When you’re young, tattooed, openly queer, and a woman of colour, it’s difficult to not construe any micro-aggression (or macro-aggression) as relating to one of the above characteristics that make me unique. It’s hard to let things go, not take things personally, and treat ignorant people with more respect than they afford to you. But, alas, I thought, that’s the price of being different.

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The Honest Story of How I Paid Down $50,000 of Debt in 2 Years and 7 Months

Obviously this day would come, but I never actually imagined I’d get here.

As I type this, a day after I made my final payment, I'm still in awe. I no longer owe money to a bank, credit card company, or even the government (until tax season, of course). With the exceptions of my landlord, cell phone provider, and blog and podcasts hosts, no one will be knocking on my door if I don’t give them a piece of the pie. I have reclaimed 45% of my paycheque.

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Saying Goodbye to an Income Stream

Up until this year, I’ve only ever had one job at a time. The idea that I could make money outside my main employment baffled me. But, since I started this blog, I’ve been able to expand my revenue stream to include 1) money I make from writing under my own name, and 2) freelancing.  These two additional income streams have helped me pay down debt, reinvest in myself, and pay for infrequent expenses such as movers when I moved into a new apartment two months ago.

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The Progressive's Toolbox

Most of my work experience has been in the nonprofit sector.

When I started working at a charity right after undergrad, I didn’t realize how profoundly that would alter the trajectory of my career.

Fast-forward 7 years later, I now spend my days at a legal aid clinic empowering unorganized, low-income workers who have been wrongfully fired for raising their employment rights at work.

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Face It: You're Just Not That Good

In February 2007, Ta-Nehisi Coates visited the unemployment office in Harlem.

He had just lost his third job in seven years and had come to the office to attend a seminar on, ‘work, responsibility, and the need to stay off the dole.’ He was thirty-one years old.

At that moment, he second-guessed whether he should quit his dream of becoming a writer and get a ‘stable’ job. After all, he had a young family, and, quite understandably, he felt that pursuing this dream made him an irresponsible father. The stats didn’t look great. He was a college drop-out. He was Black in America. Raised on the streets of Baltimore, he found inspiration from hip-hop. Despite that, or perhaps in spite of that, his wife convinced him to continue honing his craft.

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The Minimalist's War On Wardrobe

There is a crusade, led by conventional minimalists, that need to be stopped. The mission is not focused on a sole person, but rather an idea: clothes are bad. I’m not sure how it exactly started or why it grew steam, but one of the core tenets of minimalism is to pair down all of your clothes into a capsule wardrobe.

Undoubtedly, this was popularized by Courtney Carver, an inspiring woman who, after being diagnosed with MS, reduced her stress through living with less. Project 333, an initiative she started, has been featured on The Today Show, O Magazine, the BBC, and other mainstream media outlets. The premise is that we often only wear 20% of our wardrobe, and we can easily get by with owning 33 items in your wardrobe.

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(No) Buyer's Remorse

A few weeks ago, I bought something that I didn’t need but I wanted. I didn’t realize when I made the purchase but the decision was rooted in aspirational living: I saw someone else had it, thought it would improve my life, and I went out the next day and bought it. Although it didn’t make or break my budget — it came to about $50 — it was still enough for a nice dinner with my girlfriend, a couple of books, or an extra payment towards my student loans.

The problem wasn’t my impulsivity. It’s what happened next.

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I Turn 28 Today: Here's 28 Lessons About Work, Money, and Life I Learned Over the Past Year

I’m officially in my late twenties. Like many other bloggers, I’ve decided to review what I’ve learned over the past 365 days. I created this blog, adopted a Texan dog, began ghostwriting for a client, started a small podcast, moved into a new apartment, read some life-changing books, and paid off most of my student loans. It had much more ups than downs.

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