Open Thread

Hope you enjoy your Presidents Day! (And hope you get take the day off.)

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55 Comments / Post A Comment

limenotapple (#1,748)

What temperature does everyone keep their thermostat at? What about the thermostat at work…is it at a different temperature? It’s so hard to find the balance between comfort and saving $$$.

ThatJenn (#916)

@limenotapple My thermostat is programmable. I have it set to heat to 68 or cool to 78, if we are there/awake. If we are not there or not awake, it cools to 80 (nighttime) or 85 (work days), or heats to 62. However, if I’m having friends over in the summer, I’ll totally cool to 75. I live in Florida, so the cooling is more important, but I try to think of it this way: if I am miserable, I will probably spend money on something stupid like eating out because I don’t feel like cooking, or going out somewhere I have to spend money I can be somewhere warm/cool, or whatever. Anything that keeps me home and comfortable is probably ultimately saving me money.

Where do you keep yours? Where would you keep it if money were no object?

limenotapple (#1,748)

@ThatJenn That’s about where we keep ours, except for in the summer we crank it down to about 73 for a couple hours before bedime to cool off our upstairs (where the bedrooms are). I honestly don’t feel like I need it cooler, but I hate when it gets too humid inside, and at 78 sometimes it just doesn’t come on that much (brick house, well-shaded). The part that’s harder than money is finding a temperature that’s comfortably acceptable for both husband and I. At 68 or 69 I’m usually freezing :(

cryptolect (#1,135)

@limenotapple We don’t have a thermostat at work, we have an old steam radiator that you can’t adjust. My knees are about seven inches from it. Directly above the radiator is the only way we have to regulate the temperature: a window that opens. So during the winter, often my legs are sweating and my torso/head/arms are bathed in a frigid breeze. I can’t believe I haven’t died 18 times already of pneumonia.

@limenotapple We keep ours around 68-70 when we’re at home and awake (unless it gets for-real cold, like freezing or below and then I turn it down a few degrees for the sake of the heating bill), 60 at night and when no one’s home. We don’t have air conditioning and in Seattle you mostly don’t need it. When I did have air conditioning and lived in a climate that needed it I usually left it off and depended on windows and fans anyway unless I was determined to cook something that would really heat up the kitchen. My boyfriend is much more sensitive to heat than I am though, so if we had a/c he’d probably turn it on at night during the summer, I don’t know without trying exactly what would work but maybe 75?

At work I am in an open-plan office and sit next to people who overheat above like 68, so I wear a lot of giant wool sweaters and drink a lot of hot tea.

@limenotapple I have the same problem with my cold-loving boyfriend and mostly solve it through the aforementioned sweaters and a snuggie.

limenotapple (#1,748)

@Lorelei@twitter I can’t manage the winter without tea and snuggles.

I am applying for a job in Seattle, in large part because of not needing a/c. Your weather is very appealing to me!

frenz.lo (#455)

@limenotapple The temperature at my work is subject to bitter wars between a variety of factions who are not supposed to be touching it at all. The temperature at home is set to be no higher than 70 and no lower than 65, but actual temperature varies charmingly from room to room.

@limenotapple ah, I hope you like vitamin D deficiency! The summer weather is so lovely, but this time of year is rough. It doesn’t get very cold either which I do appreciate, but when the 8.5 hours of daylight consist entirely of clouds and drizzle I get real grouchy. In fact during the entire month of December I basically come home from work and climb into bed because I just do not have the energy to deal with life. Sometimes it even sucks during the longest days of summer, when the daylight convinces my body I shouldn’t actually sleep.

I mean, really, it’s a great city in a lot of ways, good luck with the job! But I am solar-powered and living this far north coupled with the constant cloud cover is hard. If we could just move Seattle to San Francisco’s latitude without becoming San Francisco I’d be golden.

Of course today has been clear and sunny and glorious, I should take my solace where I can.

limenotapple (#1,748)

@Lorelei@twitter I would LOVE to life in SF but I am not sure how to afford it. I’m sure it sucks to feel that drained :( Wonder if fake sun (a la sunlamps) would help? I know that feeling though-very rough. At least the days are getting longer now :(

@limenotapple yeah, nothing against SF, it’s mostly the rent values I want to avoid. And like, human feces on the public transit. Most of my job opportunities would be in Silicon Valley too, and I’d really rather avoid that particular flavor of startup culture. I appreciate my professional community in Seattle a lot.

And there are various things I can do to make winter better, this year has been better than the last two for sure. I’m not sure I’m ever going to find it more than tolerable, though.

