“The Latte Factor, Poor Shaming, and Economic Compassion” by Piggy at Bitches Get Riches

Hell. Yes. Is all I have to say about this blog post. When I was reading it, I was basically a human version of the clapping hands emoji. Yes, this. All of this. The latte factor is a sneaky thing because it can work like a charm. But only if you have enough money to meet your basic needs.

 Poverty may be something that you know well. I have been lucky enough to only be there in short periods, but I remember these vividly. A time when I survived on dumpster diving and baby food (I found a bunch of discounted jars of it and lived off that) or another time when I only ate white rice for a week. I put oil or sugar on it to add more calories.

 But during those times, if someone had brandished the “latte factor” at me as a means of extricating myself from that poverty, I would not have known enough to tell them to fuck off. I would have internalized it and added it to the dogpile of reasons that “I [was] just not good enough.” Now, I know better.

 And since poverty affects minorities disproportionately, whether the marginalization is rooted in race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or ability,  the blaming of people for their own financial hardships, when they result from economic discrimination is oppressive and abusive.

 Bitches Get Riches presents an eloquent “f*%$ you” to those who would use this technique as a way to shame those struggling against economic oppression.

“The Only Metric of Success That Really Matters is the One We Ignore” by Jenny Anderson at Quartz

This article feels like such a good reminder to me right now, and always. One of my friends (alright, it’s Chris Enns) refers to the casual connections that populate your life as “loose ties.” Although they may not feel deep, they add colour and richness to your daily life. For me, its one of the main reasons why I have a garden in my front yard. 

I live in the Annex, a densely populated neighbourhood in Toronto. Strangers rarely talk to each other here, but when I am in my front yard gardening, people will frequently stop to talk. They like to tell me how much they appreciate my garden, or that they saw a monarch there the previous day, or they stop to take photos of my very camera-happy cats.

When I think about what time wealth feels like, I think of the small parcels of time that I spend in my garden. Somehow half an hour out there is infinitely more rich than the same amount of time spent on social media. The time spent in nature and forming these “loose ties” feels like time very well spent.

Anderson’s piece is a wonderful reminder that effective self care isn’t necessarily spa days, yoga classes, or any of the other money-costing things that capitalism likes to sneakily package as “essential for your mental health.” But that forming loose connections in short, building community is truly one of the essential pieces that build a framework for a happy life.

The “Bad With Money” Podcast hosted by Gaby Dunn

I leuurrvv this podcast. The host, Gaby Dunn, is fun, relatable, and very open about her life. She uses her own examples (sometimes phone calls with companies she is in debt to) to demonstrate all the ways in which her financial life is challenging. Her confidence in claiming her nonexistent money skills makes it feel safe for the listener to be softer with their own struggles. It’s framed as her journey through a world peopled with those who are good with money and her trying to learn from them what she herself (and likely us as listeners) are lacking in financial knowledge.

She is open about many aspects of her life, we see that she is a queer woman who becomes increasingly frustrated with capitalist structural issues as the series progresses. And it’s neat to watch her journey.

I especially love episodes in which she tries to understand larger political financial issues, such as “Who Can Afford to Have Sex? (AKA Babies),” in which she examines the interwoven issues of class and reproductive rights. I also loved “A Myth We Somehow Believe (AKA Money and Politics),” in which she learns how Trump’s politics are in fact aligned with the Christian movement known as the Prosperity Gospel.

“When Buy One, Get One Free Isn’t a Great Deal”

OoooOOOO those sneaky stores/restaurants/kids at the lemonade stand. I love little videos that break down how something that felt too good to be true in fact is. It makes me feel better equipped to manage the world out there. It makes me feel smart. Watch it if you want to feel smart too.

“Unlearning My Buffet Mentality” by Rachel Khong at The Cut

In this article, the author tells her story about her experience of wealth as a child of immigrants growing up poor in California. She puzzles through her metrics of what it is to be wealthy, and comes to a lovely conclusion.

What’s your favourite? Any that we need to check out this month? Please send recommendations if you’ve got any!

Emily Nixon

Emily Nixon

Rags to Reasonable Community Outreach Coordinator

Emily Nixon is an actor/writer/director/filmmaking Swiss Army Knife. She is also a big money nerd and Community Outreach Coordinator for Rags to Reasonable.

She came to this work after becoming completely fed up with living paycheque-to-paycheque and being too afraid to look in her chequing account. She is passionate about empowering other artists and variable income earners to keep doing what they love and feel confident about their finances.

Email Emily at emily@ragstoreasonable.com