Working as a trash valet changed my outlook on money and relationships.

Photo by Denisse Leon on Unsplash

In mid-2019, my husband and I decided to take control of our financial situation. We’d been living paycheck to paycheck since the moment we moved in together.

I remember our first financial conversation. We had just enough money to pay all of our bills.

He was thrilled. “They’re all getting paid. We’re doing something right!”

I was horrified. “No babe, we’re not putting anything aside. We’re doing something wrong.”

I hated the anxiety of wondering what would happen if we missed a paycheck. He could feel my stress becoming more and more palpable every single time we sat down to…


This is how lack of sleep made me suicidal.

Photo by Jordan Whitfield on Unsplash

Content warning: this article mentions suicide. If you or someone you know needs help, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800–273-TALK (8255).

I have always been an overachiever.

I didn’t make passing grades. I made straight A’s and graduated with honors.

I didn’t have extracurricular activities. I was a member of 8 clubs, I sang multiple solos in 4 choirs, I sat first chair playing 2 instruments in 2 school bands, I was involved in every single stage production, and I started my first part time job at 14.

I graduated Magna cum Laude from university. I was in…


Forcing generalizations negates the intricacies of a year of downs and ups.

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

There’s no denying that 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. No matter where you’re from or what you do on a day to day basis the COVID-19 pandemic has affected your life. For some, it has been devastating. Family members and loved ones have been lost, companies have downsized resulting in job loss, and whole industries shut down. Our way of life as we know it has changed.

But has it, as some say, been the worst year ever?

I have so many people in my life that have called 2020 ‘The Worst Year Ever’. And for some, that may be true. But is it true for you? Honestly?


Dining out during a pandemic? Tip your server.

Photo by Sam Dan Truong on Unsplash

Here in the United States, many restaurants have reopened. This means that servers have gone back to work. But their responsibilities and their earning potential have changed drastically.

American servers make an average of $2.13 an hour. Their tips define their earnings. A good tip is usually 20% of the bill, but it can vary depending on the level of service.

Take a look at this article for more information on how you should calculate your tip.

Now have an idea of how much you should tip and why. But does it apply right now?

Nope.

This advice is meant…


After serving for a decade, I’ve learned what guests don’t think about when the bill comes.

Photo by Kate Townsend on Unsplash

In America, unlike many other countries, servers are paid a tiny wage by their employers. They must rely on tips. The money that a server brings home is totally dependent on the people who sat at their tables.

But most guests cannot even begin to understand just how much work a server puts in. Or why certain amounts are proper. Hopefully, this article will help.

Note: this list is simplified. If you need more clarification please do not hesitate to comment.

Servers typically make $2.13 an hour.

This number can vary from state to state and company to company, but it is the overwhelming majority. As…


‘Bipolar’ is only part of the story

Photo by Benjamin Wong on Unsplash

When I was diagnosed Bipolar, my doctor started asking me questions about how often I’m depressed versus how often I am manic. I didn’t realize there was a point to that line of questioning, but it’s actually a very important distinction.

The ‘type’ of Bipolar Disorder that you are diagnosed with makes a huge difference in how your symptoms will be managed.

Bipolar Disorder in general means that a patient experiences two distinctly different types of emotional states of being. These emotional states or ‘episodes’ are over the top. They alter everything from mood to energy levels. Activity level, for instance, is strongly defined by episodes.

We’ll call the episodes ‘ups’ and ‘downs’ for the sake of this article. Clinically, medical…


I am a terrible friend

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

I am bipolar depressive.

Essentially, my illness means that I have periods when I am so depressed I can’t get out of bed. Then, usually, fairly soon after, I experience a mania that has me doing a ton of stuff in a short time. For example, I have a tendency to cook…for hours…from scratch…and y’all — I cannot cook.

It took YEARS for me to be properly diagnosed.

I could tell you the story about how my massive panic attacks lead to severe depression near the end of my college career. About how I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and major depression after…


Stop listening to the people who are giving you ‘ways to earn passive income.’ They don’t know what passive income is.

Photo by Joshua Hoehne on Unsplash

The way influencers spread the words passive income around you’d think half of the people on the internet are getting money for nothing.

They’re not.

The fact is, that what they are calling ‘passive income’ is not passive at all.

The term passive income has “been used to define money being earned regularly with little or no effort on the part of the person receiving it.” — Investopedia

Little or no effort. Hmmm. Does writing an eBook require little to no effort? Does creating YouTube videos require little to no effort? Does getting people to read that eBook or watch those videos require little to no effort?

I’m being serious right now. I’m not trying…


Let your life determine today’s news

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash

“3 Hospital Workers Gave Out Masks. Weeks Later, They All Were Dead.” — New York Times

“Sympathy Cards Are Selling Out” — New York Times

“Helping Black Artists, But at What Price?” — New York Times

Feeling a little stress?

And the worst part? Those are all from the same popular US newspaper. And they were all published on the same day. May 4th, 2020.

“Health care workers demand racial justice during march through Chicago’s Medical District: ‘People are dying all the time because of their race’” — Chicago Tribune, published June 27th, 2020.

“With all productions halted by COVID-19, Cirque du Soleil lays…


I have been plagued by a reaction that I didn’t see coming.

Photo by Mathew MacQuarrie on Unsplash

I was about 14 years old when I started smoking. It was a slow start, but by the time I hit 19, I was a pack a day smoker. Like most smokers, I had on and off moments. Moments when I thought I’d kicked it. Then something bad would happen in my life and I’d go right back to it.

Well, in October 2019 shortly before I turned 32, I finally quit. For real this time. I’ve had about three random puffs since then and each time I’ve gagged over the taste. 2020 has also been incredibly stressful, not just…

Amanda Manthei

Amanda is a cake decorator and writer from Texas. She is sharing lessons on money, relationships, and life that she learned the hard way. Twitter @amandamanthei

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store