Derbel McDillet (#1,241)

@limenotapple 63 when we’re home and awake, 55 when we’re at work or asleep. Fleece robes ftw!

sea ermine (#122)

@limenotapple in the summer I put the AC at 72 whenver Im at home and usually add a fan pointing at me. I turn it off whenever I leave the house for more than 15 minutes. In the winter I dont turn on any heat. The apartment turns on a pipe in the kitchen and bathtoom that bring it up to 75-78 so I usually leave a window open. My office sets it at 75 which is really warm but I try and wear light clothes/no layers to deal

ThatJenn (#916)

No day off for the state of Florida! But we got MLK day off and we get the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s off and we have a kind of embarrassingly large amount of vacation time, so I try to hold on to that feeling when I see all my friends off for this weekend in the most miserable (and busiest!) month of the year when I could REALLY use a day away from work that doesn’t involve the flu. That said, this weekend I’m applying for a job at the city, where I would get the day off next year…..

ciphressinchief (#1,880)

@ThatJenn Yeah, me neither, and I woke up kind of mad about it … but then I remembered that I worked two days last week because of Mardi Gras. We sure know how to maximize our vacation days here in New Orleans.

So seriously, I need a recommendation for a club in DC that a European person might enjoy, that is not Town, and preferably also not full of underage people and/or the site of any recent shootings.

OllyOlly (#669)

@stuffisthings UHall, because good DJs. Or Cafe Citron, because a Swedish friend took me here once.

May be way off the mark here.

@OllyOlly I have never really liked Citron (though I see where you’re going with that idea) but U St. Music Hall is a good thought — I’ll have to see who’s playing. Plus I live on U Street.

@stuffisthings ooh Fatback is on tomorrow, I haven’t been in over a year, wonder if it is still any good. (Though unfortunately my friend is leaving tomorrow afternoon…)

eagerber (#1,958)

@stuffisthings My boyfriend lives a few blocks from H St, so we frequent places around his neighborhood very often (I live on the other side of Capitol Hill, near Eastern Market/Barracks’ Row). For dance-y type places on H St, I would recommend Rock & Roll Hotel and Little Miss Whiskey’s.

If you and your friends aren’t willing to trek out to H St, I would recommend places on 14th St near U St (Bar Pilar, Policy, Saint Ex); rooftops, too, such as El Centro and Marvin. Hope that helps! Though, some of those might not be the best for dancing, I dunno. We usually just wind up at one of those places after going to improv shows.

OllyOlly (#669)

@stuffisthings I didn’t really like Citron either, but it isn’t so ‘American.’ I personally have liked the DJs Rock and Roll Hotel usually has upstairs, who seem to find a good mix of old / new danceable hits, but much less of a club feel.

@eagerber Every time I try to go to Little Miss Whiskeys it ends up in some form of disaster or another (like the time we waited a million hours to see Talib Kweli before inauguration, or the time I ended up drinking a bunch of Scotch in some rich dude’s limo and broke my glasses while throwing up in his bathroom, and then my friend hooked up with his friend who was later in the newspaper for being a liar). I shall look into Rock & Roll Hotel though. Is that where the do the drunk spelling bee? Does it get dancey late at night?

eagerber (#1,958)

@stuffisthings yeah, I really wanted to check out Talib Kweli, too, but figured it was just like you said: a million hour wait. I’ve fortunately only had great experiences there; try your luck again!

R&R has multiple levels, usually clubby music on the 2nd floor and a more relaxed rooftop bar. I’ve heard of the spelling bee, but never participated. There’s also the biergarden next door, too!

Just last night my boyfriend & I frequented H St for Valentine’s celebrating. We got burgers at Big Board (I think that’s at 5th & H), then trekked up to 12/13th to the Atlas Arcade, where we played Nintendo at the bar (free, plus beers), and got tired but were thinking we’d also get pie at Dangerously Delicious. The beauty of H St is great food, cheap prices, and it’s never wildy crowded (with the exception of Talib Kweli dropping by). If you live on U St, you and your friends should just take the 90/91/92 to 8th & H.

@eagerber The best part was when got to the veeery front of the line and Kweli’s handler (or whatever) decided to stop letting people in so he could sit and scarf down a whole sandwich right in front of us.

So, we went to Tropicalia, which has the advantage of being steps from my house. Also the night’s music was described on the flyer as “tropical urban digital future bass desi cumbia dancehall” and was truly great. Everyone should go there, esp. bc I heard they’re having financial issues.

