@yellowshoes I definitely look for "bang for my buck" when picking places to donate to- so the local food pantry gets my money because a good food pantry can turn an amazingly small amount of money into food for a LOT of people. The other big one for me is giving to my local community college- I feel like I'm buying a lot more education for people by giving to them than I ever would giving to my alma matter.
@OhMarie We started by figuring out a monthly amount that we had to give, then deciding what causes we wanted to support, divvied up the budget between them, set up automatic monthly payments, and pretty much now it just happens automagically. The "what causes" part was tricky, but that's always personal anyhow...
I have a student loan at 0%, which I'm not paying off (i.e. am only paying minimums on), because, well, it's free. I'm pretty sure it's a 0% loan because a) I got it before the federal government fixed student loans at 6.8% to save us from rising interest rates in (thanks guys! good move on that one...) and b) I get discounts for auto-payinging and having however many months of on-time paying. So very very low variable interest minus payment credits = 0%.
@meatballsub For work purposes I just carry a decently professional nylon tote and stuff various combinations of smaller bags into it. It's nicely structured so it looks professional, but it's not heavy like leather. Plus I can stuff rolls of drawings and whatnot into it.
@TheLifestyleCreep @Lily Halogen, which is a Nordstrom's brand, but not a zillion dollars, might be a good bet- the quality is better than Loft (or rather, it's probably closer to what Loft's quality was, say, 5-10 years ago), and they have a ton of workwear basics. I also like classiques entier a lot, but on sale, because $$s. You can land some steals at Nordstrom Rack, though. I like reading Corporette for brands/ ideas for workwear- they start with the pricey stuff at the beginning of the week and go less expensive as the week goes on (as in, by Friday you could conceivably buy some of the clothes they link to).
@Snarke Fancy cheese counters will also cut you a smaller portion of fancy cheeses if all they have wrapped up are the giant ones. Which is handy if you like fancy cheese in, but moderate quantities.
Seattle peeps- the Seattle Library lets you "check out" museum passes for a pretty decent section of museums for free- there's some limit on how many/ how often, but it's a great deal!
@Tripleoxer The new york times made a rent vs. own calculator a while ago that really helps you visualize the factors that go into renting vs. owning and what makes either one the better financial choice: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/upshot/buy-rent-calculator
@keaton I'd be interested in a state by state breakdown. I wouldn't be surprised if there were relatively high percentages of home ownership in more of the south and midwest, where housing prices are lower and culturally it's a little more common to be settled (and married) at a younger age- lower housing prices + earlier dual incomes seems like it could make a big difference.
I don't care what you call it as long as I live within walking distance of a grocery store (and ideally a few restaurants, maybe a drug store). I like streetcar suburbs because they're still mostly houses with lawns, but laid out to be walkable. Dolores Hayden's Building Suburbia is a great place to start if you're interested in the development of the suburbs as a thing.