@DON On the upside, it made being a financially independent adult feel pretty damn fantastic.
@heebee Yes! And your tips apply to many museums that attract children. In sum, they will be busy: - Federal holidays - Snow days - Rainy days (particularly on weekends) - The day after Thanksgiving (oh my god) - The summer If you are not the owner of your own small child, or very familiar with small children, you may not really understand what "busy" means in the context of a rainy Saturday at a children's/science/natural history museum. If that's not a world you're familiar with, it's better to keep your distance. September tends to be really quiet, and weekday mornings tend to be good. And memberships are often really good deals!
My dog cost me $400 last month alone, and $2,341 in the last year. Kennel (dog day care or dog walking when I'm out of town for the day, normally I work from home) and vet bills are our big expenses. It would be easier to just burn cash in our backyard. On the other hand, it's probably the best $2,341 I spent all year in terms of personal enjoyment and satisfaction.
To the extent that you can generalize from the experience of one person to a country with a population of 311 million. Also, depending on where you live, the nearest foreign country can be very, very far away. I live in Maine, and aside from Canada, the nearest foreign countries are all about 1000 miles away.
Bourbon and cherries! DON'T EAT THE CHERRIES.
Oh man, I have zero envy. Traveling for work is soul crushing. Every one of my frequent flier miles was purchased by way of air sickness bags, stale chicken caesar salads that cost $15, flight delays, particularly tiny planes on particularly windy days, hotel rooms that are never sunny ever, trying to find breakfast on the west coast at 5 am because you are so jet lagged, finding out that your dog doesn't look for you anymore in the mornings, oh, and that time that I got stuck overnight in Newark and cried. I mean, I guess some people love it. YMMV.
@ohmarie I copied that whole "anyone north of Houston" paragraph because it was all so appalling, but you beat me to it! I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say I hope he dies broke and alone, but I sort of think he might deserve the people he had been finding on his own.
The cake was really important to me, too. One place told me that they couldn't put cream cheese frosting on a wedding carrot cake because it wouldn't stay white enough (WHAT?) and I was profoundly disappointed and angry. I had to compromise and have a chocolate cake in addition to the carrot cakes also, because GOD FORBID someone be forced to eat carrot cake from Flour Bakery in Boston at 5 pm in the afternoon and not have other options. It was four years ago. I just feel really strongly about carrot cake.
@Rebecca Pederson@facebook You can make great chicken stock out of old chickens!
@ru_ri Health care spending accounts are the best! @Everyone Take advantage of your HSA account (sometimes HCSA) if it's available! You want to budget conservatively, since you can't get the money back, but it means that co-pays, transportation to doctor's offices, glasses, prescription sunglasses, the dental stuff that isn't covered by my dental insurance because dental insurance blows, all that stuff is at basically a 30% discount because the money isn't taxed.