Also, I was randomly reminded of this video which I think might still go down in history as The Awl’s greatest contribution to human culture.

Beezus (#1,007)

My company is relocating me from Seattle to NYC in a few months. I am excited but also terrified re: money. The move itself will be paid for, so I’m not worried about that — it’s the cost of living in NYC that is freaking me out.

Someone either confirm my fears so I can have a better-informed freak out, or talk me down. Or give me NYC money saving tips! I don’t know.

cryptolect (#1,135)

@Beezus Try an outer borough? It’s the rent that really kills.

@Beezus I’m not sure NYC is thaaaaat much worse than any other big city. After being in DC for a couple years it actually feels cheap in a lot o ways (NYC has way more poor people than the DMV, and they have to eat and drink somewhere I guess).

Beezus (#1,007)

@stuffisthings THIS! More comments like this, please.

@Beezus I mean I’ve never actually LIVED in NYC, I just go to visit from time to time, so take my words with a grain of salt. But I pay like $1,250 for a microscopic studio here, plus ten bajillion dollars a week at Whole Foods, so I’m sure I could find a similar deal in NYC.

Runawaytwin (#2,693)

@stuffisthings

Its also the taxes that kill you. I look at my paycheck and want to cry. Finding an apartment is awful too. It was harder to find an apartment than a job. I also found out that my “rent control” (my place is still stupid expensive) expires at the end of my lease and my rent will double. I will def be moving.

Even with that..i love living in this city.

PS> saving money: unlimited subway card, never take taxis, there are good drink specials to be found if you look, make occasional big trips to cheaper stores (target, aldi, etc)

The key is to be aware here because if your not- there is so much to do that it goes so fast.

Also- see if your job will adjust your compensation accordingly BEFORE you move.

chic noir (#713)

@Beezus P- well I hope you will be traveling by car in DC or in walking or biking distance to your job. If not, it will take you a month to get the DC metro fare system down pack. You can pay three different fares to go to the same place depending on the time of day. IIRC, the bus is almost always a little cheaper.

@Beezus Yeah one nice thing about NYC is a sensibly-priced public transportation system not run by morons and sadists.

@Beezus If you’re bringing a car, you’re better off in the boroughs or even Jersey, otherwise get used to the parking spot shuffle or paying $200+ for a deck. Mass transit is good here, except for when it’s not.

Standard city living stuff applies, if you’re on a budget, look for roommates or the boroughs. Brooklyn will have more young people though Astoria and Long Island City are good also. If you’re looking into Manhattan in the Village or LES, get used to creative uses of space like closets turned into showers or bathtubs in the kitchen. And toilets in Stuy Town clog fast so if you find something there, test it out.

Also we don’t have washing machines or dryers in our apts so find out if they have any in the building or where the closest laundromat is.

Find out of you can get a Metro card with pretax funds, like Wage Works, every little bit helps.

But other than the rent and city taxes (I wonder how NYC compares?) it’s pretty comparable to most cities. You can also keep yourself pretty well entertained here for cheap.

Also look out for the next Awl or Hairpin get together and meet lots of people who will buy welcome drinks!

sea ermine (#122)

@Beezus it’s not actually that bad! It’s definitely cheaper than DC at least. I think the reason it seems so expensive here is because there are more super rich people than other places and so there are more things that cater to those people and more places that provide things and services for them. But you don’t ever need to go near those things/places and there are plenty of cheap bars (ex. HiFi bar has $3 beer wine and well drinks every day until 8), cheap restaurants, matinee movies, and a ton of free entertainment. Its just mixed in with all the crazy expensive stuff.

Also don’t ignore the outer bouroughs! Brooklyn is getting pricier but I live in Queens and pay $1150 for a gigantic studio and live near a million cheap restaurants and pay less on groceries (for higher quality food) than I did while living in suburban DE.

sea ermine (#122)

@Beezus also for the taxes just only pay attention to your after tax paycheck. I actually think NYC taxes are pretty reasonable though, but the US has crazy low taxes in general though

@Beezus Honestly, as long as you’re reasonably careful with money and are employed full-time, it’s not THAT bad. I’ve been living in NYC for 8 years, and my salary at its lowest was around 24K and is currently at its highest at 40K, and I’ve always managed to make it work. You will probably have to live in a smaller space than you’re used to, yes. But you can definitely have a roof over your head and food on the table and still be able to go out and have fun sometimes. The thing is, whenever people end up complaining that they can’t afford to live in New York, I notice that there always seems to be an obvious reason why: either it comes out that they got hooked on taking cabs everywhere (don’t ever do that!! Cabs should be reserved for special occasions or 3am rides to the airport, etc.), or it comes out that they’re going out to eat 5 nights out of the week (don’t do that!! Cook food! Go out to eat once a week! or find a cheap falafel place!), or it comes out that they moved to a neighborhood that’s totally out of their price range (don’t even look at anything in Manhattan! Don’t do it! The boroughs are filled with apartments for you, and it’s just a quick train ride into Manhattan anytime you want!). Anyway, it’s completely feasible. Just use your brains, don’t throw your money around like you’re Warren Buffet or something, and you’ll be a-okay.

