We do a lot of how-tos and explainers around here, but sometimes we just need to get a rant off our chest or explain some things from hard-earned personal experience. These are our best essays, rants, and features from 2016.
The Stuff That Costs More When You’re Poor
Spend less than you earn, save your money, and—poof!—your financial problems are solved. If only it were this easy. Being broke sucks enough on its own, and then there are obstacles that make it extra hard for poor people to fight their way to financial security. For example, here are a few expenses that actually cost more for low-income individuals.
Have Two Drinks at a Party
Everyone has their own relationship to and tolerance for alcohol, but next time you’re at a party, you might do well if you have exactly two drinks. If you are a person who has found that zero drinks, or one drink, is the right number for you, then that is the number to stick with. For everyone else, try two.
Why I Stopped Ghosting
In the dating world there’s a looming presence that haunts us all: ghosting. I’ve watched friends get ghosted, been ghosted on, and I’ve even been the ghost many times. But I decided to stop. Not just because I realized how impolite I was being, but because I also saw that vanishing into the ether was actually a disservice to myself.
Why the Rent vs. Buy Debate Is Completely Pointless
After saving up for a long time, I recently bought a home, which caught some of my friends off guard. “I thought you were anti-homeownership,” they said, because I think renting is underrated. Even as a homeowner, I still think renting is underrated. That doesn’t mean buying is a bad decision. The rent vs. buy debate is just silly overall. It ignores the enormous grey area that exists between the two options.
It Doesn’t Matter When You Eat
There are so many myths and strangely specific rules about when to eat to lose weight, but alone they do nothing to help. Eat a hearty breakfast and light all day.Eat small meals every few hours. Rules around when you eat are less important than you think, and even when they do help, they’re not for the reasons you think.
Yelp Is Awful for Everyone Involved
“Your review on Yelp is destroying my business,” he says to me, clearly clenching his teeth, “How long do I have to suffer because of your negative review?” A few weeks ago, I got a phone call from a contractor because of a review I’d left. What ensued was a weirdly emotional conversation that ventured between harassment and a plea for empathy.
Stop Using iCloud
Apple’s iCloud has a long and troubled past, but the company keeps pushing it for iPhone and Mac users with every new operating system update. Don’t be fooled. The service is an inconsistent mess and more trouble than it’s worth.
The Surprising Things No One Tells You About Childbirth
As much as you might prepare for the birth of your child, chances are something unexpected will happen. Some moms have had glorious orgasms giving birth, while others’ experiences were more torturous. From uncontrollable poops to the need for new shoes, here are the gritty “secrets” about childbirth you might not have heard before.
I’ve Worked Bar Security, Here’s How to Talk Your Way Out of a Bar Fight
Sun Tzu once said “the supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” And that goes double when the drinks are flowing. People can get a bit hot-headed when they’re on the sauce, and in some cases, physical. Based on my experiences as a security guard, these smooth talking tips will help you calm an intense situation and escape a potential beating.
How I Got Super-Vision by Shooting My Eyeballs With Lasers
Two weeks ago I paid to have lasers fired into my eyes. The next day I woke up like Peter Parker, post-spider bite. I couldn’t climb walls, but I could see so well I felt like a superhero. For the first time since I was a kid I could open my eyes and just see. My laser eye surgery story isn’t quite comic book-worthy, but here’s everything that happened, in case you want those powers too.
How to Flirt With Finesse
You might dress well, have a cool job, and be blessed with beauty, but flirting is where the real magic of attraction is, especially when it comes to first impressions. In fact, good flirting is often more effective than good looks, and it’s something anybody can learn how to do.
The Worst Ways Cable Companies Confuse You Into Paying More
Thanks to confusing bundles, hidden charges, misleading promises, and obscure terms, everyone agrees that cable TV and internet providers are the absolute worst. I tried to comparison shop for internet service in my area and ended up an awful mess of sketchy terms, and upsells. It shouldn’t be like this.
Four Rules I Followed to Stop Being a Pushover and Make Myself More Powerful
You know those people who apologize for everything, and you point it out to them, and then they apologize for apologizing? Yep, that’s me. I’ve been a pushover my whole life, but the older I get, the sicker of it I get. I finally decided to do something about it.
Free Document Scanning Apps Are Sleazy and Gross, Don’t Download Them
Mobile document scanners are possibly the most boring apps imaginable, so it’s puzzling they’re also some of the most awful, sleazy, and confusing apps you can download. It should be simple: Scan receipts, digitize notes, sync to the cloud, that’s it. Useful, but not exciting. But there are dozens, all nearly identical. Some are free. Others are a couple bucks. Most have in-app purchases. All of them are confusing as hell.
Feeling Poor Doesn’t Stop Once You Make Money
From the day I got my first job as a cart pusher at Walmart, I spent years living from one paycheck to the next. I hovered around the poverty line, hoping that I would last until next month’s rent. At the time it felt normal. It wasn’t until after I started making more money that I realized the psychological scars that living the poor life left on me.
Top 10 Life Hacks That Don’t Make Your Life Better At All
If you want to improve your life, there are a lot of clever little tricks you can use called “life hacks” to fix problems. Some are great! Some are very, very bad. These are the worst hacks that either don’t work, waste your time, or cause more problems than they solve.