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$Monday: Save $5K a Year + Healthcare by Eating In

Learn to cook--or make someone else do it. Do you have a man , a child in upper elementary or higher, a roommate, or a good friend you see regularly? Delegation is possible. Without giving up quality time with your favorite people, going on a home-cooked diet can upgrade your life and save you thousands of dollars every year . Me, I love cooking. It's one of the sensual pleasures of my life. So anytime I can make the time, I cook for myself and my family and sometimes for my friends or my daughter's friends. I love colorful spice jars and crushing things with a pestle and squishing my hands into dough. If you don't love cooking, you can make a deal with others in your life to make it happen. I have a single lady friend who enjoys cooking but struggles with meal planning and grocery shopping for one on an irregular schedule. She wanted to get back into the habit of cooking and eating healthy meals, so she used a short-term subscription to a meal kit service to make

TBT: Grow Your Household... Laterally!

As a "poor and fabulous" 25-year-old who branded myself the "Recessionista Genie," I bought a beautiful and spacious house in a desirable suburb with my husband at the very moment when the housing bubble burst, when we were making under $40K a year total and drowning in student loan debts. Home prices hadn't quite plummeted to exciting lows yet, but the door also hadn't slammed shut on the ridiculous lending practices of the bubble times. We were approved for an unimaginable six-figure home loan with no money down (we didn't even pay closing costs), and we took it. We were tired of living in a moldy, drug-soaked apartment building in a high-crime downtown neighborhood, and we were willing to do just about anything to escape living in a cesspool of filth and sickness. Our secret to success? Filling the house with roommates to help pay the bills and share meals. We lived with at least one roommate at a time for about four years, until we had an exception

$Monday: Own Your Moneymaker

Ladies, gentlemen, humans of every gender and sexuality or none whatsoever, take care of your reproductive health. Nobody has a right to your sexual or reproductive choices but you, and knowing that all the way through your guts and juices and bones is essential to financial wellness. Reproductive autonomy is economic power. How many children to have and when to have them can be the most financially significant decisions of a person's entire life. This is obvious. But so is sexual autonomy, aside from reproduction. In any culture that controls human sexuality through shame, people (especially the disabled, children, and women, but all people) are at risk of being manipulated--sexually harassed, exploited, traumatized, or threatened--using the lever of public shaming over one's body and/or sexuality. These manipulations cost people jobs, productivity, creativity, confidence, social power, and physical health. Kidnapping and rape survivor Elizabeth Smart is a great resource

TBT: Cosmopolitan Fashions

Back in the early years of the millennium, I wrote this post about wearing clothes and accessories made by people of many different cultures. This has become a big topic lately, and I've learned a lot over the past 15 years about cultural misappropriation . I have always cared about dressing ethically, and now I am more knowledgeable about the issues. I would (or do) still wear most of the items shown below, because they are non-ceremonial items, produced and sold by people of the cultures represented in the styles, and offered to the general public (sometimes in tourist shops, specifically for outside visitors to shop). The one garment I show myself wearing in this post that I never owned is the Congolese dress I modeled while volunteering to sell Fair Trade handmade clothing, accessories, fine arts, and crafts. (Because African prints carry complex meanings in the U.S., I don't feel right about wearing something like that in my daily life.) I realize that purchasing items fro

$Monday: Immigrants! (F Yeah!)

There may not be an I in TEAM, but there is an I in TEAM AMERICA, and it stands for IMMIGRANTS! (F yeah!) Our nation is rich in immigrants, and they are more likely than native-born Americans to work harder for less money. They also come here with generally healthier lifestyles and different experiences than anyone born here has had. In other words, they bring value into our lives. So support businesses owned by immigrants. Have your car fixed, your house painted, your dinner cooked by immigrants. Shop at grocery stores run by immigrants. Food that comes from, or is at least somewhat inspired by, the traditions of another country is always interesting. It might be healthier. It might be exciting. It's probably inexpensive. And you get a little bit of a cultural experience without having to travel. You can stay in your hometown and expand your world at the same time. My favorite cookbook, Thug Kitchen , often gives me a friendly reminder that it's a joy to visit an Asi

TBT: Another Woman's Treasure

The world is drowning in extra stuff. And some of that stuff is really nice, if you go looking for it in wealthier neighborhoods. Estate sales and higher-end, coordinated garage sales are still great opportunities to replenish a home or wardrobe, especially when you need a lot of things all at once. When I first moved into my house in 2007, I found furniture, clothing, shoes, dishes, linens, and more in the front yards and garages of my wealthier neighbors at the annual spring garage sale. Not every year since then has been quite as good for shoppers--you can see how the economy affects how much people spend on new things they don't even bother to use. If you need specific items, you may need to try a few different sales to hunt down all your treasures. "Naked lady parties," or clothing swaps with friends, can be another fun way to try out new fashions (for free!) while cleaning out your own closet. To this day, most of my clothing is second-hand. And I'm proud