Ryan Glenn writes about the difference $500 bucks can make for many families, and particularly over the holidays. “Without a nest egg, savings, emergency fund, or whatever else, everything has to go perfectly,” he writes. Can’t be late for work and risk losing your job or have car trouble. You have to monitor every penny spent, he says, or get clobbered by overdraft fees. “Each moment of a life is planned around money, work, and stress. There is no time for each other, only the grind.” Don’t miss this heartfelt story about one family’s struggles. It’s our first outside contribution to SLAM and we’re grateful to have it!