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Published: Apr 12, 2024 6 min read
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This is an excerpt from Dollar Scholar, the Money newsletter where news editor Julia Glum teaches you the modern money lessons you NEED to know. Don't miss the next issue! Sign up at and join our community of 160,000+ Scholars.

Jumbo shrimp. Same difference. Good morning.

These are some of my favorite oxymorons, or phrases that combine contradictory words for rhetorical effect. (Another funny one is the Dolly Parton quote “You'd be surprised how much it costs to look this cheap.”) An oxymoron is a figure of speech often intended to add humor to a literary work…

…or to confuse personal finance reporters like yours truly.

Seriously: For years, I’ve been tripped up by the term “good debt.” I write all the time about how crucial it is for people to stay on top of their obligations and minimize any balances they carry from month to month. I urge readers to avoid debt, not accrue it. And now you’re telling me debt can be good?!