Take a deep breath and check your bank account balance.
Money sucks. We get it.
There’s something about how money interjects itself into your life (thanks a lot, capitalism) that makes the worry and anxiety that comes with it hard to ignore. The episodes listed here might not make you millions of bucks, but we hope that they’ll help you take a step back and think a little differently about the money-related stress in your life. At best, you can escape your own money ~feelings~ for a few minutes; at worst, you’ll have a new podcast in your feed that will make you smile.
1. When changing your habits feels impossible:
Jesse Vs. Cancer, “Episode 1”
Getting your shit together is easy. Keeping it together is not. But before you give up on yourself, listen to the first episode of Jesse Vs. Cancer, in which comedian Jesse Case talks about getting sober again, finally getting health insurance, and moving back in with his parents to start his cancer treatment. It will make finally canceling the Hulu subscription you never used after signing up for a free trial 7 months ago feel like NBD.
2. When you’re cursing the recession, your student loans and the entire concept of money, but are glad you still share your family’s data plan:
Millennial, “The NYC Fairy Tale”
Megan Tan is looking for a lot of the usual things: stability, creative freedom, a paycheck, the approval of the people she respects and admires. In this episode, Megan hops on a Megabus and heads to NYC to ask her friends and acquaintances in public radio for a job. To anyone who has watched their friends succeed and wondered when they would too, this episode is a perfect example of how universal that feeling actually is.
3. When you’re tryna Sheryl Sandberg but still skeptical of what she’s talking about:
The Broad Experience, “Leaning In”
Yep, it’s time for that book. But it’s a good time because host Ashley Milne-Tyte sits down with some really smart women to talk about the privileges and pitfalls of leaning in if you’re *not* Sheryl Sandberg. (If one of those voices sounds familiar, that’s because Stacy-Marie Ishmael is one of the MVP guests on Another Round! Listen to her appearance here.)
4. When one podcast about leaning in is not enough:
First Day Back, “Getting Back Out There”
It’s hard to realize that you might never get your act together in a way that you or anyone else can recognize. That’s what documentarian Tally Abecassis tries to wrap her head around in the first episode of First Day Back, a podcast about returning to work after a long maternity leave. She explores her complicated feelings about her career by interviewing her husband, brother, even her kids, about parenthood and work.
5. When you’re ready to take one tiny step in the right direction:
Happier with Gretchen Rubin, “#23 Nothing Stays in Vegas”
There’s something really soothing about hearing detailed specifics of how people put their lives together. Gretchen Rubin and her sister Elizabeth Craft have a lot of ideas about how to live a better life, often by taking small, specific steps in one direction or another. Their non-judgmental support of one another makes it easy to forgive yourself for your latest drunken Amazon spree.
6. When your friends don’t want to hear you yell about the capitalist bureaucracy anymore:
On Being with Krista Tippett, “Money and Moral Balance with Nathan Dungan”
Sometimes, you look at the giant inflatable pizza raft in your Amazon cart and you think: “I NEED this.” In this old-but-still-good episode, Krista Tippett and her guest Nathan Dungan unpack moments like these so that listeners can distinguish better between essential needs (pizza raft, first edition of The Babysitters Club #62: Kristi and the Worst Kid Ever, a red keytar) and things you simply want. Our spending habits say a lot about who we are as people and what things we value; Krista and Nathan encourage us to slow it down a bit and bring some mindfulness to your Amazon cart. They’re probably right, (but you should still get the pizza raft.)
7. When you’re drunk-shopping on Amazon:
WNYC’s clever and interesting podcast about life in a digital world looks at how price optimization works. What it means is that your online shopping habits follow you around and may be used by companies to price products up or down. The episode explains that there’s not much you can do about it, but it’s also a good reminder that comparison shopping yields results. (So go ahead and buy the cheapest pizza raft you can find.)
8. When you block the student loan people on your phone:
Planet Money, “The Real Price of College”
This is a #tbt episode, but the message stands true: paying for college means spending bucketloads of money often translates to terrifying amounts of debt. As is its style, Planet Money breaks things down in a way that’s easy to understand — even if the hypocrisies of the system itself aren’t.
9. When you realize the eco-friendly products are way more expensive than the regular ones:
Ask a Clean Person, “Stop Swiffering!”
You guys, swiffers are really bad. They waste your money and they make trees cry because they’re so wasteful — or so say Jolie Kerr and her guest Adam Clarke Estes on this show. But you know what? You do you, swiffer afficionado. We’re just here to tell you this podcast is good and you should listen to it, we don’t make any moral judgments on what cleaning implement you use while listening.
10. When you want to know how other people feel about money:
Open Account with SuChin Pak, “Who Among Them Are Happy”
SuChin Pak interviews Baratunde Thurston, author of How To Be Black and supervising producer for The Daily Show, about his approach to money and how to get paid for doing what you’re passionate about. If talking about money makes you uncomfortable, this podcast might make your palms sweat. But Pak’s direct questions and Thurston’s openness will put you at ease. Because talking about money is really easy and not at all stressful and I love it ha ha see how much fun we’re having?
11. When you have feelings about money that you don’t understand:
Death, Sex & Money, “Where is Lisa Fischer’s Backup?”
Singer and songwriter Lisa Fischer has been close to fame—she toured with The Rolling Stones and Tina Turner—but after a 30 year career in the music industry, she’s still worried about money. “When I think about the money that I have gone through, I have to laugh to myself,” she says. “I don’t like to look at how much I have, because it’s never enough.” In her conversation with Death, Sex & Money host Anna Sale, she talks about her early career spending habits, and why lifestyle creep is more complicated than treating yourself to fresh flowers on payday.
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