Maria AngelineMaria Angeline is busy. She spends her day writing, reading and editing. She is best known for publishing, an award-winning news blog for the LGBT community. She’s also young (compared to me) and carries some hefty financial responsibilities as you learn by reading below. She cites the typical struggles of a twenty-something that are magnified by her career choice as a freelance writer and therefore earning freelance income. All this makes for a candid and touching interview about money, relationships and experience that is not so typical for someone her age.

1. Last year, Daily Dose of Queer won Best LGBT News Blog by the Verve Awards. In your posts, we get to read colorful tidbits about celebrities. Since you write about the rich and famous, do you believe that money leads to happiness?
Nope, not at all. I think that money can give you options and freedom, but, standing alone, I don’t think money can grant a person happiness. I’d say that most people I’ve known who could be labeled as rich were a lot less happy than others, actually. I’ve read that after people have enough money to live comfortably, additional money has no effect on how happy they feel. That makes sense to me.

And speaking of awards, Daily Dose of Queer is a 2007 Bloggies finalist. Please get your vote in while you can before 10:00 PM EST on Friday, February 2nd!

2. What is your most significant memory about money?
I have many really powerful memories about money. One that sticks out right now is not being able to afford my father’s funeral services when he died two years ago. We emptied every account we had and still had to borrow money to make his funeral happen. Not having a lot of money means not being able to be prepared, even for tragedies.

3. You recently launched the Carnival of Shoes and Bags so I gather that you like to shop. How do you strike a healthy balance between good style and frugal spending?
I’m not sure this is “healthy”, but if I want something really badly, I’ll cut back spending in another department. And, yes, I do mean that I’ve spent $300 on shoes and very little on food in the past (although it’s been a very long time since I’ve been able to behave that way). I’m not ashamed to admit that.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I have some great bags from Target.

4. What is your worst habit around finances?
I call it financial passing. I’ve made some really bad financial mistakes trying to make it seem like I have more money than I do. I’ve tried to pass as someone who has as much money as, and who can have the lifestyle of, people around me.

5. It was mentioned privately that you currently are your mother’s caretaker. I suspect this requires a lot of energy but it also must be a huge financial responsibility. How are you coping with this experience?
Right now I just wake up every day and do it. There are a lot of mixed feelings that come with caretaking at my age (26). My peers aren’t doing this… most people never have to even think about caring for a parent until their forties or fifties. A friend of mine recently said that there is shame that comes from doing things your peers do not do. I definitely agree with that. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing my 20s, and other times, when I’m feeling optimistic and strong, I feel that this experience is an asset.

It’s hard work, and it’s an unpaid position. It’s an invisible job, something that is expected of you as a child – especially of me, as an only child.

6. If you could buy one thing right now, what would it be?
I wouldn’t buy something… I’d get out of debt. I’d pay off my student loans and be done with them (until I have new ones, of course).

7. Which is more important: how much you make or how you spend it?
I’d say how you spend it because a lot of our time is spent on making money. When the majority of my time can be spent spending, I may feel different.

8. You mentioned in a recent post that you no longer have cable. Why did you cancel your service? Did it have more to do with wasting time or wasting money?
It had nothing to do with wasting time. I would never choose to lose a procrastination option! I only have the most basic cable package right now. I cut down on my service to save money.

9. You do freelance copy writing and editing. Are there any financial issues specific to being a freelance employee that you’ve come across?
Freelance work is a comfortable endeavor when your earnings will be “extra money.” I’d tell anyone who wants to do only freelance work to be cautious. You don’t always know when your next project is coming. But you do know the next time your rent will be due.

Also, insurance for freelancers is very expensive. I’d recommend being careful about what you sign in terms of liability and making your conditions clear in a retainer letter to clients if you cannot afford insurance.

10. Who taught you the value of a dollar?
I can’t say that anyone did. I guess that means experience has, if it’s been successful.

More about Maria Angeline
Maria Angeline runs She is the editor of Queer Shorts and the forthcoming Visible: A Femmethology. Both titles are from Merge Press.

Read other Queercents interviews in the Ten Money Questions archive.