Weasley (#1,419)

I just used TurboTax for the first time. I upgraded for Deluxe and was very pleased. Has anybody else used it? I didn’t realize it would be so helpful in calculating the best credits for me and now I’m getting a much larger return than I did last year.

@Weasley YAY TURBOTAX. Also, dear TurboTax: Please give The Billfold all of the advertising money.

OhMarie (#299)

@Weasley It’s really great. I had used it for a couple of years (to get used to doing taxes, then because we moved and had to file 3 states) and tried to transition to doing them with a cheaper program/no program at all and almost had a panic attack.

frenz.lo (#455)

Can we talk about side gigs? Like, pet sitting, baby sitting, piece work, whatever it is you do to pick up extra cash, if you do that. I need some extra $$$, but most side gigs seem like they offer a poor return on the time invested.

chic noir (#713)

@frenz.lo I would like this too. Has anyone picked gigs from Craigslist ?

Lily Rowan (#70)

@frenz.lo I liked babysitting, when I had one semi-regular client that I liked. I liked the parents, I liked the kids, and the money was good. And seemed like double-money if it was a night I might have gone out otherwise.

More recently, I’ve done some freelancing in my field, but that’s more annoying than it’s worth, if I don’t really watch it — I can spend hours not-working but thinking I should be working, which is not fun and also not billable.

@Lily Rowan harking back to the grad school discussion, spending hours not-working but thinking I should be working was one of the worst things about grad school for me because there was ALWAYS more I could be doing and no time or place that was obviously not for working and I just completely fall apart in terms of caring for myself under conditions like that.

This is biggest reason why I never listen to people who tell me how great it is to be my own boss. No I tried this and I am a terrible boss to myself. The worst. Office jobs for me, please.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@Lorelei@twitter ABSOLUTELY. I loved going back to school after a bunch of years working, and I loved going back to work after two years in school. Free weekends! Evenings not worrying! Good times.

cryptolect (#1,135)

@frenz.lo If you were good at tests like the SAT, GRE etc, you can make decent money working for Kaplan. I think it starts at $20/hour and goes up based on your student ratings.

Changeling (#126)

@frenz.lo I used care.com to find a dog walking gig in my town, and now I take a dog to the park for an hour twice a week for $40. It’s perfect for me because I love the dog and like the exercise.

hopelessshade (#580)

@frenz.lo I use TaskRabbit to pick up side gigs, and it’s been going pretty well. Some cities have a better market for it than others, though.

Lily Rowan (#70)

You guys! When I get my tax return (soon, I hope!), I will PAY OFF MY CREDIT CARDS. I have been in varying levels of credit card debt forever, and this might be the end of it! It’s amazing.

chic noir (#713)

@Lily Rowan I plan on doing the same thing. I can’t wait.

Lily Rowan (#70)

@chic noir Woot!

Blondsak (#2,299)

@Lily Rowan Make sure you let Mike know! It is My Debt Dream (TM) to get a congratulations-you’re-closer-to-debt-free card from Mike some day.

megsy (#1,565)

@Blondsak I think I’m going to get my Mike card soon. I more or less have a plan to pay off $2800 in credit card debt before May 30. I want this to happen. It has been at like, $8000 for MONTHS because I had to put tuition on it and it has been as high as $15,000 because I had an awful boyfriend and I was stupid but I just got a whack of money repaid to me from the government and now I can TOTALLY DO IT.

pawnknee (#2,911)

@Lily Rowan Congrats! Hope you can stick with being 0 balance debt too. I’m already having a hard time :/

Lily Rowan (#70)

@pawnknee I make enough money for sure, I’ve just been terrible about focusing on paying it down.

pawnknee (#2,911)

@Lily Rowan Right, a lot of consumer debt seems to be about lack of focus to pay down debt or pay in full every month, not ability to pay. I’m really hoping that as I approach $0 on all cards I won’t spend beyond my means even though I’ll have the credit lines to do so.

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