Open Thread

We’ve received a few requests to post an end-of-the-week open thread, and after a little nudge from The Hairpin’s Nicole Cliffe last week, we thought we’d try it out to see if it’s something readers want. So here it is! Have a great weekend, everyone!


39 Comments / Post A Comment

terrific (#1,532)

(this is all of my dreams come true)
(but srsly y’all I paid off my first credit card! actually it was my second one, but my first one I’ve ever paid off)

@terrific I AM PROUD OF U

olivia (#1,618)

@terrific Way to go!!!

Bonnie St. Clair (#2,949)

@terrific Congrats!

selenana (#673)

@terrific Also your handle makes every comment/response seem like a job well done!

olivia (#1,618)

I made a lame but good decision to not move, that will save me from having to pay a large deposit and an extra $4k in double rent. Sigh. The other house is SO MUCH BIGGER.

Fig. 1 (#632)

I signed up for Mint, but my bank says “we won’t block it, but we don’t recommend using third party aggregators”. So, I thiiiink they’ll cover me if I have my #s stolen but I am not 100% sure they won’t go “Uh, looks like you signed up for Mint, you’re on the hook there buddy.” Anyone have any thoughts? Am in Canada, ftr.

I realize that Mint is owned by Intuit, so I’m not so worried about them having their system hacked…I bet my bank’s website itself is less secure. I just don’t want them to use it as an excuse in the event I do incur losses for whatever reason.

BananaPeel (#1,555)

@Fig. 1 I’ve used Mint for a few years and have found it to be super helpful and not at all risky. I mean, anything can happen, I guess, but I feel totally confident in Mint. Plus if you have ever paid with a debit card on a web site isn’t that also a case of a third party having access to your accounts?

@Fig. 1 I think it’s less about account safety and more than the bank wants for you to go through their site so you’re more likely to be aware of and use their other products.

And like BananaPeel, I’ve used Mint for 3+ years and love it.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@TheclaAndTheSeals @BananaPeel Thanks, that’s what I think they’re saying. I have used their in-house budget tracker thing but it’s just barely adequate; it doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know. I read my user agreement and I can violate it by giving out my CC number while using a computer or device “that could be accessed by someone else”. User agreements! They are not very butt-covering.

alpacasloth (#108)

This week in small but significant achievements, I brought my lunch to work all week, didn’t buy any coffee, and made all my dinners at home. As a reward I’m going to see a movie this weekend, but even that will be free because I have movie tickets and theater gift cards to spend. I also did my dishes every few days instead of letting them pile up for a whole week and spending half a day cleaning the kitchen. Progress!

@alpacasloth omg that is so many things to do right, all at once. do you have any tips or tricks!?! HOW DID YOU DO IT

alpacasloth (#108)

@Logan Sachon I think the only explanation is that I had an out of body experience and switched places with a more motivated, responsible version of myself for a week? I don’t even recognize myself anymore.

Actually, sitting down and analyzing how much I spent on random crap and eating out in 2012 was a big reality check for me. And all the weekends of crying “nooooooo not the pile of dishesssss” finally got to me.

alpacasloth (#108)

@Logan Sachon OH and listening to the comedy bang bang podcast makes doing the dishes 500% more enjoyable!

readyornot (#816)

@alpacasloth I frequently feel like this, like I’m just in a very good groove, and then the grind gets to me and it all falls apart. The most apt description I have seen of what it feels like to me is this one:

I just need to figure out the staying power, I guess.

alpacasloth (#108)

@readyornot Yeah, that’s the real trick.

cryptolect (#1,135)

@alpacasloth I listened to the Comedy Bang Bang podcast once without really knowing the premise and was completely taken in by the guy pretending to be Werner Herzog. Fortunately, I didn’t say, “That Werner Herzog is *really* funny!” to anyone but my husband.

Fig. 1 (#632)

@readyornot one helpful mantra I’ve picked up is “No marathons!” from UFYH (Unfuck Your Habitat); it applies to house cleaning but can be used for other areas of life. Basically, moderation in all things. Nobody has it together all of the time.

jmdj (#2,994)

@readyornot i found that planning for the falling apart while your in the groove is helpful. make an extra burrito for the freezer- or have an “emergency stash” of paper plates for when dishes are just not going to get done. you can push through the bad days without creating a back-up that brings you down.

Bonnie St. Clair (#2,949)

Open thread, yay – thanks for adding this!

Inspired by Amanda T’s discussions of meal-planning in her “Betting on Love” series, a few of us have a Google meal-planning group starting up:!forum/the-billfold-meal-planning-group

Come join if you want to talk about food/meal-planning/etc!

Amanda T (#1,842)

@Bonnie St. Clair !!! Open thread on The Billfold!

