a Master’s Degree for 1,000 Euros

If you’re young and dumb (under 26) you can become an au pair in Germany. If you don’t mind that the potential for exploitation is really high and the entire au pair scheme is a weird, paternalist way of prepping (mostly) young women for a life of housework and child-rearing rather than preparing them for the workforce, then it’s a pretty okay way to get far away for a long while.

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One Year After I Faced My Student Loan Default

Last year I wrote a piece about how I finally faced the fact that my defaulted student loans weren’t going anywhere, and the surprisingly simple process I embarked upon to rehabilitate them. Now, 13 months after I made the first steps towards remedying my financial situation—mustering the courage to face my creditors, actually picking up the phone and asking for help, committing to slowly paying my debt back despite a not so lucrative salary—I am proud to say that my student loans have been successfully rehabilitated and I am no longer in default. I may be one of the only people in America to be thrilled that I owe Sallie Mae a large chunk of my hard earned cash. It’s amazing how perceptions can change when you finally owe semi-shady student loan overlords a boatload of money rather than completely ruthless and unrelenting run-of-the-mill debt collectors. It’s the little things that make me proud of how far I’ve come.

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