Would like to second the invitation to come talk about food/meal-planning/recipes/etc if you want. I will be updating with my meal plans and experiences pretty frequently. I would LOVE to see how some of ya’ll who post on Friday Estimates get by on $60 worth of groceries a week…

keaton (#2,721)

@Bonnie St. Clair: oooh, thanks for posting! I definitely want to check that out.

amirite (#2,677)

@Amanda T Ha ha, I usually post about groceries in the weekend estimate threads, but what I don’t say there is that because I walk everywhere, I have to go to the grocery store at least twice a week (more if if I have to buy cat food or anything else bulk), so my weekend estimate doesn’t include all those other times.

like10thousand (#1,860)

I read these tips from USAA for 2013 ( and realize that I really need to start tracking expenses – right now i’m basically aiming to save $500/month and failing every month. Why? …. I don’t know. I need a website or *something* that motivates me to track my expenses (a la Fitocracy for fitness). Anyone know something like this? Caveat: I’m in a foreign country so all my income and expenses are in foreign currency, but my credit card is in USD. (PS Excited about the weekend thread! Hello everyone!)

BananaPeel (#1,555)

@like10thousand Reading Ramit Sethi’s book I Will Teach You to Be Rich was definitely the impetus for me to start saving, and I keep track of it all via Mint.

Joella (#2,917)

My financial strategy right now is to SPEND NOTHING. I know this isn’t sustainable but I’ll get stuff straightened out when I get all the bills I’m behind on paid. I had one of those financial experiences where I found myself completely broke- including already borrowing from family, and so I have put myself on TIME OUT.

sunshine@twitter (#2,748)

I’m realizing slowly that when I can’t afford to pay more than the minimum on my credit card, I probably can’t afford to be eating out every day for lunch either. Still, I find buying groceries/preparing lunch/wanting to eat said lunch to be INCREDIBLY difficult and tedious and so I’m not sure where to begin there. Also: job change from a place with a Keurig machine AND a free Folgers machine to a place with a dirty scary coffee machine from approx. 1400s and no free coffee has meant an increase in coffee spending. Also I did a terrible thing and left my very nice thermos in the car for THREE MONTHS and so it needs replacing, as it has been irreversibly compromised by mold/rot/etc. POOR CONSUMABLES CHOICES ALL AROUND. WHAT DO I DO?

(Don’t say quit coffee because seriously it is winter and I do not need another reason to be volatile and moody.) (Also I would rather quit all groceries/non-coffee foodstuffs than quit coffee.)

aetataureate (#1,310)

@sunshine@twitter No free coffee? That shit is busted. This may not be a sustainable solution for you, but when I’m in coffeetimes, I’m very into the large $1 McDonald’s coffee. Or get a new Thermos as a one-time sunk cost?

keaton (#2,721)

@sunshine@twitter: If you like tea, you could bring teabags to work for when you need a caffeine/hot drink fix and treat yourself to a coffee every second day?

wondajules (#80)

@sunshine@twitter I used to have a similar situation and I started bringing grounds and a large French press(cheap at IKEA) and making my own. Most of those ancient coffee makers have a hot water spout and if not, the microwave will work in a pinch, just bring something without metal to heat it up in. Good luck!

Lily Rowan (#70)

@sunshine@twitter On the bringing-lunch front, the only thing I’ve ever found to work for me is to make them all on Sunday and bring them all in on Monday. (This only works if there’s a fridge you can use, obvs.) This works best with salads, but is OK with sandwiches, if you make them strategically so the bread doesn’t get super mushy. Dealing with it every day is a no-go for me.

ThatJenn (#916)

@sunshine@twitter I did an intermediate step where I bought some frozen food or soups or even pre-made sandwiches from the grocery story so that I didn’t have prep work but still got used to physically bringing lunch with me. The downside is that those things are often very high in sodium, so you have to pick carefully (fun fact: most frozen food from Trader Joe’s is considerably less sodium-laden than your usual frozen food elsewhere, at least in my small experience).

Anyway, you don’t save as MUCH money as making your own, but you do save some, since you won’t be tempted to “make it a meal” with sides and a drink and so on. I also have saved money, amusingly enough, by allowing myself one lunch out every 1-2 weeks. Then I budget for it and plan for it and it makes it feel like a treat, and it keeps me from going “oh eff it, I’m tired and don’t feel like making lunch today” every morning.

keaton (#2,721)

I just finished the first week of my new job! It’s great and I know I’m really going to like it there. And having a paycheck again will be such, such a relief.
Basically I’m still reeling that I managed to find a job a) in my field and b) that is decently paid. I hope others have similarly good news!

cawcawphony (#2,990)

Finally delurked so that I could brag about finally (7 months after starting my new job) signed up for deferred comp. Thank you Billfold for making me start saving money, sign up at, and think about retirement (assuming any of us will ever be able to retire).

CubeRootOfPi (#1,098)

Yay open thread!

I recently got work-related news which could be very good or very bad (new ownership), so I’m ditching the plan to pay more on the student loans until the emergency fund has 8 months’ worth of expenses. My resume’s already updated; is there anything else I should be doing?

Sigh, I really wanted to (1) make a killing on paying off the loan and (2) loosen up on spending this year.


lucky (#2,523)

2013 is gonna be the year I grow up. I recently got a side gig ghostwriting romance novels (yay!) but now I must figure out the whole freelance taxes thing (no!) but, yeah, it’s all happening this year. And I’m going to make this the year I make a dent in my student loans too.

cryptolect (#1,135)

@lucky That sounds like a really cool side gig! How did you get into that?

I’m bummed that I missed this but I will be looking forward to it next week!!

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